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UAE, Saudi under siege: Rising threat has crippling effect 

The region is abound with threats.

We have security threats from Houthi missiles to Iranian nuclear plans, and the Syrian war nearby.

We have tariff threats with ripple effects cascading from China and Asia in general.

We have oil price threats, now wilting under the weight of global supply demand criteria.

But an ever-growing threat is leaving people and businesses scrambling for cover.

Say hello to cryptojacking, a truly unwelcome sight for the UAE and Saudi.

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You are not safe

Cryptokjacking is the unauthorized use of one’s computing resources for mining of cryptocurrencies.

According to a recent report by Symantec, instances of cryptojacking has skyrocketed by nearly 8500% in Q4 of 2017, as reported by Forbes.

“Cyber criminals are constantly making use of stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from users and corporate institutions to mine cryptocurrency causing computers to overheat and damaging them,” said Forbes.

Tahawul Tech, an industry site, said that with “a low barrier of entry – only requiring a couple lines of code to operate – cybercriminals are harnessing stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, the U.S. had the largest global share of all cryptomining detections in 2017 at 24%.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has the highest share of cyptominers, while the UAE had the third largest and now ranked 52 globally when it comes to internet security threat, 9th regionally.

The 2017 regional threat ranking is based on eight metrics that represent the main sources of threats: malware, spam, phishing hosts, bots, network attacks, web attacks, ransomware and cryptominers.

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Bloomberg Intelligence revealed that cyberattacks could impact oil-based economies such as the UAE and Saudi.

It quotes a Siemens’ report saying the financial impact of cyberattacks on the Gulf energy industry in 2017 was estimated at over $1 billion.

An executive survey by the World Economic Forum found that cyberattacks tops concerns for UAE businesses in 2018.

“Cyber-attackers tried to trigger a deadly explosion at a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in August 2017 and failed only because of a code glitch,” reported the New York Times recently.

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Added cost to your pocket

A report from Norton by Symantec in January said that a total of 3.72 million UAE consumers lost approximately $1.05 billion to cybercrime in 2017.

The report revealed that 52% of the UAE’s adult online population experienced cybercrime over the course of the year, which average losses of $182 each.

Globally, UAE ranked 41st with 0.30 percent of ransomware attacks detected worldwide. KSA stood at the 25th spot, with 0.61 percent of global detections.

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Mobiles not safe

Accoring to the recent Symantec report, threats in the mobile space continue to grow year-over-year, including the number of new mobile malware variants which increased by 54%.

“Symantec blocked an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications each day last year. As older operating systems continue to be in use, this problem is exacerbated. For example, with the Android operating system, only 20% of devices are running the newest version and only 2.3 percent are on the latest minor release,” Zawya reported recently.