RIYADH — The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) underlined the need to take proactive and preemptive measures to confront the growing cyber threats and advanced trickeries of hackers that hamper the smooth functioning of the financial sector, especially the insurance field.

In a circular sent to insurance companies, SAMA admitted that there has been a rapid advancement in the level of cyber threats to the financial sector caused by the advanced hacking groups, targeting the financial sector for various fraudulent purposes. The Central Bank noted that this development includes methods, tools and procedures used by hackers.

SAMA stressed that the monitoring and investigation capabilities of financial institutions must be developed to work proactively in line with the advancement made by hackers, taking into account of the change in business models of financial institutions, featuring increased rely on technology in financial transactions so as to create more secure and reliable financial sector that enables growth and prosperity.

SAMA has approved a number of principles to analyze cyber threats facing the financial sector. The Central Bank will work out within six months the analyzing of operational patterns and methods of hacker groups, such as malicious programs, procedures followed, classifying various phases of attacks, and analyzing cyber threats to come up with indicators of penetration and controls for detection and effective response to cyberattacks.

Work will be carried out within 12 months by focusing on the strategic aspects of the information being investigated, such as the goals and motives of the hacking groups, and defining the expected penetration and attack scenarios according to the level of cyber threats.

The Central Bank called on insurance companies to carry out accurate assessment of the current situation of managing security threats in the financial institutions to identify the gaps. The Cyber ​​Security Committee would follow up the implementation of the principles and the extent of adherence to the approved plan. It will provide full support to solve the obstacles and challenges facing the competent teams in the financial institution and intensifying efforts to remove obstacles that stand in the way of applying the principles.

SAMA said that necessary support will be provided to the Cyber ​​Security Department to enhance the role of analyzing cyber threats as well as to ensure that they are provided with competent and well-trained Saudi professionals, technical tools and appropriate training to carry out their tasks in the best manner.

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