Cyber safety training must be compulsory to combat attacks

The biggest, most damaging and largely widespread threat faced by many organisations, even individuals, are phishing attacks

By Sheikha A. Almheiri

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Published: Fri 3 Dec 2021, 3:52 PM

In today’s world, with everyone using computing or mobile devices within an environment handling almost every sensitive information, the need for security awareness training has become essential. The threat perception is far higher than before and it should not come as a surprise to anyone that a drastic rise in the reliance on cyber technologies does bring unique challenges to the security professionals safeguarding our invaluable assets.

Competitive advantage is the ability of an organisation to use technology to achieve its business priorities. Majority of organisations are rapidly embracing emerging technologies — such as blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent automation (IA), big data, additive manufacturing, and robotics — in their bid to ramp up efficiency quotient. The UNCTAD’s data for 2019 showed that the market size of these technologies was $344 billion (Dh1.26 trillion) worldwide and is expected to reach $2.6 trillion (Dh9.55 trillion) by 2025.

Cyberspace opportunities evolved because of scaling, increasing speed and interconnectivity, and becoming dynamic has created multiple sources of systemic risk spreading at levels and speeds yet unknown.

Gartner has estimated that the cloud technology market value today stands at $270 billion (Dh992 billion) and is likely to cross $692 billion (Dh2.54 trillion) by 2025. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of cloud technologies as organisations — both government and private — shifted to remote work. However, it also became a source of massive cybersecurity challenges, even among developed nations with state-of-the-art digital infrastructure. Cyber-intrusion not only hit large corporations but also exposed critical infrastructure like hospitals, bridges, airports, electrical grids, hydroelectric dams, manufacturing units, etc.

The biggest, most damaging and largely widespread threat faced by many organisations, even individuals, are phishing attacks. According to Expert Insights, phishing accounts for 90 per cent of all breaches that organisations face, an increase of 65 per cent in a year, accounting for over $12 billion (Dh44.08 billion) in business losses worldwide. The UAE lost $1.4 billion (Dh5.14 billion) in financial damages due to a 250 per cent increase in cyberattacks in 2020 — of which $1.1 million (Dh 4million) was due to phishing attacks.

The cybersecurity market was valued at $161 billion (Dh591.35 billion) in 2019, and it is expected to reach $363 billion (Dh1.33 trillion)by 2025. With the growth of these cyber threats, there is a need to ensure that we implement appropriate security measures and eliminate any potential weaknesses that could make the system vulnerable to cyber-attack. This includes focus on ransomware, phishing attacks, insider threats, data leaks, social hacking, and related threats. There is also a growing need for appropriate policies and procedures to eliminate human error.

We need to continue raising the public’s awareness of the damages caused by the cyberattack, resulting in theft of valuable, sensitive data and also affecting our personal lives.

(The author is the Chairwoman of Newage Learning)

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