KSA combats cyberthreats using latest technology

Information and cybersecurity expert Samer Omar
Updated 24 August 2019
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KSA combats cyberthreats using latest technology

The 7th Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference 2019 (MENAISC2019) will take place in Riyadh for the fourth consecutive year between Sept. 9-10, under the theme “Cyber Space, the New Frontier: Deception, Orchestration and Blackholes.”

Information and cybersecurity expert Samer Omar, CEO of VirtuPort’s MENAISC2019, said the increasing number of foreign cyberattacks on the Kingdom in the recent period have pushed for more institutionalization by developing national cadres specialized to combat these attacks. This step, he said, is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, digital transformation initiatives and the development of e-governance.

“There is a significant qualitative improvement in the quality and number of gifted and talented Saudis working in cybersecurity and we will see in the near future more awareness and greater capacity in this vital sector by these young men and women,” said Omar. He added: “Today, we have specialized courses in cybersecurity in universities and other concerned institutions, and this in itself is a significant transformation that is important and demonstrates the depth of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia recorded the highest number of cyberattacks among all Arab countries and ranked 17th globally in the same context.

The MENAISC2019 will also be hosting the Cyber Saber Hackathon in its third edition, which will attract students from all around Saudi Arabia to try their skills at hacking and defending a model smart city. 

Previous editions of the conference have attracted more than 300 participants from all over the Kingdom, as well as a large number of specialized brands and international media organizations.

The increasing cyberattacks on Saudi Arabia are due to its economy — ranked among the top 20 global economies — being one of the strongest in the Middle East, making Saudi companies and institutions a direct and indirect target of cyberattacks to disrupt their operations and seize their data and resources. 

In line with Vision 2030, the Saudi government is working to support the information technology sector, promote creative and innovative thinking for companies and protect their data and systems.

Omar underlined the need for continued focus on human capital, in addition to investments in tools and technologies required by companies and government agencies to secure themselves from cyber-related threats.


ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

Updated 18 September 2019

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

With the aim of discussing how the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) can expand their relationship and integrate the gender themes into ICD’s operations and businesses, a meeting was held between Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of ICD; Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi secretariat; and Samir Suleymanov, director strategic initiatives, World Bank, at ICD’s premises in Jeddah recently. The parties discussed the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through innovative sustainable solutions to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in developing countries. 

Teleki highlighted the main objectives of We-Fi, which is to support women entrepreneurs around the world through programs that provide financing, capacity building and also promote enabling environments that allow women to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses. We-Fi uses an ecosystem approach to develop programs at the country level that will break down barriers and create more opportunities for women.

During the meeting, Ayman said: “ICD and We-Fi are working together to enhance their initiatives and mandates in supporting the female society in all ICD’s member countries. We want to ensure that our lines of finance and our relationship with the 102 directly connected financial institutions we are dealing with will further enhance the funding, training to women entrepreneurs and to provide the required necessary support to women in all our member countries.”

Teleki said that We-Fi has six implementing partners (IP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is one of them. “IsDB, along with ICD is supporting women entrepreneurs in fragile countries. In Yemen, they have a very interesting ongoing program named BRAVE Women. They target to train up to 500 women to learn to develop business plans in fragile and high-risk contexts and up to 400 of them will get access to funding on a matching grant basis. This program aims also to develop the relationship between those women entrepreneurs with the local banks and also lead companies to make sure those women have access to finance and markets to grow their businesses. Moreover, the IsDB and ICD will be implementing soon this BRAVE Women program in two other countries to improve the women’s entrepreneurship potential in key economic sectors and we look forward to seeing those programs happening in future,” she said.

We-Fi is a global platform that seeks to support over a 100,000 women around the world in the next five years and mobilize at least $2 billion from the public and private sector for further activities.