Cybercriminals to focus on remote and cloud-based systems in UAE next year
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Cybercriminals to focus on remote and cloud-based systems in UAE next year

Cybercriminals to focus on remote and cloud-based systems in UAE next year

Remote and hybrid working likely to continue for many organisations, report says


Trend Micro predicts that UAE’s home networks, remote working software, and cloud systems will be at the center of a new wave of cyberattacks in 2021.

In a report titled Turning the Tide, the cybersecurity firm forecasts that cybercriminals in 2021 will particularly look to home networks as a critical launch pad to compromising corporate IT and IoT networks.

“As the UAE begins to enter a post-pandemic world, the trend for remote and hybrid working is likely going to continue for many organisations,” said Majd Sinan, country manager, UAE, Trend Micro. “In 2021, we predict that cybercriminals will launch more aggressive attacks to target corporate data and networks in the UAE.”

Showing the growing risk of cyberattacks, Trend Micro systems detected a combined 13,100,616 email, URL, and malware cyber-threats cyber-threats during the first half of 2020, according to its Midyear Security Report. Ransomware attacks in the UAE were 4.27 per cent of the world’s ransomware attacks.

“In 2021, the UAE’s security teams will need to double down on user training, extended detection and response and adaptive access controls,” Majd Sinan. “This past year, many UAE organisations were focused on surviving: now it’s time for the UAE’s organisations to thrive, with comprehensive cloud security as their foundation.”

The report warns that end-users who regularly access sensitive data (e.g. HR professionals accessing employee data, sales managers working with sensitive customer information, or senior executives managing confidential company numbers) will be at the greatest risk. Attacks will likely exploit known vulnerabilities in online collaboration and productivity software soon after they are disclosed, rather than zero-days.

Read: Researchers in Abu Dhabi build first national crypto library for the UAE

Access-as-a-service business models of cybercrime will grow, targeting the home networks of high-value employees, corporate IT and IoT networks. IT security teams will need to overhaul work from home policies and protections to tackle the complexity of hybrid environments — where work and personal data comingle in a single machine. Zero-trust approaches will increasingly be favored to empower and secure distributed workforces.

As third-party integrations reign, Trend Micro also warned that exposed APIs will become a new preferred attack vector for cybercriminals, providing access to sensitive customer data, source code and back-end services.

Cloud systems are another area in which threats will continue to persist in 2021, from unwitting users, misconfigurations, and attackers attempting to take over cloud servers to deploy malicious container images.

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