Black Hat MEA 2022 hosted Mideast’s first tech event

Black Hat MEA 2022 generated awareness of data breaches and highlighted the importance of cybersecurity.

The international most respected information security event series, launched its first Middle East edition in Riyadh, attracting more than 200 international speakers and up to 30,000 visitors.

In 2021, the Saudi capital hosted the At Hack (@Hack) tech event, and Black Hat is now boosting cybersecurity interest. The tech three-day event took place from the 15 to 17 November at the Riyadh Front Exhibition Center. It is considered the largest cybersecurity event in the region.

Event attendees had the chance to hear testimonies about cybersecurity and its implications, participate in training courses, and network with tech experts for leading companies around the world.

IBM, Cisco, Spire, and Infoblox were among the international tech giants participating in this event, organized by the Saudi Federation of Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) and Informa Markets.

Cisco demonstrated its latest portfolio of cybersecurity innovations, highlighting how organizations can secure their workplaces within the new hybrid working model. “It is increasingly critical for IT decision-makers to achieve security resilience, protecting the integrity of their business to withstand threats and emerge stronger,” said Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, EMEA Service Providers, and MEA, Cisco.

Black Hat MEA 2022: Drones, CyberSec, and AI

The 250 sessions mainly discussed the latest in the field of cybersecurity and cybercrime. Speakers presented ways to combat online fraud, cybercrime, and data breaches. There were also workshops focusing on drone hacking, biohacking, and machine learning issues.

Visitors had the chance to be informed about the latest news and trends in cybersecurity, information, and network security, as well as the art of hacking infrastructure and ransomware attacks. Almost 1,000 event attendees participated in a hacking contest called “Capture the Flag”, organized to help them improve their ethical hacking skills.

Before the opening ceremony, organizers deployed a drone display to welcome visitors, forming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s flag, SAFCSP logo, the Riyadh Season, and some creative drawings.

Saudi Arabia: A growing centre of cybersecurity

“@Hack set the bar for cybersecurity events across the region in 2021, surpassing our expectations across all measures. This success reflects Saudi’s position as a growing center of global cybersecurity excellence and the global ecosystem’s confidence and curiosity in what we are building from the grassroots up. IBM recently reported that a data breach in 2022 can cost a company an average of USD 4.35 million. This cost is at its all-time highest now and sits at a 12.7% increase from 2020. In today’s digitally powered world, this is an alarming situation for all of us, but especially for those who are not aware of nor possess the tools needed to protect their sensitive data.

This is where Black Hat MEA comes in and cements its position as a must-attend event to generate awareness, create understanding around the importance of cybersecurity and educate on how to safely use tomorrow’s digital space to its maximum potential,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, Chairman of the SAFCSP. “Cyber threats are an increasing risk in today’s highly digitized economy. A lack of awareness and discourse contributes to the growth in attacks. Through events like this, the private and public sectors have an opportunity to collaborate, address this issue of national and regional importance, and develop strategies to mitigate the risk. We are proud to host and lead this initiative”.

“Last year we launched the largest infosec show of 2021, worldwide. This year, it’s grown even more – more than 25,000 visitors have seen it with their own eyes, there’s now only one event that gives you so many elite hackers and CISO speakers, so large a community, and such a variety of hacking tools, so much prize money, such a big buzz – and that’s Black Hat MEA in Riyadh” said Mike Champion, Regional Executive Vice President of Informa Markets.

George Mavridis is a freelance journalist and writer based in Greece. His work primarily covers tech, innovation, social media, digital communication, and politics. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. Also, he holds an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Malmö University of Sweden and an MA in Digital Humanities from the Linnaeus University of Sweden.