DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s size, wealth, and geopolitical prominence make it a prime target for cyberattackers, experts have warned on the eve of a high-profile cybersecurity conference that begins in Riyadh on Monday.
“As the world gets more and more interconnected and we become increasingly dependent on technology, the threat landscape is broadening and creating more opportunities for attackers,” said Mark Leveratt, cybersecurity adviser to the Defense Services Marketing Council in Abu Dhabi.
“This is leaving individuals, organizations, governments and nations increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.”
Muhammad Khurram Khan, founder and chief executive of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research in Washington, said state-sponsored hackers had already launched elaborately planned cyberattacks against the Kingdom’s critical infrastructure and government departments.
“They are also targeting the general public and local organizations, including hospitals, universities and SMEs, for financial gain by performing ransomware attacks, which have increased by almost 400 percent over previous years,” he said. Khan said cybercrime legislation should be an integral part of the national cybersecurity strategy of every country.
“Fortunately, Saudi Arabia has developed an anti-cybercrime law that aims to secure the safe exchange of data, protect the rights of users and the internet, and defend the public interest, morals and privacy,” he said.
The seventh Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference takes place in the Saudi capital on Monday and Tuesday.