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Cyber-attacks widespread in the UAE, study finds

Many IT decision makers in the country expect to be hit by cyber-attacks in 2015

Sverdlove says traditional security solutions are insufficient against today’s threats
Sverdlove says traditional security solutions are insufficient against today’s threats

The majority of information technology decision makers in the UAE believe that their organizations were victims of cyber-attacks in the last 12 months, and almost all of them expect to be targeted again in 2015, a recent survey commissioned by security firm Bit9+Carbon Black showed.

About 86 per cent of organizations polled by Vanson Bourne, an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector, suspect that their systems were breached in 2014, with 96 per cent of them saying that they could be likely targeted again at any point over the next 12 months. All respondents have either full or partial responsibility for their organizations’ IT security, and are with organizations having at least 500 employees.

A variety of attackers launch their assault for diverse reasons, but the respondents expect that their organizations are more likely to be targeted by corporate competitors (45 per cent); be attacked in order to be sabotaged (33 per cent); and have their intellectual property (IP) stolen (36 per cent).

Only a small portion of those polled, however, showed confidence in the ability of their systems to fight off possible online threats. The survey results revealed that only seven per cent of the respondents are completely confident in their companies’ anti-virus solutions, while only five per cent rate their organizations’ detection abilities as excellent.

The results further disclosed slow response times to online breaches. Most respondents (71 per cent) report that it takes more than 30 minutes to identify where malware has been introduced into the IT environment, while many of them (72 per cent) say it takes more than 30 minutes to respond to a malware incident.

When asked what aspects of their organizations are the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the respondents perceive mobile devices (31 per cent) and infrastructure servers (24 per cent) as the most susceptible.

Harry Sverdlove, Chief Technology Officer of Bit9+Carbon Black, said: “The survey clearly demonstrates that most organizations are being targeted, hence the need to consistently enhance and improve their information security. Cyber-attacks hit companies of all types and sizes, often resulting in the theft of confidential information, substantial financial losses, and damaged reputations. Traditional endpoint security solutions, such as anti-virus, are insufficient against today’s advanced threats and targeted attacks.  Bit9 + Carbon Black is focused on providing our customers a new-generation of comprehensive endpoint security solutions to effectively prevent, detect and respond to the increasingly sophisticated and relentless attacks facing organizations.”

Bit9+Carbon Black commissioned the survey to shine a light on the cyber threat mindset of organizations in the region and help companies determine if they have the best endpoint security solution in place to protect their information, including customer data, from theft or destruction.

The study aims to provide a better understanding of the benefits of adapting powerful detection and response cyber security solutions for IT decision makers, CEOs, managing directors and enterprise owners. It also has the objective of helping understand the involvement of the respondents in huge projects such as ‘Smart City’ and ‘Smart Government,’ and how crucial it is to have a proficient cyber security system to protect enterprises from costly attacks.