Saudi Arabia sets up new commission to boost cybersecurity

Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban
Updated 02 November 2017

Saudi Arabia sets up new commission to boost cybersecurity

RIYADH: King Salman has set up a new cyber authority to protect information technology networks, systems and data, and improve online security for companies and individuals.
The National Cyber Security Commission will be linked to the office of the king and will “boost the cybersecurity of the state and protect its vital interests, national security and sensitive infrastructure,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The king appointed Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban to chair the new commission. A Harvard graduate, Al-Aiban is a member of the Council of Ministers and has been a minister of state since 1992. The heads of state security and intelligence, the deputy interior minister and an assistant to the minister of defense will serve on the new body.
Al-Aiban said the commission would be the competent authority for cybersecurity, and aimed to maintain the privacy of all vital data of the state, individuals and companies in the private and public sectors.
He said it would protect networks, IT systems, operating systems, hardware and software components, services and data, taking into account the increasingly vital importance of cybersecurity in the life of individuals and the community.
Al-Aiban said his priority was to deploy qualified national staff to build partnerships with public and private bodies and organizations to take safety measures to ensure the country’s cybersecurity.
The new commission will provide a platform for young Saudis, both men and women, to take part in the national effort to strengthen cybersecurity, DNJ Technologies Chief Executive Othman Al-Robaish told Arab News.
Naif Al-Rashid, a Saudi journalist in Riyadh, said strengthening cybersecurity would increase the confidence of Internet users, not only individuals but also government entities, security facilities, financial houses, foreign investors and others who transacted business online.

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.