Women at the forefront of cybersecurity AI-driven discussions at GISEC Global 2024 in Dubai


Women at the forefront of cybersecurity AI-driven discussions at GISEC Global 2024 in Dubai

Cybersecurity officials have urged more women to pursue a career in the industry and help combat the ever-increasing prevalence of cyber-threats, as females were at the heart of the conversations at GISEC Global 2024 in Dubai.

On the third and final day of the 13th edition of GISEC Global, the ‘Dark Stage’ saw women cybersecurity professionals take to the stage to talk about the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact across the cybersecurity landscape.

Among the 10 sessions that took place, topics included how to attract more women to the industry, fintech assets in banking systems, personal stories from former female hackers, and leveraging AI for enhanced cybersecurity.

In a panel discussion titled ‘Women and Cybersecurity: Redefining Risk and Representation’, Yasmine Idrissi Azzouzi, Cybersecurity Programme Officer of ITU Switzerland, Dr Reem Al Shammari, Cybersecurity and Technology Thought Leader, Energy Sector of Kuwait, and UAE’s Alya Al-Saadi, Cybercrime Programme Coordinator of Interpol, delved into the industry and what the future holds.

Yasmine Idrissi Azzouzi, said: “There is still a long way to go (in getting more females involved). There are already some women working in this industry but it’s also a question of changing mentality, culture and realising there is extra value of women participation in this sector.”

She added: “Cybersecurity is not only a career but is also a mindset of perfection and taking advantage of the digital world. It is important to realise that entry level jobs are hard to come by, as there are not many opportunities. However to address this and enter the industry, people can rescale from another field whether it’s healthcare or law as the same skills and experience are needed.”

Alya Al-Saadi said: “Women can play a big role in raising awareness of cyber space and cybersecurity while AI platforms can be a vital tool where it can open new opportunities in terms of new practices and the digital economy.”

Dr Reem Al Shammari said: “I think it’s vital that there is more awareness and education for females to understand the importance of the sector. It is also important for females to embrace the opportunities that cybersecurity is opening as these efforts will make the industry more inclusive.”


In another session, Valerie Thomas, a cybersecurity expert and ex-hacker, shared her story of her journey. She said: “I did my first hack when I was 15-years-old and hacked into the account of a boy at my school class, and from that moment, I found that the digital way is easier.

Alina Tan, an ethical hacker from Singapore, explained why she has now taken the decision to help organisations improve their security system. She said: “I’ve believed in doing good things, and giving back to the community is an important factor which is why I am now giving advice as it’s important to be working with others to address future issues.”

The audience also heard from Dr. Hoda A.Alkhzaimi, Co-Chair for Global Future Council for Cybersecurity of the UAE. She delivered an engaging presentation in the AI’s role in proactive threat detection and response and how organisations can thrive in today’s dynaymic threat landscape.

To learn more about GISEC Global 2024, visit






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