Saudi Arabia’s Cyber Security and Programming Federation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton for a programme that covers knowledge exchange, technology transfer and localisation of capabilities.
MEED understands the programme entails the provision of cybersecurity professional certifications, advanced cyber security courses and organisation of competitions in order to strengthen the kingdom’s cyber security stance.
“The MoU will enable the localisation of cyber security skills in national critical infrastructures and contribute to realising the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, president of the Saudi Cyber Security and Programming Federation, said.
According to the MoU, the two parties will organise training courses and national competitions for students, with the first competition due to start on 7 April. The agreement also includes delivering advanced cyber security courses and organising joint conferences and events.
Although rarely reported, Saudi Arabia receives some of the world's highest and most sophisticated cyber attacks.
In 2012, the Shamoon virus wiped out up to 30,000 drives at oil giant Saudi Aramco. The virus resurfaced in early 2017, affecting National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee) and Sadara Chemical Company in addition to three government agencies, disrupting operations in these organisations for an estimated 48 hours.
New York Times also recently reported that a petrochemical plant was hit by a major cyber attack in August last year. Unlike previous attacks, the latest one aimed not only to disrupt the plant's operations but trigger an explosion, the report said.
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