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Cybercrime fear limiting e-trade

UAE internet users' fear of online threats is stopping them from conducting transactions online, according to a study.

UAE internet users’ fear of online threats is stopping them from conducting transactions online, according to a study conducted by security vendor Symantec.

Of 400 respondents living in the emirates who claimed to be regular internet users, 83% said they would conduct more online transactions if they felt more secure, the security firm said last week.

Kevin Isaac, regional director of Symantec Middle East and North African (MENA), said the results of the survey reflected increasing security concerns in the region. “Trust in the internet and online banking has decreased in the past couple of years because there has been so much online fraud, phishing and so on,” he said. “People are generally afraid of the internet because they are not sure of what is safe.”

The survey’s publication comes at a time when the issue of cybercrime is becoming increasingly high-profile, with incidents such as last month’s busting of an internet fraud ring that targeted prospective investors in Dubai’s financial centres.

Isaac said that there was evidence that the Middle East was facing increasing threats, but pointed out that this was not surprising given the increased usage of technologies such as broadband.

“We’re going through a very fast ramp-up in the Middle East of technology, of new business, and of growth; whenever you see those dynamics occur you are going to see corresponding challenges,” Isaac commented.

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