Protect society against cyber crimes: Experts

Updated 04 March 2015

Protect society against cyber crimes: Experts

A security expert has emphasized the need for collaboration in order to protect society against cybertattacks during the 6th annual Cyber Defense Summit in Riyadh on Monday.
“Cyber security is no longer just an information technology priority. It must be addressed at the broad level,” said Yesser Deputy Director General Ahmad Al-Khiary.
Al-Khiary, also the current CEO of (ITS)2, noted the importance of protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information in Saudi Arabia.
“We must address the issue collectively to arrive at feasible protective measures,” he said.
Another expert, Tareque Choudhury of BT Global Services, spoke on the occasion, defining critical assets and the role of chief security officers by giving examples of how private and public Saudi organizations can protect and preserve themselves.
He also shared some of the lessons learned from the BT cyber security team, which was deployed to defend the London Olympics in 2012 from any malicious cybertattacks.
“A lack of cyber protection has had catastrophic results. For example, hackers stole 40 million debit and credit card numbers from retailer ‘Target’s’ data banks, as well as the personal data of as many as 70 million customers,” he said.
Ray Kafity, vice president of META region at FireEye, added “We are now dealing with Generation Y Threats and as we progress, the threats will keep on becoming more complex and difficult to detect. With the threats being innovative, the cyber security has to keep up and be forward thinking and proactive.”
Eric J. Eifert, SVP of Cyber Security Solutions at Man Tech, said “One critical aspect which many fail to address is the internal threats due to a lack of awareness.”
He added that “this needs to be addressed carefully when developing cyber security. Employee training and standardization of internal laws and regulations is something that should be mandatory.”
He said an important method for combatting cyber threats is to first highlight the key security challenges, and to then present solutions to meet these issues through effective planning and through the simultaneous application of innovative hardware and software security solutions.


Umrah app will increase competition, enrich pilgrim experience, says Saudi official

Updated 24 September 2020

Umrah app will increase competition, enrich pilgrim experience, says Saudi official

  • External agents who used to control everything will no longer do so

MAKKAH: The Kingdom’s new Umrah app will create a competitive business environment that will improve pilgrim services and enrich the pilgrim experience, according to a senior ministry official.
I’tamarna is aimed at enforcing health standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic and making it easier for people to book their journeys. It also offers booking services that pilgrims can use ahead of their arrival in Makkah for accommodation, transport and recreation.
Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, said that the app’s launch should push companies to provide people with a broader and better range of services.
“When we provide high quality services at competitive prices, the pilgrim will find himself drawn to these companies, especially when companies work hard to provide the best services at a competitive price to local pilgrims,” Al-Maddah told Arab News.
He added that external agents who used to control everything related to Umrah will no longer do so as they were just agents and did not own facilities. Their job was to represent and market Umrah companies abroad.
According to Al-Maddah, new measures had fixed this problem and organized the relation between Umrah companies and their external agents to be strictly marketing-based.
“The newly adopted measures will free Umrah companies and motivate them, especially at a time when bookings are being performed through several electronic platforms. This allows foreign pilgrims to directly deal with Umrah companies through the phone, the app and additional means other than the external agents. This will liberate the Umrah companies and improve their performance, allowing them to market their services inside and outside the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia said earlier this week that it would start allowing pilgrims to perform Umrah in phased return, while taking the necessary precautions. The decision was made after assessing the developments of the pandemic and in response to the desire of Muslims around the world to perform the ritual.

FASTFACT

I’tamarna offers booking services that pilgrims can use ahead of their arrival in Makkah for accommodation, transport and recreation. Pilgrims can download the app on Sept. 28.

“The launch of the app came due to the coronavirus pandemic, its repercussions and preventive measures that require specifying the number of pilgrims,” Al-Maddah said. “There is a capacity that should not be exceeded. This is what prevents the overcrowding of holy sites and limits the spread of the virus among pilgrims.”
He said that the operational capacity was calculated through the Ministry of Health’s Tawakkalna app, with the pilgrim using I’tamarna to book an Umrah appointment that was time-specific and accompanied by anti-coronavirus preventive measures.
The first phase of the gradual return will include allowing citizens and expatriates from within the Kingdom to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4, the equivalent of 6,000 pilgrims per day.
The second will increase the capacity of the Grand Mosque to 75 percent, which would include 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day from Oct. 18.
In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah from Nov. 1 with a capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers per day.
The fourth stage will see the Grand Mosque return to normal, when all COVID-19 risks have gone away. Pilgrims can download the app on Sept. 28.