Employees lack cyber protection amid working from home boom

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Good cyber hygiene includes strong passwords, backing up data. (Supplied)
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Data breaches usually occur due to negligence of cybersecurity practices. (File photo)
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Updated 17 May 2020

Employees lack cyber protection amid working from home boom

  • Phishing attacks and compromised WiFi among risks

RIYADH: Working from home has boomed during the coronavirus outbreak, but a new survey said that 73 percent of employees had not received cybersecurity guidance for remote working.

Phishing emails related to COVID-19, increased spam, connecting to compromised WiFi spots and the use of shadow IT by employees were some of the threats and risks of homeworking identified by the survey, which interviewed 6,000 people around the world. Accidentally downloading malicious content from an email could lead to devices being infected and business data being compromised.

“To avoid such risks, it is important for organizations to educate staff about cybersecurity,” said the survey from global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. The survey added that, while employees took on the massive shift of working from home, it was important for businesses to ensure staff could work as they usually would.

Andrey Dankevich, a senior product marketing manager at Kaspersky, said: “It is hard to keep things ‘business as usual’ when everything needs to change so dramatically. While employees are trying to get along with the new reality of working from home, IT and cybersecurity teams are under pressure to enable them to continue working safely. Cyber-incidents can only add difficulties to this challenge, so it is important to remain vigilant and make sure remote working is also secure working.”

In order to promote secure remote working Kaspersky recommended that employees know who to contact when facing a security issue, employers should pay special attention to employees who had to work from personal devices and provide them with dedicated policy and security recommendations, schedule basic security awareness training online, and cover essential practices such as switching on password protection, encrypting work devices and ensuring data was backed up.

“The need for teleworking is proliferating amid COVID-19, and getting momentum with the exponential escalation of infected cases and mortalities around the world,” Muhammad Khurram Khan, a cybersecurity professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Phishing attacks and compromised Wi-Fi are among the risks.

• Good cyber hygiene including strong passwords and backing up data recommended.

• Accidentally downloading malicious content from an email could lead to devices being infected and business data being compromised.

Home networks were often less secure than internal networks of organizations and could put employees at greater risk of cyberattacks, with the majority of people never being trained to work remotely in a secure manner during an unexpected situation, added Khan, who is also the founder and CEO of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies & Research in Washington D.C.

Most organizations which were now forced to work remotely due to COVID-19 were harboring unprecedented cybersecurity threats from malicious actors, he said. Business organizations were more focused on improving the technology and processes while overlooking the human aspect, which was considered to be the weakest link in the security chain.

Statistics showed that an alarming percentage of data breaches occurred as a result of human error and the negligence of basic cybersecurity practices and awareness, he said, so cybersecurity should be considered a critical business issue. An effective cybersecurity awareness program and guidelines specifically designed for teleworking could help reduce the risk of cyber threats aimed at exploiting the human element.

Khan suggested that organizations train and educate their employees about good cyber hygiene practices such as keeping all software up to date, installing a home firewall and antivirus software, using secure Wi-Fi, choosing strong passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, backing up data regularly, being wary of COVID-19 scams, reporting any suspicious incidents, and being vigilant of all unsolicited emails and attachments, which could contain malicious software or could be used for phishing scams.


Guinness World Records has great expectations for Saudi titles milestone

Updated 25 September 2020

Guinness World Records has great expectations for Saudi titles milestone

  • In MENA region, KSA is second behind UAE for its record-breaking prowess, with 93 GWR titles

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s penchant for breaking world records looks set to see the Kingdom smash through the 100 titles mark in the not-too-distant future, officials have predicted.
Guinness World Records (GWR), which lists incredible human achievements and extremes of nature, has great expectations for the country over the coming months.
The Kingdom has been placed second behind the UAE in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for its record-breaking prowess, with 93 GWR titles under its belt.
GWR’s senior marketing manager in the MENA region, Shaddy Gaad, told Arab News: “We’re very impressed with Saudi record-breaking and we’re really excited — a lot of record-breaking happens on the National Day.
“Over the last few years and with the Saudi Seasons (activity festivals) we’ve seen a big rise in record-breaking in Saudi Arabia and we’re looking forward to seeing this continue.
“Saudi Arabia is on the up and it’s rising very quickly. There were a lot of records broken near the end of last year. We had Riyadh Season and we had AlUla. I think that number’s going to rise up very quickly,” he said.

Largest hot air balloon glow show: The largest hot air balloon glow show consisted of 100 hot air balloons and was achieved by the Royal Commission for AlUla on Jan. 6, 2019.

