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Regional Cybersecurity Leaders Promote Joint Action Against Cybercrime at GSMA M360 EURASIA 2023 Conference



On the sidelines of the GSMA M360 EURASIA 2023 conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, cybersecurity experts from the Middle East and Central Asia highlighted the need for collective action to address the global cybersecurity challenge at an exclusive media roundtable.

Dr. Tural Mammadov, Director of the Azerbaijan Computer Emergency Response Center (CERT), was joined in the panel by Dr. Mohammad Khaled, Director of Business Development and Strategic Projects, e& Enterprise, Dr. Elvin Balajanov, Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan Cybersecurity Organization Association and Dr. Aloysius Cheang, Chief Security Officer, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia. Dr. Haitham Hilal Al Hajri, Sr. Executive – Cyber Security Projects, Oman National CERT, moderated the discussions.

Dr. Tural Mammadov observed that given the scale of the cybersecurity threat, no single regulatory body possesses enough depth to police cybercrime effectively. “The solution lies in all stakeholders working together, including bringing end-users on board. Numerous attacks today bypass information systems entirely and target end users directly. Telecoms cannot react to such threats as they lack visibility, requiring joint action by service providers, cybersecurity experts, and the end users.”

Under the theme of “Build more secure and resilient telecom networks to support the future digital economy efficiently,” participants in the media roundtable discussed various topics, including collaborations among network operators and their partners, suppliers, and customers in defending against telecom cybersecurity, how regulators could promote local telecom industry’s cybersecurity development, and the role that cybersecurity plays in safeguarding critical information infrastructure and the digital economy, among other topics.

Dr. Mohammad Khaled reiterated the need to diversify solutions and technology providers as part of an effective cyber defense strategy. “If we try to build one solution to defend against all threats, whatever application we put in place can be easily understood, manipulated, and finally breached. Since we face numerous cybersecurity threats, we must by necessity deploy as many cyber defense tools that address specific challenges.”

Similarly, Dr. Elvin Balajanov, Azerbaijan Cybersecurity Organization Association, stated that since the telecom infrastructure is built upon multiple technologies, then a multi-stakeholder cybersecurity approach is required to implement a holistic cybersecurity strategy. “A holistic approach promotes information sharing, which is very important, especially considering that different stakeholders depend on each other. Further, the cybersecurity landscape is too diverse and rapidly evolving; therefore, all stakeholders must remain informed and up-to-date.”

Dr. Aloysius Cheang highlighted the importance of regional cybersecurity initiatives such as OIC-CERT and the ITU Arab Regional Cyber Security Center in the overall war against cybercrime. “Through multinational efforts such as these, we can find synergies such as initiating joint projects, which can then be customized and localized. That said, such projects should follow a public-private partnership (PPP) model. In such a scenario, the industry should drive the process while governments provide the framework to ensure success.”

The telecom industry has become an integral part of modern society and is recognized as a critical infrastructure industry (CII). It plays a vital role in connecting people, businesses, and governments, facilitating communication, information sharing, and commerce on a global scale. However, as telecom networks become more complex and interconnected, they become more vulnerable to cyber threats.

Global standards, internationally agreed processes, and industry best practices are critical in addressing cyber threats effectively. NESAS/SCAS is an ideal example of global collaborative efforts in this domain. It offers a standardized cybersecurity assessment mechanism jointly defined by GSMA and 3GPP, the telecom industry’s leading standards-setting organizations, and GSMA 5G Cybersecurity Knowledge Base to provide useful guidance on 5G security risks and mitigation measures.

Toward the end of the session, Dr. Haitham Hilal Al Hajri reiterated that the Cybersecurity of telecoms is a critical component of national security, and therefore, it is essential to bring together telecom stakeholders to achieve a more robust telecom cybersecurity posture. This includes working closely with telecom service providers, equipment manufacturers, government entities, and other ICT industry players to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks, develop and implement best practices, deliver cutting-edge digital services unimpeded by cyber threats, and further continuously raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity in telecom.

Artificial Intelligence

The 43rd Edition of GITEX GLOBAL to Take Place From 16th to 20th October 2023



The surge in international demand has rallied the world’s largest tech and start-up event to scale even higher and bigger in 2023, spearheading a global tech takeover across two Dubai mega venues next month. The 43rd edition of GITEX GLOBAL will take place from 16-20 October 2023, the blockbuster tech showpiece once again reaching full capacity at the Dubai World Trade Centre as it prepares to host more than 6,000 exhibitors, while Expand North Star, the world’s largest start-up event hosted by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, will kick-off its largest ever edition from 15-18 October 2023 at the new Dubai Harbour venue, featuring 1,800 start-ups from 100-plus countries at the Middle East’s biggest iconic superyacht hub.

GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star will comprise a combined 41 halls spanning 2.7 million sq. ft of exhibition space – a 35 per cent increase over the previous year – converging the best minds and most visionary companies to scrutinise, challenge, define, and empower the digital agendas of the world. GITEX GLOBAL will present the year’s largest AI showcase and summit, its record growth fuelled by the AI innovation wave currently gripping the globe’s imagination, as 3,500 AI-infused exhibitors reveal how this next big technology shift is transforming lives, governments, businesses, and society.

Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Events Management, DWTC

The AI boom has also added another layer of complexity to protecting digital assets and critical IP infrastructure, with the elevated GITEX Cyber Valley taking the fight directly to the dark cyber-criminal underworld, gathering leading info-sec brands and global experts at the year’s biggest cyber security showcase. Amplifying this growth, the launch shows GITEX Impact and Future Urbanism Expo promise to be the epicentre of ground-shaking shifts in climate technology while advancing sustainable cities, and co-creating a net zero future ahead of the UN climate change summit, COP28.

“The intense demand for involvement in GITEX from the global tech and start-up community is an acknowledgement of the strong impetus to learn, exchange, debate and challenge the recent developments in the tech sphere,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President of Events Management at DWTC, the organiser of GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star. “From AI, and cyber to the mounting interest in clean tech, GITEX converges public and private sector leaders from more than 170 countries to explore the new unknown paradigms of the future digital economy.”

Steven Yi, President, Huawei MIddle East and Central Asia

Expand North Star hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy will scale to a record size in 2023, featuring 1,800 start-ups start-up exhibitors this year to connect, inspire, and extend engagements in one of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystems. More than 1,000 investors from 70 countries with $1 trillion under management will also converge at the new Dubai Harbour venue, as they look to ramp up the momentum in start-up investment after a year of tepid achievements.

Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, said, “Expand North Star is set to drive the next era of digital entrepreneurship and inspire the next generation of innovators and thinkers. This landmark event will serve as a strategic catalyst to expand the future of Dubai’s digital economy, creating an unrivalled platform to gather key stakeholders from the global start-up community here in the emirate.”

GITEX GLOBAL 2023 welcomes the biggest tech names delving into the latest trends, risks, challenges, and opportunities that are redefining entire industries, spearheaded by returning titans including Dell Technologies, e&, Google, Huawei, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and Tonomus. Among the debut exhibitors supercharging their international growth strategies and forging new connections are Salesforce, Broadcom, Beyon, and Deloitte.

Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy

Steven Yi, President of Huawei Middle East & Central Asia said: “At Huawei, GITEX GLOBAL continues to hold great importance to our business year after year.  This year, our theme, ‘Accelerate Intelligence,’ demonstrates our commitment to delve into the transformative power of AI, networks, and cloud technologies. Together, we will explore how these converging forces are reshaping our world and how we can unleash the full capabilities of AI-powered solutions to reshape industries worldwide with cyber security, privacy protection and safeguarding our customer’s digital transformation journey remaining our top priorities.”

More information is available at and

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CyberKnight Signs up as Official Distribution Partner for MENA ISC 2023



CyberKnight has strategically aligned with VirtuPort as the Official Distribution Partner – Diamond Sponsor for the MENA Information Security Conference 2023, 11th edition, taking place September 12-13 in Riyadh. CyberKnight will be participating with fourteen of its leading international portfolio vendors mapping to the conference theme – Beyond Resilience: Zero Trust Security for an AI-Pioneered Cyber Renaissance, which is expected to draw senior IT Security practitioners from across the region but will predominantly focus on the Saudi Arabia market.

At the event, CyberKnight will support IT Security Leaders from enterprise and government organizations to achieve compliance with local frameworks such as NCA and SAMA, as well as protect their most valuable assets by leveraging Zero Trust. The technologies that will be represented by CyberKnight at the event are:

  • BlueCat – DDI and DNS Security
  • Arista – Software-defined Networking, NPB & NDR
  • Utimaco – Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) and Encryption
  • Appgate – Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SDP
  • Fortra – Classification, DLP, PT, MFT, SEG, DMARC, CDR
  • Illumio – Zero Trust Microsegmentation
  • Checkmarx – Unified Application Security (DAST, SAST, SCA, IAST, RASP, API Security)
  • Phishrod – Phishing Simulation & Defense, End-user Awareness
  • Solarwinds – IT Operations Management & Observability
  • Group–IB – Fraud Detection, ASM, DRP, Threat Intelligence & DFIR
  • Netwrix – Data Access Governance, AD Security, File Integrity Monitoring
  • Elastic – SIEM / Big Data / Log Management
  • CounterCraft – Deception Powered by Threat Intel
  • Skyhigh Security – SSE/CASB/SWG/CNAPP

“MENA ISC has been the most cybersecurity thought leadership-focused conference in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade, with significant attendance by a whole suite of IT Security leaders, influencers, and practitioners coming from various pioneering organizations, which define the cybersecurity landscape in the Kingdom. As a trusted advisor to local enterprises and government organizations, being present at this conference with one of the largest footprints at the event is essential for us as well as our participating vendors to spread the Zero Trust message,” commented Wael Jaber, Chief Strategy Officer at CyberKnight.

