UAE Cybersecurity Threat Landscape “More Intense and Complex Than Ever”

Leading UAE IT decision-makers today agreed that cybersecurity threats are growing in intensity and scale across the region.

According to a new survey commissioned by global Application Delivery Networking leader F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) 181% of surveyed IT decision-makers believed their organisation was more vulnerable than ever to cybersecurity threats. The findings come ahead of this month’s IDC CIO Summit in Dubai.

82% ranked their organisation’s vulnerability to cybercrime, hacking and “hacktivism” as “very” or “extremely” vulnerable, and 79% agreed that it is more difficult than ever to protect their organisations from associated security threats.
Worryingly, only 8% are completely confident their organisation has consistent IT security measures across its entire IT network.

34% said their marketing and sales efforts were most vulnerable to attacks, 28% cited email, 27% employee data and 24% customer information. Common cybersecurity threats include distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, phishing/spear-phishing emails, data theft, “zero-day” software assaults, web application exploits, and website defacement.

“Traditional security methods such as next generation firewalls and other reactive measures are losing the fight against a new breed of attacks,” said Garth Braithwaite, Middle East Sales Director, F5 Networks.

“Security is now very much about the protection of the application, the enforcement of encryption, and the protection of user identity. Increasingly, it is less about the supporting network infrastructure. Organisations need a security strategy that is flexible and comprehensive, with the ability to combine Domain Name System (DNS) security, DDoS protection, network firewalls, access management, and application security with intelligent traffic management.”
MarketsandMarkets suggests that the Middle East cybersecurity market is on course to grow from $5.17 billion in 2014 to $9.56 billion in 2019 at a CAGR of 13.07%2.In its 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, PrincewaterhouseCooper identified cybercrime as the second most common form of economic crime reported in the Middle East3.

The top cybersecurity challenges listed in F5 Networks’s survey include changing motivations for hacking (33% of respondents), the virtualization of server desktops and networks (31%), difficulty in managing a variety of security tools (29%), the increasing complexity of threats (29%), the shift from datacentre-focused infrastructure to the cloud (25%) and the move from traditional client-server applications to web-based applications (24%).

In order to adapt and cope, 57% of decision-makers wanted a better understanding of the different types of security threats, 24% called for consolidated management of their different security tools, and 20% wanted a stronger focus on security issues from management.

“With multi-dimensional or ‘cocktail’ style attacks – DDoS attacks combined with application layer attacks and Structured Query Language (SQL) vulnerabilities –organisations really need to look at a multi-stack security approach, combined with a process to handle internal control,” added Braithwaite.

F5 Networks is a Gold Sponsor and will take part in a panel discussion focusing on IT security priorities at the IDC CIO Summit 2015, which is held from 25-26 February at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. The event is held under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development.

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