Inaugural Workshop – 2013

CCS-AD has been established to facilitate cyber security research, education and practice in the UAE. In its inaugural workshop, CRISSP-AD hosts cyber security experts from government and industry as well as academics from leading institutions of the region, to address emerging threats in cyber security and how the various stakeholders can work together to address them. In addition to developing a collaborative research agenda, the workshop also focuses on developing human capital in the UAE to deal with the shortage of cyber security professionals.


  • Date: April 16, 2013
  • Location: NYU Abu Dhabi, Downtown Campus


Organized by

  • Dr. Nasir Memon, Primary Investigator, CCS-AD
  • Dr. Mustaque Ahamad, Global Professor, NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Dr. Husrev Taha Sencar, CRISSP-AD Senior Research Scientist and Center Manager
  • Dr. Mahir Nayfeh, VP, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Paul Kurtz, Chief Strategy Officer, CyberPoint



Time Event
8:30 – 9:00 am Coffee and Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 am Welcome and Opening Remarks
NYUAD Leadership
9:30 – 10:30 am Keynote Speech
Dr. Joel F. Brenner, Author of “America the Vulnerable” and former head of Counterintelligence under United States Director of National Intelligence and Senior Counsel, National Security Agency
10:30 – 10:50 am Break
10:50 – 11:20 am CRISSP Vision and Goals
Dr. Nasir Memon, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering,
NYUAD and Polytechnic Institute of NYU
11:20am – 12:50 pm Panel:
What are the cyber security challenges facing the UAE and what is being done to address them?
Moderated by Dr. Terry Thompson, VP, Booz Allen HamiltonPanelists:

  • Ayman Al-Issa, Digital Oil Fields Cyber Security Advisor, ADMA-OPCO
  • Tariq Al-Hawi, Director, aeCERT
  • Dr. Mohammed Ebrahim Al-Mualla, Senior VP, KUSTAR
  • Dr. Mustaque Ahamad, Global Professor, NYUAD
  • Paul Kurtz, CSO, CyberPoint International
1:00 – 2:20 pm Lunch and 2nd Keynote Speech:
Dr. Marc Dacier, Senior Director of Symantec Research Labs
2:30 – 3:30 pm Breakout Sessions

  • Developing Human Capital in UAE to Address Cyber Security Threats
  • Research in Proactive Threat Assessment – Key challenges for UAE
3:30 – 4:30 pm Reports from Break Groups and Next Steps
[/tab] [/tabs]


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Joel F. Brenner

“Turning Us Inside Out: Crime, Conflict, and Economic Espionage on Our Networks

Abstract of the Address
Brenner will address the technical and political drivers of cyber crime, conflict, and economic espionage and broad trends in cyber theft. He will also discuss the future of subwarfare conflict on electronic networks and organizations as opposed to technical aspects of vulnerabilities.


Joel F. Brenner specializes in data protection and privacy, network security, intelligence law, and the regulation of sensitive cross-border transactions. He has represented companies and individuals in a wide variety of transactions and proceedings including sensitive foreign acquisitions and overseas operations, the liability of foreign governments, export controls, and internal corporate investigations. He has years of experience inside and outside government involving national and homeland security and enjoys working with companies of all sizes.

Before joining Cooley, Mr. Brenner was Senior Counsel at the National Security Agency, advising Agency leadership on the public-private effort to create better security for the Internet. From 2006 until mid-2009, he was the head of U.S. counterintelligence under the Director of National Intelligence and was responsible for integrating the counterintelligence activities of the 17 departments and agencies with intelligence authorities, including the FBI and CIA and elements of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security.

From 2002 – 2006, Mr. Brenner was NSA’s Inspector General, responsible for that agency’s topsecret internal audits and investigations.  He has also served as a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and has extensive trial and arbitration experience in private practice.

Mr. Brenner holds a JD from the Harvard Law School, a PhD from the London School of Economics, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law & National Security. He has written about intelligence oversight and Presidential authority to suspend or prohibit foreign takeovers of U.S. firms, and is often quoted in the national media on data security, privacy, and intelligence issues. Mr. Brenner was awarded the Intelligence Community Achievement Medal in July 2009.


Mr. Brenner is admitted to practice in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and New York and in a variety of federal trial and appellate courts.

Dr. Marc Dacier

“On the Need for Collaborative Research: Rationales and Examples”

Abstract of the Address

In this talk, I will briefly introduce Symantec Research Labs, its charter and the way it is organized. I will outline the reasons why we engage in a number of collaborative actions and the way we do it. In particular, I will present the Worldwide Intelligence Network Environment (WINE).  We are making WINE available to the academic community for experiment research purposes.

WINE is a very large dataset made of real world events collected on millions of machines in the world.  I will explain its content and how researchers can gain access to it. I will also provide a concrete example of the kind of innovative research that can be performed thanks to WINE by means of a recent rigorous and systematic study we carried out to assess the prevalence of 0-day attacks in the wild (some of these results have been presented at the last ACM CCS conference in 2012).


Marc Dacier, Ph.D., is a Senior Director within Symantec Research Labs. He is in charge of 3 teams located in Herndon (VA, USA), Dublin (Ireland) and Sophia Antipolis (France). These team collaborate on joint projects with external government agencies, universities and businesses that include both long-term studies and short range improvements that provide immediate benefit to Symantec customers across all business segments and markets.

Prior to joining Symantec, Dr. Dacier taught networking and operational computing security at Eurecom, a graduate school and research centre incommunications systems and one of Europe’s most active academic research institutions, especially in the field of network and computer security. Inaddition to his extensive work in academia, Dr. Dacier was the manager of the Global Security Analysis Lab at IBM Research in Zurich (Switzerland) for 7 years.

An internationally recognized expert in computer and network security, Dr.Dacier has served on more than 100 program committees of major security and dependability conferences and as a member of the editorial board of several technical journals. He has co authored more than 60 papers in peer reviewed conferences and journals. He serves on the advisory boards of several universities, in Europe, in the Middle East as well as in the United States. He also sits on the industrial advisory boards of a couple of European funded research projects. Dr. Dacier holds a masters degree in Computer Sciences from the Université Catholique de Louvain and a Ph.D. In Computer Sciences from the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse.