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Riyadh to host annual Middle East cyber security summit

Saudi Arabia is an "attractive destination for hackers" [Bloomberg]

Date of publication: 2 April, 2016

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Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, is set to host the second annual Middle East Cyber Security Summit to discuss solutions to fight cyber-attacks.

Saudi Arabia will host the second annual Middle East Cyber Security Summit next week to discuss ways to prevent attacks on businesses and organisations.

"This summit will feature an array of presentations and interactive panel sessions from international experts to address current challenges faced and come up with strategies to pave the way for a cyber-safe future," the organisers said on the event's official website.

Under the theme "Detect. Protect. Respond", the summit will present participants with an opportunity to network with peers, share divergent viewpoints as well as identify internationally renowned cyber security solutions that can be used to totally eradicate cyber-attacks.

The event, scheduled to take place on 6 and 7 April, is organised by Nispana Innovative Platforms, a global provider of business intelligence services, in association with ISACA Riyadh, with experts focusing on establishing intelligent cyber-security at local, national and international levels.

According to the event's website, the market for cyber-security exports alone is estimated to grow to more than $37.5 billion by 2016.

"Due to the growing public demand, there is a huge increase in the private cyber-security exports across the sectors of energy, financial services, information technology (IT), and communications," the organisers said.

Citing recent cyber-attacks and describing Saudi Arabia as an "attractive destination for hackers" due to its rapidly growing economy, high rate of internet usage, mobile penetration and highly sophisticated infrastructure, Nispana justified the need to establish regulatory and legislative frameworks to support the kingdom's cyber security.

Speakers at the summit will include Jalal al-Bokhary, enterprise accounts manager for Intel Security, Mansour A al-Dajani, chief information officer and adviser at the Electricity and Co-generation Regulatory Authority, and Abdallah Sinan, senior business group leader at Cloud Enterprise.

The first forum was held in the Omani capital, Muscat, on 15 and 16 September. 

Saudi Arabia leads the region, according to analysts, in restricting internet access to websites deemed "immoral" or in other ways negative for the nation's development or the position of its rulers. Its sophisticated filtering operation ostensibly aims to curb the online influence of radical armed groups, but has also been used to block independent media outlets, including The New Arab.

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