Call for “Cybersecurity in the Middle-East” Fellowship by Cybersecurity Project at the Belfer Center
The number of cybercrimes and cyber attacks in Iraq are growing over the last 10 years and the information taken from the Iraqi Department of Cybercrimes for the years 2006-2011 describes cybercrime types and their properties. The results illustrate that among all types of cybercrimes committed during the past six years, the top four were distributed over the Internet such as Internet cheating, theft, cyber piracy and crime sex. The results illustrate that 81.1% were commited by males; 45.5% by high school students; 63.1% were commited alone; and 23.7% were committed by presently registered scholars. For those registered scholars committing cybercrimes, the results show that the proportion of high school students counted for 69.0% in 2009, 76.1% in 2010 and 62.7% in 2011. The high percentage illustrates that the numbers of presently enrolled scholars committing cybercrimes are a cause for worry.
About the cyber attacks, no region has seen more cyber attacks than the Middle East. And most of the reported cyberattacks originated from Germany followed by Iraq, Sweden and the United Kingdom. These attacks include traditional acts of cybercrime, like a $45 million heist against two banks in Oman and the UAE in 2013. More worrisome are the cyber attacks that seek to sabotage critical, physical infrastructure, like the destructive attacks against the business networks of Saudi Aramco and Qatar’s Rasgas in 2012. In those twin attacks, tens of thousands of computers were rendered useless and production at these facilities was brought to a standstill. Making matters worse is that countries in the region continue to adopt new digital technologies into their societies, economies, and their infrastructure, without the requisite attention to security. The result is a region poised to see continuing vulnerability as connectivity outpaces security.
The Cybersecurity Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is looking for a junior or mid-career practitioner or academic with a strong background or interest in cybersecurity and the Middle East to address these issues. The topic of cybersecurity should be construed broadly and does not require professional-level technical competency.
This in-residence fellowship at the Belfer Center is anticipated to last for ten months (from September 2018 to June 2019). The fellow will be expected to:
Develop a policy-relevant research proposal about cybersecurity and the Middle East.
Write a report about cybersecurity and the Middle East.
Participate in the Cybersecurity Project’s team research meetings and seminars.
Participate in the events and activities of the Middle East Initiative as much as possible.
To apply, please submit the following information in one (1) email to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 30th, 11:59 PM.
1 page resume or CV, including most recent education/degree and work experience
Writing sample (maximum 2500 words)
Your writing sample may be an excerpt from, or the entirety of, a published or unpublished piece written by the applicant (co-authored pieces not accepted) in English. The subject of the writing sample need not be explicitly about cybersecurity and the Middle East, but some link to the region or technology issues is preferred.
Research statement (maximum 2500 words)
The first page should be a statement of no more than 250 words that describes the policy relevance of the proposed research. This statement should articulate the intended audience, as well as the problem or problems that the research will help the intended audience address.
Overview of Cybercrimes and Cyber attacks in Iraq
Iraq’s internet sector is currently unregulated, placing it among the freest globally, but also amongst the most vulnerable. The current political and security situation in Iraq means that further work is necessary to develop the legal, technical, organisational, and capacity building fundamentals to provide comprehensive cybersecurity for its citizens, businesses, and the state.
Data on the types of cybercrime in Iraq is scarce, and rarely published by the Iraqi government. However, earlier reports released by the Iraqi government expose the most common types of cybercrime in Iraq, which have likely increased over the years.
In 2013, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning reported that, the vast majority of cybercrime is conducted via social media platforms, primarily on Facebook, and against persons rather than businesses or governments. The most common cyberattacks involve internet fraud, identity theft, child pornography, cyber-stalking, cyber-blackmail, copyright infringement, satellite piracy, and cyberterrorism.