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Jun 04 2013

Renowned ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick and top experts highlight cyber threats and countermeasures at Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference

Renowned ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick and top experts highlight cyber threats and countermeasures at Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference
Social Engineering attacks are 99.5% effective as over-reliance on technology and inadequate employee awareness leaves gaps in human firewalls, Mitnick warns
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A high-powered ensemble of global and regional cyber security experts have kicked off the highly anticipated conference segment of the inaugural Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC) organised by Dubai World Trade Centre . Part of the GITEX specialist technology events series, the event runs until 5 June 2013 and has attracted industry heavyweights in diverse fields such as software architecture, telecommunications, data management, mobile devices and applications while public sector representatives include high level national security analysts.

Kevin Mitnick, the iconic information consultant, who was one of the world's most wanted cyber hackers, was the Keynote Speaker at the GISEC conference, where he gave delegates an eye-opening behind-the-scenes look into the thought processes of both the hackers and their victims. Mitnick gave delegates a riveting demonstration on cyber hacking by calling international banks live on stage and demonstrating how easy it is to bypass their security safeguards and obtain sensitive information. This was part of a discussion on Social Engineering - a form of cyber crime in which criminals exploit the psychological vulnerabilities of human users (as opposed to the technological weaknesses in the security system itself), and manipulate unsuspecting employees or consumers into revealing valuable information.

Mitnick explained that criminals favour social engineering because it involves minimal cost and minimal risk, yet offers maximum returns. He said: "There isn't a single security package on the market that can fully prevent social engineering, or a single app that can be downloaded to prevent an employee's ignorance, greed or naiveté. Social engineers exploit human nature, so companies should explore human-centric solutions such as secretly staging false attacks on their own networks, to evaluate how employees react and teach them effective counter-hacking behaviour. Platforms such as GISEC are vital to the region so that companies, government entities, IT professionals and experts can exchange information and discuss the latest information security developments. "

High profile experts who also took centre stage at the conference include the Conference Chairman, Roger Cressey, who has served as Chief of Staff of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board for both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. The line-up of speakers included Curt Aubley, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at global giant Lockheed Martin who addressed the topic Security Ramifications of Cloud Computing. Exploring cyber security from a human behavioural vantage point was Roberto Diniz - Head of Operating Risk at Qatar International Islamic Bank; While Niraj Mathur, Security Practice Manager, from Gulf Business Machines (GBM) gave conference delegates a regional perspective on cyber security and Ahmad Hassan MohdNoor, Director of Intelligent Security Risk and Compliance Management Operations at du, gave provided insights into security compliance and the impacts of BYOD.

"Cloud computing is evolving quickly, to build foundations and innovate. Applying it to security could change the game, and make following security easier, as well as being more secure than enterprise computing. In a world where cybercrime is prevalent, cyber security is a global team sport. Businesses need to understand what is out there, and execute solutions and practices to stay ahead of the game," said Curt Aubley.

The speakers delved into the most imminent threats facing the region, particularly in light of the fact that crucial public services like water and electricity, inter and intra-city transportation, emergency response centres and even law enforcement services are increasingly being coordinated from centralised 'nerve centres', which makes them a more appealing target for 'e-collar' criminals and cyber terrorists.

Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre , said: "Cyber analysts have warned that hackers are conducting online conferencing and forming syndicates to trade information and strategise on the best anti-detection measures. This makes it even more imperative for organisations to combine their expertise at a platform like GISEC and stay a step ahead. We are helping to accelerate the process of knowledge transfer among participating organisations, through acclaimed visionaries and top level decision makers. Additionally, we are giving delegates and exhibitors a 360 degree view of the digital landscape to examine the current and expected threats."

Parallel to the conference, the GISEC Expo is continuing to attract the limelight of the region's ICT industry as market leaders unveil a dynamic range of innovative security intelligence packages that could redefine counter-hacking practices. These product launches include Cassidian CyberSecurity's new counter-malware solution, which Guy Meguer, General Manager Middle East explains, combats Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). Additionally, Zeroday in cooperation with its strategic partner Apersky will be merging with European markets to provide m-commerce solutions from mobile shopping and payment to NFC technologies. Michael Wellington, CEO of Zeroday sees this launch of vital value to the local and regional market. GBM IT Security will be offering its newly launched Security Framework, allowing customers to meet and exceed IT Industry Best Practices, and Miguel El Khoury, Director of Integrated Networking and Site Services GMB appreciates GISEC as the perfect platform for this launch.

