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Malicious attacks on IT systems, which cost firms an average of $2 million a year, are becoming ever more frequent in the MENA region. Here’s an overview of the problem – and what you can do about it.

March 25, 2010 6:11 by


Saudi Arabia and the UAE ranked first and second as the most vulnerable of the GCC countries to malicious cyber activity, according to a 2009 report by internet security firm Trend Micro.

The study estimated that nearly 800,000 computer system crashes in Saudi Arabia could be attributed to hackers in a single nine month period, accounting for about two-thirds of all such cases recorded in the GCC. The UAE accounted for roughly 20 percent of the total cases over the same period.

Business is increasingly aware of the threat, identifying better IT risk management as a top corporate goal for 2010, according to Symantec. The firm’s 2010 State of Enterprise Security study highlighted growing awareness of cyber threats in the business world. Nearly all the firms surveyed forecast changes to their security policies this year.

“Cybercrime is certainly on the rise in the MENA region,” explained Johnny Karam in an interview with Beirut-based Regional Press Network. Karam is Symantec’s director for the MENA region.  “[Cybercrime] has spawned an underground economy, so to speak, where the goods traded include credit card information, active bank account details, and full-blown identities,” he added.


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