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Saudi oil company Aramco has been the victim of major cases of cyberintrusion and hacking attacks in the past and has sought to shore up its defenses in recent years. Now, cybersecurity in the Saudi Kingdom will be enhanced by US defense giant Raytheon. The two companies will form a jointly-owned company for this purpose.
Aramco signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Raytheon’s Saudi-based subsidiary to establish a new company to develop and deliver “the best cybersecurity services” in the kingdom, the broader Middle East, and North Africa, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
“The new cybersecurity company is expected to provide marketing and security services for integrated defense cybersecurity products.” Research and development will also be conducted within this framework.
In addition to selling its services, one of the company’s principal tasks will be to protect the giant Saudi oil company from cyberattacks.
The new company will enhance protections for both Saudi Aramco, its suppliers, customers, and subsidiaries, and help build global cyberprotection capabilities.
An official Saudi government news bulletin announced the deal a day after the U.S. Senate voted to block U.S. military cooperation with Saudi Arabia in waging the war in Yemen. The defense deal also comes in the wake of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly at the direction of the crown prince.
The level of protection against external attackers was assessed as “extremely low” for 43% of Middle Eastern companies, which may assist a rise in attacks, according to a report released by Kaspersky Lab.
“Cyber-security is critical to national and global security,” Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services, said. “This memorandum of understanding is an important step in creating a joint venture that we see becoming the cornerstone of cyber-security defenses in the region” as reported by thenational.ae.