December 5, 2016, 1:30 pm - June 3, 2020, 9:29 am


Carnegie Endowment - Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

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Cyber threats are on the rise in the Middle East, ranging from electronic vandalism or financial crimes to sabotage and virtual acts of war. Governments and businesses in the Middle East have suffered damaging attacks. State actors and hacker collectives in the region are also believed to be targeting the U.S. military, civilian government agencies, and private sector systems.

What systemic problems will the United States and Arab states confront in the next few years? Are there gaps in national policy or in the collaboration between governments and the private sector that render the United States vulnerable? What is the state of the U.S.-Arab dialogue within these global issues, and how can Washington and its Arab partners coordinate better?
The Middle East Institute was pleased to host industry and policy experts for a program examining Middle Eastern cyber threat trends and developments affecting national security, essential services, and the economy. View the video link to hear the analysis and recommendations of these leaders in the field.


Global Information Threats [Click for transcript]
Sean Kanuck
Attorney and Strategic Consultant; former National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues
Threat Response and Policy-Making [Click for transcript]
Omar al-Ibrahim
Security Researcher and Consultant, Omprotect LLC; Assistant Professor, Kuwait University
Robert Knake
Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Paul Kurtz
Founder and CEO, TruSTAR Technology
Patrick Tucker, (Moderator)
Technology Editor, DefenseOne
Advancing the Policy Dialogue [Click for transcript]
James A. Lewis
Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies


Speakers Include:

Omar Al-Ibrahim
Security Researcher, Omprotect; Assistant Professor, Kuwait University
Omar Al-Ibrahim is a security researcher and consultant at omProtect, a boutique of security researchers and consultants aimed to provide cutting-edge research and delivery of information security services in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf, and the United States. He is also an assistant professor at the Information Science department at Kuwait University. Previously, Al Ibrahim was a security consultant at Virtual Security Research (VSR) LLC., a firm in Boston, and Cigital Inc. in Dulles, specializing in application security and penetration testing. Omar received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, USA in 2012, and his Master's degree in Computer Science from Rice University in 2007. He also holds CISSP and GREM certifications.

Sean Kanuck
Attorney and Strategic Consultant, Stanford University, Center for International Security and Cooperation
Sean Kanuck is an attorney and strategic consultant for the Center for International Security and Cooperation who advises governments, law firms, corporations, and entrepreneurs. He has led national-level programs and worked directly with many international institutions.  He specializes in the nexus between technology, law, and security. Sean served as the first National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues from 2011 to 2016.  Prior to government service, Sean practiced law with Skadden Arps in New York, where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and banking matters.  He also proudly serves as a Trustee of the Center for Excellence in Education, a charity promoting STEM education that is based in McLean, Virginia.

Robert Knake
Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; former director for cybersecurity policy, National Security Council staff
Robert Knake is a Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Knake’s work focuses on Internet governance, public-private partnerships, and cyber conflict. Knake served from 2011 to 2015 as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council. Federal Computer Week dubbed him the “White House’s Cyber Wizard” for his work on Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which directed the creation of the National Institute of Standards & Technology Cybersecurity Framework. A frequent writer and speaker on cyber security, he has been quoted by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post and appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and National Public Radio. Knake is an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy and a senior advisor to the machine learning company Context Relevant

Paul Kurtz
Co-Founder and CEO, TruSTAR
Paul Kurtz is the co-founder and CEO of TruSTAR Technology. Paul began working with cyber security issues on the National Security Council at the White House in the late 1990s. He was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection on the White House’s Homeland Security Council (HSC). Prior to that, he served on the National Security Council staff in cyber security and counterterrorism positions and helped manage the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After government, Paul founded the Cyber Security Industry Alliance before entering the private sector as Partner at Good Harbor where he managed the Middle East and North Africa business. He was a founder and Chief Strategy Officer for CyberPoint International, where he helped grow the company to over 200 employees.

James Lewis
Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
James Lewis is a senior vice president and program director at CSIS, where he writes on technology, security, and innovation. Before joining CSIS, he worked at the Departments of State and Commerce as a Foreign Service officer and as a member of the Senior Executive Service. His government experience includes work on a range of politico-military and Asian security issues, as a negotiator on conventional arms transfers and advanced military technology, and in developing policies for satellites, encryption, and the Internet. Lewis led the U.S. delegation to the Wassenaar Arrangement Experts Group on advanced civil and military technologies and was the rapporteur for the 2010, 2013, and 2015 UN Group of Government Experts on Information Security.

Patrick Tucker (moderator)
Technology Editor, Defense One; Author, The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?
Patrick Tucker is the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in A World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current 2014). He’s also a science and technology editor with Defense One. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Quartz, National Journal, Slate, MIT Technology Review, Salon, BBC Magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, Johns Hopkins Magazine, The Utne Reader, as well as various other outlets. He has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, BBC, Voice of America, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as dozens of other broadcasts and outlets. Previously, he served as the deputy editor of The Futurist magazine and director of communications for the World Future Society.

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