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UAE leads region for internet threats

The UAE is the Middle East hotspot for internet security threats, according to Symantec.

The UAE is the source and target of the most internet security threats in the Middle East, according to figures released today by Symantec.

The security firm said that the UAE is ranked at 46th, out of 180 countries monitored, as an originator of phishing attacks; the same ranking for denial-of-service attacks launched at institutions within the UAE.

Phishing attacks are where fraudsters attempt to obtain sensitive information such as bank account details by sending e-mail alerts to users, directing them to fake websites.

"The UAE's high economic profile, clubbed with the fact that the country is among the first to adopt the latest technologies, makes the country more prone to online attacks than other GCC countries," said Kevin Isaac, regional director, Symantec MENA. However, he added that the UAE has taken a number of steps to help minimise such attacks, including the passing of IT crime laws last year.

The UAE is also ranked at 44 for the most bot-infected computers: computers that have been taken over and controlled by malicious users to send out spam and viruses.

Alarmingly, Symantec's findings show that for the second half of last year more than six million computers worldwide were part of such bot networks, up 29% from the previous period. However, the number of servers controlling them dropped by a quarter, suggesting that network owners were consolidating and building larger network structures to help launch attacks.

The findings were released as part of Symantec's bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report.

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