Saudi Arabia develops alternative to WhatsApp

Saudi Arabia to launch alternative national platform to WhatsApp within a year. [iStock]
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is working on launching a safe national platform that allows users to communicate and work together in a secure virtual environment, to exchange files and conduct text and voice conversations within the institution, as it is an alternative to commercial products currently available such as the popular WhatsApp application.

The Director of the National Information Security Center at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Basil Al-Omair, confirmed to Okaz that the national platform was built by Saudi researchers at the center, pointing out that the platform will see the light within a year.

Al-Omair said: “Most commercial products may be stored in external servers and are controlled by foreign agencies and may contain back doors that are difficult to discover. The advantages and merits of the application that is being designed by 100 percent Saudi cadres will guarantee that it is free from any back doors, hence ensuring confidentiality.”

Al-Omair explained that, at the present time, they are targeting government agencies, institutions and companies, and not the average user. The platform’s work is based on the use of nationally developed encryption algorithms and systems, which achieve the highest degree of security and privacy, and focus on applying the principle of encryption.

The platform aims to eliminate the risks of storing confidential and sensitive information and files on servers outside the Kingdom and protecting them as required.

The platform can also be installed on several types of systems and devices, including desktop computers running on Windows and smart phones with various operating systems available.

The developers used patented algorithms that provide better performance compared to the algorithms currently available and used in similar products.

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