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.”


Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
Updated 17 sec ago

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Armed Forces and US Marine Corps on Saturday launched a joint training exercise along the Red Sea coast in the western city of Yanbu, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said.

The “Outrageous Anger 22” exercise was inaugurated in the presence of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Dibais, commander of the western sector, and Maj. Gen. Paul Rock, commander of the Marine Corps at the US Central Command, as well as senior officers from the Saudi armed forces and US Army.

An inspection tour included sites where the two forces will conduct the joint operations.

Col. Saud Al-Aqili, commander of the exercise, said that it aims to rehearse implementation of bilateral operational and logistical plans, exchange expertise between the two sides, and develop complementary work with civil authorities.

Col. Matthew Hakula, commander of the US forces, said that the joint maneuvers will raise combat readiness, as well as strengthen compatibility between Saudi and US troops.

The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition.


Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom

Saudi authorities convict African expat of trying to launder nearly $300,000 outside Kingdom
  • The investigation revealed that the accused attempted to transfer the money by hiding it inside date cartons, which were found in his bag

RIYADH: An African expatriate who attempted to money launder more than $250,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

A source at the Public Prosecution said that the Economic Crimes Prosecution’s investigations found that the man had tried to transfer $297,000, in addition to SR5,000 ($1,331), via King Abdulaziz International Airport outside the Kingdom.

The investigation revealed that the accused attempted to transfer the money by hiding it inside date cartons, which were found in his bag.

It revealed that the seized amounts were derived from practices that violated a number of regulations.

A general criminal case was filed against the offender on charges of money laundering by attempting to smuggle cash outside the Kingdom, and a preliminary ruling was issued against him that included his conviction.

The money was seized, and he will be deported from the country after serving his sentence. The Public Prosecution Office also submitted an appeal for a stiffer penalty for the offender.

The Public Prosecution said it would take anyone seeking to harm the financial system and the national economy to court, and demand severe penalties.

The office frequently highlights, through its social media accounts, the need to disclose financial values and cash amounts that exceed SR60,000 if leaving the Kingdom or passing through any of its ports.


Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

Saudi KSrelief chief tours refugee centers in Poland

RIYADH: The general-supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, visited a center run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Polish city of Jyszow on Friday, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Al-Rabeeah was accompanied by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Poland, Saad bin Saleh Al-Saleh, and UNHCR representatives on a tour of the facilities, which are closely linked to aid provided as part of Saudi Arabia’s $10 million grant to support refugees from Ukraine, of which $5 million was allocated through KSrelief to the UNHCR.

Al-Rabeeah toured the UNHCR shelter distribution center to see how the aid is delivered to beneficiaries and what plans are in place to respond to refugees’ urgent needs.

Al-Rabeeah said that the housing aid provided by the Kingdom targets nearly 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, and stressed that Saudi Arabia is always keen to support refugees anywhere in the world.

He also commended the high level of professionalism demonstrated by the UNHCR.

Al-Rabeeah also visited a medical transport station in the city of Przemysl, which currently hosts a large number of refugees from Ukraine.

During the visit, the station’s director, Rafał Kijanka, clarified the station’s efforts to provide necessary medical aid to refugees from Ukraine in Poland with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia.


No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah
Updated 13 August 2022

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

No permit for children below 5 years in Grand Mosque of Makkah

RIYADH: Children below five years old can enter the Grand Mosque of Makkah without a permit, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Saturday.

“Parents can take their children who are below five years old without the need to get them a permit,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.

However, children over five years old must obtain a permit through the “Eatmarna” app to enter the holy site.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia announced that holders of all types of visas will be able to perform Umrah during their stay in the Kingdom.


Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast
Updated 13 August 2022

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast

Arab states express solidarity with Saudi Arabia over suicide bomb blast
  • Abdullah Al-Shehri detonated a suicide vest when authorities attempted to arrest him in Jeddah, injuring four
  • Arab world praised the Kingdom's effort to maintain security and safeguard lives

DUBAI: Arab nations have expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia on Saturday in the wake of the death of a suicide bomber in Jeddah.

Abdullah Al-Shehri detonated a suicide vest when authorities attempted to arrest him in Jeddah, injuring a Pakistani resident and three security men.

In a statement, the UAE condemned the blast, reiterating its stance against “all threats to the Kingdom’s security and stability.”

The country’s ministry of foreign affairs commended the efficiency of the Saudi security forces during the operation and measures taken to maintain public safety, conveying wishes for a speedy recovery of those injured in the blast.

Bahrain was another Gulf country that reaffirmed “unwavering solidarity” with Saudi Arabia and commended relentless efforts to preserve national security. It also praised the vigilance of security forces in dealing with the wanted man.

Kuwait reiterated its backing to the Kingdom’s effort against security threats. “Kuwait stands by Saudi Arabia and supports all measures it may take to safeguard its security and the safety of its people,” Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by state news agency (KUNA).

The ministry lauded the efficient security operation and the authorities’ targeted efforts to block any bid that poses a threat to the Kingdom’s stability.

In a statement published by the state news agency (PETRA), Jordan conveyed support to the Kingdom “in every step taken to protect its security.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Haitham Abu Alfoul praised efforts of Saudi security forces in addressing threats to the Kingdom’s stability and safety.

 

 

Egypt also voiced support to Saudi Arabia’s fight against “all forms of terrorism” and any violation that threatens national security.  

In an official statement, the Egyptian foreign ministry hailed the Kingdom’s proactive measures and capabilities to track down terrorists and safeguard lives.  

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the bombing and praised the Kingdom’s firm action against any threat that undermines its safety and security.

Meanwhile, Arab Parliament Speaker Adel Al-Asoumi stressed on his confidence in the Kingdom’s vigilance to protect its vital facilities, combat terrorism, and ensure the safety of its citizens and expats.

On Friday, the Saudi security state announced the operation of tracking down and arresting Al-Shehri, who was among nine wanted individuals involved in a 2015 terrorist operation that targeted a mosque in Saudi Arabia. He has been listed as a wanted person by authorities in the Kingdom for the past seven years, according to the statement.