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.


First plane with aid from Saudi Arabia arrives in Lebanon

Updated 16 min 30 sec ago

First plane with aid from Saudi Arabia arrives in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Planes carrying tons of medicine, shelter kits and food items have landed in Lebanon following the massive explosion that devastated its capital.

The aid was sent through Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief). 

At least 149 people have died and more than 5,000 were injured in Tuesday’s explosion of a huge pile of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless. 

Lebanon has appealed for international assistance, with the explosion and its aftermath coming at a time when it was already struggling to deal with severe financial difficulties and the coronavirus pandemic.

Two planes left Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport early on Friday morning carrying more than 120 tons of medicine, healthcare equipment, emergency supplies, tents, shelter kits and food items for people in Beirut. The cargo was accompanied by a specialist KSRelief team to follow up and supervise the distribution operation.

The relief air bridge is the result of a directive from King Salman to provide urgent medical and humanitarian assistance through KSRelief to help the Lebanese overcome the profound impact of the port explosion.

Dr. Samer Al-Jetaily, investments and resources director at KSRelief, said the campaign to help the Lebanese on the road to recovery had begun. 

“This cargo that you are seeing over here is an air bridge that will continue for three to four days and this campaign will concentrate on three sectors,” he told Arab News.

The first area for focus is the health sector, helping people hurt by the explosion. The second area is food, helping people in need and those who have lost their homes. The third area of activity is chartering.

“Parallel to this there will be a rapid assessment on the ground from a team accompanying this cargo and, according to that, there will be a meticulous plan to help the people that were affected by this sad and tragic event,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Waleed Bukhairi, and Lebanon’s Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi were at the airport to receive the aid.

“Relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are longstanding,” Fahmi told Arab News, adding that there were also close ties between the people of the two countries.

“We feel as if we are one nation in two countries. Saudi Arabia and King Salman have not neglected Lebanon for a single day. We are devastated by this incident and disaster in Beirut. However, we are very optimistic of what will happen in the future,” he said.

Lebanon’s former justice minister, Achrif Reefi, was also appreciative about bilateral relations. 

“Speaking on behalf of the Lebanese people, to our fellow Saudis, King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Saudi government, thank you for all your support to take care of our children and our current concerns,” he told Arab News.