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Saudi Committed to Battling Digital Security Threats

March 9, 2017 | Zawya

DUBAI — Over 1,300 IT and security stakeholders gathered in Riyadh to advance discussions on collaboration, standardization and a unified approach to mitigate cyber threats at the recently held 2nd International Cyber Security Conference. The conference was the largest gathering of IT and security professionals ever in the Kingdom focused on combating the rising cyber security threats in the Gulf region and beyond.

During the conference›s official opening address, Prince Dr. Bandar Bin Abdullah Al Mishari Al Saud, Assistant Minister of Interior for Technology Affairs, highlighted the Kingdom›s commitment to battling digital security threats, and that they are working hard to bring these people (hackers) to justice and fight this war against electronic threats.

 The complexity of cyber security threats has increased significantly from the 1988 Morris Worm. Battling these threats, said Prince Bandar, is a shared responsibility and called for collaboration among regional Governments, international experts and industry stakeholders.

As reported by AFP, Dr. Saleh Al Motairi, Director General, National Cyber Security Center Saudi Arabia, said “there is an increase in targeting GCC countries”, noting that different government and private sectors have been targeted.

“If we cooperate we will be able to protect all sectors,” he added, reporting that the NCSC responded to 124 “breaches” last year.

The conference agenda featured 74 Government officials and cyber security experts, representing a host of national cyber security programs such as Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Estonia, Malaysia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, and Oman and 46 international cyber security vendors, who were presenting the latest technologies to combat these threats.

Conrad prince, UK Cyber Security Ambassador, further emphasized the need for collaboration stating, “Governments need to tie-up to make cyber security policies common. The need to fight this cyberwar on a global scale is critical.”

As noted by Prince Bandar, a successful cyber security combat plan requires the active participation of industry stakeholders. Exemplified through the participation of global oil and gas behemoth, Saudi Aramco as a national lead sponsor of the conference. Chief Information Security Officer of Saudi Aramco Abdulrahman Al-Muagle added that “the dynamic nature of the cyber security field and the culture of change the digital Information age is constantly introducing to the business and private environments are today two of the major challenges the cyber security teams have to contend with on a second by second basis. Collaboration and information sharing are key elements that can be very effective mitigation measures in the fight against cyber-attacks and adversaries. I strongly believe that this venue plays a major role in the success of our continued integrated efforts to mitigate the threats posed to our cyberspace. The collaboration of experts from multiple private, commercial and government sectors of our critical national infrastructure is key towards the success of the overall efforts to secure the kingdoms cyberspace.”

In the closing remarks of the conference, Dr. Abbad M. AlAbbad, Executive Director of Strategy and Communications, National Cyber Security Center, Saudi Arabia highlighted key national recommendations and said “we need to find mechanisms to require government and private security organizations to establish cyber security standards. The need to fight this cyber war on a global scale is critical.”

Among the cyber security vendors presenting their solutions and services to the participating delegates and buyers were global leaders Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Spire Solutions, Tahakum (TCC), Raytheon, Security Matterz, Advance Electronic Company (AEC), Attivo Networks, BT Al Saudia, Cisco, Fortinet, Huawei, Innovative Solutions, Kaspersky Labs, Phishme, Saeedurity, Smart Solutions Star, Darktrace, EY, IBM, Northrop Grumman, PaloAlto, PGI, RSA, Symantec, Tamkeen Technologies and Virtual Forge.