Saudi cybersecurity thrives on a gender-balanced workforce

Special Saudi cybersecurity thrives on a gender-balanced workforce
Participants including Saudi women attend a hackathon in Jeddah on August 1, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 08 March 2022

Saudi cybersecurity thrives on a gender-balanced workforce

Saudi cybersecurity thrives on a gender-balanced workforce
  • Empowerment of Saudi Arabian women is at the heart of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform agenda
  • As part of its digitization strategy, Saudi regulators have encouraged companies to bolster cybersecurity

JEDDAH: Like many sectors of the Saudi economy, cybersecurity had long been a male-dominated profession. But in just the last five years of social liberalization in Saudi Arabia, women have made remarkable strides in the industry.

Among them is Nujud Al-Abdali, a cybersecurity analyst for the Saudi Press Agency. “I see more women in the field now,” she told Arab News. “They are hardworking and reliable, and they strive to be better wherever they are, and at whatever they do.”

Recalling her own journey into the field, Al-Abdali said she faced a steep learning curve, but overcame it through hard work. “It’s a rewarding field,” she said. “It requires discipline and consistency and an open mind that accepts different views on how to solve a problem.

“It also involves writing, which is something I love, and is based on constant reading, researching, and learning in general. It is hard to be successful in this field if you’re complacent, so there is always a motivation to do better.”

Suha Maghrabi entered the cybersecurity field in 2019, initially taking on various roles in the financial industry with a focus on regulation. The following year, she took on a managerial post at an insurance company with a focus on digitization.




Suha Maghrabi (Supplied)

“During the past five years, we have noticed that interest has increased in the cybersecurity field within the Kingdom to align with Vision 2030, which includes the digitalization of services and the commitment to provide world class government services,” Maghrabi told Arab News.

“The rapid increase in cyber-attacks and threats and growing adoption of cloud computing, the ‘internet of things’ across various industries, has increased the need to protect the Kingdom’s vital interests, its national security, its critical infrastructure, services and activities.”

Maghrabi says her interest in information technology began at an early age. “I always enjoyed learning and working on new applications,” she said. “Once I graduated from university, I got an opportunity in IT security, which was the gateway that made me enter this field.

“I can say that I didn’t choose information security, but rather that information security chose me. And from that day onwards my eagerness to learn more about this field has increased and will keep increasing.”

Saudi regulatory bodies, such as the Saudi Central Bank and the National Cybersecurity Authority, have encouraged all companies to bolster their cybersecurity to ensure the protection of their assets, data, and network against potential threats.

“According to the Saudi Federation of Programming and Drones, Saudi women make up 45 percent of the workforce in the cybersecurity sector,” Maghrabi said.

“Considering that the empowerment of Saudi Arabian women is at the heart of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and along with the recent growth in cybersecurity, a lot of opportunities were introduced in the market and promoted building a world-class workforce especially for Saudi women and enabling them in all sectors.”


KSRelief provides food baskets, educational courses in 5 different countries

KSRelief provides food baskets, educational courses in 5 different countries
Updated 05 October 2022

KSRelief provides food baskets, educational courses in 5 different countries

KSRelief provides food baskets, educational courses in 5 different countries
  • More than 20,537 people benefited from the 2,939 food baskets and 216 tents distributed by KSRelief in Pakistan

DUBAI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has continued its humanitarian efforts in Pakistan by providing aid to people affected by the recent floods that hit the country.
More than 20,537 people benefited from the 2,939 food baskets and 216 tents distributed by KSRelief in the country on Tuesday, reported Saudi Arabia’s state agency SPA.
Similarly, 3,000 food baskets were handed out to Rohingya refugees in Balukhali camp in Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar, benefiting 15,000 people in total.
In Lebanon, KSRelief also distributed 500 food baskets which benefited 2,500 Syrian refugees.
The efforts came as the relief center also signed a joint agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) to meet the nutritional needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
By completing the second phase of the initiative, KSRelief’s program managed to benefit 53,110 refugees in Jordan at a cost of $6 million.
The agreement was co-signed by Ahmed bin Ali Al-Baiz, Assistant General Supervisor of the KSRelief for Operations and Programs, and Karin Manente, the Director of Public Partnerships and Resourcing at the WFP.

