UAE - Rise in hybrid work models accelerates cyberattacks in Middle East

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)

Published: Wed 22 Dec 2021, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Dec 2021, 10:55 PM

The growing pace of digitisation and the increasing trend of hybrid work models have accelerated the rate of cyberattacks in the Middle East region, says Mimecast.

In the past year, there had been a significant rise in brand imitation and phishing attacks as threat actors continuously seek to exploit businesses and customer data.

“Mimecast's research has cast a spotlight on the role of brands in protecting their customers from cyberattacks. Seventy five per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia, and 78 per cent of consumers in the UAE, said they'd stop spending money with their favourite brand if they fell victim to a phishing attack involving that brand. Compared to a global average of 57 per cent, this places the region's consumers among the most unforgiving of all markets surveyed,” said Werno Gevers, regional manager, Mimecast.

“In light of the continued shift to online shopping and digital interactions between brands and their customers, the financial imperatives of providing adequate protection for customers online are clear. As we head into peak holiday shopping season, brands will need to go to greater lengths to protect their brands from cybercriminals who imitate their websites and emails and launch phishing attacks on their customers. Implementing effective controls, such as brand exploit protection services and DMARC, can limit opportunities for criminals to imitate beloved brands and dupe their customers.”

According to the latest Mimecast Brand Trust Survey, 81 per cent of Saudi and UAE respondents are aware of their susceptibility to cybercrime. The survey also shows 82 per cent of UAE respondents and 71 per cent of KSA have received phishing emails in their inbox.

According to the results of the survey, the UAE and Saudi consumers have a lot of trust in brands, as indicated by the fact that they don't hesitate to open and click on links from their favourite brands and brands they use regularly. But they also wouldn't be quick to forgive brands if they were to fall victim to a phishing or impersonation attack.

The onus is on brands to secure their email communications and their websites; their customers expect it. 82 per cent of UAE respondents and 81 per cent of Saudi Arabia expect their favourite brands to ensure their services are safe to use, be it websites, email, or any other form of contact with consumers.

Losing consumer trust should make companies more cautious when it comes to their cybersecurity. However, companies can stop direct domain spoofing with DMARC, a system that authenticates if anyone is using/ impersonating a brand's domain. Moreover, deploying tools to better monitor their email communication and find and remove faked versions of their website, should be a strategic priority.


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