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Targeted attacks pose greatest risk to Middle East, says Trend Micro

The biggest cyber-threats facing Middle Eastern businesses today come in the form of targeted attacks, Trend Micro’s Vice President for the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa regions said today.

Ihab Moawad explained that cyber-criminals are now creating bespoke attacks for single targets, and that businesses in this region are becoming ripe for the picking when it comes to targeted attacks.

“They create viruses just for your own organisation. Hackers are becoming smarter and smarter, and they have tools available everywhere. They can use and track your identity until they find a hole in your organisation, and then they’ll attack,” he told CNME.

Moawad’s comments come off the back of survey results put out by Trend Micro this week. The vendor found that 100 percent of businesses surveyed had reported a cyber-infection of some kind. And more than 20 percent of businesses had experienced an average of three breaches over the past 12 months, Trend Micro said.

The report also broke down infection rates by country – Trend Micro said that the UAE has one of the highest infection rates in the Middle East at 34 percent. Saudi Arabia was close behind with an infection rate of 18 percent, the vendor reported.

While not all of these breaches had come from targeted attacks, Moawad explained that the risk of targeted attacks was rising steadily – particularly in the Middle East. He said that attackers were looking to either do damage or steal company or personal information for financial gain.

Other types of attacks, such as spam and malware, are just as prevalent, according to Trend Micro’s report. But despite the enormous numbers of businesses having reported security breaches to Trend Micro over the past year, Moawad said that the survey showed encouraging results.

“Last year, we did a similar survey, and it showed that around 85 percent of respondents had been infected. But it wasn’t true – it was actually 100 percent but businesses weren’t aware of it. Now, they’re aware of it, and they’re vocal about it. You’re going down the right path when you admit there are breaches and you seek help from Trend Micro and other security vendors,” he said.

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