MENAISC 2022 spotlights cyberthreats & ways to fight it – Arab News

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VirtuPort recently hosted the 10th edition of the Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference 2022, which spotlighted cybersecurity challenges facing organizations and corporates in Saudi Arabia and the region at large.
The two-day international conference, held on Sept. 6-7 in Riyadh, was titled “Converging Cyber Intel: Critical Network Infrastructure IT, OT and IoT,” and featured more than two dozen world-class speakers, key decision-makers and information security influencers, who presented real-life case studies as well as the best practices in cybersecurity and cyber risk management. More than 50 global cyber companies sponsored MENAISC 2022, which was held at Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences. The general participation included representatives from top companies from the Kingdom and the region.
Samir Omar, CEO of the MENAISC 2022 and VirtuPort, welcomed guests with a presentation on “Cyber Fusion — The world enters a new epoch.” He said: “There are over a dozen critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to any country in that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”
The aim of the 10th MENAISC, Omar said, was to “generate an effective dialogue between executives, directors and global cybersecurity experts with rich experiences in developing strategies and cybersecurity techniques for the benefit of digital transformation and technological advancements.”
“The Saudi ICT market has been witnessing steady growth since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030. This makes the IT infrastructure in the public and private sectors vulnerable to cyberattacks, where these attacks cause great damage to the economy and various sectors,” the VirtuPort CEO said.
VirtuPort provides cybersecurity advisory services to companies ranging from medium to large entities across all industries in the MENA region. Omar stressed the importance of the conference for Saudi Arabia, especially because it is the largest market for information and communication technology in the MENA region.
For over a decade, MENAISC has addressed the industry challenges and provided thought leadership via global and renowned influential speakers, technical workshops, CPE credits, technology exhibitions and much more, contributing to creating an environment of information sharing and community building, including promoting public-private partnerships and more.
The event showcased Saudi Arabia as a pioneer in advanced technological applications for a cyber-secure digital transformation. Delegates at the conference discussed ways and means to stop criminals from causing significant financial harm to companies and governments.
Paul Roberts, Microsoft’s technical specialist in IoT security, was all praise for Saudi Arabia. “It’s amazing to see Saudi Arabia holding such conferences and the participation of several top companies proves how they are aware of cybersecurity,” he said.
Christopher Will, vice president at CyberStronger, said Saudi Arabia’s human capability development program under Vision 2030 will foster values of determination and persistence and improve the readiness of youth to join the labor market.
Giving an overview of targeted intrusion activity, CrowdStrike’s Senior Director Jason Rivera cited Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea for resorting to cyberattacks through espionage and financially motivated attacks.
Oman Air continues to set benchmarks in quality and safety as the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman has carried out almost 500 simulator training sessions, 83 courses for pilots, and 230 cabin crew courses over the first half of 2022 alone.  The airline also saw the promotion of seven first officers to commanders and 11 second officers to first officers.
With all training provided in-house at Oman Air’s Flight Training Centre in Muscat, it continues to enhance its operational capabilities in line with international standards, providing rewarding job opportunities to talented young Omanis, and driving the development of Oman’s aviation sector.
Captain Nasser bin Ahmed Al Salmi, chief operating officer at Oman Air, said: “In order to meet the demands of a constantly evolving industry, we continue to invest heavily in training and capacity building. Our various flight operations programs are designed to strengthen essential technical and safety skills in line with current global aviation standards.
“Furthermore, where we used to send trainees abroad, we are now able to provide all the training they need at our on-site facility, which has positively impacted our operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With various courses on offer, we unlock valuable opportunities for professional development, contribute to improving national aviation standards and ultimately, provide the best possible experience to our guests.”
Opened in 2016, the center offers basic training and recurrent and refresher courses, enabling pilots and cabin crew to train realistically for operating aboard aircraft and on the ground.  Representing a major step in the evolution of Oman’s overall training capacity, the state-of-the-art center also provides training for local and international aviation companies, which benefit from the latest facilities and the highest levels of professional guidance.
Oman Air provides rich and varied career development opportunities as well as internships and graduate training programs that expand horizons for young Omanis and boost its contribution to the national economy.
