The Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technologies – an institution named after the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman – has signed a partnership agreement with IronNet Cybersecurity, the U.S.-based cyber advisory firm founded and headed by General Keith Alexander, U.S. Army (retired), the former head of U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency (NSA).
The agreement was co-signed by College’s Dean Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Dahlawi, on behalf of Advisor at the Royal Court Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, and General Alexander.
Dr. Al-Dahlawi said in a statement that this important strategic agreement will ensure that Saudi Arabia will benefit from the experience of an advisory team comprised of experts who have held senior positions in U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.
The Prince Mohammed bin Salman College, with the assistance of IronNet Cybersecurity, will provide a number of courses in cyber warfare and security.
Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, an advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince, is in charge of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security Programming and Drones, which oversees the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College, and also runs the innocuously named Centre for Studies and Media Affairs at Saudi Royal Court (CSMARC). CSMARC is believed to carry out all Saudi information operations – to include those carried out by cyber means – with the help of foreign hackers-for-hire.
The agreement between the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College and IronNet Cybersecurity takes place within the geopolitical context of continued Saudi-Iranian proxy conflict in cyberspace, and in locations such as Syria and Yemen. Over the past few years hackers sponsored by Saudi and Iranian government entities have carried out cyber attacks of varying intensity against each other.
The agreement between IronNet Cybersecurity and the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College was originally negotiated when the Saudi Crown Prince visited the United States in March 2018, and met with General Alexander.