Sunday August 28 we had our Cyber Security panel discussion. Attacks via the Internet are a growing form of crime that even the UAE is hit by.

We had 3 panellists who are specialists within their business area:

  • Humberto da Silva, from Microsoft Gulf Abu Dhabi
  • Ali Liaquat, from IT Serve Dubai
  • Sreechith Radhakrishnan, from Global Success Systems Dubai

The panellists discussed the current threat landscape, IT trends, the cloud evolution, security scalability and much more regarding cyber security.
They gave us an update in relation to UAE and the numbers are scary.
Recent published numbers for UAE shows that:

  • 5 billion dirham was lost in 2014 due to Cybercrime
  • 2 million UAE citizens were affected by online crime in 2015
  • 800 cybercrime cases brought in 2014
  • Cyber criminals now faces fines up to 2 million dirham

And it’s lately estimated that more than 5 % of the global cyber attacks are targeting UAE.
So, it’s basically impossible to exaggerate the problem and the impact that this type of crime has on our society.

Social media is one of the cyber criminals’ favourites for attacking their victims: there are more than 1.6 billion social network users worldwide with more than 64% of internet users accessing social media services online. Moreover, social networking is one of the most popular ways for online users to spend their time, and a preferred way to stay in contact with friends and families. This is precisely why cyber attackers love social media as well! Users that spend a lot of time on social networks are very likely to click links posted by trusted friends, which hackers use to their advantage. Here are some of the most popular types of cyber attacks directed at social media platforms:

Like-jacking: occurs when criminals post fake Facebook “like” buttons to webpages. Users who click the button don’t “like” the page, but instead download malware.

Link-jacking: this is a practice used to redirect one website’s links to another which hackers use to redirect users from trusted websites to malware infected websites that hide drive-by downloads or other types of infections.

Phishing: the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by disguising itself as a trustworthy entity in a Facebook message or Tweet.

Social spam: is unwanted spam content appearing on social networks and any website with user-generated content (comments, chat, etc.). It can appear in many forms, including bulk messages, profanity, insults, hate speech, malicious links, fraudulent reviews, fake friends, and personally identifiable information.

Our speakers gave the following simple tips to challenge the criminals and protect yourself and your business:

  1. Identify the data that is most valuable and check if it’s well enough protected, for example with encryption of documents or desktops
  2. Keep your technology updated when new versions arrives
  3. Change your passwords often and use complex combinations
  4. Beware of “Social Engineering”: for instance when someone calls or writes and asks you for information about passwords, mail addresses, account numbers etc
  5. And note that free wifi, apps and programs can be a way to steal your data and information

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