Gaad added that so far this year there had been a 15 percent increase in the number of new records set by MENA nations.
“This year we received 750 applications from the MENA region, compared to 649 in the first eight months of 2019. From Saudi Arabia, we received 79 applications and we expect it to go up to 100 by the end of the year,” he said.
One of the most notable titles achieved by Saudi Arabia was for the largest mirror building, the Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla. “If you see that building itself, it’s absolutely beautiful. It looks like something out of a movie,” added Gaad.
Jeddah can boast the world’s largest burger restaurant, with I’m Hungry covering 2,860 square meters, the equivalent of 11 tennis courts according to its marketing team.
The Red Sea port city also has the world’s tallest unsupported flagpole, while AlUla plays host to the largest hot air balloon glow show, and Saudi influencer Hussain Sallam (known as S7S) holds the record for the largest serving of sayadieh (1,334 kilograms of the seasoned fish and rice dish).

Largest human awareness ribbon: The largest human awareness ribbon consisted of 8,264 participants and was achieved by Saudi women at an event organized by 10KSA in Riyadh on Dec. 12, 2015.

Stunt driver Terry Grant completed the largest loop-the-loop in a car during Riyadh Season on Nov. 25, and the MDL Beast Festival in the Saudi capital on Dec. 21 won the tallest stage title.
However, similar to most organizations, WGR has had to adapt to working around safety restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We moved a lot of things online. To view the growth in the number of applications, we launched this online record-breaking; what happened is it’s a dedicated brand and content division, focused on helping brands and businesses break records as part of their marketing campaign, and all of it is done over the internet.
“It wasn’t difficult; record-breaking and evidence provision is generally done online. It wasn’t difficult for us; the only thing was that people just had to get used to it, but it was a seamless process,” said Gaad.

Largest burger restaurant: The largest burger restaurant covers an area of 2,860 square meters and the title was achieved by I’m Hungry in Jeddah on Dec. 12, 2019.

The new division runs over content such as live-streaming, online pledges, online albums, video relays, and video chains.
One of them happened in Saudi Arabia, with the most viewers for an Iftar YouTube live stream, when 183,544 people tuned in to enjoy popular YouTubers such as “The Saudi Reporters” and comedian Omar Hussein.
“These influencers got together on YouTube, live, and for an hour they were sharing their stories about Ramadan traditions and Saudi traditions. They broke their fast and shared this moment with their fans. That video ended up trending as No. 1 in Saudi and the region.
“If anything, this pandemic has taught us to adapt to situations. I think people are now more flexible with the idea of doing online records as much as they’re doing offline records,” Gaad added.
He pointed out that the online application process for the GWR was simple and that titles were granted based on whether the record was measurable (longest, largest, heaviest, etc.), breakable, standardizable, or verifiable, and if it was made up of one variable.

SOME OF THE RECORDS BROKEN IN SAUDI ARABIA

• Tallest flagpole: The tallest unsupported flagpole measures 171 meters (561 feet) and was erected by Jeddah Municipality and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) in Jeddah on Sept. 23, 2014.

• Largest drinking water storage facility: The largest drinking water storage facility is the Briman Strategic Water Reservoir, in Jeddah, with a total capacity of 2,062,500 cubic meters, verified on Nov. 17, 2014. Fun fact: The volume of this facility could fill up six skyscrapers the size of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

• Largest burger restaurant: The largest burger restaurant covers an area of 2,860 square meters and the title was achieved by I’m Hungry in Jeddah on Dec. 12, 2019.

• Largest hot air balloon glow show: The largest hot air balloon glow show consisted of 100 hot air balloons and was achieved by the Royal Commission for AlUla on Jan. 6, 2019.

• The Largest Serving of sayadieh: The largest serving of sayadieh was 1,334 kg achieved by Hussain Sallam in Jeddah on Sept. 14, 2019.

• Darkest man-made substance: The darkest man-made substance is a black material made of gold nanoparticles and called dark chameleon dimers, which absorbs more than 99 percent of visible light over the whole visible range. The material was made by scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in a joint collaboration between Prof. Yu Han and Prof. Andrea Fratalocchi.

• Largest water desalination company: The largest water desalination company is Saline Water Conversion Corp. (Saudi Arabia) which produces 4,600,000 cubic meters a day as verified on June 4, 2016. •Largest Tele-ICU command center: The largest Tele-ICU command center consisted of 796 beds and was achieved by Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group in Riyadh and verified on July 31, 2019.

• Tallest stage (temporary): The tallest stage (temporary) measured 38 meters in height and was achieved by MDL Beast Fest in Riyadh on Dec. 21, 2019.

• Most consecutive wins in AFC champions league: The most consecutive wins of the AFC champions league are two achieved by Al Ittihad FC (Saudi Arabia) in 2004-2005.

• Largest human awareness ribbon: The largest human awareness ribbon consisted of 8,264 participants and was achieved by Saudi women at an event organized by 10KSA in Riyadh on Dec. 12, 2015.