Saudi facilities sustained nearly 1,000 cyber attacks in 2016

Saudi Arabia's institutions and facilities sustained 992 cyber attacks in 2016.
Updated 28 February 2017

Saudi facilities sustained nearly 1,000 cyber attacks in 2016

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s institutions and facilities sustained nearly 1,000 cyberattacks in 2016 from hackers seeking to prevent services, steal data and target infrastructure, according Saleh Ibrahim Al-Motairi, director general of the National Cyber Security Center.
The Kingdom’s Cyber Security Center reports that a number of recent attacks are similar to breaches suffered by some Saudi companies four years ago with the same modern software, said Prince Bandar bin Abdullah Al-Mishari Al-Saud, assistant minister of Interior for Technology Affairs at the Ministry of Interior. Prince Bander called for the development of the cybersecurity systems in the country,
Al-Motairi and Prince Bandar made their remarks during 2nd annual International Cyber Security Conference (ICSC) Monday and Tuesday at the Security Forces Officers’ Club in Riyadh.
About 1,000 delegates – mostly corporate officers and IT and security managers – attended the conference..
“Cyber security is a shared responsibility, so we look forward to everyone’s cooperation to protect national security and the pledge and commitment to apply basic standards, share data and strive to develop national capacities,” Prince Bandar said in his opening remarks.
Saudi Arabia is rapidly developing and diversifying its economy. A key factor of Saudi Arabia’s new economic plan through Vision 2030 is information and communications technology (ICT).
However, the widespread use of ICT heightens the risk of cybersecurity threats from hackers, hacktivists, organized criminals and foreign governments.
To successfully combat these threats, the Kingdom must develop standards, policies and legal frameworks; share and disseminate critical information and alerts; and most importantly, create further education and awareness among cybersecurity stakeholders, cybersecurity experts said.
Al-Motairi said that 992 hacking attempts occurred in 2016 with 124 cases of hacking reported at the national level. The center reported 1,865 instances of warnings of planned attacks.
Al-Motairi added that Saudi Arabia recently finished building a national platform to monitor cyberspace risks around the clock. The government also developed national technical capacities to understand the risks that threaten the country’s networks and its digital system.
Lt. Col. Bassam Al-Maraj, Bahrain’s interior ministry director, blamed Iran for many of the cyberattacks infrastructure of the banks and the interior ministry.
He said Manama was exposed to 250 breach attempts per month, and that most attempted penetrations allegedly originated in Iran through orders issued by accounts of individuals wanted by the Bahraini security and harbored by Tehran.
The financial institutions in Kuwait have also been targeted, according to Quasai Alshatti, director general of Kuwait’s central agency for information technology.


Saudi Arabia deserves praise for best Hajj arrangements

Muslim pilgrims leave after offering noon prayers outside the Namirah mosque on Arafat Mountain, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP)
Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi Arabia deserves praise for best Hajj arrangements

  • Presence of 2.6 million Indian expats in Saudi Arabia boosts bilateral ties

On the occasion of India’s 71st Republic Day, I extend my best wishes to my fellow Indian citizens in the western region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations which reflect centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties.
Visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 and in October 2019 plus the exchanges of other high-level visits have further strengthened the warm relations between the two countries.
As our prime minister said during his visit in October 2019, India would work hand-in-hand with Saudi Arabia on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan.  
The presence of over 2.6 million Indian expatriates in the Kingdom has also contributed immensely to the strength of economic and socio-cultural ties between our two nations.
Bilateral trade delegations have also increased in the last few years. Indian business delegations are now a regular feature of trade exhibitions in Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom. The Indian Consulate in Jeddah works tirelessly and diligently to provide the best possible service to Indian nationals residing in the western region of the Kingdom.
This good service includes reducing to three working days the length of time required for issuing/reissuing passports.
The introduction of an e-visa facility for Saudi nationals has further streamlined visa processing and provides a smooth first step for those wanting to visit India.
The Indian government and the people of India are grateful to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hajj Minister Dr. Mohammed Benten for making excellent arrangements during Hajj 2019. In that year, 200,000 Indian nationals performed Hajj and more than 650,000 Indians came for Umrah.
The Indian side remains committed to partnering closely with Saudi Arabia and working toward a very successful Hajj 2020.
We sincerely express our gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi ministries of foreign affairs, labor, interior and the authorities of Jawazat, Tarheel and other concerned agencies who have always provided exemplary assistance to the consulate which has enabled the comfortable stay of the many Indians visiting, living, and working in the Kingdom.


• Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh is India’s consul general in Jeddah.