Eiman Al-Hamad to compete for title of top Arab innovator
Eiman Al-Hamad, the first Qatari female innovator to reach the final round of Qatar Foundation’s Stars of Science, is an expert in the field of information security. However, despite her qualifications and experience, she fell victim to fraud.
But the scam – which was attempted through a series of phone calls – turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and the push she needed to come up her invention.
The innovator, who has a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and a master's degree in internet security, is passionate about raising cybersecurity awareness.
“Based on my knowledge and experience within the field, and in order to protect the community from digital threats – especially in light of the technological development we are witnessing – I have delivered many awareness workshops and training programs in Qatar,” Al-Hamad explains.
“However, soon I realized that this was not enough, considering the number of fraud attempts reported every day. These operations are continuing to grow, and techniques are constantly evolving with fraudsters using advanced methods that are very difficult to detect that even specialists in this field can become victims. So, what about those who do not have enough awareness or knowledge of cybercrime?”
Keeping this in mind, Al-Hamad started to work on an Arabic detection program – a system that can detect fraud attempts through mobile phones. The system gives off alerts as soon as the user starts disclosing personal information – such as banking details – through voice recognition and a voice-to-text transcription, while protecting the user’s privacy.
As the world continues to move further into the fourth industrial revolution – which sees us rely more and more on artificial intelligence, the Internet, robots and modern technology – cyberattacks will also increase
“As the world continues to move further into the fourth industrial revolution – which sees us rely more and more on artificial intelligence, the Internet, robots and modern technology – cyberattacks will also increase.
“And as we head to a future of smart homes and personal assistant systems, my invention will have another dimension – it will not only protect the individuals themselves, but also prevents invading the privacy of our homes.”
While the system is based on algorithms and a complex background structure, Al-Hamad was keen to simplify the innovation for the end-user. Through her invention, she aims to enhance the role of the Arabic language in the digital field, especially with the lack of electronic applications designed in Arabic compared to applications in other languages.
It is our responsibility, as Arab inventors, to contribute to enhancing the status of our language in the world of innovation, and through this we will be able to leave our mark on the world
“It is our responsibility, as Arab inventors, to contribute to enhancing the status of our language in the world of innovation, and through this we will be able to leave our mark on the world."
Al-Hamad has been a fan of Stars of Science for many years. “I knew that I had the skills and capabilities, but I wanted to participate with an idea that would serve the community and benefit people all over the world,” she says.
Like the rest of this season’s competitors, Al-Hamad’s Stars of Science journey was plagued by challenges, especially those imposed by COVID-19. And while the lockdown periods have hindered stages of her project – such as data collection and communication with experts in the field – she has been able to overcome these challenges, and move forward with her invention.
There is no difference between a woman’s mind and a man’s mind – all we need is to faith in our abilities, and to have enough opportunities for us to show the world what we can do
“What helped me the most in overcoming these challenges was my ability to explore alternative plans, my spirit of persistence and determination, my ambition to achieve the goals, and my motivation to keep going and never give up. Ultimately, I believe that this experience will help me overcome future obstacles.”
And as Al-Hamad prepares for this weekend’s final round, her advice to aspiring innovators is to believe in themselves, their abilities, and overall their ideas.
“Share these ideas with others, and search for those who can give you right guidance and support. If you look around you, you will find someone who believes in you and can provide you with the support you need,” she says.
“Women today have a great role to play, and have to leave their own footprint in the world of innovation. There is no difference between a woman’s mind and a man’s mind – all we need is to faith in our abilities, and to have enough opportunities for us to show the world what we can do.”