Internet privacy is predicted to emerge as the top IT security concern among businesses and internet users in 2014, according to research by the internet security firm ESET.
Recent revelations from the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal, cybercrime resulting from increasing malware on Android platforms and threats from non-traditional devices such as smart cars, game consoles and TVs have exacerbated online privacy concerns, the report said.
“With the increase in their dependence on electronic devices, Middle East users are now more vulnerable than ever,” said Pradeesh VS, general manager, ESET Middle East.
“This is mainly due to a lack of awareness which inhibits users’ ability to take appropriate security measures.”
ESET also highlighted other key internet security trends for the coming year.
With the majority of internet users concerned about their online privacy, the report predicted increased interest in protecting information stored in the cloud.
ESET forecasts that online data will mainly be protected through encryption, a method of making information unreadable unless it is deciphered by a key, and better access control with two-factor authentication. Research has also indicated that the number of organisations adopting two-factor authentication, which is already in use by stalwarts such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, will rise in 2014.
The report estimated that malware in Android platforms will continue to grow in 2014 with country specific malware spreading to target a wide set of geographic locations.
Malicious threats will continue to rise with the increasing use of devices such as smart cars, game consoles and smart TVs, ESET said.
Home to some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and companies, cyber crime has gained pace in the region with attacks on governments and financial institutions on the rise.
The UAE has the highest infection rates from malware in the region – over 34 per cent – according to an earlier survey by security consultant Trend Micro.
The survey found that the region has a 100 per cent infection rate with 20 per cent of businesses experiencing an average of three security breaches in the last 12 months.