Cyber Security in the Middle East

Middle East Faces Surge in Cyber Crimes in 2021

In one of my blogs “The Impact of Cyber Crime on the Middle East Economy” I had discussed how cyber crimes in the Middle East are affecting the economic growth of the region. Well, a lot has changed since I wrote the blog, especially when it comes to the challenges of tackling cyber crimes.

According to the report from Consumers International, the biggest source of concern for 81% of internet users around the world is cyber crimes. This includes 76% of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) consumers.

The same report also mentioned that 40% of online shoppers reported having been a cyber attack victim and 71% have witnessed or have been aware of a cyber-attack. Notably, the concerns for cyber attacks have grown over the past year.

As per the same report, 24% of the respondents in a survey said they feel less safe from online fraud than they did the previous year.

Though the concerns about cyber attacks have been increasing, one must also agree that the region is taking up effective cyber security measures to prevent cyber attacks. For instance, Saudi Arabia foiled over 7 million cyber attacks in 2021.

Over 7 Million Cyber Attacks Prevented in Saudi Arabia

According to the report from Gulf News, Saudi Arabia prevented more than 7 million cyber attacks in the past three months of 2021. The report also stated that cyber attacks in 2021 rose significantly by 104% from 83,512 in February to 2 million in March.

It is worth mentioning that the increase in cyber attacks coincided with the government’s statement on restricting office work and other activities such as traveling. In fact, the report also stated that most of these cyber attacks were against the employees’ protocol in accessing the respective firm’s resources remotely. This highlights cyber security awareness training is still not in place for many organizations.

Why is Cyber Security Awareness Training Important?

This is not the first time that cyber criminals are getting aggressive in targeting organizations that are trying to implement remote work culture due to COVID-19. According to a report from Alarabiya News, the UAE witnessed at least a 250% increase in cyber attacks during the pandemic period in 2020. This is when the organizations in the region were enforcing remote work-from-home culture in order to control the widespread use of COVID-19.

So, to answer the question of why cyber security awareness training is important? Here are 3 reasons why:

#1 To Prevent Cyber Attacks

Let’s start with the obvious reason, cyber security awareness training helps preventing cyber attacks.

Cyber security awareness training educates your employees about the current cyber security landscape. Using various training methods, the training helps the employees to be aware of cyber threats which in return assist the organization in reducing risks associated with cyber attacks.

Cyber security memes
Cyber security memes

#2 To Build Secure Work Environment

Creating a secure working environment against cyber criminals has always been the goal for many organizations. However, hardly any organization has achieved so far. But if cyber security awareness training is in place it will make it less difficult for the organization in achieving the same.

There are several cyber security protocols an employee must follow to protect themselves and the organization from cyber attacks. For example, the risk of sharing passwords in the workplace, and many more.

These are basic security measures however ignoring such basic protocols can severely harm the organization. Therefore, cyber security awareness training should be provided to all employees to learn these basics but crucial steps.

#3 Keep-up Customers’ Trust

Last but not least is to maintain customer’s trust. Every customer wants to be safe and secure. Consequently, organizations that prioritize every precaution and security measure will be able to generate customer trust. And worth mentioning, a trusted organization is one that almost every customer stays loyal to.

“The knock-on effect of a data breach can be devastating for a company. When customers start taking their business — and their money — elsewhere, that can be a real body blow.” –Christopher Graham

The key challenge for organizations today is how to combat the prevailing cyber attacks in the region. Cyber security awareness training is the best way to start. It is crucial for organizations to provide the necessary cyber security training to the employees and be prepared to counter cyber threats.

Have more reasons why organizations should provide cyber security awareness training to the employees? Comment down below your reasons.

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