Saudis are increasingly worried about their devices being hacked: Cisco

Saudis are increasingly worried about their devices being hacked: Cisco
The survey consisted of responses from over 8,000 consumers from eight countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa of which 1,006 general consumers were polled in Saudi Arabia during August 2022. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 08 November 2022

Saudis are increasingly worried about their devices being hacked: Cisco

Saudis are increasingly worried about their devices being hacked: Cisco
  • Survey shows that 54 percent said corporate cybercrime has made them think their personal data is more at risk now

RIYADH: Ahead of the Global Cybersecurity Forum that will be held in Riyadh, Cisco has revealed the results of its recent consumers’ security survey in Saudi Arabia which shows that 73 percent of Saudis are worried about their connected devices being hacked or attacked.

The study shows that 54 percent said corporate cybercrime has made them think their personal data is more at risk now than 12 months ago.

“There is an exponential rise in cyberattacks, some researchers estimate that every 39 seconds there is a cyberattack taking place somewhere around the globe,” Fady Younes, cybersecurity director at Cisco, told Arab News.

Any technology is exposed to risk. Risk that the device will become inoperable or lost, risk that there are vulnerabilities in the software, risk that attackers will exploit these vulnerabilities to attack the device or our data. As our reliance on technology increases, so does our exposure to risk.

Fady Younes, Cybersecurity director at Cisco

According to the study, 69 percent of Saudi-based users primarily use their personal phone for work tasks and 61 percent have used unsecured public networks for basic work tasks.

The survey consisted of responses from over 8,000 consumers from eight countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa of which 1,006 general consumers were polled in Saudi Arabia during August 2022.

Only 35 percent of the study group in the Kingdom have never chatted about work tasks on their personal device or worked on a business document.

“Any technology is exposed to risk. Risk that the device will become inoperable or lost, risk that there are vulnerabilities in the software, risk that attackers will exploit these vulnerabilities to attack the device or our data. As our reliance on technology increases, so does our exposure to risk,” Younes said.

Under the theme “Rethinking The Global Cyber Order,” GCF will bring together international decision makers and experts to inspire new perspectives, approaches, and action, whilst charting a path forward for those most vulnerable in cyberspace.

The forum, founded by Saudi Arabia’s National Cybersecurity Authority, is returning for its 2022 edition on November 9, and is bringing together the industry’s experts to advance the global cybersecurity agenda.

The MFA factor

According to Cisco, usernames and passwords have never been a particularly effective technique for keeping cyber threats away, adding a multi-factor authentication, or MFA, to accounts, is a valid method for adding a strong extra layer of protection to system access.

MFA is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource such as an application, online account, or a virtual private network.

Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors, which decreases the likelihood of a successful cyberattack, according to Onelogin, a provider of online identity solutions and access management.

However, about 29 percent people in the Kingdom do not use or do not know what MFA is, according to Cisco’s report.

“As nearly every smartphone now has a fingerprint or facial scanner, consumers are choosing to use biometrics instead of passcodes to unlock and log in to applications on their personal devices,” the report stated.

“This trend will continue, as technology is increasingly becoming vital to our daily lives. Few of us could manage our current lives without a smartphone for example,” Younes added.

Data breaches

According to a study issued in August by the US-tech giants IBM, the Middle East ranked second on the list of data breach losses after the US.

The report showed that the Middle East registered an average total data breach cost of $7.45 million between March 2021 and March 2022, a 7.6 percent increase over $6.93 million booked over the same period in the earlier year.

“The consequence of this is that businesses not only need to worry about safeguarding the security and privacy of their data but also ensure they are cyber resilient,” IBM consulting leader for Saudi Arabia, Dina Abo-Onoq, told Arab News.

The consequence of this is that businesses not only need to worry about safeguarding the security and privacy of their data but also ensure they are cyber resilient.

Dina Abo-Onoq, IBM consulting leader for Saudi Arabia

She further added that the financial sector was among the most affected sectors by data breaches in the Middle East, followed by health and energy.

According to Younes, organizations should have robust processes in place, not only to prevent attacks but to know exactly what steps they need to take when they discover and need to mitigate an attack.

“Investment in cyber protection is also helping make systems more resilient in case of natural disaster or accidental damage to systems or data,” he added.

Economic burden

Younes believes that criminals have developed and refined business models to make money from attacking systems.

