Cybersecurity is paramount in GCC’s digital transformation

GCC ransomware 25GCC countries need to take proper steps to protect themselves from malware attacks. (Image source: Christiaan Colen/Flickr)Ransomware remains a widespread threat in the UAE with the country accounting for 2.4mn of the 1.7bn ransomware attacks detected globally in Q1 of 2018, according to a newly-released report by Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions

The same trend was seen in Kuwait where 1.9mn of the worldwide threats were detected, while Bahrain and Oman accounted for 1.2mn and 534,806 respectively of the total ransomware in the same period.

Gulf countries have been leading the charge in the region’s massive modernisation plans, which primarily aim to accelerate economic diversification and achieve sustainable growth. The rapid pace of digitisation among the GCC naturally brings with it growing exposure to risks and vulnerabilities of cyberattacks, and Trend Micro cautions that data breaches and cybercrimes have the potential to derail the progress of these modernization initiatives.

“As GCC economies shift to digital, securing the cyberspace becomes all the more paramount as there is an increasing risk of calculated and premeditated cyberattacks. What we are witnessing now in the Gulf is a long-term transformation and stakeholders ought to regard security as a key infrastructure necessary for a smart city to thrive. Device penetration, interconnectivity, massive data – all of these have started to proliferate and more so in the near future. Governments and businesses should continue to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities in order to truly evolve and realize the desired outcomes of these initiatives,” commented Cherif Djerboua, regional tech leader, Trend Micro AMEA.

The security vendor reported a spike in the number of malwares detected in the Q1 2018. The UAE had a total of 1.6mn malwares, while Kuwait had 465,058 infected files. Bahrain, meanwhile, had 202,241 malwares, with Oman coming in close with 161,055 malware threats.

A worrying concern for Trend Micro is the increasing number of malicious URL victims. UAE registered close to a million with 988,264 URL victims, Kuwait had 224,916, while Bahrain and Oman have 26,860 and 83,388 detections respectively.

For malicious URLs detected in the GCC, Trend Micro got 5,314 in the UAE and 214 in Kuwait. In Bahrain, the company detected 523 and for Oman, 37.

"This is encouraging to see that both government entities and corporations are recognizing the need to step up their cybersecurity game. Still we have to be on guard at all times and be prepared to handle major attacks as cybercrimes are also evolving. Trend Micro is committed to raise awareness and share best practices in order to beef up the industry’s cybersecurity capabilities,” Djerboua said.

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