STME, an IT solutions provider and systems integrator operating in the Middle East, has issued a strong warning to the region’s business community about the potential vulnerability of IT systems following the global Wannacry and NotPetya ransomware attacks.
It is estimated the attack affected 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including systems used by Fedex, Nissan and the UK’s National Health Service.
Ayman Al Bayaa, CEO, STME, said, “Today, cyber attacks pave the way for extortion, bribery, blackmail, theft and even a complete blackout of systems, yet according to data from KPMG, only 50 percent of respondents have any counter attack measures in place. It is of vital importance that these firms and organizations stress test their systems and address all potential vulnerabilities.”
In response to the new generation of security challenges, STME has underlined its commitment to helping combat attacks.
Al Bayaa added, “In an increasingly connected world on the cusp of another digital revolution and the roll out of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, cybersecurity has never been more important and the World Economic Forum lists this as a top 10 threat in 140 economies. We are all part of the same connected global community as such should adequately protect the systems we depend upon.”
There are three trends driving cybercrime currently, said the firm. New hacking technology has paved the way for automated attacks, meaning that it is only a matter of time before an unprotected system is detected and compromised. There has also been an emergence in hackers taking control of computers, with access to all the information employees and management see. Thirdly, hackers copy and encrypt information that may be useful to them – bank details, log in codes – and can use these to re-access the system and even post a ransom demand.
“This isn’t just about the individual business, but the data held on clients, payments and other confidential matters. It is a duty of all businesses to protect that information and ensure it is only accessed by the people who should see it,” Al Bayaa added.
Believing that “forewarned is forearmed”, the systems integrator said that knowledge is the first link in the chain of stopping an attack. The company said it provides an informative consultancy service to clients, covering the security climate in general and the options available.
Al Bayaa said, “In the Middle East today, strong penalties exist for those convicted under cybercrime laws, which are broad enough to include ‘misuse of the internet’ and ‘damaging public morals’. However, in order to address a global threat that is unparalleled in its scale and ability to devastate business operations, bespoke and adequate systems are required. These don’t have to break the bank, but they can eliminate the impact of somebody attempting to break into your systems.”