With over 2 million shoppers, and millions of visitors monthly, and 7 million downloads since its launch, Golden Scent has powered its way to a leadership position in Saudi Arabia and the GCC’s e-commerce shopping space; and, it is now poised for breakaway growth for the coming 3 years.
Golden Scent’s ongoing success has been strengthened by its highly engaging customers. The brand’s online interaction and engagement is on an ongoing boost due to its high level of trust and loyalty among its customers.
Harboring over 20,000 fragrances from over 1,000 brands, it is the world’s biggest library of Arabic, niche perfumes, and international perfumes.
Over 100 of these are Saudi born, Arabic fragrance brands. The company constantly aims to maintain its position as the preferred shopping destination for all fragrance and beauty lovers.
 Saudi Arabia portrays a comprehensible supremacy in the GCC fragrance and perfume market worth $2 billion dollars. Golden Scent’s online platform tends to be the preferred portal for Saudi shoppers that offers a variety of products, including Golden Scent’s range of exclusive perfumes and traditional all-natural scents. Furthermore, the country has a huge tourism plan that deals and works with a significant number of expats and a growing e-commerce industry that has enabled brands to extend its reach to a more diverse range of consumers.
Darine El-Sabbagh, managing director at Golden Scent, said: “Scent has a power of persuasion stronger than that of words and appearances. It is the ability to express one’s individuality. The Saudi market and individuals pride themselves in their impeccable sense of scent and passion for luxury shopping and they are online savvy. Our main initiative was to take the idea of a scent as a definitive way of self-expression and extend it to individuals who are interested in accessing the widest selection of fragrances online. Today, we thrive to be one of the leading entities to empower the Saudi youth and make our Saudi working women the focus of our growth.”
Ronny Froehlich, co-founder, said: “Our business success stems from finding a solution to the shopping and self-expression needs of Saudis. Our growth and achieving an annual revenue of over SR 300 million Saudi in the Kingdom alone shows that we have created trust, engagement and delivered an excellent customer experience throughout the years. Clients appreciate the easy navigation of the app and web shop which includes premium packaging in which the products are shipped, knowing that Golden Scent only offers original products of recognized international premium and exclusive brands varying between Niche, Arabic and oriental, and from smaller Saudi entrepreneurs.”
 Golden Scent pioneered fragrance & beauty e-commerce in the MENA region when it launched in 2014.  Today, GoldenScent.com has the largest fragrance library worldwide covering more than 20,000 products from perfumes to home fragrances, aromatherapy, beauty products and much more.
Apart from housing over 1000+ international, niche and regional brands,  headquartered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and with hubs across the region, Golden Scent delivers to across the GCC region and to over 80 countries worldwide.
AD Ports Group’s Safeen Group and Amaan Baghdad Company have signed an agreement to support a new project relating to fuel oil transport and storage from Khor Al-Zubair and Umm Qasr oil terminals in Iraq.
The project represents a significant extension of Safeen Group’s portfolio of dedicated products and services into the oil and gas sector and is part of its ongoing expansion in the key market of Iraq.
Under the terms of the agreement, Safeen Feeders, a subsidiary of Safeen Group, will manage the entire project, providing three Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and one Medium Range (MR) tanker.
Working with Amaan Baghdad Company, Safeen Feeders will transport fuel oil from terminals in Port of Khor Al-Zubair and Umm Qasr South Port to Iraqi territorial waters using the MR tanker. The fuel oil will then be transferred and stored on the VLCCs, which will serve as floating fuel tanks with monthly delivery capacity of 750,000 tons.
The agreement is secured at competitive rates, providing flexibility for the Iraqi partners, and ensuring a favorable rate of return for Safeen Group, which will not engage CapEx in this transaction.
Captain Ammar Mubarak Al-Shaiba, acting CEO of the Maritime Cluster and Safeen Group, AD Ports Group, said: “We are pleased to complete this new agreement to support a major fuel oil transport and storage project in Iraq. The energy sector is an important growth market for Safeen Group, and this project demonstrates our expertise in this area as well as the extent and sophistication of our fleet.
“At the direction of our wise leadership, Safeen Group is expanding its global footprint to provide key maritime services to companies around the world. This agreement underlines our capacity to tailor solutions to the specific needs of companies in the oil and gas industry and marks an important extension of our presence in Iraq.”
