UAE among top targets


The UAE ranks among the top ten countries targeted by cyber criminals, a conference has heard.

The Fraud in the Middle East event, organized by the Government of Dubai, was told the ambitious shift towards e-government came with its own challenges.

The event at Atlantis is exploring the threat to firms and the public. Among the methods used by hackers is targeting phone users who use free wifi and seizing bank and personnel details from their phones.

Sherif Younes, former Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management at Dubai Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said that the government is attempting to tackle cyber criminals and hackers – by hiring its own ‘black hats’.

He said: “The government is hiring the best people in the world – sometimes we are hiring famous hackers to teach us.

“It’s a challenge for them. If you attract them to come and tell you how they are hacking the system so you can start making a gap analysis to close your gaps.”

Iyad Mourtada, from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, said the UAE is the fifth most at risk country when it comes to mobile threats, and the sheer number of services available is one reason.

He said: “The UAE is one country allowing its government to have an e-Government, meaning there’s a lot of legal documents for private information shared, and if someone can access this information that’s worth something. Plus everyone has a smartphone, with wifi connection available everywhere.”

Mourtada said firms are also in the sights of hackers. He added: “But up until now there hasn’t been any major leak or data breach because the government understands how dangerous these threats are.”

The summit continues on Monday.