Cybersecurity now considered ‘essential’ in many Middle East sectors

Cybersecurity now considered ‘essential’ in many Middle East sectors

Cybersecurity is now considered as ‘essential’ in many Middle East sectors, including education, finance, health, retail and transport.

The news comes as Riyadh is once again hosting global event the LEAP conference this month. The conference brings more than 400 speakers to discuss the future of technology. All of these industries are dependent on having secure cyber defences including a critical IT infrastructure and security.

Businesses are thought to be more cybersecurity-conscious than ever, whilst also being able to deal effectively with the threat of automated crime and even online terrorism.

Several recent attacks on state-sponsored key economic assets have taken place worldwide, and increased the focus on secure cyber defence systems. These include the so-called Shamoon cyberattacks in 2012 against both Saudi Aramco and Qatar’s RasGas.

The virus used in the Shamoon attack was noted as being particularly aggressive due to its destructive capabilities and the cost of recovery. The virus used in the attack was developed to be able to quickly spread from an infected machine to other computers on a network, and once the system is infected it was designed to compile a list of files from specific locations on the system, upload them to the attacker and erase them. Ultimately, the virus overwrites the master boot records of the infected computer, making it unusable and harder to defend against.

This was thought to be ‘a wake-up call’ to key sovereign economic assets and joint venture companies as it forced many to reexamine their cybersecurity defenses.

In a recent article, Dr, Mohamed Ramady wrote: “There are lessons to be learned. The main risks to a business IT system are sometimes basic in nature, such as a system failure resulting from so-called “routine” security upgrades, and power failures from fire, flooding or even cable theft, which can bring down entire networks or data centers.

“A change in cybersecurity mindset is then required, whereby companies need to spend as much time and energy on managing and training employees as on the status of their software and hardware.”

Cybersecurity specialists and back end developers are now amongst the fastest growing jobs in Saudi Arabia, according to new data from global professional networking firm LinkedIn. With a heavy focus on the cyber security industries, the LEAP conference continues.