Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Hadaf under virus attack

Updated 24 January 2017

Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Hadaf under virus attack

RIYADH: Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail said the ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund’s (Hadaf) electronic systems were attacked by a virus, but they are coordinating with the National Center for Cybersecurity (NCC) at the Ministry of Interior to address the problem.
Both the ministry and Hadaf have taken necessary steps for the safety of their systems, he said, adding that no significant damage was done as a result of the attack.
An alert from the telecoms authority advised all parties to be vigilant for attacks from the Shamoon 2 variant of the virus that in 2012 crippled tens of thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco.
Aba Al-Khail said the two institutions are following all the needed technical procedures and taking all measures to protect their databases, stressing that they were able to deal with (such situations) in coordination with the National Center for Cybersecurity.
He said the virus infected only some websites and some peripheral systems for users, but the databases containing customers’ information were not affected.
He said that the ministry and Hadaf’s electronic systems would be gradually running normally soon.
Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture firm owned by Saudi Aramco and US company Dow Chemical, said it had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning and was working to resolve the issue.
The company made the disclosure on its official Twitter account after the warning by Al-Ekhbariya TV, which cited the telecoms authority. It did not say whether the disruption was due to a cyberattack but said as a precautionary measure it had stopped all services related to the network.
Other companies in Jubail, the hub of the Saudi petrochemicals industry, also experienced network disruptions, according to sources who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Those companies sought to protect themselves from the virus by shutting down their networks, said the sources, who declined to identify specific firms.
• With inputs from Reuters


13th edition of Souk Okaz begins as part of Taif Season

Updated 15 min 55 sec ago

13th edition of Souk Okaz begins as part of Taif Season

  • Taif Season is one of the 11 festivals aimed at transforming the Kingdom into an important global tourist destination

On behalf of King Salman, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal launched Souk Okaz — which is part of Taif Season — Tuesday night.

Prince Khaled was received at Souk Okaz by President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) Ahmed Al-Khateeb and Taif Governor Saad Al-Maimouni. Ambassadors, diplomats and others from inside and outside Saudi Arabia also attended the event.

The launch ceremony started with the Saudi national anthem followed by a video presentation about the history of Souk Okaz, which —  according to Taif Season spokesman Naif Al-Osaimi — opened in 501 CE. It was reopened 12 years ago and has since been an annual international culture festival.

The presentation was followed by an operetta — “Arab 501” — based on the Mu’allaqat, the seven poems from the pre-Islamic era traditionally believed to hang in the Kaaba at Makkah. “Arab 501” starred some of the best talent from around the Arab world, including Mohammed Abdu of Saudi Arabia, Kadim Al-Saher of Iraq, and the Lebanese singer Carole Samaha.

Prince Khaled then presented the Poet of Okaz award —  and the attendant SR1 million ($266,640)cash prize — to Saudi poet Mohammed Ibrahim Yaqoub. Yemeni poet Abdullah Obaid was awarded SR500,000 for second place, while SR250,000 went to Saudi poet Azzam Al-Ghaithi for coming third.

Prince Khaled was briefed on recent developments at Souk Okaz, including the amphitheater on Okaz Boulevard, which can accommodate 5,000 spectators for its theatrical equestrian shows.

Prince Khaled pointed out that the Souk will see further development in the near future, adding that the Kingdom’s security, stability, culture and economy are a result of several factors, chief among which is, he said, the country’s adherence to Islam.

“Souk Okaz has added a lot to Taif Season, although every event has its own taste,” SCTH’s director general in the Makkah region,  Mohammed Abdullah Al-Amri, told Arab News.

“Our main target is to bring Taif back to the frontline of Arab tourism,” said Al-Osaimi. “Today’s operetta may help put Taif again on top of Arab tourism as a meeting place and a resort for Arabs. We have 11 Arab countries participating in this edition of Souk Okaz and we are determined to introduce new events and activities at Souk Okaz to meet the needs our audience.”

Taif Season is one of 11 festivals aimed at transforming the Kingdom into an important global tourist destination. Dozens of events have been taking place this month in the southwestern city, which is famous for its heritage and beautiful landscapes.

Souq Okaz is one of the main attractions of the event. At the Souq, people can experience the culture of 11 different Arab nations by visiting pavilions showcasing the food, art and commerce of the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. There is also, of course, a pavilion for the host nation.

The Souk will also play host to some of the region’s biggest music stars between August 23 and 30, including the UAE’s Ahlam and Hussein Al-Jassmi, Assala Nasri of Syria, and the Kingdom’s Abadi Al-Johar and Dalia Mubarak.

This is the third edition of Souq Okaz since King Salman gave SCTH the responsibility of organizing the event in coordination with executive bodies in Makkah region.