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Sun 27 Oct 2013 12:39 PM

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GCC 'prime target' for cyber crime - experts

More than 65 per cent of IT experts in the GCC believe that the region is a prime target for cyber criminals,

GCC 'prime target' for cyber crime - experts

More than 65 percent of IT experts in the GCC believe that the region is a prime target for cyber criminals, according to research by Gulf Business Machines.

The survey focused on cyber crime, security implications of using social media at workplace and the main drivers for companies to invest in security solutions.

An expert from Oman said cyber criminals misused the trusting nature of people in the Middle East, including the sultanate.

Kit Lloyd, country general manager of GBM in Oman said: “The security landscape in GCC has continually evolved in recent years, largely due to the increase in cyber crime.”

“Attackers exploit trust,” he said.

“In the Middle East, and especially Oman, people are very trusting,  embracing even complete strangers as close friends and this provides easy access for attacks either through email or social media message from someone you have learned to trust."

He said that attackers used “watering hole” techniques, which diversions that caused the user to look elsewhere, while an attack was happening.

He said that companies were more aware of IT security issues, and showed more interest in pre-emptive measures, but they were not always taking appropriate measures.

Lloyd pointed out that, according to Microsoft and GBM data last year, Oman had twice the world’s average of infected workstations and the highest rates of infection in GCC.

Based on the survey, 60 per cent of local Omani companies spent only up to ten per cent of their IT budget on information security, he said.

Also, 34.4 percent of respondents affirmed their company had experienced at least a minor security incident in the last one year.

Lloyd said 54.3 percent of the IT experts polled in Oman believed there would be more security incidents in the next 12 months.

He added that 28.6 percent of the companies polled did not carry a formal regular information security assessment.

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