Saudi Online Consumer Habits Increase Risks For Banks - Gulf Business
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Saudi Online Consumer Habits Increase Risks For Banks

Saudi Online Consumer Habits Increase Risks For Banks

Despite experiencing cyber attacks, the majority of Saudi Arabian consumers have not installed anti-virus software on their systems.

The online and mobile banking habits of Saudi Arabian consumers are increasingly making the country’s financial institutions vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to a Booz Allen Hamilton study.

The survey found that around 30 per cent of Saudi consumers encountered some type of cybercrime in the past year while six per cent have experienced password theft.

Despite the rising levels of cybercrime, only 35 per cent were seriously concerned about malware on their personal computers while just 45 per cent said they have installed anti-virus software on their personal devices.

Saudi Arabian consumers were also found to frequently use unsecured public networks to access their financial information. Around 47 per cent of the Kingdom’s consumers use an unsecured public network on their smartphones while 64 per cent use smartphones to access online banking services.

According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, a financially motivated cyber attack is reported every 14 seconds in the GCC.

This increases the risk of financial loss and long-term reputational damage while leaving consumers vulnerable to identity theft and financial loss.

“Online banking is here to stay,” said Atif Kureishy, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA.

“We must now bring together banks, regulators, employees and customers to form a strong first-line of defense and minimise the opportunities for cybercriminals to intercept and exploit digital information from across borders.”

However cyber attacks in Saudi Arabia are not limited to the banking sector.

Last year, national oil company Saudi Aramco suffered a massive cyber attack that damaged 30,000 computers and was aimed at stopping its oil and gas production.

Recently the company denied reports of another cyber attack after it had shut down some of its computers for an upgrade.

Several government websites were also sabotaged through a series of heavy cyber attacks earlier this year, Saudi officials said.


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