Saudi university to establish biometric security research laboratory

Updated 19 January 2018
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Saudi university to establish biometric security research laboratory

RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh has received a grant from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for research into secure biometric cryptosystems to aid digital security.
Biometric-based personal recognition technologies such as fingerprint, face, iris, palm print, voice and signature are used to identify a person by his or her unique behavioral or biological characteristics. An increasing number of countries, including the Kingdom, have decided to adopt biometric systems for national security and identity-theft prevention.
Prof. Mohammed Khurram Khan of KSU’s Center of Excellence in Information Assurance (CoEIA), and team leader of the research project, told Arab News on Wednesday that the grant had been approved for a project entitled “Hand-based Biometrics Fusion and Bio-Cryptosystem Computation.”
He added that the project was accepted “under the grant program for universities and research centers listed under the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 initiatives.”
Khan said biometrics are becoming an increasingly important component of security-related applications, including logical and physical access control, airport security, sea security, border control, forensic investigation, IT security, identity-fraud protection and terrorist prevention or detection.
But like any digital system, biometric systems can be hacked, modified or copied, so research into the development of more secure systems is vital, he added.
“Through the funding of this project, we will be able to establish a biometrics security research lab at the center, and build a strong research group for effective research projects in the Kingdom,” Khan said.
“This research project aims to develop a framework for a secure biometric cryptosystem by protecting biometric templates derived from the fusion of palm prints and palm veins to satisfy four biometric cryptosystem and template security criteria: Security, diversity, revocability, and accuracy of performance,” he explained.
“A cryptographic secure key will also be generated, which could also be used in state-of-the-art cryptosystems.”
He said apart from the societal benefits of secure data, the research “is expected to impact several areas, including national security, law enforcement and cyber-trust.”
Khan added: “This project will give the nation the technological strength needed to face global terrorism and security challenges and threats.”


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 31 min 58 sec ago
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.