Middle East business security enhanced with best threat intelligence

As the region continues to grow and evolve, the demand for a sophisticated, coordinated, and strategic application of threat intelligence will only intensify

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By Shagun Sharma

Published: Thu 14 Sep 2023, 5:41 PM

Governments, businesses, and industries in the Middle East are increasingly dependent on a digital framework, which simultaneously opens avenues for cyber threats and malicious activities.

Understanding the complex landscape requires a comprehensive approach, one that applies threat intelligence to secure critical systems, protect sensitive data, and foster collaborative cyber defenses.

The Middle East's digital transformation is escalating the need for robust threat intelligence. This evolution has led to the emergence of multiple trusted threat intelligence platforms, reflecting a strategic alignment critical for secure operations in the region.

Cybersecurity trends in the Middle East

Governmental and Manufacturing sectors attract 22 per cent of total cyberattacks, with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups responsible for 56 per cent of these. A report by Cyble Research and Intelligence Labs identifies a new focus on the BFSI and IT sectors. Kaustubh Medhe, VP — research and threat intelligence at Cyble, pointed out, "The Middle East is an extremely dynamic region from a cybersecurity standpoint. From APT groups to Hacktivism, the events that unfold in the Middle East region have a domino effect worldwide due to its unique geographic and geopolitical influence on global affairs."

Digital transformation and cyber threats in the Middle East

Rapid technological advancements in the region have also opened doors to cyber threats aimed at critical infrastructure and governmental bodies. Threat intelligence serves as a cornerstone for risk mitigation, offering critical insights to build strong cybersecurity strategies.

Effective risk management

Due to rising cyber threats, proactive risk management is essential in the Middle East. Threat intelligence enables organisations to gain insights into potential threats and vulnerabilities, aiding in resource allocation and mitigation prioritisation.

Attack surface management

The digital expansion of organisations enlarges their attack surface, making specialised platforms like Cyble Vision indispensable. Vision detects vulnerabilities across web and mobile apps, cloud devices, and other platforms, providing actionable insights for InfoSec teams.

Effective attack surface management is key to effectively securing an organisation's digital footprint. For this, large-scale organisations and even governmental entities often leverage the help of specialised threat intelligence platforms such as Cyble Vision, which has already been making a name for itself in the region.

Brand monitoring

As the Middle East continues to witness rapid digitisation, incorporating brand intelligence into risk management frameworks becomes even more crucial to safeguard against evolving threats.

The digital landscape of the Middle East places brand reputation at high risk. Platforms like Vision contribute to risk management by identifying malicious domains and impersonators, thus preserving organisational reputation.

Through rapid takedowns of malicious domains, identifying and acting against brand impersonators, and identifying phishing attempts before they begin, Brand Intelligence is critical in securing an organisation's reputation and digital risk footprint.

Threat Intelligence Collaboration in the Middle East

Collaboration is emerging as a key defense strategy. Initiatives like GCCCERT, OICCERT, and the Middle East North Africa Threat Sharing Program are fostering a collaborative environment. Cyble Vision is increasingly employed for threat intelligence gathering and sharing, elevating regional cybersecurity.

Examples of Collaborative Impact

  • GCCCERT’s timely sharing of intelligence helped mitigate nation-state attacks on critical infrastructure.
  • OICCERT allowed for real-time sharing during a ransomware outbreak.
  • Middle East North Africa Threat Sharing Program enabled the quick containment of a sophisticated phishing campaign.

Large Scale Cyber Attacks in the Middle East

There’s been an increase in large-scale cyberattacks, especially from major APT groups focusing on Manufacturing and Critical Infrastructure, as Cyble observed in its recent report, where Turkey was the fourth-highest targeted nation worldwide.

Threat Actors Targeting the Region

The Middle East faces a constant threat from various actors who exploit vulnerabilities in cyber infrastructure. APT groups like APT34 (OilRig) have repeatedly targeted regional sectors, such as energy and aviation, while others like APT33 have been implicated in more comprehensive espionage activities. The evolving threats in the Middle East require a robust, informed defense strategy, and threat intelligence plays a crucial role. By understanding the threat landscape and monitoring trends, threat intelligence in the Middle East provides the insights necessary to design effective countermeasures, ensuring continued safety and security.

Governmental and Regulatory Changes in the Middle East

In the Middle East, governments are at the forefront of cybersecurity reforms. From Saudi Arabia's National Cybersecurity Authority to the UAE's Information Assurance Standards, nations are laying the groundwork for a resilient cyber ecosystem. These efforts manifest in national strategies, regulatory bodies, legal frameworks, and international cooperation. Threat intelligence in the Middle East is woven into these initiatives, informing policies, shaping regulations, and ensuring alignment with global best practices.

Global Correlations and Unique Trends in the Middle East

Cyber threats in the Middle East correlate with global trends. Analysing and understanding these connections can reveal unique regional trends, vital for shaping informed strategies. For instance, the regional focus on energy infrastructure contrasts with the global trend of financial cyber threats. Recognising these nuances ensures that threat intelligence in the Middle East is attuned to both global threats and local specificities.

Implications for National Security and Cyberwarfare

In the Middle East, cyber warfare and national security are intricately linked. The rise of state-sponsored cyberattacks, targeting both neighbouring and distant foes, has created an urgent need for comprehensive threat intelligence and widespread awareness of cybersecurity news. These cyber operations extend beyond digital disruption; they carry political, economic, and strategic implications. Threat intelligence in the Middle East informs not only the tactical response but also shapes the broader national security agenda, integrating cyber considerations into the overarching defense strategy.


Threat intelligence in the Middle East is central to this journey, encompassing areas such as digital transformation, risk management, collaboration, and understanding large-scale cyberattacks.

As the region continues to grow and evolve, the demand for a sophisticated, coordinated, and strategic application of threat intelligence will only intensify. This alignment ensures that the Middle East's digital future is secure, resilient, and aligned with global norms, forging a path toward a robust cybersecurity landscape that is prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.

— Shagun Sharma is a business journalist

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