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Get anti-malware for your mobile phones

Dhanusha Gokulan / 21 September 2013

The government will find it challenging to implement m-services as mobile anti-malware rates have soared in the UAE, a senior official at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has said.

 Currently, 500,000 malware or malicious software have been detected in computers across the UAE, according to research conducted by the United Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT), the cyber security coordination centre in the country.

Speaking at the Du Cyber Security Conference in Dubai on Thursday, Saeed Belhoul, Director, e-Government Operations of the TRA, also stated that cyber laws were not yet adequate to deal with the soaring anti-malware rates.

As of November 2011, the number of daily targeted attacks against computers in the UAE rose significantly, according to an analysis published by IT security provider Symantec. Data released by the company showed the virus rate soared from one in 433.4 in October to 327.9 during the following month.

However, since most mobile phones are now open sourced and most people use their phones without an anti-virus system, they become increasingly vulnerable to malware threats.

Last year, mobile malware increased by 58 per cent, and 32 per cent of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as email addresses and phone numbers. Surprisingly, these increases cannot necessarily be attributed to the 30 per cent increase in mobile vulnerabilities.

Spam and SMiShing continue to grow at a rapid pace, as there are billions of mobile phone subscribers who use text messaging.

Belhoul also said that mobile threats were on the rise, and that more than half the mobile threats operating in the UAE were profit-based.

“People must understand that mobile phones, especially smart phones, are full-fledged computers,” said Belhoul. 

Given the increasing transition of services and storage into the cloud as well as the prevalence for mobile services and applications, du organised the first Cyber Security Conference.

Osman Sultan, CEO, du, presented the opening speech followed by a keynote address from Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer, BeyondTrust, a leading security and compliance management company.

Marwan Abdulla bin Dalmook, senior vice-president - Technology Security and Risk Management, Operations, du, said: “Security must be integrated into the very fabric of an organisation.” 

Maiffret said: “Nintey-five per cent of all attacks come from known vulnerabilities and are preventable.” American national Maiffret began his career in cyber security after spending his teen years as a hacker.

According to Maiffret, an organisation’s biggest assets for cyber security were its employees. “The most important security investment is in your people,” he said.

Information technology technicians in a firm must be trained to recognise prospective malware, and good governance control was key to keeping the system safe from attackers, according to Maiffret.

Belhoul also added that adequate laws must be enforced pertaining to the cyber space security and adequate corporate governance that ensured the protection of data records and individuals’ right to privacy must be in place. -dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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