Conference delegates were eager to receive insights on the digital landscape from a regional and international perspective. Qatari delegate Mohammed Al Mansoor said: "This is one of the best events for information security in the Middle East and GISEC is one of the most informational conferences and exhibitions where you can meet expert industry representatives."

"The keynote address of Kevin Mitnick was an eye opener - it was scary to hear the facts however, the content was really informative and useful for information security professionals," said UAE delegate Shahed Baig, IT Security Officer, Total ABK.

"GISEC 2013 is in the eye of a perfect storm at a time of increased cyber-crime in the region, a demand for greater ROI, trends such as BYOD and virtualisation changing the rules of the game, and mainstream media focus on security issues," said Philippe Ortodoro, Vice President EMEA, WatchGuard. "According to IDC, IT security spending in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15.1% over the next five years. At WatchGuard, we experienced a surge of new customers who replaced legacy security systems in Q1. We had the largest quarter ever in terms of trade-in volume, with a 65% YoY increase. This is not coincidence; it simply reflects the reality on the ground today," he added.

Speaking ahead of a live demonstration of his company's next-generation smart card lifecycle software, Joakim Thorén, CEO for Versatile Security said: "We have given GISEC top priority among other trade shows worldwide, because there is robust demand in the Middle East to migrate from basic security to more sophisticated solutions - judging from the phenomenal demand we have witnessed over the last 18 months. We look forward to sharing the exciting capabilities of our new vSEC:CMS, while contributing to a more secure digital community in the Gulf."

At GISEC 87 companies from 18 countries have confirmed their participation including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, Pakistan, KSA, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA. More than 2,000 visitors are expected over the course of the three-day event. The exhibitors, experts and participating companies encompass all aspects of information security - ranging from education and training, telecommunications, business hardware, software, internet and intranet services, cloud infrastructures, data management, mobile devices, advisory services and many more.

Participating companies include AirWatch, Akamai Technologies, Arbor Networks, Cassidian CyberSecurity, Comendo, Deep Secure, Lancope Inc., Dell Sonicwall Inc., Spire Solutions, Splunk Inc. and Watchguard amongst others. Sponsors of the GISEC conference include GBM; CSC; eLearnSecurity, Help AG Juniper Networks; Aujas Networks, BlackBerry, Guidance Software, Qualys and Zeroday.

Powered by GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, the region's leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) event, GISEC is strictly a trade-only event and is open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. GISEC is open 10am-6pm until 5 June. Visitor attendance is free of charge. For more information, please visit www.gisec.ae

-Ends-

About Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC)
Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC) is the Middle East's most anticipated IT security knowledge platform for 2013. The event features a three-day exhibition from 3 - 5 June and a two-day conference from 4 - 5 June at the Dubai World Trade Centre .

Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre and powered by GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, the region's largest annual ICT event, GISEC attracts top industry professionals including CIOs, CTOs, CSOs and senior management from key industries including finance, energy, telecoms, government sectors and IT. GISEC connects visionaries, thought-leaders, practitioners and innovators who are transforming the information security landscape. A premier lineup of speakers and experts are planned to drive the conversation in new and strategic direction.

About Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)
As the organiser of Gitex Technology Week, Gulfood, Dubai International Motor Show and many others, Dubai World Trade Centre offers more than 33 years' experience delivering world-class events in the Middle East, providing local, regional and international exhibitors with unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge. Our team organises 18 of the largest and most successful international and regional shows in Middle East, providing an ideal platform for business development in the region.

Our commitment to on-going innovation within the exhibition industry has supported the rapid growth and development of a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer shows, and delivered consistent satisfaction to exhibitors and visitors. DWTC works with the leading trade bodies and industry associations to ensure that all exhibitions deliver full value and are built upon the real needs of their specific sector.

For more information, please contact:
Rafaa Sleiman
PR Manager
Alsayegh Media
+971 50 924 543
rafaa.sleiman@alsayeghmedia.com

Amelia Naidoo
Jehad Kamal

Manager - PR & Media Relations
Manager - PR & Media Relations

+971 55 747 9086
+971 50 429 9150

Amelia.Naidoo@dwtc.com
Jehad.Kamal@dwtc.com

© Press Release 2013


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