The National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) of Saudi Arabia will hold the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF) in Riyadh on February 1-2, 2021, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The Forum will be held under the theme “Rethinking the Global Cyber Order” and will engage prominent speakers; including decision and policy makers, executives, and experts from international organizations, various government sectors, in addition to influential non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the most prominent international companies.
The forum aims to push the knowledge boundaries on core cybersecurity topics, foster investment, build the foundations for global cooperation in cyberspace, and catalyze socioeconomic change. Discussions and sessions of the forum will cover a range of sub-themes that include: the evolving international order in cyberspace, current and future state of cybersecurity threats; technologies of the future as solutions to threats, human dimensions of cybersecurity in the future of work, leveraging market forces and economic incentives, and strengthening human-centric cybersecurity.
The 2022 version of the GCF comes as a continuation of the success of its first Virtual Dialogue, held on April 7, 2021. The Virtual Dialogue attracted over 250,000 individuals from more than 100 countries. The first version of the Global Cybersecurity Forum was held in February 2020 during the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency. In the first version, it was announced that His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, adopted two international initiatives. The first is to protect children in cyberspace, while the second to empower women in cybersecurity.
The government of Saudi Arabia has established the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) to be the government entity in charge of cybersecurity in the country, and it serves as the national authority on its affairs. The NCA was established in 2017 by a Royal Order that links it directly to HM the King. The NCA has both regulatory and operational functions related to cybersecurity and it works closely with public and private entities to improve the cybersecurity posture of the country in order to safeguard its vital interests, national security, critical infrastructures, high-priority sectors, and government services and activities in alignment with Vision 2030.
According to the official charter of the NCA, Cybersecurity is defined as “the protection of information technology systems and networks as well as systems and components of operating technologies, including hardware and software, together with services provided thereby and data included therein, against unlawful hacking, obstruction, modification, access, use or exploitation”.
The NCA has a comprehensive national level mandate that includes, but not limited to, drafting the national strategy for cybersecurity and overseeing its implementation; cybersecurity frameworks, controls, and compliance; building and operating cybersecurity operation centers; developing human capabilities in cybersecurity; raising awareness on cybersecurity; stimulating growth of the cybersecurity sector and encouraging innovation and investment therein; and establishing ties with similar agencies abroad and private entities for the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise in cybersecurity.