Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Cyber Security Official: “Shamoon2” Virus Attacks Aren’t Over yet | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People wearing balaclavas are silhouetted as they pose with a laptops in front of a screen projected with the word ‘cyber’ and binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Riyadh – An official at Saudi Arabia’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) warned of repeated cyber attacks against government agencies and private sector companies.

Executive director of the NCSC’s Strategic Development and Communication, Dr. Abbad Al-Abbad, told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that counteractive measures should be sustainable and continuous to prevent the recurrence of such destructive cyber attacks.

Abbad lauded the high cooperation level between the center, which is affiliated to the interior ministry, and Saudi government agencies, noting that specialized bodies have succeeded in countering recent attacks against computers belonging to some government agencies.

The official blamed the latest breach on poor adherence to security protocols. He also stressed the need for better education, such as teaching staff not to click on links in suspicious emails.

“Threats are not over yet… Shamoon2 is not over,” he said, adding: “Had companies followed basic security practices, such as protecting passwords, or not allowing remote access tools or VPNs inside the network, they would have been less susceptible.”

When Saudi Aramco was breached in 2012, Shamoon destroyed close to 40,000 computers’ records, taking them almost two weeks to recover, according to reports.

It is noteworthy that the NCSC will host end of this month the second annual International Cyber Security Conference (ICSC), which will highlight the importance of cyber security awareness and effective security solutions to counter threats to the Kingdom.

The conference, which runs from 27-28 February, is organized by the NCSC, in partnership with business facilitator Naseba.

The event will host over 1,000 delegates from different industry verticals and will be grouped into three main categories: VVIPs, industry drivers and future shapers.