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World Must Take Cyberattacks As Seriously As Terrorism, Saudi Energy Minister Warns

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International agreements are needed to thwart the growing risk of cyberattacks, according to Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as he warned the energy sector is increasingly vulnerable to such dangers.

Speaking on the first day of the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh, Prince Abdulaziz said governments and companies faced a “collective danger”, although he insisted the Kingdom is ready for any such attack.

The minister called for global collaboration to help defeat the hackers, and said: “We need to have international agreements to mitigate cyberattacks just like the world is doing against terrorism.”

He went on to say that the motives behind these attacks could be “anything — whether political, ideological, etc”, and added: “We cannot afford to be attacked without being ready.”

The comments came as Fahad Al-Jutaily, CEO of cybersecurity firm sirar by stc, warned an attack is being launched somewhere on the planet every 11 seconds. 

Speaking about Saudi Arabia’s readiness for any cyberattack, Prince bin Salman said: “I cannot proclaim victory before the victory.”

However, he stressed the importance of not being in a race with one another, competing on which country has the right capabilities to defend itself.

“This forum makes the point that cyber-attack is a collective danger that has to be attempted collectively,” he explained. 

The evolution of cybersecurity is one of the key pillars of the forum, which sees international leaders from different sectors coming together under the theme “Rethinking the Global Cyber Order.”

The event will host over 4,500 attendees from over 110 countries and convene more than 120 speakers to discuss day-to-day cyber issues.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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