Three-day Black Hat MEA opens tomorrow at Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Centre with more than 300 speakers and 40,000 infosec and cybersecurity professionals expected to turn out
Stellar speaker line-up includes experts from Netflix, Google, the FBI and NATO, as global industry gathers to probe sector challenges, solutions, and future
Biggest Black Hat MEA yet will also host region’s largest ethical hacking contest with 1,500 competitors, a prize purse worth US$187,000, and is open to amateur, intermediate and expert competency levels
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -: Saudi Arabia will open its doors to the biggest gathering of cybersecurity experts the Kingdom has ever seen when Black Hat MEA gets underway tomorrow at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Centre.
Running for three days until November 16, Black Hat MEA 2023, following on from the huge success of its inaugural edition, is expected to post incredible growth with 300 speakers and an anticipated visitor turnout of more than 40,000 infosec and cybersecurity professionals, and promises to be both the largest event of its kind in the region and the world’s most-attended cybersecurity gathering. This year’s event is 41 per cent larger than Black Hat MEA 2022 and the richest yet, with attending investors and start-ups representing US$8 billion in assets under management, making it also the fastest-growing cybersecurity event in the world.
“Black Hat MEA’s growth trajectory is exceptional, showcasing a 41 per cent expansion in exhibition space from last year and positively influencing all crucial performance metrics.” said Annabelle Mander, Senior Vice President of Tahaluf, the Informa LLC joint venture that organises Black Hat MEA alongside the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, & Drones (SAFCSP). “The number of international vendors has more than doubled, with over 60 per cent of exhibitors being global businesses, mainly from the US and Europe, keen on tapping into Saudi Arabia’s huge potential. As Saudi Arabia forges ahead with its ambitious developmental agenda, Black Hat MEA is becoming a crucial platform for integrating the local and international cyber sectors.”
New features for 2023 include the Black Hat Campus and Deep Dive Stage, where experts will explore the depths of prevailing cybersecurity threats; and an Investor Programme in which more than 80 investors will seek opportunities to back cybersecurity startups. As well as dedicated speaker sessions and fireside discussions, the event will host a variety of interactive workshops, certified training programmes, and a stellar Executive Summit that includes experts from the FBI, NATO, Netflix, Google, Cisco, Ali Baba Cloud, Palo Alto, Kaspersky, Huawei, Zoom, Uber, and world-renowned litigators.
The experts will scrutinise today’s most pertinent cybersecurity issues, including generative AI and machine learning, compliance and regulations, identity, and access management. Probing the impact of privacy and data protection, they will also discuss and analyse issues surrounding business and risk management, emerging cyber threats, incident response and recovery, talent management, and security culture. Meanwhile, IoT security and hacking, supply chain risk, and the growing role of women in the cyber sector will also come under the microscope.
Speaking ahead of the event tomorrow, Majed Abdulaziz Alotaibi, Chief Business Officer at Mobily, an exhibitor and sponsor of the event, said; “Our participation in Black Hat 2023 is geared towards showcasing our latest cybersecurity solutions and services, particularly in safeguarding cloud solutions and facilitating digital transformation. Our objective is to foster knowledge exchange and deliver digital protection services in a manner that aligns with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s cybersecurity priorities. As the conference enters its second edition, bringing together key figures in Riyadh’s cybersecurity landscape, we anticipate forging new partnerships that will bolster our alignment with the objectives outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
Black Hat MEA promises to be a powerful business platform with a range of features, putting innovative startups in the spotlight and opening valuable learning opportunities. The event’s Activity Zone will host pitches from startup teams competing for a share of a US$40,000 Cyberseed prize fund. In partnership with ToolsWatch, the Black Hat MEA Arsenal will feature developers demonstrating the latest open-source tools and products, presenters interacting with attendees for hands-on experiences, information security experts sharing new industry tricks and trends, and hackers exposing the latest breach techniques.
The Activity Zone will also feature a jeopardy-style “Capture The Flag” tournament. As the region’s largest ethical hacking competition, it has attracted registrations from more than 1,000 participants, each of whom will take on challenges of forensics, reverse engineering, and crypto as they vie for a share of a US$187,000 prize purse across amateur, intermediate, and expert competency levels.
Additionally, the annual event will host the Black Hat Campus: A content-led environment bringing together vendors, universities, recruiters, and consultancies for first-hand demos, developer-led showcases of the latest open-source tools and products, and engaging cybersecurity activities. The campus, which is open to all levels of cyber skill and supports Saudi Arabia’s ambitions of nurturing the Kingdom’s next generation of cyber leaders, will help delegates understand hacking, safeguarding techniques, ways to enhance their soft skills and personal development, and scale the industry’s recruitment walls.
“At Tahaluf, we are committed to equipping the next generation with advanced skills. We’ve launched the Black Hat campus, a student-focused zone for nurturing local talent. This initiative offers unique learning opportunities under expert cyber professionals,” added Mander.