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More than two-thirds of information security leaders in Saudi Arabia feel prepared to respond to targeted cyberattacks. 2024 - drweud
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More than two-thirds of information security leaders in Saudi Arabia feel prepared to respond to targeted cyberattacks.


The 2024 Chief Information Security Officer Report released by Proofpoint, a leader in cybersecurity and compliance, indicates a growing confidence index among information security officers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in their ability to defend against cyber threats. Despite ongoing fears of cyberattacks; This reflects a major shift in the cybersecurity landscape. The report reviews the key challenges, expectations and priorities of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) across the world.

More than two thirds (67%) of CISOs surveyed in the Kingdom believe they are exposed to the risk of a major cyber attack in the next 12 months, compared to 55% the previous year and 27% in 2022. CISOs remain on high alert for the light of the growing level of confidence; Only 33% feel unprepared to deal with a targeted cyberattack, which is a significant drop from 49% last year and 28% in 2022.

Human error emerges as the weakest point in cybersecurity, with more than three-quarters (84%) of information security leaders in the Kingdom saying that human error represents the biggest weakness. In a year marked by an increase in insider threats and data losses caused by people, 82% of CISOs believe that human risks, particularly negligent employees, will be a major cybersecurity concern in the next two years . However, there is growing optimism about the role of AI-based solutions in mitigating human risks, reflecting a strategic shift towards technology-based defenses.

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In this context; The report examines responses to a global survey of 1,600 CISOs from organizations with 1,000 or more employees across various industries. During the first quarter of 2024, 100 CISOs were surveyed in each market in 16 countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Brazil.

The report provides an essential perspective on the state of cybersecurity from those at the forefront of protecting people and defending data. The report also highlights the importance of maintaining strong cybersecurity measures in the face of economic pressures and the critical role the individual plays in improving an organization’s preparedness to deal with cyber threats. The survey also measures changes in alignment between security leaders and their boards, exploring the impact of their relationships on security priorities.

Commenting on the findings of the report; Emil Abou Saleh said: Senior Regional Director at Proof Point in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey: “In light of the complexities we currently face in the cyber threat environment, the trust index among security managers the information security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its strategic plan and its tools in their strategies and tools to deal with any advanced attack are increasing. Ongoing challenges related to staff turnover, pressure on resources and the need for continued board participation push us to adopt solutions adapted to the times and to be vigilant not to fall into the clutches pirates.

Among the most striking conclusions of the report concerning the Kingdom:

  • Human error remains one of the main threats of cyber vulnerability; This is prompting information security managers in the Kingdom to turn to artificial intelligence solutions to help them in this area. This year, a growing percentage of CISOs in the Kingdom say human error represents their organization’s biggest cyber vulnerability: 84% in this year’s survey, up from 60% in 2023. However, 94% of CISOs believe that employees understand their role in protecting the institution; Compared to 50% in 2023 and 43% in 2022. This can be attributed to the fact that 96% of surveyed UAE CISOs are looking to deploy AI-based capabilities to help protect against human errors and cyber threats advances directed against humans.
  • In light of the nation’s information security officials’ growing fear of cyberattacks; They feel more confident in their security measures. In 2024, 70% of CISOs surveyed in the Kingdom consider themselves vulnerable to a significant cyberattack in the next 12 months, compared to 55.68% in 2023 and 27.48% in 2022. However, only 34.3% believe that their organization is not prepared to face a targeted cyberattack, compared to 49.61% in 2023 and 28.50% in 2022.
  • Emerging artificial intelligence is at the top of the list of security concerns for the nation’s information security leaders. In 2024, 47% of CISOs surveyed in the Kingdom believe that emerging artificial intelligence presents a security risk to their organizations. The top three systems that CISOs view as high risk to their organization are: Microsoft 365 (37%), external network devices (55%), and ChatGPT/other emerging AI (55%).
  • Amid growing concerns about staff turnover, the Kingdom’s information security leaders are confident in their defensive systems. In 2024, 31% of security leaders reported having experienced a significant loss of sensitive data in the past 12 months, and of these, 52% agreed that employees leaving the company contributed to the loss of data. Despite these losses, 92% of CISOs believe they have adequate controls to protect their data.
  • Most CISOs in the UAE have adopted DLP technology and increased their investments in security education. In 2024, 64% of CISOs surveyed in the country have data loss prevention (DLP) technology, compared to just 37% in 2023. More than half (55%) of CISOs surveyed have invested in training their employees with data security best practices, which is higher in 2024 than in 2023 (37%).
  • Business email compromise (BEC) and cloud account compromise are top concerns for CIOs in Saudi Arabia. The biggest cyber threats CISOs are aware of this year in Saudi Arabia are business email tampering (50%), cloud account compromise (Microsoft 365, G Suite or other) (42%) and intentional insider threats, accidental. criminal – 37%). These top threats are different from last year, where CISOs considered malware, insider threats (intentional, accidental or criminal), ransomware attacks and email fraud as the top threats.
  • A firm stance on the payment of ransoms, with increasing use of cyber insurance in the Kingdom. In 2024, 83% (up from 37% in 2023) of CIOs in the Kingdom believe their organization will pay to restore systems and prevent data disclosure if it is hit by a ransomware attack in the next 12 months. 91% of CISOs said they would rely on cyber insurance claims to recover potential losses that may occur, up from 49% in 2023.
  • The relationship between the board and the CISO has improved significantly in the country. In 2024, 95% of CISOs believe that board members completely agree with them on cybersecurity issues. This is a considerable jump from 45% in 2023 and 28% in 2022.
  • Pressure is increasing on those responsible for information security in the Kingdom. In 2024, 34% of the Kingdom’s CISOs feel overwhelmed, compared to 39% last year, while 88% of them believe they are facing excessive expectations, a continued increase from 51% last year and 28% in 2022. The ordeal continues. continued expectations of CIOs: 47% are concerned about personal liability (43% in 2023) and 77% (45% in 2023) would not join an organization that does not offer additional D&O insurance coverage , 58% of CISOs agree that the current economic downturn has disrupted their ability to make critical investments for their business, with 34% of them requesting staff reductions or delays in compensation as well as budget cuts of security.

turn; “As the cyber landscape continues to evolve with more threats directed at the individual, the CIO 2024 report highlights what appears to be a decisive shift toward greater agility, preparedness and confidence among CIOs,” said Patrick Joyce, global director of information security at Proofpoint. .World News. “This year’s results highlight the collective shift toward strategic defenses, including improved education, technology adoption and an adaptive approach to emerging threats such as resulting artificial intelligence. »

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