Infected PCs spiking in the Mideast, says Trend Micro

DUBAI - Internet content security provider Trend Micro is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of infected computers in the UAE and the Middle East because users are not fully aware of the measures needed to prevent them, a top official said.

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Sat 13 Nov 2010, 11:14 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:10 PM

“It’s an illegal trillion-dollar industry,” Trend Micro Security Advisor Rik Ferguson told Khaleej Times. “It is even more profitable than [the] illegal drugs [industry].”

In his presentation, Ferguson revealed that from 2004, the number of computer owners in the Middle East has risen multi-fold, and along with this, an even bigger number of threats to users. “The number of compromised machines is a key indicator of how well cyber criminals are doing in stealing from this region,” he said.

According to statistics from the Tokyo-based technology firm for September 2010, the UAE has 91,439 infected computers, a 33 per cent jump in less than a year. And as for the present year to that month, the figure is at 419,471, an almost-10,000 per cent spike from 2004, where it stood at only 4,229.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, had 421,998 compromised machines in the same month, a 65 per cent increase in less than a year.

On a larger scale, the GCC had 800,297 infected computers in September, a 60 per cent increase in less than 12 months. For the Middle East, there are 2,072,114 compromised machines in 2010. Both figures continue to rise.

In his presentation, Ferguson furthered that the number of threats that lurk on the Internet — including malware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, bots and lots more — continue to be on the rise, as fast as seconds go by. He cautioned that users should be fully responsible before clicking away. “You have to make sure of what you are about to do — what you’re receiving and opening — before you actually do it,” Ferguson said, referring to the various forms cyber criminals use to do their business.

“The bad guys are winning because… we are not taking security seriously and I see this growth continuing unless we start to recognise that this region is vulnerable and we start to take steps to protect ourselves.”

Ferguson highlighted that Trend Micro — along with authorities and other Internet security providers — have stepped up in the battle against cyber crime, noting that a number of groups engaged in this business have already been brought to the law.

Trend Micro — from among its wide range of security software — has an application called House Call, which can check whether a computer has been infected, and it also performs additional security scans to identify and fix vulnerabilities to prevent re-infections.

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