Over 200 speakers gathered earlier this week in an opulent conference hall in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh, for a first of its kind cyber security conference, titles @Hack. The conference was organized by Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming and Drones (SAFCSP), in collaboration with Black Hat.
This three-day conference, held between November 28th – 30th, served as a meeting point and place to discuss technological challenges and advancements, as the Kingdom charges on with its highly ambitious Saudi Vision 2030, aimed at reducing the its dependence on oil and diversifying its economy through cutting-edge innovation. The Saudi Gazette reports that one goal to be met by 2030, is to increase the number of programmers to one out of every 100 Saudis.
Some 250 cyber security experts, ethical hackers, risk assessment experts, policy makers, researchers and members of academia discussed emerging threats, policy and regulation, recommended cooperation methods and innovative solutions, in the larger context of the challenges facing the global cyber sphere. In addition to the plenary and to an exhibition hall, $1M SAR were distributed among the winners of various cyber challenges.
Among industry leaders whose representatives spoke at the conference were Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Google, Mandiant and many others – as well as Israeli companies (or companies founded by Israelis) with a distinct international presence, such as SentinelOne, Imperva, Palo Alto Networks, and CyberArk. The @Hack website also lists Check Point as an exhibitor at the conference.
Updates: in response to my request for additional information, SentinelOne stated that the company had nothing to expand upon beyond the exisiting publication (this article had already published by the time the response was submiittted). Impoerva and CyberArk did not respond to my query on the matter. Check Point stated that the company has been operating an office in the Gulf for over ten years with all local employees, and that no Israeli nationals had attended the conference.