Experts warn against vulnerabilities of apps, videoconferencing platforms

Experts warn against vulnerabilities of apps, videoconferencing platforms
Users of the platform can invite multiple people to a single call, making the app popular. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 April 2020

Experts warn against vulnerabilities of apps, videoconferencing platforms

Experts warn against vulnerabilities of apps, videoconferencing platforms
  • “Over 300 compromised Zoom accounts are available on the dark web, which include each account’s connected email address, password, meeting ID, host key, and hostname”
  • “Zoom has been found using a nonstandard type of encryption to encrypt video, audio and text during online conferencing sessions”

RIYADH: Cyber experts are warning of the potential threats that come with online applications and video conferencing platforms as their use skyrockets during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown.
Videoconference platform Zoom has gained much fame in recent weeks. Users of the platform can invite multiple people to a single call, making the app popular among families, workers and celebrities alike. In a blog posted to the application’s website on April 1, the company announced that it had reached 200 million users in March, compared to just 10 million in December 2019.
A string of targeted attacks by hackers and trolls, however, revealed that the application was not end-to-end encrypted, leaving users vulnerable to a phenomenon called “Zoom-bombing” while on video calls. Zoom-bombing involves a perpetrator or unsolicited participant abusing Zoom’s default screen-sharing settings to take over meetings and post racist or pornographic material or otherwise harass users during a video conferencing session.
Zoom has published guidelines to protect against this by setting up password-protected meetings and enabling waiting room options, he said.
On April 8, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan apologized to users in a YouTube livestream for a string of security lapses that have hit the app in recent weeks, pledging to take the breaches seriously.
The Information Security Department of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has warned against the app, saying: “The use of a remote meeting application known as Zoom has spread recently, and there are several associated security vulnerabilities that could lead to meetings being spied on and sensitive information, such as passwords, being leaked. We warn against using this application.”
Muhammad Khurram Khan, professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University told Arab News: “In the current lockdown, working, learning and socializing from home has led to a significant spike in the use of online applications and video conferencing platforms including Zoom, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams.
“Some popular videoconferencing and distance learning applications have added millions of users overnight, causing their share price in the stock market to soar.”
Khan, who is also founder and CEO of the Washington-based Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, believes the reason behind Zoom’s popularity is due to its user-friendly features.
Khan further said: “Cybercriminals have exploited this increased popularity, registering over 3,300 Zoom-related website domains to hack or phish users. These websites contain malicious and impersonated Zoom applications, which could harm smartphones and computing devices by stealing sensitive data and conducting ransomware attacks.
“Over 300 compromised Zoom accounts are available on the dark web, which include each account’s connected email address, password, meeting ID, host key, and hostname.”
Zoom also has its inherent security and privacy vulnerabilities, which have sparked a vigorous debate in the cybersecurity community and global media.  
“Zoom has been found using a nonstandard type of encryption to encrypt video, audio and text during online conferencing sessions,” Khan said.
“It is highly recommended for government agencies, journalists, businessmen, ministers, and officials working on sensitive projects to consider only those applications that have strong security and privacy features for video conferencing sessions,” Khan said.

Khan also recommended that normal users wishing to communicate with family, friends or colleagues likewise take precautionary measures in choosing video conferencing applications.
The National Cybersecurity Authority has issued recommendations on how to protect remote meetings using Zoom, such as not using personal meeting IDs for public meetings, using strong passwords for all organized meetings, and locking meeting sessions once all participants are logged on.


DGDA CEO Jerry Inzerillo wins corporate hotelier of the world award

DGDA CEO Jerry Inzerillo wins corporate hotelier of the world award
Updated 2 min 12 sec ago

DGDA CEO Jerry Inzerillo wins corporate hotelier of the world award

DGDA CEO Jerry Inzerillo wins corporate hotelier of the world award
  • Inzerillo leads a team that is restoring and preserving the heritage of the Kingdom through development initiatives
  • These initiatives aim to turn the UNESCO site into a $40 billion development

RIYADH: Jerry Inzerillo said he was “truly humbled” after he was voted Corporate Hotelier of the World by the readers and subscribers of Hotels magazine in its 41st annual Hotelier of the World awards for his work in Saudi Arabia.

“It is indeed a great unexpected honor. I am truly humbled with this prestigious acknowledgment by my peers in our global tourism community,” Jerry Inzerillo said.

“I am deeply grateful to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for all their support as we bring this most prestigious award to the Kingdom during this most historic time, especially for tourism and our beloved Diriyah,” the CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) in Saudi Arabia said.

Inzerillo is a seasoned expert in global tourism and has spent more than 5 decades innovating in the hospitality sector across the world.

