Tuesday 14 August 2018

Samer Omar

Cyber attacks on Saudi sectors continue, says expert

RIYADH, October 10, 2017

Cyber criminals and hackers continue to target their attacks on the public and private sectors of Saudi Arabia, said a top cyber security expert.

Samer Omar, who has over two decades worth of experience in Cyber Security under his belt, pinpointed three main reasons that have made Saudi Arabia a frequent target for the attackers.

Firstly, the perception of Saudi Arabia being wealthy makes this part of the world a valuable target. Secondly, the regional conflicts bring about the attention of hacktivists, cyber criminals and cyber spies. Lastly, Saudi has an above average infection rate with varying levels of awareness and capabilities.

“All verticals have their challenges and although there are a lot of similarities, the nuances of industrial control systems/SCADA systems, financial systems, or other web applications need to be addressed differently,” said Omar.

Effects of security breach

The cyber security consultant discussed the impact that cyber attacks can have on states and institutions stating that its effects range from financial and reputation losses to operational and business impact.

However, the central focus identified by Omar is a set of challenges facing the information security sector in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, which he considered to be highly inter-related, including: the importance of enhancing information security awareness and training – which is crucial to the war on Internet criminals.

Omar pointed out that the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has already taken great strides in contributing to security awareness in the Kingdom.

Most breaches can be prevented if the security fundamentals are in place. This include patch management, enhanced password protection, and caution against using confidential documents when online without the necessary safeguards to avoid phishing, malware, and ransom attacks.

Riyadh will host the fifth annual Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference (Mena ISC) and Hackathon 2017 on November 21. With STC Solutions as the Lead Sponsor, the event be attended by leading international speakers specializing in IT and cyber security.

Omar pointed out that the strategic importance of the conference is that cyber security and cyber-attacks are crucial issues that affect all sectors of the government, private sector and financial institutions in one way or another around the globe.

He stressed that this year's edition will focus on the role of cyber security professionals in supporting business enablement while balancing the battle against cyber attacks and security breach, to allow internet powered services to flourish securely.

"The Internet economy continues to face risks associated with expanded use of online services including increased mobility, cloud and IoT that will create real issues in the everyday lives of citizens," he said. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Cyber Security | hackathon |

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