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UAE named safest cybersecurity country in region

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Despite a 464% surge in the number of email-based phishing attacks in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022, the UAE has set the cybersecurity benchmark for the lowest infection rates and URL blocking rates in the region, according to an Acronis report.

Acronis, the global leader in cyber protection, has released the findings of its mid-year cyber threat report, From Innovation to Risk: Managing the Impact of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Cyber ​​Attacks, which says that while the number of new ransomware variants continues to decline, The impact of ransomware attacks is still there. Severity is still high.

Also worrisome is the growing prominence of data stealers who use stolen credentials to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Extend and enhance

“The surge in the number of threats in 2023 compared to last year shows that criminals are expanding and enhancing the ways they compromise systems and carry out attacks,” said Candid Wüest, vice president of research at Acronis. “To address the dynamic threat landscape, organizations need to be nimble, comprehensive, and unified A comprehensive security solution that provides the visibility necessary to understand attacks, simplify context, and provide effective remediation of any threat, whether it is malware, system vulnerabilities, or everything in between.”

Attacks intensify in Mena region

According to the report, phishing is the main method criminals use to steal login credentials.

In the first half of 2023, Acronis monitored endpoints observed a 15% increase in the number of files and URLs per scanned email. Cybercriminals are also tapping into the emerging market for large-scale language model (LLM)-based artificial intelligence, leveraging platforms to create, automate, scale and improve new attacks through active learning.

Regionally, as of May 2023, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Kuwait both have an infection rate of 11% by the number of malware detected, ranking 25th and 27th globally, respectively. The UAE reported an infection rate of 10% over the same period, ranking it 31st globally.

In terms of blocked URLs, Kuwait leads the region with 30 percent and ranks second globally, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia rank seventh and 14th with 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively. In the case of the United Arab Emirates, the number of blocked URLs is the lowest at 8%, ranking 30th globally.

The cyber attack landscape is evolving

Attacks by cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using artificial intelligence and existing ransomware code to dig deep into victims’ systems and extract sensitive information.

AI-created malware is adept at evading detection by traditional antivirus models, and public ransomware cases have exploded relative to last year. Endpoints monitored by Acronis are gaining valuable data on how these cybercriminals operate and recognizing how certain attacks have become smarter, more sophisticated and harder to detect.

main findings

Based on extensive research and analysis, key findings of the report include:

● In Q1 2023, Acronis blocked nearly 50 million URLs on endpoints, a 15% increase from Q4 2022.

● There were 809 publicly mentioned ransomware cases in Q1 2023, a 62% jump in March compared to the monthly average of 270.

● In Q1 2023, 30.3% of all incoming emails will be spam and 1.3% will contain malware or phishing links.

● Each malware sample lived an average of 2.1 days in the wild before disappearing. 73% of samples were only seen once.

●Public AI models have been shown to be unknowingly accomplices to criminals looking for source code vulnerabilities, crafting attacks, and developing fraud prevention such as deepfakes to thwart them.

Violations indicate major security issues

Traditional cybersecurity approaches and lack of action give attackers an opportunity, the report shares:

● Lack of robust security solutions that can detect zero-day exploits.

● Organizations often fail to update vulnerable software in a timely manner long after fixes are available.

●Linux servers face inadequate protection against growing cybercriminals.

● Not all organizations follow proper data backup protocols, including the 3-2-1 rule.

With these trends in mind, Acronis emphasizes the need for proactive cyber protection measures. A good network security posture requires a multi-layered solution that combines anti-malware, EDR, DLP, email security, vulnerability assessment, patch management, RMM and backup capabilities. Leveraging advanced solutions that combine artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavioral analytics can help mitigate the risks posed by ransomware and data stealers.

Through continuous research, development, and collaboration with industry partners, Acronis is committed to empowering individuals and businesses by providing innovative solutions to defend against emerging cyber threats. — trade arab news agency

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