Meanwhile, KSRelief delivered 10 training courses to teachers in literacy centers in Yemen’s Aden, Abyan and Hadhramaut.
These courses come as part of the International Literacy Day celebrated within KSRelief’s project, which also trains teachers on how to educate students and people with disabilities.
The humanitarian and relief center also concluded an entrepreneurship course in Yemen’s Al-Mahra Governorate, to support and empower youth in the area.
All initiatives carried out in various countries around the world fall within Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian and relief projects, implemented by KSRelief, to enhance the economic situation and improve the income of people in-need.


Saudis amplify bustling music scene with Jeddah’s Makan Music Center

Saudis amplify bustling music scene with Jeddah’s Makan Music Center
Updated 05 October 2022

Saudis amplify bustling music scene with Jeddah’s Makan Music Center

Saudis amplify bustling music scene with Jeddah’s Makan Music Center
  • Jeddah will be ‘one of the biggest cities for music,’ says DJ

JEDDAH: With a vibrant arts and culture scene, music has been an essential element in the social renaissance of the Kingdom. Following social reforms, many musicians surfaced to showcase their talent in the music industry.

Taking the opportunity, Makan Music Center in Jeddah opened its doors in 2018 as a small music center to teach aspiring musicians.

Abdulaziz Obaid, the CEO’s assistant, told Arab News that 2018 was “a powerful beginning for music learners and hobbyists.”

“In the beginning, we only had one room with all the instruments from deejaying to electric guitars and drums. Once we saw that there is a huge demand for music education in Jeddah, we moved to a bigger place to have separate rooms for each instrument class,” he said.

He added: “We can find musicians everywhere now from restaurants to shopping malls. There is also huge competition in this field,” he said.

Abdulaziz Obaid, Makan Music Center CEO’s assistant. (Supplied)

Obaid said Jeddawis have a thirst for music events and appreciate everything from Asian to Western content.

“Jeddawis are the ‘people of music’ and are very active in the music scene,” he said. “We also have a large number of musicians visiting from Riyadh and they ask about Makan and want us to open a branch there,” he added.

Hasnain Sheikh, a drumming instructor at the center, grew up in a family of musicians that inspired him to go in to the music field.

“Growing up, my father was a musician. He played the piano and he was also into production. We had room in our home … like wherever we moved from apartment to apartment, we (always) had a studio room, and his friends used to come over to jam and play music. I grew up looking at that and wanting to also take part in the art,” Sheikh told Arab News.

“Music has always been a part of my life, like other people play video games or play sports. I was at home playing music,” he added.

Sheikh takes the responsibility of being a drummer seriously. He believes it is important to spend time and know your instrument “rather than just knowing the basics as every little details goes into account.”

DJ instructor Mohammed Darweesh, also known as Code Dee, aspired to be a music teacher during his youth.

DJ instructor Mohammed Darweesh, also known as Code Dee, teaching his student on the mixer. (Supplied)

“I like teaching people, it’s been one of the things I wanted to do since I was a kid. I wanted to be a teacher. I like sharing information, especially if it’s about my passion,” said Darweesh, who joined the center five months ago. 

He became a DJ in 2015 with a particular interest in the underground scene, between minimal breaks, house and deep techno.

Speaking about his experiences from the underground music scene, Darweesh said people in Jeddah are always hungry for music events. 

“There are so many people in all the events. There are very talented people who were hidden and now are coming up because of the revolution of Saudi music,” he said.

“It’s a wonderful thing and Jeddah is going to be one of the best cities for music in Saudi Arabia.”
 


International literary experts discuss heritage preservation at Saudi book fair

International literary experts discuss heritage preservation at Saudi book fair
Updated 04 October 2022

International literary experts discuss heritage preservation at Saudi book fair

International literary experts discuss heritage preservation at Saudi book fair
  • The event played a prominent role in the ‘renaissance of literature, culture, science, and the arts’ in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Literary experts from around the world have been gathering in Saudi Arabia to help further cement the Kingdom’s position on the global heritage map.

Writers, publishers, and translators are among the delegates taking part in events and discussion sessions being held under the umbrella of the Riyadh International Book Fair, running at Riyadh Front until Oct. 8.

The fair’s program includes dialogue platforms, interactive lectures, and workshops covering art, reading, writing, publishing, bookmaking, and translation.

