Black Hat MEA welcomed over 30,000 visitors

The MEA edition for Black Hat in Riyadh concluded with more than 30,000 visitors attending the three-day show. Now in its second year, the conference is without doubt the largest such event in the region as attendees take part in seminars, workshops, hacking demonstrations, and competitions with 1 million SAR awarded as prizes and talks from world-renowned experts.

This year’s event saw 257 speakers hosting more than 200 sessions and over 100 workshops. The event attracted more than 200 Cybersecurity CEOs along with over 250 of the world’s leading technology companies such as Cisco, IBM, Spire, and Infoblox along with 200 exhibitors on ground.

The Capture the Flag competition’s 300,000 SAR first prize was awarded to DiceGang. It was organized in collaboration between Black Hat MEA and Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) and involved over 1,000 participants including 50 of the world’s best hacking teams as they tested their ethical hacking skills related to the Web, PWN, Forensics, Reverse Engineering, crypto and more. Second place and 200,000 SAR went to {{7*7}}, Five Boys Cry came in third with 100,000 SAR, C4T BuT S4D was in fourth receiving 60,000 SAR and Cookie Storm got fifth place with an award of 40,000 SAR. 

Anas Rouby claimed the Bug Bounty contest’s 70,000 SAR top prize which took place during the 3 days of the event. It brought together selected teams to track down and conduct bug hunts on real-world companies on the platform. Abdulrahman Makki was the runner-up with 40,000 SAR, and Abdulrahman Albattel received 30,000 SAR for third place. Roaa Aljrefani won the Most Critical Vulnerability category receiving 15,000 SAR and Turki Alharthi was awarded 10,000 SAR in the Best Quality Report category.

CyberTalents, a global platform for learning, practicing, and testing cybersecurity skills to discover and match the top talent with companies to secure their businesses, won the CyberSeed Start Up competition, taking home a prize of 90,000 SAR. The competition offered six startups the chance to pitch their ideas to a high-profile panel during the event packed into a four-minute presentation.

Salman Faqeeh, Managing Director, Cisco, Saudi Arabia, said “For the last 25 years, Cisco has been at the forefront of delivering innovative technology to the Kingdom as part of our commitment to the Saudi market and to growing the technology ecosystem in the country. As organizations and governments are now rapidly digitizing in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, highlighting cybersecurity is imperative for IT decisionmakers to achieve security resilience and protect the integrity of their business withstanding any threats.” 

Sanjeev Walia, Founder and President, Spire Solutions, said “Being a part of the first Blackhat in the Middle East & Africa region as a Strategic Partner has been an exceptional experience. Our approach to solving current and emerging cybersecurity changes resonated really well with the government organizations and enterprises we met with. It’s important for the cybersecurity community to frequently come together and help advance the entire ecosystem collectively, proactively.”

Mike Champion, Regional Executive Vice President of Informa Markets, said he was delighted with the rapid growth of the event. “We have had a fantastic response from partners, exhibitors, speakers, and visitors to Black Hat MEA,” he said. “The cybersecurity community in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly and that is reflected in the fact that we had more than 30,000 people attend during the three-day event. We are excited to bring even more insightful and thought-provoking speakers while showcasing the latest innovative advancements in cybersecurity to future events.”