Over 80% of UAE firms faced a cyber-attack in 2019: Are you protected?
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Over 80% of UAE firms faced a cyber-attack in 2019: Are you protected?

Over 80% of UAE firms faced a cyber-attack in 2019: Are you protected?

With remote working, there is an added impetus on organisations to find and fix the weakest links when it comes to cyber security

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Over 80 per cent of organisations in the UAE reported at least one cyber-attack in 2019, a recent survey of 150 senior IT executives in the country has found.

The survey, by cybersecurity company Proofpoint, also found that over half of the organisations reported multiple incidents, with credential theft and phishing topping the list of common attack vectors.

“Whether via malicious links, account compromise, or social engineering, threat actors are turning their attention to what, for many organisations, is the last line of defence,” says Adenike Cosgrove, EMEA cybersecurity strategist at Proofpoint. “A last line that is often ill-prepared – its people.”

The issue of cyber security has become even more critical in the current businesses landscape, where many companies are working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Cybercriminals thrive on disruption and uncertainty, and are wasting no time in maximising the global pandemic opportunity,” says Cosgrove.

According to Proofpoint, more than 80 per cent of the threat landscape is using coronavirus themes in some way. This includes attacks that don’t outright mention coronavirus in the subject or body of a message, but instead reference it within attachments, links or lures.

“Our threat intelligence team is seeing the cumulative volume of coronavirus-related email lures representing the greatest collection of attack types united by a single theme that they have seen in years, if not ever,” states Cosgrove.

Cyber criminals are also constantly adapting their themes. For instance, while email lures focussed on information about the virus at the onset of the pandemic, they later shifted to travel restrictions, potential cures, invoices for medical equipment and remote work.

“The movement by governments in particular to offer financial support has caught the attention of threat actors who have moved not only to target those funds directly, but to also use them as themes for their phishing attacks. We expect these lures to continue to shift over time to match the latest developments around the virus,” adds Cosgrove.

With growing number of attacks and a distributed workforce, how can organisations ensure that their data remains secure?

“The best protection for this rise in remote working is a combination of technology and people,” advises Cosgrove.

“A new approach is required. One that puts people at the heart of cyber defence – ensuring employees are not just able to spot and deter attacks but are acutely aware of their role in keeping our organisations safe.”

To understand more on measures that companies in the UAE can take in the current climate, join us for a special webinar – Cyber security in the UAE: Preparing today for tomorrow’s attacks in association with Proofpoint.

We will look at research from the region and discuss how businesses are preparing their defences against email-based threats, credential phishing, compromised cloud accounts and ransomware attacks.

We will also highlight how organisations in the UAE are being targeted and the risks these attacks pose, while discussing the best way ahead.

Date: Tuesday | June 16, 2020

Time: 11.00 am Gulf Standard Time

Click here to register

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