Mastercard has launched its Global Cyber Forward program in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the specialist global financial centre and largest fintech hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

It comes as global governments, financial institutions and businesses are dealing with an increased threat of fraud, as navigation of the health pandemic. 

According to an industry study, the threat of direct and indirect cyberattacks on global businesses is significant, with up to $5.2 trillion in economic impact being at risk over the next five years.

Commenting on the announcement, Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre, said: “This global partnership between DIFC and Mastercard supports the National Cybersecurity Strategy and Dubai Cyber Security Strategy. As the leading financial centre in the MEASA region, we are committed to being at the forefront of initiatives, including cybersecurity, that will advance the finance industry globally, regionally and in Dubai. 

“Firms and individuals will be able to benefit from our collaborative approach to managing the issue and see Dubai as the region’s safest place to undertake their financial activities.”

The Global Cyber Forward program combines Mastercard’s capabilities in cybersecurity with those of public sector organisations to create secure digital ecosystems at a national, local and city-level. 

Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber and Intelligence, Mastercard, added: “Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats to consumer trust. Without trust we cannot do business – more so now than at any other time in history. 

“We are developing and embedding the latest cyber technologies, in collaboration with our partners around the world, to help advance security and trust in the digital ecosystem. Our partnership with DIFC will help to create more secure and thriving digital economies.”

This partnership with DIFC will help boost cyber readiness and resilience across the financial industry, enabling effective cybersecurity oversight through the Dubai Financial Service Authority (DFSA) Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) that was launched in January 2020.

DIFC is home to over 2,500 financial related companies, including 17 of the world’s top 20 banks and over 240 fintech and Innovation companies. DIFC continuously develops innovative laws and regulations enabling the future of finance. Earlier this year, it launched the first GDPR-compliant data protection laws and the most comprehensive money services regime in the region.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, concluded: “DIFC has the region’s most robust and resilient legal and regulatory framework. Our partnership with Mastercard recognizes the importance of cybersecurity and will help DIFC clients and the global finance industry accelerate their digital agendas safely and effectively. Collaborating with a leading, like-minded organisation on cybersecurity is a key factor that will help us drive the future of finance.”