The Middle East is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, has made positive inputs into technology adoption but is still vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to experts. Protection against external attackers was assessed as extremely low for 43 per cent of companies, which may facilitate a rise in attacks, according to a report released by Kaspersky Lab.
The survey, which evaluates data collected from Middle East enterprises until the end of 2017, reveals that three-quarters (73 per cent) of successful perimeter breaches were achieved by penetrating vulnerable web applications.
“Qualitative implementation of simple security measures like network filtering and password policy would significantly increase the security stance,” said Sergey Okhotin, a senior security analyst of security services at Kaspersky Lab.
The rapid rise in cyber attacks is creating a boom in the area's cybersecurity industry, which is worth $11.4 billion (Dh42bn), and is expected to double in size by 2022.
The danger of these attacks was highlighted in several incidents in the region. The Shamoon virus, it first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012, crippled 35,000 computers at Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producing company.
The same year, a virus was also found in the computer network of Qatar’s RasGas, a producer of liquefied natural gas.
Cyber attacks in 48 per cent of the Middle East and Africa companies resulted in damage of more than $500,000, while 58 per cent of the businesses had to manage an outage of more than five hours due to a breach, according to the Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study.
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