Visitors to the Digi Robotics stand at last year's GISEC Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

The Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), the region’s largest cybersecurity forum, has returned to the Dubai World Trade Centre. Running until Wednesday, this year’s GISEC is expected to outdo 2018’s edition, in terms of not only visitor numbers but also exhibitors. “For this year’s GISEC event, we expect to see our visitor numbers rise to 8,000, which is an increase up from 7,000 compared to the year before,” says Syed Javed, Group Marketing Manager at Dubai World Trade Centre.

“Across all three co-located events, including IoTX and Future Blockchain Summit, which collectively fall under the umbrella of Future Technology Week, we forecast about 12,000 visitors this year.

“Every year, GISEC attracts a large number of business leaders, vendors, channel partners and experts. We expect to see more than 100 chief information officers, chief information security officers (CISOs) and VPs from top companies, as well as more than 200 government representatives. In addition to that, the event attracts 200 plus speakers and 170 exhibitors from more than 86 countries.”

Ankit Satsangi, Head of Cybersecurity and Monitoring at Azizi Developments, is one CISO who will be attending this year. “It’s a great place to network and keep up with what’s trending in technology and how it is evolving in the security space,” Satsangi tells GN Focus.

New in 2019

“Now in its seventh year, GISEC provides ample opportunity for web security experts from around the world to gather and discuss the latest trends within the field of cybersecurity,” says Javed. “Our most prominent speaker will be Kevin Mitnick, a notorious hacker who was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for hacking more than 40 major corporations. Kevin will explore how hackers attack and how to fight back during a live hacking session.

Our most prominent speaker will be Kevin Mitnick, a notorious hacker who was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for hacking more than 40 major corporations. Kevin will explore how hackers attack and how to fight back during a live hacking session.

- Syed Javed, Group Marketing Manager, Dubai World Trade Centre

“Also new to GISEC this year is The Dark Stage, which will take a deep dive into the dark web and include some of the most eye-watering live hacks. It will investigate some of the most controversial and cutting-edge topics from industry leaders, which will include cyber warfare, nation state attacks, social engineering and the most dangerous activities on the dark web. Under the guidance of Dubai Police and the Dubai Electronic Security Centre, this promises to be the most exciting feature in GISEC history."

Threats in the UAE

Email malware remains a persistent threat in the country, with one in 183 mails containing a malicious attachment or link — around double the global average — according to Symantec’s annual Internet Security Threat Report.

Although ransomware (malicious software that blocks access to a system until a sum of money is paid) and cryptojacking (unauthorised use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency) declined last year, according to the Symantec report, there’s a (relatively) new threat in town: formjacking. “Formjacking is the new technique for black hats to sniff data,” says Satsangi. “When users visiting an e-retailer click submit after filling in their details, the submit form executes a malicious code that has been injected by the hackers to be able to sniff and receive all entered data, which usually is credit card details and personal information such as home address.”

What is formjacking

- Ankit Satsangi, Head of Cybersecurity and Monitoring at Azizi Developments

In a recent interview with Gulf News, Bashar Bashaireh, General Manager and Regional Director at Symantec, said, “The surge in formjacking attacks shows how the supply chain can be a weak point for online retailers and e-commerce sites. Many of the formjacking attacks were the result of the attackers compromising third-party services commonly used by online retailers, such as chatbots or customer review widgets.”

Symantec blocked more than 3.7 million formjacking attacks across computers, laptops, Macs and mobile devices last year. Nearly a third of detections occurred in November and December, which are commonly the busiest months for online retail.

“With the Middle East and Africa’s cybersecurity market forecast to reach $34.6 billion (Dh127 billion) by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 15.6 per cent, GISEC will be the region’s premiere platform for any business or entity looking to make their systems impenetrable,” explains Javed. Visit Gisec.ae to learn more about the show and register. 

Syed Javed

Group Marketing Manager,

Dubai World Trade Centre

Ankit Satsangi

Head of Cybersecurity and Monitoring, Azizi Developments

Internet of things expo (IOTX)

This year’s edition of GISEC includes a specialised zone for companies offering solutions in the internet of things (IoT) space — the internet of things expo, or IoTX for short.

“The global IoT market is forecast to be worth $561.04 billion (Dh2.06 trillion) by 2022, and the IoT solutions market in the GCC is said to hit $11 billion by 2025,” says Syed Javed, Group Marketing Manager at Dubai World Trade Centre, citing figures shared on the GISEC website.

“Given the huge potential, Smart Dubai is launching the next phase of Dubai’s transformation with a city IoT strategy to implement the most advanced internet of things ecosystem in world,” he explains.

“IoTX 2019 will be a key platform to further discussion between city officials, private sector leaders as well as cutting-edge technology providers.”

In the Middle East, GCC countries are already seeing high levels of adoption of IoT for smart transportation solutions. Examples of IoT integration include the driverless car powered by solar energy at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, the region’s healthcare market also holds huge potential for the internet of things as new and existing hospitals across the Gulf compete to be the most innovative and advanced in the region.

Featured speakers at IoTX include Joseph Bradley, Global Vice President IoT, Blockchain, AI and Incubation Businesses, CISCO; Kristo Vaher, CTO for Estonia; and Jordi Puignero, Minister of Digital Policies and Public Administration for the Government of Catalonia.

Future Blockchain Summit

Running as a part of this year’s GISEC, the Future Blockchain Summit brings speakers from world-renowned brands such as Coca-Cola, Tencent, Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, eBay and Lufthansa. “Government entities including du, Dubai Land Department and Dubai Health Authority will all be on-hand to showcase their advancements and use cases in the revolutionary technology,” explains Syed Javed, Group Marketing Manager at Dubai World Trade Centre. “At the Future Blockchain Summit, du will offer visitors the chance to get their fullest understanding yet of how a city running on blockchain with the City of the Future experience.

The Future Blockchain Summit runs from 9am to 6pm, Tuesday to Wednesday in halls 4, 5 and 6.