This loss to crime represents an economic burden, as organizations must spend money to recover from breaches and must invest to prevent attacks from succeeding.

“This cost may also be perceived as a burden since it is money that is not being invested,” he added.

Based on IBM’s report, organizations are raising their prices to cover the cost of data breaches by nearly 60 percent, making the consumers pay the difference for the goods and services they offer.

“Consumers always carry the burden,” Abo-Onoq said.

In October 2017, Saudi Arabia launched the NCA to protect public and private entities against cyber threats.

One of NCA’s top priorities is to train and hire national cadres by building partnerships with global entities.

In July 2022, IBM revealed that it would train 100,000 young people in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity over the next five years.

”We are committed to holding 100 workshops over the next five years with the government agencies,” Abo-Onoq added.


Saudi Arabia's real GDP grows by 5.4% in Q4 2022: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia's real GDP grows by 5.4% in Q4 2022: GASTAT
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's real GDP grows by 5.4% in Q4 2022: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia's real GDP grows by 5.4% in Q4 2022: GASTAT

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's real gross domestic product grew by 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, driven by a high increase in non-oil activities, according to the latest report released by the General Authority for Statistics. 

The GASTAT report noted that non-oil activities in the Kingdom rose 6.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2022, while oil activities rose by 6.1 percent during the same period. 

The report further added that government services activities increased by 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to the same quarter in 2021. 

According to the GASTAT report, Saudi Arabia's economy grew by 8.7 percent in 2022, compared to 3.2 percent recorded in 2021, driven by a growth in oil activities by 15.4 percent. 

In 2022, non-oil activities and government services activities rose by 5.4 percent and 2.2 percent respectively. 


Oil Updates — Crude slips; Russia bans oil exporters from adhering to Western price caps 

Oil Updates — Crude slips; Russia bans oil exporters from adhering to Western price caps 
Updated 25 min 21 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude slips; Russia bans oil exporters from adhering to Western price caps 

Oil Updates — Crude slips; Russia bans oil exporters from adhering to Western price caps 

RIYADH: Oil prices extended losses on Tuesday as the threat of further interest rate increases and continued Russian crude flows canceled out demand recovery expectations from China. 

March Brent crude futures fell 5 cents or .06 percent to $84.85 per barrel by 08.15 a.m. Saudi time, while the more heavily traded April contracts fell by 32 cents or 0.38 percent to $84.18 a barrel. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 33 cents, or 0.44 percent, to $77.57 a barrel. 

Russia bans oil exporters from adhering to Western price caps 

The Russian government on Monday banned domestic oil exporters and customs bodies from adhering to Western-imposed price caps on Russian crude. 

The measure was issued to help enforce President Vladimir Putin’s decree of Dec. 27 that prohibited the supply of crude oil and oil products from Feb. 1, for five months, to nations that abide by the caps. 

The Group of Seven economies, the EU and Australia agreed on Dec. 5 to ban the use of Western-supplied maritime insurance, finance and brokering for seaborne Russian oil priced above $60 per barrel as part of Western sanctions on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine. 

The new Russian act bans corporates and individuals from including oil price cap mechanisms in their contracts. 

They also have to report to customs officials and the energy ministry any attempts to impose oil price caps. 

In addition, customs bodies have to prevent goods from leaving Russia if they find such mechanisms have been applied. 

CNOOC’s $3 billion UK portfolio sale halted on valuation gap 

CNOOC Ltd., China’s top offshore oil and gas producer, has halted a planned sale of its UK North Sea portfolio, which could have been valued at as much as $3 billion, according to a Bloomberg News report.  

Although initial offers failed to meet CNOOC’s expectations for the business, it could still resume a sale once conditions improve, the report added, citing people familiar with the matter.  

CNOOC did not immediately respond to Reuter's request for comment. 

Reuters has reported that CNOOC was preparing to exit its operations in Britain, Canada and the United States because of concerns in Beijing the assets could become subject to Western sanctions. 

(With input from Reuters) 

 

 

 


IMF lowers Saudi Arabia’s economic growth to 2.6% for 2023

IMF lowers Saudi Arabia’s economic growth to 2.6% for 2023
Updated 35 min 52 sec ago

IMF lowers Saudi Arabia’s economic growth to 2.6% for 2023

IMF lowers Saudi Arabia’s economic growth to 2.6% for 2023

RIYADH: The International Monetary Fund has lowered Saudi Arabia’s economic growth forecast to 2.6 percent for 2023, 1.1 percentage points lower than its October estimate of 3.7 percent, its latest report showed. 

