If the experts in online security are to be believed, UAE could witness scenes resembling a typical Die Hard movie sequel.
In a recent report, experts have been quoted as saying that the possibilities of increasing cyber attacks in UAE cannot be ruled out.
These experts may probably be worried about the vulnerability they notice in the UAE to cyber attacks.
There is a good reason for them to feel so.
The first factor that is causing them concern is the spate of cyber attacks that have rocked the UAE in the past few years.
According to some experts, there appears to be a pattern to these cyber attacks and the overall level of cyber defense all over the GCC countries seems to be low.
The other major cause of worry for the cybersecurity experts is the increasing presence and the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the region.
More and more devices, in fact, millions of them, could be inter-connected and even if some of them are not properly protected.
This creates potential to hack the entire system to drain out information and to blackmail the authorities into paying huge ransoms looks ominous, to say the least.
Past Attacks a Pointer
Towards the end of February 2017, after an international conference on cybersecurity, the Director General of the Saudi National Cyber Security Centre admitted that all the GCC countries are at risk.
Furthermore he added there is an increase in targeting of GCC countries, particularly, the financial and government bodies are being targeted. He added that his own center had responded to 124 breaches during 2016.
3 Major Cyber Attacks in 2016
1) The Skimmer ATM malware is one major cybersecurity risk the UAE has confronted with.
The malware simply isolates the core of the ATM and has the potential to reach the banks’ servers and steal information as well.
This could include even the details such as the ATM PINs and account numbers and so on.
2) Operation Ghoul is another serious cyber attack that happened in 2016. This attack is in the form of spear-phishing emails sent to senior level managers of corporate entities in crucial sectors like engineering and shipping and even educational segments.
The emails claim to be from a UAE bank and once the recipient of the mail opens the attachment to the mail the virus will infect the entire organization’s system and the hackers perpetrating the cyber attacks will simply take over.
3) The third one is the Adwind malware, which affected as many as 68,000 users in different countries, including the UAE.
But the reason the experts are predicting an increase in cyber attacks in the UAE relate to the shortcomings in the cyber defense infrastructure present in most organizations, whether they are government owned and run or in the private sector.
Large multinational corporations may not be included in this list since they would have the requisite firewalls and protect their systems.
The only positive information coming out of all this is that the UAE is indeed making huge investments to prevent cyber attacks in the future.