The Middle East in 2012 will see cybercriminals act with even more persistency and sophistication, as the region shifts from the PC-centric desktop toward mobile and cloud computing. Industry specific attacks, data leakage from mobile devices, theft through social networking are key areas of concern in 2012, say Trend Micro.
Trend Micro cannot emphasize enough, the importance for ITadministrator’s to ‘protect the data, not just the systems’ by implementing a data-centric framework.
“The Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions globally, and thisinstantaneously attracts cybercriminals. We are dealing with an epidemic that can literally cripple organizations, and having in place adequate security protocols, and by using the most up-to-date security products and solution is the only way to ensure business continuity,” commented Nick Black, Technical Manager, Trend Micro, Middle East and Africa.
Trend Micro’s “Middle East Threat Predictions for 2012” include:
Industry Specific Targets
Targeted attacks on organisations using specific software and applications will be prevalent in the Middle East. Exploits will become more specific and will be designed to target known vulnerabilities in regional organisations that are using this software. This may be industry specific such as Health Care with a goal of stealing personal data from medical records for example.
Data Leakage through mobile devices
In the Middle East mobile devices are increasingly popular. It is common for users in the region to expect to use their personal devices to access corporate applications and therefore data. Unfortunately the users that demand this access (and in most cases are granted access) may not be security aware. Simple security practices such as Anti malware, web reputation and mail reputation services are not something that the average regional user would consider when accessing corporate data. The expectation is that the organisation is responsible for securing the data. An effective security policy should include the users themselves and ensure that there is a shared responsibility mentality.
New technology data breaches
Organisations in the Middle East will adopt Cloud technologies over the next few years, it is important that they take security seriously when considering a cloud services or even a virtualised data centre model. Traditional approaches to security do not address the new areas of vulnerability and potential breach that is introduced with these platforms. Choosing a security partner that has security solutions that are specifically designed for these new technologies is critical. It is likely that cybercriminals will test new attacks on Cloud Service providers – these may be targeted attacks outside of the region but in the case of a public cloud service there may be Middle Eastern user data residing elsewhere globally.
Open Source Platform
Andriod based Smart phones will suffer from numerous Malware infections. Due to the Android policy of having an open application download policy we can expect that Malware will be embedded in these applications that will lead to data theft and other compromises.
Social networking in the Middle East is common place and yet the concept of data privacy is in its infancy. Users rarely hesitate to share personal data on Social Networking sites which allows for potential data theft and ID theft. Cyber bullying and intimidation as well as extortion will become more and more common - sometimes at an isolated level affecting individuals, sometimes attacking an individual as a route to industrial espionage and blackmail.
Advanced Persistent Threats
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT’s) may be targeted to the Middle East region in 2012. The reasons being that the detection skills and technology adoption among many organisations is at a basic level. APT’s require forensic level skills and technology to detect, meaning that networks and data may be compromised for a length of time before the threat is detected and remediated.