Falling Returns Mean Cyberecriminals Are Turning To Unconventional Methods

Falling returns from cyber-attacks are forcing criminals to use unconventional methods to extort money as internet users become more savvy and incidents of crimes decline, a report from Symantec has found.

Primarily due to increased awareness, for the first time since 2013, ransomware incidents fell by 20 per cent last year. Ransomware is a breached software that threatens to publish the victim's data or permanently block access for them unless a ransom is paid.

More than 4,800 websites are compromised globally each month with a type of hacking called form-jacking, in which a malicious code is added to retailers’ websites to steal bank card details of shoppers, according Symantec.

“Globally, one in 344 form-jacking attacks were blocked in the UAE, representing a serious threat for both local businesses and consumers,” said Gordon Love, vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa emerging region at Symantec.

Consumers have no way to know if they are visiting a breached online retailer without using a comprehensive security solution, leaving valuable personal and financial information vulnerable, he added. Only 10 credit cards stolen from each of the 4,800 compromised websites every month could yield up to $2.2 million each, according to Symantec’s report, adding that attackers are increasingly focusing on Internet of Things as an entry point to technical systems.

“With an increasing trend towards the convergence of IT and industrial IoT, the next cyber battlefield is operational technology" said Mr Love.

“A growing number of groups have displayed interest in compromising operational systems and industrial control systems to potentially prepare for cyber warfare.”

The report also reveals that in in the UAE, email malware attacks have increased year-on-year, double the global average. 
In 2018, one in 183 emails in the UAE had included a malicious attachment or link, whereas the global average was one in 412 emails during the same time period.

The type of cyber-attacks also depends on the company size.  Companies in the UAE with more than 2,500 employees were most likely to be targeted by malware, a software damaging computer networks.  Whereas, medium-sized companies with 500 to 1,000 employees are likely to be most affected by spam emails, unsolicited messages sent in bulk.

The National

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