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Saudi establishes cyber security authority

Saudi establishes cyber security authority

The kingdom has been the target of major cyber attacks in recent years

Saudi Arabia established a new authority for cyber security by royal decree on Tuesday following recent attacks on the kingdom.

Minister of state and cabinet member Dr Musaed Al-Aiban was appointed chairman of the National Cyber Security Authority, which will be directly linked to monarch King Salman.

Other board members include the president of state security, chairman of general intelligence, deputy minister of interior and assistant minister of defence.

The authority has a mandate to protect the state’s interests, national security and sensitive infrastructure.

It will do so by boosting the protection of networks, IT systems, operating systems, hardware and software components, services and data located in the kingdom.

The authority also plans to establish a national cyber security industry.

The decree follows government warnings issued in January relating to a new variant of the Shamoon virus that crippled the systems of oil giant Saudi Aramco in 2012 in one of the most damaging cyber attacks ever recorded.

Read: Saudi warns on cyber defense as Shamoon virus resurfaces

Organisations affected by the January attack included the labour ministry, which was unable to renew or transfer residence permits weeks later, according to reports.

Read: Saudi labour ministry still crippled by Jan cyber attack

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