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Center of Excellence in Information Assurance (CoEIA) at King Saud University and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) co-organized a workshop on 15 March 2017 on Cybersecurity Capacity and Capability Building: Research, Innovation and Education Perspective’. The main objective of this workshop was to provide an opportunity to Cybersecurity academicians, scientists, researchers, policy makers and professionals for increased connection, collaboration, synergy and awareness of developments in this field. Furthermore, this workshop was the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia and was attended by a large number of attendees, including faculty, researchers, professionals and students.
Chief guest of workshop was the Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, Prof. Ahmed Alamri. In the opening address, H.E. Prof. Ahmed Alamri stated that Cybersecurity is the newest and most unique national security issue of the 21st century and it has become a topic of critical importance to the governments, commercial organizations, financial institutions, and citizens. He praised the efforts of CoEIA’s contributions in the area of Cybersecurity. The director of CoEIA, Dr. Jalal Al-Muhtadi, outlined the workshop objectives and welcomed guests to the workshop. He underscored the value of this workshop, especially in Cybersecurity education, research and innovation. At the end of opening ceremony, chief guest distributed the souvenirs to the winners of capture the flag competition.
Dr. Haider Abass chaired the first technical session of the workshop. The first speaker of the session, Prof. Muhammad Khurram Khan from KSU presented a lecture on the contributions of CoEIA in Cybersecurity research, education, and innovation. He highlighted the outcomes of CoEIA, which could help the nation in Cybersecurity capacity and capability building. Prof. Khan also demonstrated some of their ongoing research and funded projects. At the end of his speech, he elaborated on building the local cybersecurity ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.
In the second talk, Mr. Richard Boehne from Northrop Grumman discussed the benefits of public-private partnership for local talent building. Dr. Sami Zhioua delivered third talk from KFUPM who highlighted the ongoing research work and contributions of his department. Dr. Basil Alomair from KACST spoke about the dark side of Cyberspace, which costs huge amount of financial loss to organizations. The last speaker of the session, Dr. Fahad Alharby from NAUSS, shown the contributions of his university in different areas of security and forensics.
The first session was followed by the panel discussion on the topic of building capacity in Cybersecurity area, which was moderated by Dr. Jalal Al-Muhtadi. The participants of the panel were Prof. Mootaz Elnozahy from KAUST, Mr. Richard Boehne from Northrop Grumman, Dr. Adel F. Ahmed from KFUPM, and Dr. Suaad Alarifi from KAU. All the panelists highlighted the importance of preparing local Cybersecurity workforce who should be skilled to overcome the current and future challenges.
After panel discussion, Dr. Farrukh Aslam Khan chaired second technical session of the workshop. The first speaker of session Dr. Shada Alsalamah from KSU discussed about the role of education in preparing the first line of cyber defense. Ms. Rasha Abu Alsaud from Alahli bank underscored the importance of an effective response strategy to prepare against cyber attacks and challenges etc. Dr. Hafiz Farooq Ahmed from KFU shown research progress of his group in developing secure programming language and web applications security. In the last speech, Dr. Basil AsSadhan of KSU discussed about the research of analyzing network threats and anomaly detection for a safe cyberspace.
In the concluding remarks, Prof. Mootaz Elnozahy overviewed the recommendations of workshop and paid his thanks to CoEIA and KSU for making wonderful arrangements in holding this successful event.