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Mena region faces threat of cybercrime

Kevin Mitnick - consultant and former hacker

July 17, 2013 9:54 by

Last month, a man by the name of Kevin Mitnick was the keynote speaker at the GISEC conference in Dubai. He’s now described as an iconic information consultant, but he’s perhaps better known as a former hacker. Indeed, he was one of the world’s most wanted cyber hackers.

During the Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference, he gave attendees a behind-the-scenes look into the thought processes of both hackers and their victims, gave a gripping demonstration on cyber hacking by calling international banks live on stage to demonstrate just how easy it is to bypass their security safeguards, and discussed the effectiveness of ‘Social Engineering’ – a form of cyber crime in which criminals exploit the psychological vulnerabilities of human users (as opposed to technological weaknesses).

At the time, he said that criminals prefer social engineering because it involves minimal cost and risk, yet offers maximum returns.

“There isn’t a single security package on the market that can fully prevent social engineering, or a single app that can be downloaded to prevent an employee’s ignorance, greed or naiveté,” he said. “Social engineers exploit human nature, so companies should explore human-centric solutions such as secretly staging false attacks on their own networks, to evaluate how employees react and teach them effective counter-hacking behaviour.”

There have been an unprecedented amount of security breaches in the region this year, with threats of cyber-attacks now a reality, according to business security solutions leader, WatchGuard. Banks throughout the region have fallen victim to financially devastating attacked, as well public sectors such as the Saudi Government. Hackers from the region are targeting the Middle East and expanding into Europe.

Kipp turns to John Spoor, WatchGuard’s regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region, to have some of our queries clarified and our questions answered.

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