Cyberattacks on the rise across the GCC region; FireEye

FireEye report reveals government, energy and finance sectors are subjected to the most attacks

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Cyberattacks on the rise across the GCC region; FireEye FireEye's Richard Turner: "Geopolitical developments and the GCC's position as a hub for finance, energy, real estate, retail, tourism and aviation have put it in the crosshairs of a wide range of cyber attackers."
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  June 1, 2016

FireEye's latest Advanced Threat report found government, energy and finance sectors are subjected to the most attacks in the GCC region.

The report revealed key insights on the state of cyber-attacks across the EMEA region and in particular in the countries of the GCC, which have suffered a spate of attacks, targeting key industries and critical infrastructure.  

The evidence highlighted in the report demonstrates that geopolitical, financial and economic changes happening in the real world are mirrored in cyberspace as well. The changes to the threat landscape between the first half and the second half of 2015 are considerable, demonstrating once more the speed at which threat actors operate.

"Over the years, we have seen that real-world developments are being played out in cyberspace, and 2015 was no exception. As cyber-attacks continue to rise at an alarming rate, traditional security solutions will prove to be inadequate in the long run," said Richard Turner, president for the EMEA region at FireEye.

"Geopolitical developments and the GCC's position as a hub for finance, energy, real estate, retail, tourism and aviation have put it in the crosshairs of a wide range of cyber attackers. The high level of connectivity in the region also makes it ripe for opportunistic and advanced threat actors. FireEye's Advanced Threat Report [summarizes intelligence on cyber threats, aiding companies by providing invaluable insights and helping them allocate resources towards a robust defence infrastructure."

Cybercriminals tend to be motivated by numerous objectives, threat actors' capabilities and level of sophistication are rapidly evolving to steal more information, including personal data and business strategies, in order to gain a competitive advantage or degrade operational reliability. Looking forward,

FireEye also found emerging nation-state sponsored threat actors from the Middle East were identified, increasing the volume of potential attacks. The number of alerts in the GCC doubled during 2015, with a noticeable rise during the second half of the year and cybercriminals continued to utilise macro-embedded Microsoft Office documents to deliver malicious payloads. Furthermore, ransomware continues to pose a threat to organisations, as the malware development lifecycle being so short that a strong defence is still a challenge for organisations.

FireEye predicts that malicious actors targeting entities in the GCC region are going to become even more disruptive as attackers modify or destroy targeted data.  

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