Hackers said to cost Gulf energy industry over $1bn in 2017

Analysts say cyberattacks pose a significant threat to oil-based economies such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia
By Staff writer
Mon 26 Mar 2018 02:14 PM

Analysis conducted by Bloomberg Intelligence has highlighted that cyberattacks pose a significant threat to oil and gas companies’ supply chains, and in turn, could impact oil-based economies such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The Bloomberg Intelligence analysis states that according to a Siemens’ report, the financial impact of cyberattacks on the Gulf energy industry in 2017 is estimated at more than $1 billion.

The analysis also mentions that an executive survey by the World Economic Forum found that cyberattacks tops concerns for UAE businesses in 2018.

Last week, the New York Times reported that cyber-attackers tried to trigger a deadly explosion at a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in August and failed only because of a code glitch.

Investigators declined to identify the suspected attackers, but people interviewed by the newspaper unanimously said that it most likely aimed to cause a blast that would have guaranteed casualties. A bug in the attackers' code accidentally shut down the system instead, according to the report.

The Bloomberg analysis says that the UAE leads the way in technology investment, with Dubai launching a cyber-security strategy last year, focused on areas including enhancing awareness in public and private sectors, research and development (R&D), data privacy and business continuity.

The UAE is also changing the way it invests to drive technology adoption by sponsoring and incubating start-ups through free trade zones. It has invested in blockchain to manage oil and refined product movements within Fujairah Oil Industry Zone, providing security and audit trails through the use of smart contracts.

A report from Norton by Symantec in January said that a total of 3.72 million UAE consumers lost approximately AED3.86 billion ($1.05 billion) to cybercrime in the last year.

The report revealed that more than half (52 percent) of the UAE’s adult online population experienced cybercrime over the course of the year, which average losses of AED669 ($182) each.

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