News Coronavirus watch08 Jul 2020

Web application security risks on the rise in MEA

| 08 Jul 2020

Web application attacks are on the rise, and now account for 66% of all cyber threats seen in Middle East and Africa (MEA) as more organisations across the region have had to invest in enhancing their online presence amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Dimension Data's parent company NTT in its '2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report'.

Cyber security challenges across the MEA region have been compounded by the impact of COVID-19, as phishing attacks leveraging the virus have been seen as early as January 2020, even before the global pandemic was declared, said the South Africa-headquartered IT company Dimension Data.

Fake websites masquerading as official sources of information were created at rates exceeding 2,000 sites per day, with many of them specifically targeting the healthcare organisations that were trying to help people through this global emergency.

As countries across the Middle East reopen their economies, governments and businesses are rapidly reinventing the way they operate, said Dimension Data Middle East managing director Paul Potgieter.

“Whether to engage with customers, or to empower their own employees, organisations are becoming increasingly reliant on web applications such as customer portals and mobile apps as they shift their channel strategies from face-to-face to online. An unfortunate consequence is that this widens the attack exposure of these businesses - a problem that is exacerbated by the incredible pace at which these changes have had to be made," he said.

In the broader Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, the report showed that reconnaissance activity, wherein intruders secretly gather information about systems for future attacks, was the most common threat, often accounting for more than 40% of all attacks. Similar to the global analysis, vulnerability scanners, testing tools, and malware appeared in the top five most common malware and attacker tools in EMEA. The report also found that the industries most targeted in the EMEA region were insurance (50%), finance (44%) and retail (3%).                                      

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