The 8th edition of Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference (MENAISC 2020) was virtually inaugurated on Monday, under the theme “Evolving from Cyber Resistance to Resilience, in the Age of Smart Cities, Digital Economy and IoT.” The two-day conference, from Oct. 5-6, includes the participation of seven countries, namely: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt and Jordan.
The theme of the conference is in line with the digital transformation goals of governments in the region; the objective of achieving a more digitized government makes their exposure to cyberthreats more likely than ever before.
Samir Omar, CEO of VirtuPort and a cybersecurity expert, highlighted the participation of a large number of regional and international experts in cybersecurity, in addition to the diversity of sectors joining the first virtual conference of its kind in the region. These sectors include: Defense, finance and banking, insurance, information technology, energy, health, retail, education, and building and construction.
Omar said: “All topics presented by the experts are aimed at enhancing the cyber resilience of various governmental and private sectors as well as the nongovernmental sector to effectively respond and recover from a business disruption due to cyberattacks. Being resilient is critical for rapid recovery from attacks. Furthermore, a proactive analysis of environmental vulnerabilities contributes to the reduction of physical and moral damage.”
MENAISC 2020 is being held under the national sponsorship of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP). Professor Muhammad Ali Al-Ghamdi, cybersecurity track manager, SAFCSP, spoke on the topic of penetration testing for the next generation, while Basma Ahmedoush participated in a panel discussion titled “Women in Cyber — Nationalizing our Most Precious Resources,” focusing on the pioneering role of Saudi women in the field of cybersecurity.
During a session titled “Building the Cyber Resilient Smart City,” Trend Micro, a diamond sponsor of MENAISC 2020, presented its vision for the use of 5G networks in smart cities that will change the concept of communications. The company’s presentation focused on developing a proactive approach through exposure to security risks related to penetration of digital privacy of the public and private information infrastructure.
In its session titled “The New Security Playbook: Taming the Unmanaged and IoT Device Tsunami,” CyberKnight, the event’s official distribution partner, predicted that by 2021, up to 90 percent of devices used by businesses in all industries will be unmanaged and unprotected. These new smart devices, which go beyond traditional laptops, desktops and mobile phones, run operations, manage building automation systems, drive manufacturing lines, and track and deliver health care to patients, and are being deployed at an accelerated rate.
Citrix, a platinum sponsor, in a session titled “Zero-Trust, the Cornerstone of Future Cyber Resilience,” stated that data breaches are a hot topic at the corporate level, which puts cybersecurity teams at the forefront of countering these attacks through planned cyber resilience.
VMware Carbon Black, a platinum sponsor, described data theft and Trojan horse malware as constant and looming cyberthreats, stating that the methods of destructive attacks have evolved and their impact on companies has intensified. The company said that cyberattacks of today did more harm than before as they are accompanied by direct extortion and the sale of entry data.