Microsoft report reveals top 3 cyberthreats in Saudi Arabia

Cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more cybercriminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit criminal activities worldwide. (Shutterstock)
Updated 01 October 2018

Microsoft report reveals top 3 cyberthreats in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Digital transformation will generate an extra $16.9 billion in revenue each year for the Middle East between now and 2021, according to Microsoft.
Because of this, Saudi Arabia has become an enticing target for cybercriminals because of insecure consumer habits and inadequate security measures, the company’s cybersecurity study has revealed. The study highlights top three kinds of cyberthreats the Kingdom faces.
Botnets, ransomware: A botnet is a combination of the words “robot” and “network.” Botnets can be infected with malware that allows hackers to take control of several devices at a time. Cybercriminals use botnets to spread malware, conduct online attacks, send spam, conduct denial-of-service attacks on websites, and facilitate click fraud. The GCC has nearly 11.4 percent of the Middle East’s total bot population. Riyadh has the highest rate of botinfections with 43.1 percent of bots.
Low-hanging fruit: Hackers take advantage of a “low-hanging fruit” to get around increasingly sophisticated security measures. By doing so they are able to commit “social engineering”: The use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. This can occur owing to poorly secured cloud applications and can help take advantage of legitimate platform features to infect computers.
Ransomware: This is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer until a sum of money is paid as a form of cyberextortion. Ransomware continues to be a popular method used by cybercriminals. An example is the Wannacrypt Virus, which affected more than 230,000 computers last year.
The Ministry of Finance data revealed in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever pre-budget statement a total government expenditure that is expected to hit SR1,106 billion ($294.89 billion) next year. It is a move to further the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs, initiatives and projects, which are at the heart of its mission to diversify its economy.
Many ministries, institutions and government entities have undergone restructuring to enable their mandates more effectively and increase their competencies. It’s important that organizations and their employees across Saudi Arabia are aware of the latest threats and how best to protect themselves against them. Part of the Kingdom’s plans include the expansion of digital services to reduce delays and optimize performance.
According to Microsoft research data, the acceleration of digitalization and insecure consumer habits, as well as inadequate cybersecurity measures in key sectors, has made Saudi a cybertarget in the past.
An example of this was in 2012 when cyberattacks were frequent. They included “Shamoon,” an aggressive disc-wiping malware used in attacks against the Saudi energy sector. Saudi Aramco was among the firms hit by Shamoon, in what is believed to be the country’s worst cyberattack yet, the research revealed.
Saudi Arabia has hosted several cybersecurity forums, inviting hundreds of leading regional and international information security and cyber-defense experts.
They have deliberated on issues that continue to challenge the business leaders and forces them to rethink their defense strategy to counter the threat of cyberattacks.
These forums are landmark annual events in Saudi Arabia that witnesses key government agencies and major stakeholders collaborate on many issues, including the adoption of recognized information security frameworks.

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.