As the CEO of one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, Inzerillo leads a team that is restoring and preserving the heritage of the Kingdom through development initiatives. These initiatives aim to turn the UNESCO site into a $40 billion development and one of the world’s greatest gathering places.

He has built multiple strategic partnerships in the community, recently signing an MOU with the Charitable Society of Autism Families to improve the quality of life for families of those with autism.

Inzerillo and his team have also begun a strategic partnership with the Saudi Botanical Society to protect local plants and contribute to greener projects within Diriyah.

He began his career as a busboy in New York and slowly worked his way up the ladder, working in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, South Africa and now in Saudi Arabia.

Before taking on his role in the Kingdom, Inzerillo was the CEO of the Forbes Travel Guide, where he remains vice chairman, CEO and president of IMG Artists and the president of resort giant Kerzner International.

Inzerillo is known for his charisma, humor and dedication to inspiring those around him. The CEO serves with integrity and compassion to raise the standards of service and inspire future generations.

“I am grateful especially for all the support I received within the Kingdom and the Middle East, for all those who voted for me. Great years ahead, Inshallah,” Inzerillo said.


Saudi Arabia donates $3 million to support the Global Partnership Strategy for Education 2025

Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia donates $3 million to support the Global Partnership Strategy for Education 2025

Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
  • The announcement was made during a global eductaion summit in London on Thursday

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged on Thursday $3 million to support the strategic plan of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for the next five years.

The announcement was made during a global eductaion summit in London on Thursday.

“Saudi Arabia will always be a leader in providing support to everything that would achieve development, prosperity and peace for the people of the world,” said Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of the crown prince.

“The Kingdom has always attached great importance to education at local, regional and international levels. This is evidenced by the inclusion of education as a main issue on the agenda of the Kingdom’s G20 2020 presidency and the fact that education is a major component of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

He said the Kingdom has always ascribed great attention to education locally, regionally and internationally, which was evident by the inclusion of education as a core topic on the main agenda of Saudi G20 presidency last year, adding that it is also a core component of the Saudi Vision 2030.

“Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the biggest donor to regional financial organizations, such as the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa,” which provide support to several countries around the world through financing projects and initiatives in different fields.

He called for international cooperation and joint action to help low income countries and combine efforts in supporting international initiatives and programs that would enhance the economics of education and support educational systems in the beneficiary countries, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Al-Sheikh said GPE aims to improve access to equitable, inclusive education, bridge educational and digital gaps and address all forms of educational inequality, especially in low income countries, all of which are in line with the fourth UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 agenda.

As for other Gulf countries at the summit, the UAE pledged $100 million, Kuwait pledged $30 million and Dubai Cares donated $2.5 million, while IsDb $200 million in concessional loans.

 

 


Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 503,827
  • A total of 8,212 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 12 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,289 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 260 were recorded in Makkah, 253 in Riyadh, 220 in the Eastern Province, 100 in Jazan, 76 in Asir, 73 in Hail, 63 in Madinah, 42 in Tabuk, 41 in Najran, 30 in the Northern Borders region, 23 in Al-Baha, and 11 in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 503,827 after 1,299 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,212 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 26 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections
  • The equipment included essential medical and preventive supplies and equipment
  • The one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be provided in coordination with the Malaysian foreign minister's office

DUBAI: Medical aid from Saudi Arabia arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, state news agency SPA reported.

The equipment, sent by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, included essential medical and preventive supplies and equipment.

This move comes in implementation of the directives of King Salman, following the request of Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein during his call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Meanwhile, the one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be provided in coordination with the Malaysian foreign minister's office. One of the approved international companies will supply the required quantities of vaccines directly from their factories to Malaysia.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had sent medical aid to Uruguay to help the country in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The equipment included 53 respirators and over 2.3 million surgical masks, in addition to protective clothing, medical gloves and other preventive supplies.


Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
  • Inspectors found modifications of data and expiry dates of the shrimps repackaged in new containers

JAZAN: Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) inspectors seized 412 tons of shrimp stocks after detecting fake food labels and product packages inside an illegal warehouse in Jazan region.

SFDA said that during the inspection and investigation operations, inspectors detected modifications of the data and the expiry dates of the product, which was repackaged in new containers.

The shrimp products, and packages and data labels were seized, in addition to another 500,000 labels bearing food data and cartons ready for packing.

As a result of the inspection, the authority closed the unlicensed warehouse and summoned those responsible for the facility to hear statements and complete the application of penalties and regulations against them.

According to food law and its executive regulations, the penalty for such violations can reach up to SR10 million ($2.6 million), in addition to a ban on the violator from practicing any food business for up to 180 days, as well as license suspensions and/or cancellations.

Violations of establishments under the supervision of the SFDA can be reported by calling the unified number (19999), or through its “Tameni” application available on the iOS and Android operating systems.