According to a recent study by cyber security company Trend Micro, the UAE and Kuwait are the most vulnerable to cyber attacks in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region.
Middle Eastern nations hot targets for cyber attacks
The report highlighted that the majority of countries in the Middle East are prime targets for attacks.
There were 1.7 billion ransomware attacks detected globally in Q1 of 2018.
2.4 million of these were in the UAE, followed closely by Kuwait with 1.9 million.
Other GCC nations also appeared in the list; Bahrain accounted for 1.2 million and Oman accounted for 534,806 attacks in the same period.
Rise in malware and malicious URLs
The UAE and Kuwait also saw a spike in the number of malware infections detected in Q1 of 2018, with 1.6 million and 465,058 infected files respectively.
Similarly, there was an increase in the number of malicious URL victims. The UAE reported 988,264 victims and Kuwait 224,916.
“Businesses should continue to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities”
Cherif Djerboua, regional tech leader at Trend Micro AMEA, said, “As GCC economies shift to digital, securing the cyberspace becomes all the more paramount as there is an increasing risk of calculated and premeditated cyberattacks.
“What we are witnessing now in the Gulf is a long-term transformation and stakeholders ought to regard security as a key infrastructure necessary for a smart city to thrive. Device penetration, interconnectivity, massive data – all of these have started to proliferate and more so in the near future.
“Governments and businesses should continue to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities in order to truly evolve and realise the desired outcomes of these initiatives.”
Organisations should look to adopt best-practice information security standards to protect themselves, such as ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an ISMS (information security management system).
Benefits of ISO 27001 certification
An organisation certified to ISO 27001 will:
- Avoid the penalties and financial losses associated with data breaches;
- Meet increasing client demands for greater data security;
- Protect and enhance its reputation;
- Get independently audited proof that its data is secure; and
- Meet local and global security laws, such as the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).