Snap has announced that it will launch its second Snap Creator Studio in 2022, and the company chose Riyadh as its location.
The first Creator Studio was opened by Snap in Paris to support local creators in delivering experiences for Snapchat and provide publisher brands with a physical point of contact. The Riyadh location, the first of its kind in the region, will serve the same purpose.
Saudi Arabia was an easy choice for Snap because Snapchat has a monthly addressable reach of more than 19.5 million in the Kingdom, with 90 percent of its users being 13-34-year-olds, a demographic that advertisers see as highly attractive.
“The decision to open a Creator Studio in Saudi Arabia reflects the level of creativity we see on Snapchat amongst local users, the high levels of engagement on the app, and our desire to deepen the level of support that we can provide to the creator community and our business partners,” said Hussein Freijeh, General Manager for MENA at Snap.
Snap hopes that the Creator Studio will help attract talented content creators, Lens developers, and people interested in working on Snapchat Games, Minis, Layers, and other offerings. Drawing on its global network of creatives and technical experts, it will provide ample in-person and virtual skill-sharing opportunities.
“The new Creator Studio will thus help inspire the next generation of creators about the possibilities of using the Snap camera across the arts, education, media, and cultural sectors,” added Freijeh.
Inspiring the next generation of Snap creators shouldn’t be too difficult because over 80 percent of consumers in Saudi Arabia already believe that Augmented Reality (AR) will be both useful and important in the next five years, according to Snap’s own data.
Several major tech companies have very recently announced their push towards the metaverse, most notably Meta and Microsoft. AR is expected to play a major role in making the metaverse come to life, and Snap could be an important player in the rapidly emerging successor to the internet.
New Variants Of Android Spyware Are Targeting Middle East Users
Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates.
British security software and hardware company Sophos has recently revealed that new variants of Android spyware used by the C-23 group are actively targeting users in the Middle East.
C-23, also known as GnatSpy, FrozenCell, or VAMP, is what cybersecurity professionals refer to as an advanced persistent threat (APT) adversary. Such adversaries are typically well-funded and well-organized, which allows them to quickly evolve their tactics to overcome even the most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses.
The C-23 adversary has been known for targeting individuals in the Middle East since at least 2017, with a particular focus on the Palestinian territories.
The latest variants of its Android spyware are most likely distributed via a download link sent to victims as text messages. The link leads to a malicious app that pretends to install legitimate updates on the victim’s mobile device. When the app is launched for the first time, it requests a number of permissions that let it spy on the victim. It then disguises itself to make removal more difficult.
“The new variants use more, and more varied, disguises than previous versions, hiding behind popular app icons such as Chrome, Google, Google Play, YouTube, or the BOTIM voice-over-IP service” explain Sophos. “If targets click a fraudulent icon, the spyware launches the legitimate version of the app, while maintaining surveillance in the background”.
The information the new spyware can steal includes everything from text messages to the names of installed apps to contacts from all kinds of apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp. The spyware can even dismiss notifications and toggle “Do Not Disturb” settings.
Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates. The company’s own mobile antivirus app, called Sophos Intercept X for Mobile, can detect the new spyware as well as all kinds of other malicious software.