Fadie Fouad, CEO of Amaan Baghdad Company, said: “We have selected Safeen Group based on its comprehensive suite of world-class marine services and the expertise of the dedicated team who will manage this project. The global fuel oil market has been volatile in 2022, and this additional storage capacity will support Iraq’s competitive offering.” 
In addition to this new agreement, Safeen Feeders supports a weekly container service that connects Iraq with global markets.
The company continues to look for opportunities to support the growth and diversification of maritime trade for Iraq.
BinDawood Holding Co., one of the leading grocery retail operators of hypermarkets and supermarkets in the Kingdom, recently celebrated the opening of the first international Danube hypermarket in the Kingdom of Bahrain at Al-Liwan Project in Hamala in the Northern Governorate.
The store marks the first international store opening for BinDawood Holding under its Danube brand, bringing the total footprint of BinDawood Holding’s stores to 82 of which 55 are under the Danube banner and 27 are under the eponymous BinDawood brand across 16 cities in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Khalid BinDawood, managing director of BinDawood Holding, said: “Today we celebrate the opening of our first international store opening by bringing the Danube grocery shopping experience to customers in Bahrain.  We are thrilled to be the anchor grocery retailer on the Al-Liwan project and bring our new customers in Hamala the unique Danube grocery shopping experience, offering fresh, high-quality and healthy food options for the dynamic community here.”
The Danube hypermarket brand is synonymous with excellence, offering a wide variety of special offers and carefully selected exclusive imported goods. We are delighted this store, a 5000-square-meter space, will enhance the grocery shopping experience of the local residents. We are also actively recruiting more staff to work in the store who will support us in providing the supreme customer service and in-store experience of our Danube brand.”
Rotana recently announced the soft opening of its first 5-Star hotel Dana Rayhaan in Dammam, the largest city in the Eastern Province, under the distinguished brand of “Rayhaan by Rotana.”
Rotana is one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with over 100 properties across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Türkiye.
Meant for selective business and leisure travelers, Dana Rayhaan by Rotana captures a prime location in the heart of the bustling city, offering a striking modern design, exceptional amenities and stunning views of the Arabian Gulf and Al-Ashriah Roundabout. 

Rotana’s new hotel stands out as it is a short walk from the city’s corniche, with popular shopping malls and tourism attractions close by, and King Fahd International Airport just 30 minutes by road, this elegant property promises convenience and exceptional experiences.
For those who like to stay in style, the hotel provides flawless guest services in state-of-the-art facilities featuring elegant comfort and charming views of the city and the sea, and is all set to contribute to meeting the growing demand for tourism in Saudi Arabia.
On the 16th floor of the hotel, guests who seek personalized services and added benefits will have access to a special stay at Club Rotana, Rotana’s “hotel-within-a-hotel” concept, offering 285 luxurious rooms and suites and an exclusive lounge that reflects Rotana’s high-end luxurious standards which the brand is well-known for.
With premium dining options, Dana Rayhaan by Rotana offers various culinary experiences, including Rodeo Grill steakhouse with an outdoor terrace; Elements, an all-day dining restaurant serving international cuisines; Dana Lobby Lounge, which can be enjoyed over a selection of lip-smacking meals and refreshing cocktails; Sundeck Pool Lounge on the large terrace overlooking the outdoor swimming pool; and 24-hour in-room dining service. 
Our purpose-built event space includes three meeting rooms and a spacious ballroom with flexible set-up options and can host a range of corporate and social occasions. For relaxation, our separate male and female recreation areas are equipped with a treatment room, sauna and steam room while Bodylines Fitness and Wellness Club, with a gym and an outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, is the place to keep in shape.
Christian Rainalter, general manager of Dana Rayhaan by Rotana, said: “We are very excited about the soft opening of Dana Rayhaan by Rotana, which comes at a time when the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia is experiencing rapid development. With the Kingdom leading the world in hotel supply growth, according to a 2021 report by hotel data company “STR”, Dana Rayhaan by Rotana will help contribute to Vision 2030 as Saudi Arabia aspires to attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030, making the Kingdom among the top five countries that receive the most tourists worldwide. This means that a significant increase in the number of hotel rooms is required.”
Rainalter said: “We look forward to introducing our signature hospitality and outstanding accommodation to guests in the Eastern Province, whether they are traveling for business or leisure.”

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