• Mansoor bin Mohammed opens GISEC Global 2024
  • Middle East and Africa’s largest cyber security event recorded 50 percent year-on-year growth in exhibitor numbers in its 13th edition
  • Experts from more than 130 countries gather for the event, which is being held under the theme ‘AIdriven cyber resilience’

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Ports and Borders Security Council, opened GISEC Global 2024, the Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cyber security event. Running for three days at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), GISEC Global’s 13th edition featured more than 750 exhibiting brands – a 50 percent increase over the previous year – as more than 20,000 cyber professionals from 130-plus countries gathered to combat digital threats in a Gulf Cooperation Council cybersecurity market that, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan, would triple in value by 2030 to reach $13.4 billion.

The three-day (23-25 April, 2024) powerhouse showcase, organized by DWTC and hosted by the UAE Cybersecurity Council, featured returning headline players and tech titans Huawei, Honeywell, du, Microsoft, and Google Cloud Security, alongside groundbreaking cybersecurity companies such as Spire Solutions, Pentera, Cloudflare, and Kaspersky. More than 350 expert speakers and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), alongside 1,000-plus ethical hackers, also convened under the show’s ‘AI-driven cyberresilience’ theme to detangle and demystify the rising global threats of the dark cybercriminal underworld, as they delivered 300-plus hours of immersive content across nine conference and workshop stages.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti, Head of the UAE Cybersecurity Council, emphasized the importance of fostering collaboration to develop a more cyber-resilient society amid the new era of cyber-threats. “The evolution of cybersecurity continued to present new challenges and opportunities for industry leaders around the world,” said Dr. Al-Kuwaiti.

“The UAE Cybersecurity Council aimed to create a safe and trusted cyber environment that helped organizations, institutions, and individuals achieve their potential. Such results were amplified at GISEC Global, which acted as a super-connector bridging the industry gap, encouraging thought-provoking discussions, and promoting forwardthinking collaborations critical to the future of digital services and assets. In light of latest developments in AI technology, GISEC Global 2024 served as a pivotal platform in our relentless mission to forge and advocate for a cyber-resilient society grounded in the partnerships between the private and public sectors and aiming to cultivate a bold ecosystem that safeguarded the integrity of companies and individuals,” he added.

Dr. Aloysius Cheang, Chief Security Officer of Huawei Middle East and Central Asia, added: “GISEC Global was the region’s largest and most reputable cybersecurity event that was in its thirteenth year. I would expect no less in terms of relevance, forward thinking and innovation when it came to programming.

“It was the perfect opportunity not only for the industry to gather and to share stories from the trenches but also the right platform for networking at the highest level. GISEC Global and the UAE together was the formula for building a trusted digital oasis in the heart of the Arab World,” added Dr Cheang.

Exclusive cybersecurity experiences took place during the three-day event, including the inaugural edition of the Global CyberDrill, a realistic simulation assessing critical targets and engaging experts from CERTs, CIRTs and CSIRTs hailing from over 100 countries, fostering global cooperation to mitigate cyber threats.

Dubai security teams from several government entities joined the new Capture the Flag competition in partnership with the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC), GISEC Global’s official government cybersecurity partner, while flourishing startups from all across the region competed on the most awaited Unlock Pitch Competition at the returning GISEC Cyber Stars.

Showing its appreciation for the most prominent and visionary players in the Middle East and Africa’s cybersecurity industry, GISEC Global this year saw the launch of the inaugural GISEC Cyber Excellence Awards in partnership with the UAE Cybersecurity Council and the United Cybersecurity Alliance. Another brand-new feature designed to showcase the best of open-source projects, tools, and solutions, GISEC Armory offered developers and experts a unique opportunity to display their work and connect with like-minded professionals in the cybersecurity space.

An extensive conference programme with 300+ hours of future-oriented content promoted a new enhanced experience with exciting highlights spanning everything from the inaugural series of executive boardrooms and conference roundtables to the new cyber defence track discussing the mitigation plans and weaponry against rising threats.

paramount concern for every business leader and governmental body due to the pervasive digitalization of processes and the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). While AI offers immense opportunities, it also introduces significant risks if misused or exploited. Microsoft is committed to supporting its customers in leveraging technology while mitigating associated risks.

