Mideast firms don't care about cyber threat

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

Are companies in the Middle East and the UAE least bothered about security despite repeated and complicated attacks on IT infrastructure?

Two recent studies by different organisations are stating that it could be true and that almost 40 per cent don’t even bother to install basic security infrastructure.

While hackers usually target large corporations and banks, several studies have proved that even small and medium businesses could be vulnerable to attack.

A recent Kaspersky alert pointed out to a multinational gang of cybercriminals which has been stealing as much as $1 billion from as many as 100 financial institutions around the world during the past two years.

Companies in the Middle East could be easy targets for hackers as a majority of them do not have any required security infrastructure in place, a new report has revealed.

Security firm Symantec whose core business is selling anti-virus software and deploying security infrastructure to protect businesses, and research firm Deloitte have together come out with a report which states that only about 30 per cent of businesses in the Middle East have deployed the required infrastructure to protect themselves against cyber threats.

What this means is that at least 68 per cent of the companies lack the internal capabilities to protect against sophisticated cyber-attacks.

With seven in 10 IT decision-makers lacking complete confidence in their company’s cyber security policies, organisations in the Middle East are underestimating the risk of cyber threats, the study notes.

Over half (56 per cent) of IT decision-makers do not believe their business has suffered a cyber-attack despite Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report suggesting otherwise. Further, 62 per cent of survey respondents in the Middle East fail to treat corporate IP, customer, employee and financial information as completely confidential.

The numbers are interesting and slightly better than another similar report that was released last month by global Application Delivery Networking leader F5 Networks and claimed that almost 82 per cent, or eight out of 10 respondents, ranked their organisation’s vulnerability to cybercrime, hacking and “hacktivism” as “very” or “extremely” vulnerable, and 79 per cent agreed that it is more difficult than ever to protect their organisations from associated security threats.

What’s more only eight per cent said they are completely confident their organisation has consistent IT security measures across its entire IT network.

8 of 10 UAE firms vulnerable to cybercrime, hacking
According to Symantec even simple procedures, such as installing security software are not considered a necessity by 41 per cent of organizations.

“Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network has identified a 91 per cent increase in targeted attacks and a 62 per cent increase in data breaches in 2013 over the previous year. Cyber criminals have stepped up their game in the past year, and businesses have not kept pace.

“This latest survey demonstrates there is still a huge gap in security intelligence and understanding by IT managers on how to combat malware and cyber-attacks. Senior management needs to be more engaged and develop a strategic security approach to prevent the organization from being exposed with a potential for significant loss,” said Bulent Teksoz, Technical Alliance Manager, Symantec. 

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