“Our purpose remains the same going forward – to help fight cybercrime in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using Zero Trust while achieving compliance. Our advisory approach assists customers to understand where they are on the Zero Trust Security journey today, and where they need to be tomorrow while ensuring they align with the standards set by the local regulatory authorities. Over the course of MENA ISC 2023 in Riyadh, we aim to consult with our customers on the latest and most innovative cybersecurity solutions, share experiences, and provide actionable recommendations to secure organizations,” added Mohammed Tayeb, General Manager Sales – Saudi Arabia at CyberKnight.

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IDC Predicts ICT Expenditure in Saudi Arabia to Exceed $34.5 Billion This Year



Saudi Arabia is propelling itself into a new era of digital innovation. Fueled by an influx of foreign direct investment and a colossal $7 trillion development plan for giga projects, ICT spending in the Kingdom is projected to soar beyond $34.5 billion this year. That’s according to the latest forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), with the global technology research, consulting, and events firm predicting particularly strong compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for software (11.4%) and IT services (8.7%) over the 2022–2026 period.

The government sector is spearheading IT spending in the Kingdom in 2023, with substantial investments being made in the areas of AI, IoT, cybersecurity, and big data analytics — the critical building blocks of an ‘Experience Economy’. The key sectors of finance, communications, energy and resources, and manufacturing will be the next biggest spenders in 2023; however, the healthcare, finance, retail/wholesale, professional services, and education sectors are expected to see the fastest rates of growth over the next five years.

The upcoming IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023, which takes place at the Fairmont Riyadh on September 13-14, will explore these developments and much more as it plays host to the Kingdom’s most influential IT and telecom leaders, digital government pioneers, regulators, and industry thought leaders. “Saudi Arabia’s trailblazing transformation journey is a testament to the Kingdom’s visionary leaders and their unwavering commitment to building a resilient digital economy,” says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC’s associate vice president for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “Guided by their ambition, Saudi CIOs now stand as the architects of tomorrow and will be pivotal in shaping an era where digital prowess empowers a nation’s aspirations. The IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023 will celebrate the Kingdom’s remarkable evolution, providing a unique platform where collaboration, knowledge sharing, and technological innovation converge to lay the foundations for a future unbounded by limitations.”

Addressing the theme ‘Enabling the Digital Economy’s Leaders’, the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023, will explore the current digital landscape and evaluate its pervasive impact on citizens, customers, employees, and operations. There will also be a special guest appearance from Raha Moharrak, who carved her name in history as both the youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits. Her achievements align perfectly with the spirit of transformation that drives the summit, and her presence will inspire attendees to reach new heights in their own digital journeys.

The agenda will incorporate a series of fascinating presentations, dedicated CIO-led panel sessions, and technology focus groups addressing a diverse range of topics such as:

  • Strategies for Developing a Digitally Resilient Organization
  • Envisioning the Future Intelligent Enterprise
  • Shaping CISO Strategies for the Digital-First Organization
  • Data- and Platform-Led Strategies for Realizing Digital Outcomes
  • Digital Trust, Identity, and Security Strategies for the Digital-First Organization
  • Talent Development and the Demand for New Skills: Optimizing Team Structure
  • Sustainable Strategies and Technologies: Operationalization, Impact Measurability, Business Value Creation
  • Vendor Selection and Management: Best Practices and What to Look Out For
  • Cyber Protection for the Threats of Today, and Tomorrow: Dynamic Security Strategies to Minimize Risk
  • Connecting the Distributed Cloud: From the Edge to the Core
  • Enabling the Data-Driven Enterprise
  • Transitioning Through AI and Analytics: Winning in the Intelligent Economy

The event will also feature exclusive insights from IDC’s CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia, whose members include some of the region’s most respected ICT leaders and experts, including:

  • Eng. Naif A. Sheshah, Assistant Deputy Governor for Planning & Development and CDO, Communications, Space & Technology Commission (CST)
  • Yousef Alsuhaibani, CIO, Mobily
  • Sundah Alsehali, CIO, Ministry of Defense
  • Eng. Ghada Albugami, CIO and Presidential Advisor for Digital Transformation, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University
  • Abdulaziz Abanmi, COO, Saudi Payments
  • Khaled Alhazmi, CIO, Saudi Airlines
  • Jason Roos, CIO, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)
  • Yasser Al Yousuf, Assistant Deputy Minister, CISO, CRO, and CDO, Ministry of Justice
  • Bandar Al Shahrani, Head of Digital & Innovation, PIF Projects, Public Investment Fund
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