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Cybercrime: Only 44% UAE users could fully recoup their losses, says study

Carbanak also remotely seized control of ATMs and ordered them to dispense cash at a predetermined time. (AFP)

By Joseph George

Have you ever got your lost money back? Well, a recent survey released by Kaspersky and specific to the UAE market points out that less than 50 per cent of those who have lost their money to cyber criminals have never got their money back.

This, even as online transactions and mobile payments are expected to gain significant momentum during the coming months, especially as Apple rolls out it’s Apple Pay and Samsung, too, plans to launch a similar service with its new flagship.

Mobile already accounts for about 26 per cent of all online transactions globally - a 37 per cent increase year-on-year.

In the United States alone mobile payment is said to expand from $52 billion in 2014 to $142bn by 2019.

A recent survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International found that more than half of those respondents in the UAE who lost money in fraudulent online transactions did not get all – or sometimes any – of their funds back.

The result points out that only 44 per cent of respondents in the UAE reported that they could fully recoup their losses. Twenty-eight per cent victims received only partial compensation, and 28 per cent could not recover any money at all.

It also adds that on an average about $243 or Dh849 is stolen by cybercriminals. Almost a quarter of those who surveyed said they had lost and 22 per cent of respondents reported a loss in excess of $1,000.

“Even if you are sure that the financial company or online store will refund any stolen money in the event of online fraud, you should still be cautious. You may indeed get all the money back – although the figures suggest this only happens about half the time – but the time and stress you will suffer are impossible to compensate. That’s why it’s important to pay special attention to the protection of confidential information, including your financial data,” said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.

Last year in a complaint to ‘Emirates24|7’ a user said he had lost almost Dh4,000 when someone swiped his debit card from a destination in Europe. Interestingly the Indian national who has been living and working in the UAE said he had neither visited Europe ever no\r had lost his card.

Meanwhile, the survey also points out that not all users are fully aware of the danger of cyber fraud. According to the survey, about 28 per cent of respondents in the UAE believe that online crimes involving stolen money are rare occurrences that will not happen to them. Only 24 per cent fear that they can be a target of a cyberattack.

It is not just the corporates who are victims of online fraud. According to yet another recent survey, major companies which mostly includes retailers, computer software firms, and banking institutions, dealing in mobile transactions point out that almost 3 per cent of their revenue is lost due to cyber-attack.

The RSA sponsored survey took into consideration companies with an average revenue of $2.5bn and found that almost an average of $92.3 million was lost in an year to mobile fraud. More than 250 companies in the US were included in the survey.