Cybersecurity awareness: A challenge for Saudi Arabia

Updated 12 April 2018

Cybersecurity awareness: A challenge for Saudi Arabia

  • KSA experiences some 160,000 cyberattacks daily, says cybersecurity center
  • Worldwide expenses on cybersecurity forecast to reach $96 billion in 2018

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia: Cybersecurity is a worldwide phenomenon that represents a complicated challenge wherever technology is used. It affects governments, corporations, and individuals. 

With continuous cybersecurity updates come new threats and challenges, and the need for awareness among technology users. 

With rapid growth in technology in the Kingdom, mass awareness about cybersecurity must also increase. 

Saudi Arabia experiences some 160,000 cyberattacks daily, according to the National Center for Cyber Security at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology.

“Cybersecurity wasn’t really introduced widely in Saudi Arabia until recently,” Yousef Guzaiz, manager for information security governance, risk, and compliance at telecommunications company Mobily, told Arab News. 

“According to a recent study by Gartner, the American research and advisory company focusing on IT and business, worldwide security spending is forecast to reach $96 billion in 2018. This tells you how severe the issue is,” he said.

“Everyone must always protect their personal private information (PPI). No one should ever share their personal information with anyone, including credit card details, because PPI can be leaked, misused and exploited for blackmail, fraud and theft,” he added.

“Even if you have strong firewalls, the best intrusion-prevention systems, and the most effective antivirus and malware-detection solutions, a critical component is still missing from the cybersecurity chain: The human factor. The end-user attack can’t always be prevented because at the end of the day, the user is the weakest link in cybersecurity.”

Alanood Al-Shehry, a member of the board of directors of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming, told Arab News that the federation “aims to play a pivotal role in this domain via multiple means, including organizing national and international events, providing educational and training courses, hosting national and international competitions, and conducting public lectures.”

The federation “strives to drive a positive change in behavior toward cybersecurity, and encourage the development of cybersecurity experts across the nation,” she added.

It provides services and membership opportunities to both corporations and individuals. “One of the federation’s main objectives is to bridge the gap between educational institutes and industry demands in cybersecurity and programing so corporations can more easily find individuals with the proper skillsets,” Al-Shehry said. 

“The federation plans to organize various contests in cybersecurity and programing, and will help local talent participate in international contests,” she added.

“It will launch specialized educational and training initiatives that range from beginner courses to hands-on, highly specialized ones, along with conferences, workshops and other activities that explore the latest technologies in cybersecurity and programing.”

The federation strives to discover, attract and develop local talent at a young age, when “it’s easier to nurture their talents and enhance their abilities,” she said.


Hani Al-Muqbil, Saudi nominee to the ALECSO executive council

Updated 26 min 25 sec ago

Hani Al-Muqbil, Saudi nominee to the ALECSO executive council

Hani Al-Muqbil was recently nominated as Saudi Arabia’s representative in the executive council of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), based in Tunisia. 

King Salman approved the nomination based on the recommendation of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, culture minister and chairman of the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

Al-Muqbil has more than 17 years’ experience in different governmental entities, including in the cultural and charitable sectors. He recently worked on a project to nominate the Kingdom for membership of UNESCO’s executive board, and was secretary of the nomination committee. 

He worked as executive director of the King Salman Youth Center between 2014 and 2017, then as a member of its board of directors.  

He worked as an adviser to the secretary-general of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), where he is a member of several boards, including the board of directors of the Misk Art Institute, the Misk Initiatives Center, Manga Productions and the Misk Media Forum. 

Prior to that, Al-Muqbil served as general manager of communication for the King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), which provides training and internship opportunities to gifted students across the country.

Al-Muqbil is a graduate of Harvard Business School in the field of leadership, where he completed various executive training programs. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from King Saud University in Riyadh.