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GCC businesses warned to be on high alert against growing cyber security threat

18 january 2016

هذا الخبر متوفر أيضا بالعربية

Businesses need to be on high alert in the GCC to combat the growing threat from computer hackers, an IT transformation management expert warned today. 

Morten Meltinis, IT expert at PA Consulting Group, says a number of recent scares have underlined why security must be high on the business agenda in the GCC to counter the increasing risk of cyber breaches. 

PA says organisations need to understand their own weaknesses and increase their combined security knowledge, in the process making employees guardians of digital assets, rather than the potential source of risks. 

“The UAE, for instance, is rising on the global list of countries with a high risk of having your computer infected and thereby vulnerable to being hacked,” said Meltinis. “According to Kaspersky Labs, the UAE is in the second highest risk group of five.” 

Earlier this year PA Consulting Group issued a three-point cyber security strategy for healthcare providers in the GCC from its Abu Dhabi regional headquarters. Another PA report in the UK said police analysts forecast the time spent on dealing with cybercrime will treble. 

“One of the biggest problems is that many organisations do not know where they are vulnerable – they take the standard precautions without really knowing what is needed and what the threats are they are trying to protect themselves against,” said Meltinis.  

“It’s crucial that employees know how to avoid the most common mistakes, and raising the lower bar of a company’s combined security knowledge will eliminate many risks. 

“If employees are given an understanding of where the organisation is vulnerable they can act as custodians rather than be security risks themselves. Instead of applying very strict rules upon employees, companies should educate them so they understand what the threat is and the behaviours expected of them.” 

PA Consulting Group highlights the common use of a single password / email combination for multiple purposes as a major security risk. “Passwords should not be so complicated that the user has to write them down, but we also recommend educating employees about using unique username and password combinations for their personal and professional digital assets that they really care about,” said Meltinis.

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