Sheikh Saif and Sheikh Nahyan attend graduation ceremony of 1st cohort from MSIT

04 Mar 2010

His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, UAE Minister of Interior and His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research President of Zayed University inaugurated yesterday (Tuesday 2nd March) the first of its kind in the UAE and the region, the "Advanced Cyber Forensics Research Lab" which aims to serve as a national cyber forensics laboratory in the UAE, in the presence of Sheikh Shakhbout Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim Vice President of Zayed University, Paul B. Kurtz Special Advisor - Cyber Security, Dr. Daniel Johnson Provost of ZU, and several members of the university's faculty and staff.

The lab which is the first research based forensics lab in the Middle East aims to become an internationally recognized and respected laboratory for advanced cyber forensics and security research, through engaging in basic and applied research and development, raising awareness through training, education, publication, and organizing conferences, functioning as a think-tank for cyber forensics and security research, and providing investigative assistance for law enforcement, private corporations, and bridging academia with  law enforcement.

On another hand, 15 graduates who are all members of the Abu Dhabi Police, and form the 1st class of the Masters of Science in Information Technology specialization in Cyber Security, graduated (Tuesday 2nd March) in a ceremony held at the university's Abu Dhabi campus under the patronage and in the presence of His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, UAE Minister of Interior, and His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research President of Zayed University.

H.E Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research President of Zayed University expressed gratitude to the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalfa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, and to the Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and to His Highness Sheikh Mohammmed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who are all strong supporters of Zayed University.

His Excellency asserted that we appreciate their strong interest and support of higher education institutions in the UAE. This support is instrumental in making these institutions responsive to the needs of the community, and successful in preparing national leaders in the various fields and at a high level of excellence.

His Excellency also commended of His Highness, Sheikh Seif bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, for patronage of and presence at the graduation ceremony. "We greatly value Sheikh Seif's strong interest in furthering cooperation between the Ministry of the Interior and Zayed University and his support of the university's programs.  We also appreciate his encouragement of students to excel and his support of the goals of national human development in the United Arab Emirates", His Excellency said.

His Excellency stressed that the graduates have completed a program of study in an important field.  This program prepares national leaders in Information Technology - leaders who are able to adapt best practices to achieve safety and security in the use of information networks in our country.  Their work will provide needed protections for both individuals and society and will help maintain law and order in the community. These are matters of great importance since the future effectiveness of electronic networks is contingent on our collective ability to provide a safe electronic environment, one that achieves security and strengthens confidence, one that protects rights, prevents fraud, and clearly spells out the duties and responsibilities of all.

His Excellency emphasized that these graduates are an embodiment of our conviction in the UAE of the importance of modern technologies to society and of our commitment to integrate these technologies into our legal system, as well as making them useful and beneficial.  They are also an embodiment of the high levels of safety, security and the rule of law enjoyed by the United Arab Emirates and its citizens which make our country an oasis of stability and prosperity, both in our region and the world.

H.E Sheikh Nahayan also highlighted Zayed University's pride in this Master's program as it clearly reflects the University's emphasis on excellence and quality and is being implemented according to the highest international standards.  The character and quality of this program clearly express Zayed University's commitment to respond effectively to the country's needs and requirements and to fulfill its mission of preparing our nation's manpower with excellence and dedication.

On his part, Paul B. Kurtz Special Advisor - Cyber Security, and On-air Consultant to CBS news stated that Cyber space is fast becoming a forum where future conflicts, domestic or international, will be defined, fought and resolved.

Based on a previous incident, Kurtz explained that cyber attackers are now handpicking their victims and have managed to evolve and update their techniques to a point where they get to implant viruses into computer systems and data and can control when, where and how they attack. He pointed out that during the U.S Presidential Election time, several campaigns of presidential candidates including the current U.S President Barack Obama were cyber attacked, and the adversaries were clearly handpicking their victims from inside the campaigns to track them if any of the presidential candidates won.

"We are at a very different stage of Cyber security and the advanced persistent threats and of cyber attacks are increasing rapidly, especially now that these adversaries have the technology to create chaos at the tip of their fingers", said Kurtz. "Cyber attacks are being very selective and now their target is collecting intellectual property and gathering information not only through attacking individuals but through attacking entire organizations, firms and industries. Our best practices are just not good enough anymore, therefore the role of law enforcement in cyber security and information security has become vital, and through education we can develop our skills and increase our opportunities in preventing cyber attacks. The Masters of Information Technology with a specialization in Cyber Security that Zayed University offers, will be a key element in helping law enforcement in cyber security in the UAE to succeed in this field", said Kurtz.

His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan then presented the graduates with their certificates and congratulated them on achieving their masters degree.

Information on the Masters of Science in Information Technology specialization in Cyber Security


The Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Technology program includes advanced work in information technology with a specialization in cyber security. The focus of the program is on the development of concepts, knowledge and skills that will enable successful participants to become experts in the area of information security, internet crime prevention, and digital crime investigation. The goal of this program is to develop highly qualified technical experts to meet the demands of the national, regional and international workplace for information and network security.


The objective of this program is to prepare graduates from this program to be eminently qualified to assume technical and leadership roles in information security and computer crime prevention within the private and public sectors. U.A.E. government officials, law enforcement leaders and private sector employers have repeatedly voiced their need for qualified graduates in information security to help protect the nation‘s technological infrastructure.

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Information Technology (Specialization in Cyber Security) program will enable graduates to:

  • perform a needs analysis of an enterprise to determine the appropriate levels of security needed for systems and data.
  • understand and articulate the different levels and aspects of information security in the context of an enterprise.
  • identify the management and technical controls that can be used to architect an enterprise security structure to protect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of critical data.
  • understand the IT essentials necessary to deal with computers, storage devices and computerized data in the context of a crime scene.
  • understand information security in a global context as it relates to international norms, laws, ethics and structures.


The Master of Science in Information Technology program is designed to give graduates a rich curriculum that covers the latest technology and information in cyber security. The curriculum consists of eleven courses that include a research component with a total requirement of 36 semester credit hours.  The curriculum is designed to combine a rich theoretical foundation with a strong laboratory component to provide students with a lifelong learning capabilities and marketable skills for today's job market.  The faculty members in the College of IT are leaders in various research areas, recruited from some of the top universities around the world.  They have a keen interest in maintaining a sound curriculum and providing the best education possible. The computer laboratory facilities supporting many of the courses consist of the state of the art equipment, combining the best of breed in hardware and software platforms. The aim is to give students a first-hand experience in many of the tools in demand today.

The curriculum is tailored to the needs of information technology professionals in the U.A.E. and consists of the following eleven courses:

Year One

  • Computer Hardware and Software Platforms
  • Information Security
  • Network System Administration
  • Information Security Policy, Ethics and Law
  • Network and Internet Security
  • Computer and Internet-related Investigations (Digital Forensics I)

Year Two

  • Information Security Management
  • Computer Evidence Recovery (Digital Forensics II)
  • Network Analysis and Investigations (Digital Forensics III)
  • Transactional Web Services Security
  • Independent Research

Graduate students in the program will complete a research component that combines knowledge developed in the courses with a literature survey to investigate a specific problem of significance in the field.