Bahraini companies no match for thousands of cyber attacks
Bahraini businesses are unprepared in the event of a major cyber assault, it has emerged.
Companies receive an average of 2,000 to 3,000 threats per month, according to leading information technology (IT) experts in the kingdom.
National carrier Gulf Air, which saw disruptions to its corporate website as well as had its Facebook page hacked, told the GDN that cyber crime is a serious threat to the aviation industry and large Bahraini companies, in particular.
"As a high-profile company and the kingdom's national carrier, Gulf Air, like other large Bahraini companies, is a target and we take cyber crime extremely seriously," said IT director Jassim Haji.
"The opportunity for large gains is fuelling the criminal underground, while 'hacktivists' looking to advance their agendas see penetrating networks as a great way to draw attention to their cause," he added.
The airline has since stepped up security systems by building a disaster recovery centre located remotely from its headquarters, where all data is transferred and stored in real time.
Small and medium enterprises, however, are not so lucky.
"Small businesses are at great loss," said Al Hilal Group networks specialist Sayed Alaa Al Marzooq Sayed.
"Some medium-sized companies have disaster recovery systems in order to back up data.
"It takes one or two days to restore the system.
"It costs a lot of time when all systems crash," he said.
"If you have no backup, you won't be able to access information," he added.
Bahrain's banking sector is also on high alert against any potential threat to its systems.
"We receive almost 2,000 to 3,000 threats per month," said Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance senior IT support engineer Mohammed Abdulkareem.
"We carry security auditing of our system and we monitor them regularly besides providing for anti-virus protection.
"We advise our users not to view certain emails or open certain attachments," he added.
Network security experts say most Bahrain-based users still fall for financial frauds on the Internet.
"Previously, hackers would extract credit card details in one go.
"Now, they send you an email which sounds personal and proposes to transfer a certain amount of money," he added.
He advised adopting a cautious approach towards using social networking websites as users usually from the opposite sex often extract vital financial and personal information.
"People don't target credit cards now but go directly for bank statements.
"Many people in Bahrain have lost thousands of dinars," he said.
He also warned of the dangers of backdoor attacks from using shared networks.
"Free WiFi in caf