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.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 2 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”