RIYADH: The world needs a new approach to protect itself from cyber threats, Saudi Arabia’s minister of communication and information technology warned while speaking at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh on Nov. 9.
Abdullah Al-Swaha added his voice to growing calls for reform to cybersecurity practices in the face of the increasing threat from hackers.
The minister noted that while the Kingdom has climbed up to the second place globally in its ranking for cybersecurity, the only way to maintain that position is by focusing on three things: “reskilling, reskilling, and reskilling.”
“We need to shift from conventional IT to secure everything,” he added.
During the panel discussions, Al-Swaha shared his views with his South African counterpart, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, and International Telecommunication Union's Secretary-General Elect, Doreen Bogdan-Martin.
Ntshavheni stressed strengthening the collaboration on national security issues with “respect”, but also progressing each nation without the domination of one nation over another.
Bogdan-Martin stated that all world leaders are paying attention to cybersecurity, and hardly a day goes by without another cyber-attack making significant news.
Al-Swaha concluded his speech stressing on the need to shift to the new norm and added: "We need to double down on women and youth, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has jumped from 7 percent to 33 percent (in terms of participation of) women in cybersecurity.”
In a report published in September, Boston Consulting Group indicated that some 75 percent of today’s cybersecurity workers are men.
There’s a huge opportunity to expand the numbers and capabilities of the cybersecurity workforce by attracting women to the field, the report added.
The Global Cybersecurity Forum, founded by the National Cybersecurity Authority, aims to integrate the global cybersecurity community and drive forward the agenda on cyberspace.
GCF has returned for its 2022 edition in Riyadh on Nov. 9-10, under the theme: Rethinking the Global Cyber Order, in the presence of Saudi, regional, and international ministers and officials.