UAE oil firms and government entities "vulnerable" to cyberattacks

KSA and the Emirates "have been the most targeted countries for ransomware attacks in the last five years", says expert
By Parag Deulgaonkar
Thu 18 May 2017 08:29 AM

Oil and gas, and government entities in the UAE and the rest of the Gulf countries are “significantly vulnerable” to cyberattacks, according to an expert.

While the WannaCry ransomware has caused panic across the world since Friday, the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said this week there have been no cases of ransom attacks reported in the country. It has, however, urged companies to remain vigilant.

“The region is significantly vulnerable in the wake of the cyberattacks across both oil and gas and government entities. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been the most targeted countries for ransomware attacks in the last five years,” Haritha Ramachandran, associate director, digital transformation practice, Frost & Sullivan, told Arabian Business.

“Though there have been no reported stats as yet as the warnings were issued by the telco regulators suitably ahead of time. Even Microsoft has deployed the patch to ensure that systems are updated. There could, however, be isolated incidents that are yet to be reported.”

Ramachandran said the cyberattack in the Kingdom on government enterprises a month ago has them relatively well prepared against WannaCry virus.

He advised people to update their operating system, not to click on unknown attachments irrespective of the device and change the filters as well as frequency of the mail scans across devices to avert any ransomware strike.

According to AFP, the new indiscriminate wave of attack began last Friday striking banks, hospitals and government agencies across the world such as delivery giant FedEx, European car factories, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, the UK's National Health Service and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn rail network.

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