Youth hold key to Saudi Arabia’s future cybersecurity: Industry experts

Youth hold key to Saudi Arabia’s future cybersecurity: Industry experts
Saudi Arabia ranks 13th in the world and first at the Arab level among 175 states in for its commitment to cybersecurity. (AFP)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Youth hold key to Saudi Arabia’s future cybersecurity: Industry experts

Youth hold key to Saudi Arabia’s future cybersecurity: Industry experts
  • “The Saudi cybersecurity federation founded a platform which is the only one in the Middle East to serve companies and government agencies to discover software vulnerabilities and address them through the help of Saudi security researchers”

JEDDAH: Saudi youth hold the key to securing the Kingdom from future cyberattacks, industry experts claim.

And continued state investment in the digital security sector was vital in helping to achieve the social and economic goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

“Cybersecurity is a sensitive aspect of national security. Every country needs to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and protect its assets in the cyberworld, and this is as important as protecting countries in the physical world,” said Dalal Al-Harthi, a cloud security engineer with Farmers Insurance Co.

“In today’s world, our dependence on the internet in all aspects of life has necessitated protecting our assets in the cyberworld. Cybersecurity encompasses everything that pertains to protecting our sensitive data at a government and corporate level from cyber thefts and damage attempts,” added the 32-year-old University of California Ph.D. candidate in computer science.

Dr. Muhammad Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University and founder of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, in Washington, D.C., told Arab News: “After the Saudi Aramco incident (Shamoon cyberattack) in 2012, the (Saudi) government embarked on a journey to bootstrap its resources toward building a resilient cybersecurity ecosystem to address the cyber risks from internal and external hostile adversaries.

“During the last few years, several local universities have commenced degree programs in cybersecurity to prepare skilled and professional experts to cater for the demand of the local public- and private-sector organizations,” he said.

The importance of the sector to Saudi Arabia has been reflected in its setting up of several dedicated organizations such as the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones (SAFCSP), and the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and Advanced Technologies.

Al-Harthi said cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia was solid, reliable, and well-recognized, highlighting the Kingdom’s ranking of 13th globally, and first in the Arab world, among 175 states in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) issued by the UN International Telecommunication Union for 2018.

“The Saudi government cares about cybersecurity and provides all facilities to ensure the security of organizations’ networks and systems. Of course, like all aspects of life, continuity in the development of the cybersecurity field is vital,” she said.

Bayader Al-Ghamdi, a 26-year-old Saudi cybersecurity researcher at US industrial service company Baker Hughes, said the Kingdom was making great strides toward developing the skills of future generations by providing training programs ending with employment, cybercamps, workshops, and competitions.

“The Kingdom has demonstrated its efforts in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis by offering remote competitions such as the Homathon contest and workshops such as Cyber Nights that were held in Ramadan, under the SAFCSP,” she told Arab News.

Al-Ghamdi pointed out that after the cyberattack targeting Saudi Aramco, and the launch of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to develop and benefit from its youth in protecting their country, the awareness of people had risen.

“The Saudi cybersecurity federation founded a platform which is the only one in the Middle East to serve companies and government agencies to discover software vulnerabilities and address them through the help of Saudi security researchers.”

Khan noted that the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), established in 2016, and the NCA which followed a year later were built to boost the Kingdom’s cybersecurity and defend the national infrastructure.

“Many talented cybersecurity professionals have started off their companies locally, which are not only providing jobs to the talent but also fueling the national economy and providing cybersecurity products and services to the industry.”

He said that it was important to increase the number of cybersecurity experts in the Kingdom, adding that a study by Cybersecurity Ventures had shown there would be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021, up from 1 million positions in 2014.

“Saudi Arabia will also have a huge number of jobs in this profession so we need to work out from inception to meet this challenge and build highly skilled professionals and experts with hands-on training and experience to address the cybersecurity risks.”

 


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 8 min 24 sec ago

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.

 

 


35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
Updated 29 July 2021

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
  • Kingdom's Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership to 70 percent

RIYADH: A total of 34,891 families benefited from subsidized mortgage loans through the Sakani self-construction program during the first half of this year.

Run by the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF), Sakani offers Saudis access to land and residential housing via financing solutions to help first-time homebuyers.

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership in the Kingdom to 70 percent.

Sakani provided various residential products and financial solutions for 111,568 families in the first six months of the year, including 87,896 families that have already moved into new homes and its website and app are designed to simplify and speed up the purchasing process for readymade, off-plan, self-construction, and land products.

To qualify for a subsidized loan for self-construction, applicants must be entitled to residential support, own a residential land plot and have a valid building permit, have a fixed income, and must not have previously claimed housing support. Details are available at https://sakani.housing.sa/product/SC.

The scheme also provides an engineering design service with a range of high-quality, competitively priced options in partnership with experienced engineering offices. More than 36 distinctive and modern self-construction designs are available along with an approved contractor service.

The REDF offers more than 43 e-services for citizens as well as a real-estate adviser app and its online team provides around-the-clock support for those seeking subsidized funding.

Beneficiaries can call 199088 or contact the REDF on social media for information on housing and financial solutions, programs, and initiatives.