Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has concluded a cybersecurity drill for next month’s Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to upgrade services for pilgrims and thwart potential cyber-threats.

The drill, launched by the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), drew participation of over 100 Saudi agencies represented by 350 cybersecurity officials.

The two-day event launched in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah was part of NCA support for national institutions to undertake cybersecurity tasks during the Hajj season and aimed to consolidate their resilience against potential threats and develop specialists’ security, the government agency has said.

“The drill comprised a set of technical and administrative activities and featured a simulation of different types of cyberattacks as well as applying a mechanism responding to emergency cyberaccidents,” NCA added in a statement.

The event also sought to upgrade cyberpreparedness of Saudi agencies engaged in the Hajj season.

Established in 2017, NCA is the government entity in charge of cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia, which has maximised preparations for Hajj, due late next month this year.

Saudi Arabia has said there will be no limits on the numbers of pilgrims from around the world for the upcoming Hajj season, reversing earlier restrictions prompted by the global pandemic.

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia downsized the numbers of Muslims allowed to perform the Hajj rites to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Around 2.5 million Muslims used to attend Hajj annually in the pre-pandemic times. Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.