With a growing cyber menace expected to target governments and corporations in 2012, local experts said public and private sector establishments in Jordan should adopt high-tech solutions to be ready to face such threats. The experts said local companies and organisations are not placing a sufficiently heavy emphasis on being resilient to cyber attacks, which makes them vulnerable.
Commenting on a forecast by the Russian computer security company Kaspersky Lab, which indicated that cyber attacks in 2012 are expected to reach more of the world than ever before, spreading beyond Western Europe and the US and affecting the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South-east Asia, the experts called for more awareness on cyber threats in the Kingdom. "In Jordan and the rest of the Arab world, there are no standards for cyber security... This represents a real problem that makes entities in our part of the world susceptible to such attacks," Mahmoud Kurdi, a cyber security expert, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday. "The problem in Jordan is that neither establishments nor individuals are truly aware of the risks of cyber threats, which need to be taken more seriously.
There is a need for more awareness and increased readiness," he said. Cyber crimes that might affect Jordan include identity theft, phishing, e-fraud, and infecting devices with malware to steal data, according to the IT experts. Abed Shamlawi, CEO of the ICT Association of Jordan (int@j), called on the government to take the initiative in promoting cyber security. "The government should lead efforts to raise awareness on cyber threats, which can harm the national economy," he said. The modest volume of e-transactions in Jordan compared to the rest of the countries in the region makes the Kingdom less attractive to cyber criminals, but that does not mean the country can afford to neglect the risks, he added. "Cyber criminals are constantly changing their attack methods and are targeting more and more entities.
We in Jordan should increase our preparedness to deal with such attacks," Shamlawi said. Whereas the majority of cyber attacks have until now affected companies and state organisations involved in arms manufacturing, financial operations, or hi-tech and scientific research activities, in 2012, companies in the natural resource extraction, energy, transport, food and pharmaceutical industries will be affected, as well as Internet service and information security firms, Kaspersky Lab indicated in an e-mail to The Jordan Times. The “Cyberthreat Forecast for 2012” predicted that attackers will have to change their methods in response to growing competition among IT security companies that investigate and protect against targeted attacks. Increased public attention to security lapses will also force the attackers to search for new weapons, it added.
The conventional method of attack, using e-mail attachments, will gradually become less effective, while browser attacks will gain in popularity, the report said.