A report published by the UAE Ministry of Interior claims that 35% of all cyber attacks are targeted towards the UAE’s banking sector, including both ATM and Internet banking applications.
After the banking sector, other areas most susceptible to cyber attacks include the government’s e-services, telecommunication systems and educational institutions. The government is trying to battle this growing menace by setting up cybercrime and organizational security units. Specialized computer forensics teams are also being employed to obtain, examine and present electronic evidence stored on computers or other electronic devices.
The government is also trying to frame a coherent strategy against cyber crimes by drafting a national legislation, defining internal procedures and implementing training and awareness programs. The nature of attacks and its perpetrators have also become more sophisticated with time as cyber criminals work in well-organized, well-connected and well-funded groups.
The advent of new technologies has increased complexity of cyber crimes and presented new challenges to the administration. Smart-phones, which can store large volumes of data and be used in wi-fi environment, are now also likely to be used in cybercrimes.
Lt. Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, states that, “cybercrime has become a world war of our times. The total global volume of cybercrime in 2011 was $388 billion, and in 2012, consumer cybercrime alone caused losses of $110 billion. In the UAE, experts estimate that three-quarters of Internet users in the country will become victims of cybercrime. Of that figure, 75 per cent of the hacking is slated to happen around our bank accounts. And only one out of 10 is estimated to have installed anti-virus software on mobile phones”.
The criminals not only try to steal personal data and identity, but are increasingly targeting cloud computing and social networking sites as well. It is estimated that online fraud had cost the UAE residents more than Dh 1 billion till September 2012. However, this is a decline from the loss of around Dh 2.3 billion faced in the preceding 12 months. Therefore, government actions to tighten the cyber security net and improve cyber defence have yielded positive results.
Here is an article from Barclays bank UAE on how to protect yourself from online fraud.