Saudi Arabia's ICT spend to reach $40 billion this year

Expanding networks mean greater cyber-security risks
With increased digitisation, comes increased cyber-security threats, according to Trend Micro.
With increased digitisation, comes increased cyber-security threats, according to Trend Micro.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ICT spend grew 6% in 2017 to over $36 billion and is predicted to expand further this year to reach the value of $40 billion.

With the pace of KSA’s digitisation accelerating, cyber-security solution provider Trend Micro, noted  the serious privacy and security challenges that come with a vast web of interconnected technologies.

“IoT is at the heart of smart city transformation. With the number of connected things expected to grow to 26 billion in 2020, the attack surface for hackers also increases. These attacks not only can compromise big data but can disrupt government services as well and hold systems for ransom. It is imperative that citywide smart technologies that handle and process resident and infrastructure data be secured. Organisations and government entities involved in the creation of smart cities should be able to provide continued and sustainable developments that benefit their citizens while ensuring their cities’ security,” said Dr. Moataz Bin Ali, VP for Trend Micro for Middle East and North Africa.

Cyber-threats in KSA continue to be a major challenge. A 2017 Trend Micro report revealed that global ransomware treats stood at 1.6 billion and 8,800,000 of these threats were seen in the Kingdom. The same report showed that Saudi Arabia’s education sector was most affected by malware, followed by government, and telecommunications. Other sectors also affected were healthcare, manufacturing, and oil & gas. The security vendor also predicted that there will be significant rise in threats in the Kingdom for 2018.
Dr. Ali said that Trend Micro is strengthening the call for a layered approach to cyber-security, especially since one of the main aspects of the Kingdom’s transformation is building smart cities.

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