Home Risk Managements United Arab Emirates at Higher Risk of Cyber Attacks – Source: www.darkreading.com

United Arab Emirates at Higher Risk of Cyber Attacks – Source: www.darkreading.com

United Arab Emirates at Higher Risk of Cyber Attacks – Source: www.darkreading.com

The United Arab Emirates is making significant strides in digital transformation, with the goal of positioning itself as a global hub for business and innovation in the Middle East. The government at both the individual emirate and national levels is driving the adoption of digital technologies and services, as outlined in the UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025 and Smart Dubai 2021 Strategy.

However, as the country pushes forward with digital initiatives, it has also attracted the attention of cyberattackers who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods. According to Irina Zinovkina, head of the information security research group at Positive Technologies, the existing cyber workforce in the UAE is struggling to keep up with basic security efforts such as patching, and there is a shortage of cybersecurity-skilled professionals.

The UAE is facing a changing threat landscape, with more than 50,000 attacks targeting the nation’s public sector every day. In the past two years, a majority of UAE-based businesses have experienced cybersecurity incidents, indicating the growing risks associated with digital transformation.

A report by Abu Dhabi-based cybersecurity services firm CPX revealed that there are over 155,000 vulnerable assets in the UAE, with 40% of critical vulnerabilities remaining unpatched over the past five years. Timely and effective patch management is crucial to reducing the risk posed by these vulnerabilities, but the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the country makes this a challenging task.

The UAE’s expanding attack surface is a cause for concern, as the adoption of technologies like cloud computing, operational technology (OT), and artificial intelligence (AI) provide cybercriminals with more opportunities for illegal system infiltration. As a result, there is a need for a unified response to cybersecurity threats that transcend local, regional, and global boundaries.

The country’s progress in digital transformation has made it an attractive target for cybercriminals, as evidenced by the increasing mentions of the UAE in cybercriminal forums and channels. With cybercriminals leveraging AI technologies to conduct more sophisticated attacks, there are growing concerns about integration complexities and data security in the UAE.

As organizations in the UAE transition to cloud services, there is a need for more cloud-native security measures to protect digital assets effectively. Rich Davis, director of solution strategy for cloud security firm Netskope, emphasizes the importance of adopting security-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) tools, as well as implementing a zero-trust model to secure data and applications.

Despite the progress in digital transformation, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals remains a significant challenge for the UAE. Jon Amato, a senior director analyst at Gartner, underscores the importance of finding skilled individuals to manage the security of cloud services and digital assets. Finding and retaining cybersecurity talent will be crucial for the UAE to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and protect its digital infrastructure effectively.

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