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Cyber criminals tapping into ME

Better technology is attracting more online fraudsters to the Middle East.

Cyber criminals are stepping up their focus on the Middle East, authorities are warning following the busting of an online fraud ring that targeted Dubai.

Last week's announcement by authorities that an online fraud gang had been pretending to offer financial services out of the Dubai International Financial Centre has highlighted the dangers firms here in the region are facing.

David Knott, CEO of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, warned last week that such attacks will "increasingly" occur in the Middle East.

"The Middle East is becoming a new target for those cyber crimes because [people] are engaging more in technologies and connecting to networks around the world. The more connections, the more vulnerabilities you will have," Dr Abdulrahman Al-Shenafi, senior adviser on IT and security to the Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia told IT Weekly.

Companies in the banking, hospitality and travel sectors, which are growing their online presence, are particularly at risk, but "any large corporation or business online that has a significant income from these websites," would be a target for cyber crime, according to Rashed Al-Abbar, product manager esecurity at Etisalat.