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.