Cyberattacks are a growing concern in the UAE – News


Companies in the United Arab Emirates were more concerned about various email security issues compared to most other countries

More than 42% of respondents in the United Arab Emirates said they had personal experience of fraud risks

Published: Sat 12 March 2022, 00:13

Organizations in the UAE are increasingly concerned about the threat of cyberattacks, with 84% saying they are preparing for the fallout from an email attack this year.

According to the latest Mimecast State of Email Security 2022 report, more than two-thirds of businesses in the UAE also reported an increase in the number of email threats.

Nearly 95% of UAE organizations that responded to the survey said they had been the target of email-related phishing attempts. However, 30% reported a decrease in the volume of these attacks, with 20% noting that the decrease was “significant”.

Werno Gevers, regional manager at Mimecast Middle East, said this may be due to threat actors switching to other, more targeted methods. “Our data also showed that 54% of organizations reported an increase in business email compromise, while half experienced an increase in insider threats or data breaches initiated by malicious insiders. A positive sign is that all respondents in the United Arab Emirates either have a cyber resilience strategy or are actively considering putting one in place.

Mimecast’s research also found that businesses in the UAE were more concerned about various email security issues than most other countries surveyed: 56% are worried about an increase in the volume of attacks; 48% worry about security-naive employees; and 52% are worried about the growing sophistication of attacks.

Concerns about cybersecurity are also prevalent in the financial and banking sector, especially given the acceleration towards digital channels in recent years. A new study from Entrust titled “The Great Payments Disruption” found that consumers in the Middle East increasingly prefer digital banking experiences, but are concerned about security.

At 61%, the majority of respondents in the UAE said they prefer to do their banking online in one form or another: 60% said they prefer using their bank or credit union’s app, while 29% prefer their desktop web browser. However, 94% of respondents in the UAE said they were concerned about the potential for bank or credit fraud as banking and credit becomes more digital.

More than 42% of respondents in the UAE said they had personal experience of these fraud risks, saying they had been informed of a personal bank or credit fraud in the past 12 months. As a result, 60% of respondents in the UAE decided to switch banks or credit unions.

Andey Casey, Head of Product Marketing at Entrust, explained that the banking and financial services space has always been a key target for bad actors, and the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the opportunities for data breaches and of piracy due to the proliferation of digital technology. and web banking interactions.

“A positive result is that consumers and financial institutions have adapted their behaviors, processes and technology to combat this growing threat, as evidenced by the rapid growth in multi-factor authentication, contactless payments and the use from digital identity verification to enable remote account integration,” said Casey.

Concerns about the future of cybersecurity also came to the fore recently when South American hacking group Lapsus$ breached Samsung’s data security and was able to steal source code for the Galaxy smartphone. The tech giant was quick to reassure users that the cyberattack did not affect customer or employee information.

Chris Vaughan, assistant vice president of technical account management for EMEA at Tanium, said attackers teased stolen source code from various parts of the Samsung network. Some specific parts of the code that have been leaked are key security components for Samsung devices, which could make it easier to hack and break into phones, he said.

“I expect attackers to test if biometric security controls such as fingerprints and face ID can be bypassed. This could even be exploited by law enforcement and pose a privacy concern for Samsung users. We’ve seen several issues in the past with the questioning of phones, including the FBI’s Apple encryption dispute,” he noted.

In theory, this breach could make it easier to write malware to exploit phones remotely, and since Samsung is widely used, the attack surface could be large and lucrative for cybercriminals. The potential consequences of this breach re-emphasize the importance of cybersecurity for all organizations, he stressed.

“Protecting any organization from the impact of a cyberattack comes down to ensuring that there is visibility across the entire IT estate to identify any issues and have controls in place so that any issues can be resolved quickly. In the aftermath of an attack, it is important to start the damage control process immediately, to mitigate the impact as much as possible – and having the right backup and disaster recovery solutions in place is crucial for this. do,” he said.

Similarly, Gevers noted that low levels of preparedness to deal with email spoofing and domain hijacking remain a concern among organizations in the UAE.

“Nearly two in five organizations were only partially prepared – or not prepared at all – to deal with attacks that spoof their domains or websites, although respondents experienced an average of twelve brand spoofing attacks in line over the past year,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see that 98% of companies are using or plan to use a brand protection service this year, while 84% plan to use DMARC to combat brand theft.”

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