Cyberattacks increasing in UAE, study says
Cape Town - A total of 1,101,745 phish attacks were recorded in the UAE during the first quarter of 2019.
Malware attacks in UAE increased by 12 per cent in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period last year, according to a global cyber security company.
New research figures released by Kaspersky Lab on Monday showed that 23.4 million malware threats were reported in the country during the Q1 2019.
A total of 1,101,745 phish attacks were recorded in the UAE during the first quarter of 2019, an average of 12,141 threats daily, Amin Hasbini, head of global research and analysis for Kaspersky in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said during the firm's Cyber Security Weekend, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa on April 29.
Mobile malware attacks reported in the UAE, according to the figures, reached 52,607 during the Q1 2019, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2018.
"Many firms are facing malware attacks and a lot of these are caused by employees making inappropriate use of IT company property, inappropriate sharing of data via mobile devices, physical loss of company owned devices and others," said Hasbini. "Mobile phones are becoming a major problem as many employees tend to use their devices to share company information which makes it vulnerable to attackers."
The experts discussed various threats facing organisations and ordinary users nowadays, and shared the required steps to stay safe.
Particular focus was laid on modern and emerging technologies such as IoT security, blockchain, and industry-specific threats that can have direct impact on business success and longevity. "With organisations facing a wide range of cyberthreats that come from the outside as well as the inside, they should have a holistic approach to cybersecurity that unites an effective IT solution, employee education and security policies understood and followed by employees," Hasbini told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the conference. "A complete security strategy should include all stages-prediction, prevention, detection and response."
Sergey Novikov, deputy director of global research and analysis at Kasperky said more than 27 percent of Kaspersky users faced some sort of cyber threat during the first quarter of 2019.
"There is continued need for security awareness and education into clear relief to ensure online users are protected from cyber attackers," said Novikov.
"There has been about an 8 percent increase in malware detection in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year."
Kaspersky Lab reported more than 150 million malware attacks in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) during the Q1 alone, representing an average of 1.6 million attacks per day, an alarming 108 percent increase over Q1 2018.
Baran Erdogan, Founder and CTO of Secure Computing, Turkey, who attended the event as an expert guest said two major factors that are changing rapidly, significantly increase the need for cyber awareness. "The first factor is that the attack perimeters are evolving," he said.
"In the past IT centric security was mainly taken into consideration since users had limited access to IT resources from less complex interfaces. But now corporate data is accessed from everywhere including mobile devices and cloud, and any company that is willing to grow and develop, should make these opportunities accessible as much as possible."
The second factor, according to Erdogan, is that attack vectors are getting more complex and user centric. "Cybercriminals are focusing on employees since it is much easier to penetrate cyber defense measures from inside of a company by leveraging employees without necessary awareness level rather than from outside," he added.