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Saudi urges action on escalating cyber-terrorism

Security experts call for new laws criminalising spread of radical ideologies online

Saudi security intelligence and technology experts on Tuesday called for the creation of new laws to stop the growing threat of cyber-terrorism and the radical ideologies it promotes.

In a joint statement to the UN, the experts urged the international body to press member states for the "introduction of new laws to criminalise the use of communications technology to spread terrorist ideologies which concerns all countries".

The statement was issued at the end of a conference in Riyadh organised by the Saudi Intelligence Services and chaired by the kingdom's defence minister Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz.

Around 3,000 security intelligence personnel and information technology experts met to discuss the extent to which cyber-terrorism has enabled groups such as Al-Qaeda to recruit new members and to carry out strategic attacks around the world.

Prince Sultan told delegates his intelligence organisation had identified over 17,000 websites which fuel Al-Qaeda ideology. He stressed the need for immediate action to cull the rampant growth of cyber-terrorism, which he said increases by some 9,000 websites per year.

Prince Sultan said communications technologies are just as important strategically for terrorist groups as the militant operations they carry out as cyber-terrorism enables sophisticated cooperation between cells and brings awareness and credibility to attacks.

"Terrorists do not just focus on military success," Prince Sultan told delegates, quoted Saudi daily Arab News. "There is a third angle to the operation which is the glory of publicity, which compensates for the failure of the operation."

Recommendations from the three-day conference include the implementation of enhanced training programmes designed to educate both security specialists and the general public about cyber-terrorism, as well as cooperation between various security agencies, both within the Kingdom and abroad.

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