Saudi Arabian Cyber Security Leaders Gather to Address Rising Threats

Regional and local experts gather to address cyber security with global solution providers to secure their critical assets through a proactive approach.


Dubai, UAE -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/02/2015 --In a world where everything is connected, from intelligent fridges to driverless cars, technology is playing a prominent role in our lives. It has influenced the way we socialize and connect at a personal, enterprise and international level. As a result, we need to collaborate to protect what matters to us and fight against cyber attacks.

The 6th Cyber Defence Summit, organised by naseba, a French business information group, provided a perfect platform for CIOs and CISOs to address cyber security issues and the importance of protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In his opening remark today, the summit's chairperson, former Deputy DG of Yesser and current CEO of (ITS)2, Eng Ahmad AlKhiary said, "Cyber security is no longer just an IT priority. It must be addressed at the board level. In the event of a cyber-attack, business security is at stake so shouldn't the business heads be worried? We must address the issue collectively to arrive at feasible protective measures."

A keynote featuring Tareque Choudhury of BT Global Services helped define critical assets and the role of the Chief Security Officers in this new environment by giving tangible examples of how private and public Saudi brands can protect and preserve themselves. He also shared some of the learnings from the BT cyber security team deployed to defend London Olympics 2012 and BT Sports from malicious attacks.

He noted, "We have brands everywhere in our lives, we consume them and trust them. It is an asset that needs protection."

"A lack of cyber protection has had catastrophic results for brands for example look at Target, hackers stole 40 million debit and credit card numbers from the retailer's data banks as well as the personal data of as many as 70 million Target customers, which lead to their CEO's resignation and the company suffering massively in terms of value."

A hot topic of discussion, 'Legacy and Next Generation Threats' featured Eric J. Eifert, SVP of Cyber Security Solutions at ManTech; Mamdouh Khawaji, VP of IT at SEDCO Holding; and Ray Kafity, VP of META region at FireEye. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Mansour A. Aldajani, Governor's Advisor and CIO of Electricity and Co-generation Regulation Authority (ECRA).

Ray highlighted, "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 noted "One critical aspect majority of the companies fail to address is internal threats due to lack of awareness. 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."

An important aspect is to highlight the key cyber security challenges and present practical solutions to combat these issues through effective planning and application of innovative hardware and software security solutions. Three cyber security briefs were given by Websense, Fortinet and Global Security Network.

Neil Thacker from Websense noted the importance of going beyond just procuring cyber security solutions.

Strategic approach against increasingly sophisticated threats was briefed by Emad Abu Jazar, Country Manager or Fortinet and Khalid Laban, CEO at Oxygen Middle East.

Gilles Loridon, CEO of Global Security Network, stressed on bridging the gap between SCADA/ICS and corporate IT security and given equal importance to both.

Last panel session of day1 discussed cyber security capacity building and collaboration and featured Dr. Jalal Al-Muhtadi, Director, Centre of Excellence in Information Assurance (CoEIA), King Saud University, Nasser El-Hout, Managing Director, Service Management Centre of Excellence (SMCE), Dr. Zaidan Alenezi, Strategy & CNI Coordination, National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), Ministry of Interior and Mamdouh Khawaji.

The day 1 of the summit concluded with a simulation workshop on 'Real Time IT and Security Decision Making'. The workshop was led by Nasser El-Hout and provided attendees with real time understanding of which processes are running in parallel and identify which are important or mission critical.

Day 2 of the summit will continue tomorrow with emphasis on enhancing cybersecurity readiness and future of information security controls.