Awareness is key in cybersecurity defense. Microsoft focuses on educating individuals from schoolchildren to corporate leaders about the evolving threat landscape. Specific education programs are designed to raise awareness among students and cybersecurity learners, providing insights into emerging threats through regular trend reports. However, relying solely on human awareness is insufficient in today’s digital landscape. Hence, Microsoft is integrating AI technologies into its cybersecurity solutions.

Microsoft introduces innovations like Copilot for Security, a virtual assistant for cybersecurity professionals. Copilot harnesses AI to analyze vast amounts of data rapidly, providing actionable insights and augmenting human capabilities in threat detection and response. With the ability to process over 65 trillion signals daily, Copilot enhances cybersecurity defense beyond human capacity alone.

Regarding browser market dominance, Microsoft’s Edge browser, powered by AI-driven features like Copilot, is regaining traction. The incorporation of AI into Edge enhances user experience and relevance, contributing to increased adoption rates in the browser ecosystem.

Microsoft recognizes the critical importance of cybersecurity awareness and AI integration in combating digital threats. Through initiatives like Copilot for Security and advancements in browser technologies, Microsoft is at the forefront of empowering individuals and organizations to navigate the evolving digital landscape safely and securely.

Tariq Halawani
Executive Director- Enterprise
Solutions, Microsoft UAE

The 2024 agenda also launched the most awaited Ask the Hacker Q&A sessions and the spotlight on True Stories where the audience heard world-class CISOs narrating true horror stories around billion-dollar ransomware attacks, financial frauds, celebrity phone hacks, and more, for the first time on stage. GISEC Global also featured the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) as its official government cybersecurity partner, and the Ministry of Interior and Dubai Police as official supporters.

H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Ports and Borders Security Council, opened GISEC Global 2024, the Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cyber security event.

Showing its appreciation for the most prominent and visionary players in the Middle East and Africa’s cybersecurity industry, GISEC Global this year saw the launch of the inaugural GISEC Cyber Excellence Awards in partnership with the UAE Cybersecurity Council and the United Cybersecurity Alliance.

Cybersecurity capabilities, the global state of scams, and smart cities were the key focuses of discussions on the second day of the 13th edition of GISEC Global 2024 – the Middle East and Africa’s largest and most impactful cybersecurity event.

At the Dubai World Trade Centre, artificial intelligence was at the heart of the conversations with defense being the main topic on the GISEC Mainstage while experts addressed the audience on how to safeguard their critical assets. The efforts of how the Phillippines defended its networks from cyber attacks in the age of AI were also explored.

Attendees also heard from technology and security experts on how smart cities were provided cyber protection while integrating AI and Internet of Things technologies.

Statistics showed $1 trillion had been lost in scams and online fraud was now the most reported crime in most countries with GISEC visitors gaining an understanding of the different types of scams that occurred around the world.

Jorgi Abraham, Managing Director Global Anti Scam Alliance /, explained most popular scams included falsely advertised products on online platforms and fake websites. He said that Kenya (49 per cent), Brazil (41 per cent), and South Africa (38 per cent) were among the countries that lost money often through scams while 41 per cent of crime in the UK was online-fraud related.

He said: “We are seeing AI being more involved in crimerelated tasks and scams are now a global problem. However, we all need to cooperate together to prevent more crime especially as many activities were not reported.”

Cybersecurity capabilities were also analyzed during a session. David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and the Chief Executive Cyber Security Agency in Singapore, said governments and organizations needed to have the right mindset when it came to adopting strategies and bolstering cyber capabilities worldwide.

He said: “You needed to have the right mindsets to tackle cyber attacks and more importantly, it was about risk management. For example, once you started using a new laptop, you were taking your own risks in being impacted by attacks so there needed to be a balance on security.” Meanwhile, ex-Vietnamese hacker Minh Hieu Ngo provided a fascinating insight into the darker facets of AI creativity.

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