51% of UAE users faced financial cyber-attacks in 2014

Police discovered files from accused's phone. (Shutterstock)

More than half of users in the UAE faced online threats involving attempted money theft, with an average amount stolen from each user being Dh900, according to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, over a one-year period.

According to the survey, 51 per cent of users in the UAE faced financial cyber-attacks during the year, with 10 per cent of respondents reportedly losing money as a result.

When explaining how they lost the money, 30 per cent of respondents in the UAE stated that hackers had stolen their money by gaining access to their payment services accounts, 9 per cent believed they had fallen for fraudsters’ tricks and entered their credentials on a fake website and 10 per cent were sure that their logins and passwords had been intercepted by malware.

The average amount stolen from each user was $243 (Dh892), but one victim in five lost over $1,000 (Dh3,670) to this type of online fraud.

During the year, many users’ online accounts – email, social networking, etc. – were hacked. This was reported by 28 per cent of respondents in the UAE.

In addition to being used by cybercriminals to send spam and malicious URLs, compromised accounts can be a source of financial losses.

Information that can be found in a user’s mailbox often includes account credentials sent by payment services and online stores in response to registration and password recovery requests.

In addition, 51 per cent of respondents in the UAE reported a malware-related incident within the past year, with one incident in five resulting in financial losses.

The average damage caused by malware amounted to $173 (Dh635) including, among other costs, expenses associated with mitigating the consequences of infection, getting help from IT experts and purchasing specialised software.

“Some users regard cyber-threats as some sort of remote entities that can only do damage in cyberspace. However, many online threats have clear implications for our lives in the real world – be it lost data or stolen money. Rather than paying for the consequences, it makes much more sense to take care of your security beforehand,” said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.

[Image Shutterstock]

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