Philip Abou Zeid holds two master’s degrees in Media studies and communication and in political science and graduated from the Lebanese University and Saint Joseph University Beirut. With more than 15 years of experience in media field, he teaches social media, media ethics and communication strategies at USJ and Phoenicia University. However, he also trains NGOs and consults companies on the professional use of social media.
What is the impact of technological advancements and how can it effect societies?
There is no doubt that technological advancement impacted our daily lives; however, it impacted businesses on many levels such as communication, services and retail. All these advancements made our daily lives smoother and simplified on the personal level, on the other hand the power of AI (artificial intelligence) is the future of stable economic prosperity and development.
My concerns regarding these advancements lie in the ways of implementation, to simplify it as such, high tech gadgets give hackers the ultimate opportunity to infiltrate, steal and share classified data and the outcome of such actions will be loss of assets, blackmailing etc... Thus, the ethical use of technology helps in bundling societies whilst unethical use will spread nothing but chaos.
Cyber security and social media platforms are interrelated, what’s their main connection?
Starting by a quote he wrote: “Email to social media accounts is what a key is worth to a car”. Let’s say you forgot your Email password and you need to reset your Facebook account password, well that’s going be impossible. So, the main connection between social media and cyber security is the availability and ease of access. As you may know users need to change their passwords occasionally to avoid being guessed by hacking apps used by attackers.
However, during my lectures there’s a chapter that focuses on data protection and I highly encourage my students to be aware at all times from visiting any suspicious unverified links.
Do you consider our daily use of the internet safe and to what extent?
I think many people lack knowledge in basic security measures and this is due to the fast technological advancements. Moreover, our daily use of the internet is risky by means of allowing apps to share data, microphone/camera and our location. Being online means that you as a user acknowledges these risks and bares its responsibility.
As you know privacy wars have raged between two tech giants such as Apple and Facebook, why do you think that transparency and user permission should be advised. Why should the user be involved and how do you value privacy?
As a user of multiple social media platforms, I believe that I’m solely entitled to manage everything concerning my privacy.
An active user, manager and director on most popular social media platforms, can you give us key points on how to protect our privacy and data.
First things first never share any personal information (address, location, credentials) with anyone unless it’s an emergency then you can do it via call. Always make sure to use a two-factor authorization method which includes your current password and your phone number to receive a one-time 5 or 6 letter code to give you access to your account. Nevertheless, user awareness and performance are the key to his data protection by means of not sharing detailed information that can jeopardize his life, loved ones and assets.
Being a senior political reporter and producer do you consider cyberwarfare forging new alliances not just regionally but also globally.
Absolutely, Cyber warfare is going to be the headline of next generation wars; however, this time the battle field for example is at a designated airport that’s hacked using DDoS, kill chain attack or etc. for this attack of terror will spread false information misleading the control tower and result in nothing but mayhem. I highly encourage countries to fortify their cyber security programs in order to defend and overcome any cyber-attack. Briefly, countries with advanced cyber security systems have the upper hand in forcible forging alliances with other third world countries for their benefit in acquiring raw material and advanced military tactics.
Are the applied Lebanese security measures accurate and up to global standards?
I think Lebanon is by far away from acquiring security measures that are up to global standards. Taking into consideration the current situation, the lack of investments, the lack of reforms, outdated systems and the absolute absence of the government, our country is barely striving to keep is head above water as I recall few years back most of core governmental sites got targeted and were shut down. Briefly, having global standards requires adequate management and funding.
What is a major vulnerability and how can we over come it?
A major vulnerability is lack awareness; I find it hard to believe that any of our hoary politicians aren’t even aware of these security flaws. As I urge my students to be aware of their cyber surroundings, I would wish to make awareness more accessible to everyone across Lebanon.
What Lebanon needs today is the involvement of its new generation that can help implement new tactics to raise this phoenix from its ashes. Although technological advancement knows no limits, we need to adapt proper implementations to restructure our old-fashioned core and through E-governance for example, we’d be able to reduce identity fraud. Lebanon needs to reclaim its title as a functional hub in the region as it was back then in the 60s. In a word, adapting to technology has its challenge and we need to be prepared to withstand them.
* Interview done by : Jack Masri