Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference to address key cybercrime issues in banks

May 29, 2014 1:04 pm

With cybercrime being the second most reported economic crime in the Middle East according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, leading experts from the banking and financial sector will convene at the second Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC) 2014 to explore ways to tackle this issue. The event takes place from 9 to 11 June 2014 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

The PwC study suggests that banks are an increasingly desirable target for cyber terrorists and hackers. 39% of financial sector respondents said they had been victims of cybercrime, compared with only 17% in other industries.

One of the key session topics at the GISEC conference will present various case studies of tackling cybercrime in the financial sector. The session will look at how financial institutions use a combination of fraud and cybercrime prevention technology and operations in support of a holistic approach to cybersecurity.

GISEC conference speaker Mohammad Abbas, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of Bank Al Habib, the Pakistan headquartered bank with branches in the GCC, will explore measures and techniques that banks and financial organisations need to focus on to fight the increasing cybercrime rate. He will also address the importance of managing a malware outbreak since malware ranks both in the top threats and the most common security risks facing organisations.

“Online offenses such as money and identity theft are the most common and profitable strategies used by cyber criminals,” said Abbas. “However, cybercrime syndicates are now using even more sophisticated attacks to defence systems put in place by organisations and nations and these need to be tracked accurately with robust defence mechanisms against these syndicates.”

Habib added: “Many government organisations and private sector companies need to take necessary steps and tactics when dealing with malware infections while balancing and maintaining a high operational and low risk profile. They also need to address challenges faced to control deficiencies and align defences with people, processes and technologies.”

According to the PwC survey, the most commonly occurring cyber threats in this region are to applications, systems and networks, but mobile devices, removable storage devices and data held by third parties are also at risk. Recent high profile cases in the Middle East highlight the risks – an example is the 2012 attack when two of the region’s largest oil and gas companies were reported to have been subject to cyberattacks, which affected tens of thousands of individual computers causing widespread disruption.

“Threats are getting more sophisticated and advanced targeted attacks such as APTs are now being launched towards financial services firms. In this IT security context, many of them in the region are now rethinking their IT security strategy and replacing their legacy firewalls both to meet the higher throughput requirements and to tackle the growing number and complexity of threats”, says Alain Penel, Regional Vice President- Middle East, Fortinet.

“In doing so, we advise to adopt technologies that have minimal impact on network latency by permitting rapid deep packet inspection and content analysis, and avoiding a multiple point products approach. Fortinet offers products that deliver performance, visibility and cost-efficiency. These solutions are already in use across a number of leading banks and financial institutions across the region,” Penel added.

Joakim Sundberg, Security Solution Architect, F5, said: “Recently, financial organisations – both globally and in the Middle East – have had to cope with waves of damaging DDoS attacks, forcing a rethink in network protection measures. In parallel, F5 has developed a recommended DDoS Protection reference architecture, a multilayer approach that provides the flexibility and manageability to mitigate even the most crippling of DDoS attacks.”

The UAE has been tightening its cybersecurity net, becoming a leader in this area, not only in the Gulf, but globally too. The country takes cybersecurity so seriously that it was number one in the GCC and number four worldwide in 2012, in the report issued by The International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland, as the UAE leapt up 31 places from its number 35 position in 2011.

“UAE has managed to be at the forefront of Middle East’s information security development because of its continuous efforts to address key challenges faced by emerging economies,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre.

“GISEC continues to offer exhibitors and visitors several opportunities to dissect, debate and discuss the challenges of the regional IT sector. This year’s edition of GISEC provides the perfect platform bringing together the top industry experts, professionals and opinion leaders who play a significant part in the transformation of the IT landscape under one roof. Delegates and visitors will share knowledge in the field of oil & gas, government, legal, healthcare, telecoms and most importantly the banking & finance sector since this sector is one of the major target of cyberattacks,” she added

Organised by DWTC, the GISEC conference will also gather regional and international experts in I.T security such as Robert Bigman, Former Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who will expose the truth about commercial I.T. system security and why most attacks can be thwarted by intelligent I.T. network architecture; Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer of F-Secure, best known for having led a team through the largest outbreaks in history and tracking down the authors of the first PC virus will be speaking on the significance of critical information security issues to empower businesses with superior protection and Wim Remes, Chairman of the Board of Directors at (ISC)2, who will focus on strategies to map out existing infrastructures to adequately protect them against realistic threats among several others.

The conference segment of GISEC, hosting delegates from over 18 countries, will explore issues on global cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats against systems, applications, and personal networks. The two-day focused I.T. security conference along with free-to-attend security sessions on vendor-run educational presentations, workshops, demonstrations, informative speeches and case-studies will give I.T. professionals useful insights to help defend their businesses from cyberattacks.

As the region’s only large-scale information security platform, GISEC will gather together industry, government and thought leaders as well as international and regional cybersecurity experts in various business verticals such as I.T., oil & gas, banking & finance, government, legal, healthcare and telecoms to meet the growing requirements for information security and countermeasures in the region.

The must-attend event is set to draw 3,000 trade visitors from 51 countries and more than 100 exhibitors from the world’s leading information security companies and brands. 91% of last year’s attendees were purchasing decision makers from a wide range of industries.

Among the key sponsors of the exhibition are BT as Strategic Sponsor; GBM as Diamond Sponsor; Spire Solutions and Protection Group International as Platinum Sponsors; Access Data, Websense International, Fire Eye and F5 Networks as Gold Sponsors; Research in Motion (Blackberry), CSC Computer Sciences, Guidance Software and Palo Alto Networks as Silver Sponsors. Meanwhile, Palladium is the sponsor for the IT Security Awards.

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 from 9-11 June. Visitor attendance is free of charge. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact:
Rose Manaog
+971 3693496

Amelia Naidoo
Manager – PR & Media Relations
+971 55 747 9086