Key areas of heightened cyber threats in the Gulf

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Estimated 41% of Gulf-based enterprises experienced cyber attack in previous 12 months

RIYADH — As the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, it is imperative for the government and private sector to pay attention to some of the most significant areas of heightened risk in the cyber environment, according to Booz Allen Hamilton.

The cyber threat landscape in the Middle East is rapidly expanding – with attacks against regional entities and residents increasing in quantity and sophistication. Indeed, a May 2018 survey reported an estimated 41% of Gulf-based enterprises experienced a cyber attack in the previous 12 months – a 46% increase from 2016 numbers.

Severe cyber-attacks are also occurring with increased frequency as hackers find new ways to breach complex firewalls and security systems, despite ongoing government and private sector efforts to accelerate the development of cybersecurity capabilities.

According to Ziad Nasrallah, Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA, “The evolving cyber threat landscape worldwide and here in the region requires that governments and individuals prioritize taking adequate measures to safeguard themselves from attacks. This requires identifying loopholes hackers can exploit across the entire supply chain. At the same time, governments and organizations must invest in robust cybersecurity measures or risk attacks that could compromise their entire operations.”

Echoing this sentiment, Jay Townsend, Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA, said that “Gulf countries recognize the growing cyber threat to governments and businesses. As more economies throughout the region adopt digital technologies and implement e-services, the threat to personal data security is rising. It is in the national interest for Gulf countries to secure not only networks but also confidential data that hackers can exploit.”

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