Scope of Work:
Concept & Creative Direction,
Event Operations, Official
Contracting, Congress Design
& Build, Floor Management,
HITB+ Cyberweek - 2021
Organised by Hack in the Box (HITB), a Malaysia based cyber security platform and event organiser, and supported by Disrupt AD, an Abu Dhabi Government initiative that supports tech start-ups, Cyberweek took over ADNEC’s ICC Hall from 24 and 25 November 2021.
HITB organises must-attend training, conferences and technical talks on computer security around the world. ‘HITB+CyberWeek’ combines the HITB Security Conference with an exhibition, training opportunities as well as games, challenges, competitions and fascinating speakers.
The hybrid, second edition of Hack in the Box, Abu Dhabi re-located to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre as the event outgrew its original hotel venue. Organised around 4 main pillars – Hacking, Making, Building and Breaking, HITB+ CyberWeek 2021 hosted a curated selection of invited speakers and subject matter experts. Speakers include experts on cybersecurity and technology from around the world such as Matt Johnson, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Ledger, and Chema Alonso, Hacker, Cybersecurity Expert, and Chief Digital Officer at Spanish Telecoms giant , Telefónica.
The pre-event training element was comfortably accommodated in ten of the venues Capital Suites meeting spaces.
The hybrid, main event, streamed on HITB’s own platform utilised the multifunctional ICC space which was divided into three areas and comprised a main stage, four streams, presentation zone, a TV studio at the heart of the action for the hybrid component and an exhibition and competition area.
The event attracted c.1000 competitors and spectators with the competition element bringing together teams from around the world compete to literally hack into and expose security weaknesses in a number of smart technologies including an ATM and a car.
ADNEC’s in-house travel company, Capital Travel worked with the organiser providing visa application services, airport transfer services and provided a total of 775 room nights over the event – 289 of which were at the ADNEC owned interconnected, 5-star Andaz hotel with the rest at the Rotana hotels situated within walking distance, across the road from the venue.
Full production of the event was provided by ADNEC Group’s in-house event services arm, ADNEC Services. ADNEC services were engaged to conceptualise all production and build for capture the flag area, exhibition area, all stand builds, the TV studio as well as the four stages of streams in the ICC area around the themes, Hack, Make, Break, Build.
This first international cyber security competition at ADNEC highlights the venue’s capability to be completely transformed into a dynamic and dramatic backdrop for a high-stakes international competition set against the clock. Hack in the Box events are usually held at hotels and hack in the Box Event Producer, Darryl Yeoh, commented that ‘the event has definitely changed in a blank canvas venue and allowed for more freedom in designing the event layout. We changed our format, we usually have two tracks but for this event we tried out four tracks featuring ‘silent stages’ as we had the space and this worked very well when it came to the hybrid part of our event.”
The five-day event attracted over two thousand attendees and ten start-ups from around the world, culminating in a high-octane final day where the conclusion of the Pro Capture the Flag (PRO CTF) competition, saw teams (16 in-person and another virtually) battling to win a prize of 116,000USD as well as bonus prizes for participating university teams. The contest was ultimately won by Bushwackers, a Russian team.
ADNEC Services shone as creative agency and production partner working hand-in-hand with the organiser to create an impressive experiential and immersive environment for the event.
Darryl continued “ADNEC Services were good to work with, we liked the fact that everything was in-house, it made things much simpler for us as event organisers. ADNEC Services were very hands-on which really helped, our main point of contact Ernesto put the entire event together and we really appreciate his help.
We also appreciate Capital Experience and the agility they were able to provide, reducing the overall load on us from a flights and accommodation standpoint.
The event has been a success and we have had a lot of good feedback about the hands-on exhibits. This is our first event since the start of the pandemic and it was refreshing. We can’t wait to do it again.”