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McAfee opens its first Cyber Defence Centre in Dubai

McAfee says centre will collect data on potential threats that are growing in the region

McAfee opens its first Cyber Defence Centre in Dubai
The Middle East has suffered a number of high-profile cyber attacks in the past year.

McAfee has opened its first ever Cyber Defence Centre (CDC) in the Middle East.

Based in Dubai, the centre aims to collate information on potential threats, the perpetrators and their motivation, as well as general data that can help governments, institutions and companies prevent and quickly respond to cyber attacks.

McAfee EMEA president Gert-Jan Schenk said the Middle East has become a region with the greatest threat of cyber crime in the world.

"Over the last year it's one of the highest [regions for threat] we've seen in the world," Schenk said.

"With all the geo-political events that clearly drives a lot of cyber crime and cyber warfare activities."

Schenk said the region was ripe with cyber crime because Dubai was one of the most critical Internet exchanges in the world and much of the world's economy was linked to the Middle East through trade, travel and oil and gas.

An attack on Aramco infrastructure in Saudi Arabia during the Islamic holiday Eid last year highlighted the region's increasing risk. The incident led many companies and institutions to seek greater security intelligence and software, motivating McAfee to establish a base in the region.

"We've also seen the intensity of cyber criminals has grown significantly in the region," Schenk said.

MENA regional director Hamed Diab said cyber crime had developed over the past decade from individual hackers to more sophisticated organisations, often funded by governments, with specific motivations.

"Security is no longer an option, it's a must," he said.

The centre, with 10 staff, has been collecting intelligence for the past nine months and will attempt to pro-actively warn institutions when they are perceived to be under threat.

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