|25 March, 2018

Caught in the web: Concern over cyber-attacks on the rise among Middle East CEOs - survey

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Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Some chief executives officers (CEO) in the Middle East say they are becoming more and more concerned about cyber-attacks, according to the results of a new survey by consultancy firm Pwc.

The survey included responses from around 1,200 global CEOs, of which 50 were based in the Middle East, to get their views on 2018's big business trends and consumer behaviours, according to a press release issued last week to accompany the results.

The press release did not say when the survey was conducted or a breakdown of the exact countries the Middle East CEOs were based in and Pwc officials could not be immediately reached for comment. (Read the full report here).

The report said that 77 percent of the region’s CEOs said they feared cyber threats, compared to 66 percent in last year’s survey.

Cyber security has become a concern for many businesses and governments. Globally, the United States has sanctioned nine Iranians and an Iranian company for trying to hack into universities, companies and parts of the U.S. government, Reuters reported on Friday.

The UAE Banks Federation, a body representing 48 banks operating in the UAE, last year launched a cyber-threat sharing platform, according to a report by Gulf News.

The Pwc report said the cyber security concern was “likely on the back of a slew of regional high-profile malware and viruses in the last few years”.

Another interesting result from the survey was that only one third of the CEOs in the Middle East expected to see a decline in the number of employees this year due to cost cuts, while 76 percent of the region’s CEOs and 80 percent of the CEOs based outside the region expected the job cuts to result from the rising implementation of automation in business systems.

The UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and chairman Mohammed Al Gergawi has said that 74 percent of jobs are expected to “disappear” in the future due to the implementation of artificial intelligence.

The survey showed that 85 percent of the Middle East-based CEOs were concerned about taxes, versus 74 percent in last year’s survey. The introduction in January of a new 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) in Saudi Arabia and the UAE - the Middle East’s two biggest economies - has led to a rise in living and business costs. VAT was applied on commercial rents and most consumer goods and services in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Further reading:
Adjusting to the new normal: What's on the minds of Middle East CEOs
UAE Banks Federation launches cyber threat sharing platform
Virtual countries uploading your mind to a computer and job losses - UAE minster
The new VAT rules: What's in store

(Writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Shane McGinley)

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© ZAWYA 2018

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