The UAE, ranked as one of the most highly spammed countries worldwide in 2011, will continue to be a target for cybercrime attacks for businesses and individuals in 2013, according to security company Symantec.
The UAE witnessed a spam rate of 73 per cent last year, and over the past six months, it has seen a higher percentage of inbound spam in comparison to the global monthly average, Symantec said in a report.
“The high-level of spam can be attributed to cyber criminals capitalising on the rapid growth of internet penetration and pirated software,” the report said.
Earlier this year, the Norton Cybercrime Report claimed that 1.5 million people fell victim to cybercrime in the UAE in the past twelve months, costing the country $422 million (Dhs1.5 billion) in direct financial losses.
In 2012, 46 per cent of social networking users in the country witnessed cybercrime on social media networking platforms, higher than the global average of 39 per cent.
“In 2013, we foresee a steady rise in targeted attacks towards governments, companies and individuals with financial and political motivation,” said Justin Doo, cloud and security practices director for MENA, Symantec.
“In addition to traditional cybercrime, the UAE’s high number of mobile devices per person creates a new avenue for increasingly sophisticated incidents,” he said.
“On a global scale, malicious cyber attacks rose by 81 per cent in 2011 and as this trend continues, organisations in the Middle East need to be vigilant about protecting their information.”
The company further predicts the following security trends in 2013:
1. Cyber conflicts between nations, organisations and individuals will rise.
2. Ransomware – which infects a computer system and restricts access until a ransom is paid to the creator of the malware – will increase.
3. Greater threat from mobile adware or ‘madware’ that can potentially expose location details, contact information, and device identifiers to cybercriminals.
4. Monetisation of social networks could introduce new methods for cyber attacks.
5. Higher risk of breaches and targeted attacks on mobile device data.