Cybercriminals Have Been Exploiting the Threat Landscape to its Highest Potential

Security MEA speaks to Ray Kafity, the Vice President for Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at Attivo Networks, about the state of cybercrime in the Middle East

What is the state of cybercrime / financial crime in the Middle East?
The modern cybercriminal has made it evident time and again that no organization – big or small – is beyond limits. 2017 so far has seen cybercriminals exploiting the threat landscape to its highest potential. For example, the second wave of Shamoon 2 attack disrupted computers of the Labour Ministry in Saudi Arabia.

Some weeks ago, WannaCry ransomware stirred up the perfect storm, forcing companies to exercise optimum security measures to stay safe. In a nutshell, increased digital disruption in the age of hyper connectivity has made advanced cyberattacks rife in the region – which will only grow in the years to come.   

What sort of attacks are the most common in the region?
Ransomware, DDoS, Financial Phishing, network attacks, high-profile data breaches, insider threats, Reconnaissance attacks, Credentials theft attacks, Advanced Cyber Targeted attacks, Man in the Middle attacks and mobile malware have become more commonplace in the Middle East.

Which industry sectors are the most targeted in terms of cybercrimes / financial crimes?
Given that government, telecom, manufacturing, energy, aviation, retail and financial services are mainstay areas of business in the region – these industries are prone to a barrage of cyber-attacks and financial crimes.

Are technologies employed by companies keeping up with the intensity of such crimes?
Implementing advanced technology and solutions to prevent cyberattack will simply not suffice. The main concern nowadays is not if an organization is going to be breached, rather when the organization is going to be breached, if not already breached. Companies need to align the right prevention technology around the business with the right supporting early detection processes, governance and security strategies to remain vigilant and execute accelerated cyber incident response when security measures falter. This necessitates the need to rethink security across all business functions.

What needs to be done in order to ensure such crimes do not affect a wider section of the society?
The battle lines of cybersecurity have invariably changed and the modern cybercriminal today has multiple channels at his disposal to launch attacks. In this scenario, companies need to start investing in flexible and collaborative security solutions to provide an adaptive defence based on prevention, detection, response, and prediction.

According to a recent whitepaper by Frost & Sullivan titled, ‘Why Deception is Essential to Your Cybersecurity Strategy’, deception technology has altered the playing field and is a critical element in modern day cyber security. Deception-based security solutions can easily align with overall business processes and equip organizations with post breach advanced early threat detection, accelerated cyber incident response as well as vulnerability visibility for attack prevention.

For example, Attivo Networks’ ThreatMatrix Platform is strategically designed to provide early detection of threats like Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), BOT, ransomware attacks, stolen credentials, and man-in-the-middle (MitM), in addition to accelerated cyber incident response tools and methods. Furthermore, deploying the Attivo Camouflage for Dynamic Behavioral Deception, provides automated self-learning technology to match the environment for the highest levels of authenticity. This technology will also simplify operations with automated deployment and will respin deceptions after an attack to avoid attacker fingerprinting and evasion.

A mobile transactions proving to a challenge for both companies and security service providers?
While mobile payment offers an array of benefits to users, nonetheless they are also a rich source to potential vulnerabilities. However, as mentioned earlier, with the right technology solutions and a strong security posture, companies can mitigate the level of risk this mode of payment entails.