InfoSec Threats Spread Worldwide

By Ryan Ernst

InfoSec threats are a global concern. Well-publicized cyberattacks in the U.S. are only one chapter in a worldwide cyberwar.Infosec Threats Spread Worldwide

History of attacks in the Middle East
The Middle East is one theater in that war. Back in 2012, Shamoon, a computer virus designed for sabotage and corporate espionage, was unleashed on Saudi Aramco, a Saudi Arabian petroleum company, in 2012. The attack wiped out 30,000 hard drives and forced the company to rely on fax machines to keep business running.

In the years since, Shamoon was all but forgotten until it reemerged in two waves of attacks in November 2016 and January 2017. This time the Saudi government was targeted along with the Sadara Petrochemical company. Several other organizations were affected.

Shamoon marked a beginning — not an end — to the cyberattacks in the region as ever-more advanced and sophisticated techniques are developed to compromise computer networks. More attacks are expected worldwide in 2017.

Other means of cyberattack
In addition to viruses, hackers turn to human psychology to gain access to computer networks. Social engineering tactics aimed at gaining access to company and personal online accounts are growing in sophistication. Another vehicle for cyberattacks on an individual level is ransomware, the malicious software responsible for the recent global cyber crisis.

Internet of Things security concerns
The Internet of Things brings both fascination and concern due to a general disregard by manufacturers to design their products with security in mind. The number of devices connected to the internet is expected to rise to 50 billion by 2020. More than 70 percent of IoT devices are known to contain exploitable vulnerabilities.

It is of critical importance for the governments and businesses in the Middle East and the rest of the world to invest in cybersecurity. It is equally as important for individuals to learn to cyber-aware to protect themselves from criminal activity.

This article originally appeared in Gulf Insider. Read the original piece here. 

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