No end in sight in the war against cybercrime

Hussam Sidani, regional manager for Gulf, Symantec on cybercriminals’ shifting tactics

Tags: Cyber crimeSymantec CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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No end in sight in the war against cybercrime   Sidani notes attacks have hit the headlines with such regularity that we’ve become numb.
By  David Ndichu Published  June 30, 2016

Symantec recently unveiled its 2016 edition of the Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR). What are some of the key takeaways?

One of the key learnings was noticing that cybercriminals have adopted corporate best practices and established professional businesses to increase the efficiency of their attacks against enterprises and consumers. A record number of zero-days and mega breaches were seen, as a result. Perhaps, what is most remarkable is that these numbers no longer surprise us. Attacks against business and nations hit the headlines with such regularity that we’ve become numb to the sheer volume and acceleration of cyber threats.

In 2015, over half a billion personal records were stolen or lost and that is a conservative estimate by Symantec. We also saw a record-setting total of nine mega-breaches were reported including the largest data breach ever publicly reported, with an astounding 191 million records exposed. In addition, crypto-ransomware (encrypting files) grew by 35 percent in 2015, pushing the less damaging locker-style ransomware (locking the computer screen) out of the picture. Last year, there were nearly a thousand crypto-ransomware attacks per day, we recently saw that number increase to 3,800 attacks per day.

What’s the regional situation?

We saw UAE dramatically jump in world ranking from 49 in 2014 to 41 in 2015. This shift indicates a higher global percentage of source-based security threats, including malicious code, spam, phishing hosts, web and network attacks, and bots from the country. The UAE was the 4th most impacted country in the Middle East and Africa region in regards to ransomware. The country was also the 8th most targeted country globally and 1st most targeted country in MEA for spear-phishing.

Part of Symantec’s value proposition is its intelligence network. How important is this type of insight?

Operating one of the world’s largest cyber intelligence networks, Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network (GIN) has global visibility into the threat landscape through big data accumulated from one of the largest collection of sensors in the industry. Symantec sees more threats, and protects more customers from the next generation of attacks. We help companies, governments and individuals secure their most important data wherever it lives.

Discuss the latest solutions from Symantec.

Over the last 12 months, we have brought to market new solutions to support customers across the world, including in the Middle East. According to Gartner, there will be 220 million connected cars on the road in 2020 worldwide. As connected automobiles become the norm, security issues have already drawn attention. Keeping security top of mind will not only help ensure the safety of drivers and passengers but also build trust in the car manufactures and the overall Internet of Things ecosystem. As a response, Symantec recently launched the Symantec Anomaly Detection for Automotive to protect against zero-day attacks and never-before-seen issues facing modern connected vehicles. Anomaly Detection for Automotive provides the crucial ability to identify issues for early remediation. It is available across the GCC.

To support customers across the globe leverage the exciting Internet of Things technology, but remain safe, Symantec announced in 2015, is investing in the space and will bring to market comprehensive IoT security solutions. This approach includes authentication, device security, analytics and management to help prevent cars, medical devices, industrial control systems, and countless consumer electronics from becoming hacked.

Elsewhere, Symantec brought to market its Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) tool, a solution that can detect and remediate advanced threats across control points, from a single console with just a click. The solution supports the continued advancement of threats, such as ransomware, remote access trojans, advanced persistent threats (APTs) and zero day attacks. Symantec ATP correlates suspicious activity across all control points and prioritizes the events that pose the most risk to an organization.

Describe some of your biggest successes in the region.

Some of our biggest success stories in the region can be seen through our collaboration with customers and strategic alliances with industry partners. For instance, Symantec and Deloitte’s alliance enables companies to outsource their cyber security to experts in the field for both technology and consulting services. As part of the alliance, Deloitte’s enterprise risk services is powered by Symantec Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Managed Security Services (MSS) technologies. The alliance focuses on growth markets across EMEA, including Middle East as a priority region.

A key customer collaboration that we pride ourselves with is the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) one in which Symantec to provides email security services to its business customers and Norton Internet Security (NIS) to consumers as part of exclusive broadband bundles.


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