This is in line with its projection for the Middle East region which is projected to decline from 5.3 percent in 2022 to 3.2 percent in 2023, primarily attributed to Saudi Arabia’s growth slowdown, according to IMF’s World Economic Outlook report.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia witnessed an economic growth of 8.7 percent, the highest in the region. 

IMF, in its report, noted that the economic growth slowdown in Saudi Arabia could be due to the decision made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies known as OPEC+ to reduce the oil output. 

Earlier in October 2022, OPEC+ had agreed to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, which equals to about 2 percent of world demand, from November 2022 until the end of 2023.

The IMF report, however, noted that non-oil growth in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the region will remain robust in 2023. 


Dubai International Financial Centre launches metaverse platform

Dubai International Financial Centre launches metaverse platform
Updated 30 January 2023

Dubai International Financial Centre launches metaverse platform

Dubai International Financial Centre launches metaverse platform
  • Strategy aims to grow the region’s GDP, attract companies

DUBAI: Dubai International Financial Centre announced the launch of the DIFC Metaverse Platform on Monday in a bid to attract technology innovators from across the globe, Emirates News Agency reported.

The platform is part of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to add $4 billion to the emirate’s GDP by 2030, support 40,000 virtual jobs, and attract 1,000 blockchain and metaverse companies. 

The platform also supports the Dubai Economic Agenda’s goal of generating economic value worth $27 billion per year from digital transformation. 

Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications Omar bin Sultan Al Olama said that the metaverse platform is the first in a series of initiatives aimed at bolstering Dubai’s position as a global hub for the latest digital trends, and accelerating the pace of achieving the strategy’s objectives.

DIFC Authority CEO Arif Amiri said: “The Dubai government has shown great foresight in introducing a metaverse strategy that has the objective of making the emirate a global hub for technology and innovation.

“The development of the integrated DIFC Metaverse Platform will accelerate the achievements of Dubai’s aspirations in this sector.

“The initiative is a natural extension of our Innovation Hub proposition that has shaped the technology and innovation landscape in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.”

The DIFC Metaverse Platform includes an accelerator program with a physical studio for metaverse technology, which will foster the growth of a creator community and venture creation.

It will also work on metaverse policy development and legislation on open data, digital identity, and metaverse company law frameworks.


Saudi banks’ profits up 21% in December, central bank data shows

Saudi banks’ profits up 21% in December, central bank data shows
Updated 30 January 2023

Saudi banks’ profits up 21% in December, central bank data shows

Saudi banks’ profits up 21% in December, central bank data shows

RIYADH: Deposits in Saudi banks grew by 9 percent year-on-year to SR2.29 trillion ($609.97 billion) with the major chunk deposited by government agencies, the monthly bulletin issued by the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, showed.

Data showed that deposits by government entities rose by 27 percent, the highest in 16 years, reaching SR651.2 billion.

Saudi-listed banks reported a 21 percent rise in aggregate net profit before zakat and tax to SR6.16 billion in December 2022, compared to SR5.11 billion a year earlier.

The data covered the results of Tadawul-listed banks and some foreign banks operating in Saudi Arabia.

Banks’ aggregate assets increased nearly 10 percent year-on-year to SR3.62 trillion in December.

Loans issued to individuals in the Kingdom saw a 14 percent surge during 2022 reaching SR1.17 trillion by the end of 2022 as compared to SR1.02 trillion by the end of 2021.

The volume of residential real estate financing for individuals declined by 21 percent in 2022 for the first time since 2016. The total volume remained at SR123.4 billion.

The SAMA report showed that remittances from Saudi Arabia fell by 7 percent during 2022 to SR143.2 billion while remittances to the Kingdom from citizens living abroad recorded a growth of 11 percent to reach SR7.25 billion.

Assets held by the central bank shrank by SR63.8 billion month-on-month to SR1.93 trillion in December 2022. However, as compared to December 2021, SAMA’s assets rose by SR85.1 billion.

The central bank’s investments in foreign securities, which make up 58 percent of its total assets, edged down 0.2 percent year-on-year to around SR1.13 trillion last month.