UAE cybercrime to grow via social networks, mobile
- United Arab Emirates: Sunday, December 09 - 2012 at 15:23
The UAE will remain a top target for cybersecurity threats in 2013, particularly via mobile and social networks, according to research and predictions by Symantec.
Researchers are linking the spam to pirated software that is boosting the effectiveness of the compromises caused by spam. A monthly report issued early this year found that 1.5 million people in the UAE have fallen victim to cybercrime in the UAE over the last 12 months, costing the country $422m in direct losses.
Now with new vulnerabilities on both mobile devices and social media platforms, it is likely that even more will be affected. This year saw 46% of all social networking users in the UAE fall victim to deliberate attacks, above the global average of 39%. Last year the number of UAE mobile phone users impacted by mobile threats was double the global average.
"In 2013, we foresee a steady rise in targeted attacks towards governments, companies and individuals with financial and political motivation," said Justin Doo, Cloud and Security Practices Director for Symantec MENA.
Symantec's research points to an increase in malware attacks designed to steal payment credentials from social networks and con users into providing payment details, and other personal information.
"In addition to traditional cybercrime, the UAE's high number of mobile devices per person creates a new avenue for increasingly sophisticated incidents. On a global scale, malicious cyber-attacks rose by 81% in 2011 and as this trend continues, organisations in the Middle East need to be vigilant about protecting their information," warns Doo.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a decree last month to combat cybercrimes, with a stringent set of policies that draw the line between acceptable online behaviour and criminal activity.
Seen as largely in place to moderate criticism against ruling powers and derision of the state, the new laws will also impose punishment for attempts to use technology for the unwarranted violation of other peoples' privacy. Despite these new laws being comprehensively designed, the sheer volume of attacks originating from outside of the emirates means that they are unlikely to safeguard end users, even as a deterrent.
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