Chief executive officer of the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission, Dr. Mohammed Alwan, said the event had made significant contributions to the Saudi literary scene and played a prominent role in the renaissance of literature, culture, science, and the arts in the Kingdom.

He described the fair as providing a cultural bridge to understanding others and being a major contributor to the national cultural movement.

Day five of the gathering witnessed six panel discussions, one titled “Saudi Arabia on the world heritage map.”

Saudi archaeological discoveries have recently drawn international attention and experts took to the stage to talk about the Kingdom’s future capabilities, its components, and its growing status as a global leader in heritage preservation.

Day five of the gathering witnessed six panel discussions, one titled ‘Saudi Arabia on the world heritage map.’ Speakers discussed how heritage could enhance Saudi Arabia’s cultural, economic standing. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Ibrahim Aglan, a college research professor at the faculty of letters and human sciences in the Moroccan capital Rabat, said culture was multi-faceted. “It’s a way of life, a way to enhance the Kingdom’s international standing, and economic prosperity.”

Acting general manager of the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, Rehaf Gassas, said: “The society is considered an arm of government bodies and agencies in preserving heritage and implementing specialized projects in this field.

“Whatever we do on our part as researchers, the community remains the sole owner of the heritage, knowing how it flowed and changed from generation to another, and how it is practiced.”

General manager of the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s intangible heritage, Ebtisam Al-Wehaibi, told delegates that the ultimate goal was communication between peoples.

She said: “It is amazing that we can get to know other people’s cultures and heritage and create a dialogue; that instead of looking for differences, you look for similarities.”

Al-Wehaibi noted that Saudi Arabia had been among 20 countries that got together after World War II to establish the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

“In 2020, the Kingdom joined the executive board of UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee,” she added.

A workshop was held on the role of the law in protecting cultural heritage by Dr. Muhammad Al-Sudais, a law professor at Al-Yamamah University, who spoke about the laws and penalties imposed on anyone who tries to harm heritage. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Meanwhile, a workshop run by Al-Yamamah University law professor, Dr. Muhammad Al-Sudais, looked at the role of the law in protecting cultural heritage.

He said: “With regard to the legal aspect, the Kingdom presented a wonderful model in the matter of preserving heritage.” And he pointed out that over recent years the Ministry of Culture had introduced a range of rules and regulations related to antiquities, museums, and urban heritage.

Al-Sudais noted that the Saudi Heritage Commission had added the 70-year-old oil Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline), built during the reign of King Abdulaziz, to the national register of industrial heritage, adding that the Kingdom’s urban heritage register provided an important source of information for research centers.

“The Kingdom is very interested in excavating antiquities and preventing licensing except for the authorities designated by the system.

“It also specified that it is not permissible for any person, whether a citizen or not, to sell antiquities and engage in any activity related to the import and export of antiquities without obtaining a license from the commission,” Al-Sudais said.
 


Saudi Arabia reports 155 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 155 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
Updated 04 October 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 155 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 155 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reported 155 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic grew to 816,975.

The authorities also confirmed three new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,360.

Of the new infections, 59 were recorded in Riyadh, 28 in Jeddah and 12 in Madinah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 10 new cases each.

The ministry also announced that 124 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 804,033.

It said that 3,582 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 7,368 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to more than 44 million.

The ministry said that of the current cases, 39 were in critical condition.

More than 68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with over 25 million people fully vaccinated.
 


Saudi Arabia to celebrate World Teachers’ Day

Saudi Arabia to celebrate World Teachers’ Day
Updated 05 October 2022

Saudi Arabia to celebrate World Teachers’ Day

Saudi Arabia to celebrate World Teachers’ Day

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Education Ministry will celebrate World Teachers’ Day, which falls on Oct. 5 each year, under the theme “The transformation of education begins with the teachers,” with three days of events, programs and activities in schools and education departments.

A special celebration at the ministry's headquarters in Riyadh will feature a performance of “The Vision’s Teacher” operetta, and an activity titled “For Teachers and Students.”

Activities in schools will allow students and teachers to express gratitude for the role of the teacher in the growth and development of learners.

Education departments, offices and schools in all regions and governorates will honor teachers by devoting the school radio program to presentations highlighting the role of teachers.

The ministry has praised the role of teachers in building generations by establishing and strengthening positive initiatives.