This post comes from Joe Shenouda, CYBERPOL / ECIPS Liaison Officer, on the eve of the RSA Conference 2015 Abu Dhabi.
The Middle Eastern cyber security market is around $35 billion at the moment. The cost worldwide of cybercrime is estimated at more than $113 billion per year...
It is clear that something needs to be done against the second most common economic crime in the Middle east.
Cyber threats are rapidly increasing in the world and the Middle East is no exception. Because Middle Eastern countries have invested greatly the last 10 years in digitization, their attack surface also have been enlarged. It's an attractive region for cyber criminals because of enlarging attack surface and the high assets like the oil, gas and banking industry. And already some damage have been sustained, however bigger cyber criminal events are expected to happen later this year and in 2016. The amount of data in the world will grow exponentially within 5 years, so it is important that this is safeguarded in at least a regional way and eventually globally.
In the MENA region, some regulation has been created nationally, however as we all know the Internet has no borders. International regulation and cooperation is necessary to successfully tackle the threat and be a serious counter party against international cyber crime. The rapid changing landscape of technology and cyber security is also something to take in account for law makers.
Most of the attacks in the Middle East consist of DDOS and website disruption attacks. A lot of silent espionage is also taking place and this can do a business unlimited damage while it is happening. The data is sold on a daily basis to competitors and this can do unlimited damage to the victim companies that are being spied on.
In 2012, Aramco was hacked and more dan 30.000 PC's were formatted. Aramco survived this attack but I know a lot of companies that could wiped from existence if this occurred to them. Since then, good measures are taken, not only in Aramco but across the critical-infrastructure industry. However, a lot of work still needs to be done.
Stay tuned for notes about sessions and keynotes coming out of RSA Conference 2015 Abu Dhabi this week.