Cyber Crime on the Rise in Gulf States

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Different regions in the Middle East are making the headlines these days for civil unrest, terror threats, and the continuous march of the ISIL. However, there is one threat that is far more widespread but that has been largely remained in the sidelines.  

Cybercrime is on rise in the Gulf State. In this article, we will expose the extent of cybercrime that is plaguing Middle Eastern nations today.

The Extent of Cybercrime in the Gulf State

The Gulf State has become a hotbed for cybercrime. An Annual Security Report of Cisco had remarked that cybercrime is the new threat in the Arab region. The report had revealed that most of the cybercriminals have attached internet infrastructure in the Middle East. This has resulted in a rise in reported thefts of credentials and password.  

The UAE also experienced an increase of 400 percent in targeted attacks. The cybercrime in the country represents nearly five percent of the global attacks. According to a report by antivirus firm Norton, more than 6.5 million people in Saudi Arabia were a victim of cybercrime. Online crime in Oman has increased by more than six percent last year.  The cyberattacks cost the Gulf countries an estimated $1 billion every year.

Most of the online frauds are related to credit cards, online money transfer, and debit cards. The online transactions are also subjected to online attacks. Some hackers break into the email accounts of individuals to steal confidential accounts information. Phishing is also common in the gulf countries whereby the criminals send emails or make calls asking the person to send the bank details.

Tips for Expats to Avoid Being a Victim of Cybercrime

Expatriates in the Gulf countries are more likely to be a victim of the cybercrime as compared to the locals. Experts say that about 58 percent of the cybercrime victims are expats. Criminals get access to details of the bank account when the expats send money back home.

Anyone that access bank account or use net in cafes or public places is exposed to cybercrime. Individuals particularly expats are advised to avoid using internet cafes or public Wi-Fi to carrying out bank transactions. Also, individuals should make sure that the hotel or shops’ ATM that they are using is reputable.  

Avoid giving details of bank account such as account number or password over the phone. People often get duped when someone calls for information pretending to be a representative of your bank. Hackers also skim the ATM machines by installing a device. That’s why it’s important that you remain wary when taking out money using an ATM machine. Before using the ATM, you should check whether the ATM looks as if it has been tampered with or there is a small video screen. The small precautions can help reduce the chances of being a victim of cybercrime in the Gulf region.