Cyber attacks could cost Saudi Arabia up to SAR30 billion

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It has been reported that “cybercrime attacks could double over the next two years and cost Saudi Arabia’s economy up to SR30 billion ($8 billion) by 2020”.

Saudi Arabia is a prime target for cyber crime

Simone Vernacchia, a partner in digital, cybersecurity, resilience and infrastructure for PwC Middle East, told Arab News, “[W]e see that cybercrime in Saudi is growing faster than in most of the countries in the world, with more than a 35 percent increase in the number of attacks during the past year.”

Vernacchia added: “Saudi is being targeted more frequently, and the cost of cyberattacks is 6 to 8 percent higher than in the rest of the GCC countries. The Saudi economy provides a more appealing target for cyberattackers.”

2018 has already seen ride-hailing company Careem hit by a data breach, which compromised 14 million drivers’ and customers’ data, as well as the Saudi Citizen Account Program Twitter feed hack attack.

Vernacchia continued: “We see the average investment in cybersecurity awareness and capability to be on average about 60 percent lower in Saudi Arabia than what is invested by organizations of the same size in leading countries.”

Saudi Arabia must continue to invest in cyber security

Saudi Arabia has already made some efforts to invest in cyber security.

In 2017, the Saudi Arabian government created a cyber security authority to better protect the country’s data, systems and information technology networks, as well as improving online security for companies and individuals.

Last month, the National Cyber Security Authority signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to allocate 1,000 scholarships over the next five years to students to pursue cyber security-related studies.

“Saudi Arabia needs more cybersecurity practitioners”

James Lyne, head of R&D at SANS Institute, told Arab News: “Firstly, Saudi Arabia needs more cybersecurity practitioners overall – particularly with the ambitious development projects being undertaken as part of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

“Secondly, existing cybersecurity practitioners also have to continue to sharpen their skills to increase the depth of their expertise.”

Individuals holding professional qualifications, such as the CIS F (ISO27001 Certified ISMS Foundation) and CIS LI (ISO27001 Certified ISMS Lead Implementer) are highly sought, and qualifications can lead to improved salaries, discretionary bonuses and enhanced career progression.

ISO 27001 training in Saudi Arabia

ISO 27001 is the international standard that describes best practice for an ISMS (information security management system). The Standard is a benchmark for organisations to demonstrate that they follow best practice on information security.

With cyber crime on the increase, it’s important that organisations in Saudi Arabia have an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS in place to protect their assets.

Saudi IT professionals looking to achieve the CIS F qualification may be interested to know that IT Governance offers a flexible method of study with our ISO 27001 Foundation distance learning course.

This flexible course allows you to break free from the commitments of traditional training and gain an internationally recognised cyber security qualification from anywhere in the world, at a time and pace that suits you.

Find out more >>