News Column

Summer Set to Bring Host of Cyber Threats for Middle East Users, Warns Security Expert

July 13, 2014



Top tips will help internet users protect themselves against new forms of attack from cyber criminals

Dubai, United Arab Emirates:†Summer has set in across the Middle East and soaring temperatures have brought with them, elevated threats for internet users. With shorter working hours during the Holy Month of Ramadan and school vacations in effect, people, especially children, have more time on their hands to use their computers, tablets and smartphone devices. This increased usage places them at a greater risk of falling victim to viruses, spam, trojans, identity theft and a long list of other threats!

Cyber criminals are always modifying and tailoring their methods so as to exploit user behaviour. But being aware and taking a few simple precautions can help you stay safe this summer. Here are our top cyber security tips for internet users across the Middle East.

Donít Open Email Greetings from Unknown Sources

In todayís world, busy schedules, commitments to work and family, and near and dear ones spread out across the globle, have all meant that people are increasingly dependent on virtual modes of communication. It is commonpace to receive an email with the seasonís greetings, not just from oneís relatives but also from scores of organizations and corporations hoping to strengthen relationships and positively reinforce their brand. In this flood of electronic wishes, it is easy to open emails from unknown sources without a second thought. It is common for hackers therefore to exploit this and there are sure to be plenty of phishing emails disguised as greetings for the Holy Month.

Use Caution When Updating Your Social Media

The soaring temperatures coupled with schools being closed for summer vacations mean that many families will be vacationing together. Social media has made posting Ďgoing away for the summerí updates something of an unwritten rule. And while it might be great to let your family and friends know which exotic destination is on your travel agenda, you are unknowingly running the risk of providing too much information. Hackers could pick up on such updates and utilize these windows of opportunity to carry out anything from identity theft to physical robery. After all, you are far less likely to receive and check updates on suspicious activity when tanning on a beach in the Bahamas.

Be Wary of Public/Free Wi-Fi

Our increased dependence on social media and the internet has also changed the way in which we holiday. Wi-Fi takes precedence when making hotel bookings and staying in touch with friends and family on the go is imperitive. Unfortunately the free Wi-Fi in many establishments such as hotels, cafÉs and restaurants is often insecure. In order to simplify access to such networks, there is no encryption of the data-traffic meaning far less security. This means a hacker could easily intercept the traffic i.e. the data your device is transmitting, which could be anything from harmless searches for the local sights and attractions to highly sensitive eBanking credentials. You must therefore always consider if it is absolutely vital to log on to identity sensitive applications from these networks. The same goes for public computers such as those in internet cafÉs. They could be host to numerous viruses that could easily steal your log in credentials so exercise due restraint.

Get Everything Up-to-Date

After your time away for the summer break, donít let your social media outlets be the only platforms you update. IT security is a fast paced game and security vendors are often the ones playing catch up. This means that important patches and software updates are continuously being releases. By now, users are familiar with updating their operating systems, but remember that even applications and software could potentially be exploited by hackers through back door vulnerabilities. Installing the latest updates and patches for your operating system, antivirus and applications such as pdf readers, image editors or mp3 players is a challenge but an absolutely necessity all the same. Taking the time to get everything up to date after a long vacation goes a long way in keeping your systems secure.

The simplest security measures are often the most effective. Basic precautions, thought most often neglected, act at the first line of defense against an ever growing number of cyber security threats. With the advice outlined above, internet users in the Middle East can ensure their chances of falling victim plunge even as the mercury rises.

About Help AG:

Help AG is a leading IT security solutions, services and consultancy company, founded in Germany in 1995 and active in the Middle East since 2004. A winner of multiple reseller, partner and channel awards, the company was even recognized in 2013 as one of the Top 100 SME businesses by Dubaiís Department of Economic Development (DED).

Focusing solely on the security aspects of Information Technology and maintaining an unprecedented 80% of staff in technical positions has enabled Help AG to stand out as the regionís trusted advisor capable of delivering the most complex and innovative IT security solutions spanning Application Security, Network Security, Enterprise Mobile Security and Next Generation Modern Malware Protection. This unmatched technical expertise has enabled Help AG to establish a dedicated Security Analysis division offering customers Security Review, Penetration Testing, Configuration Architecture Review, Vulnerability Assessment and Social Engineering and Exploitation services.

As a key player in the security arena, the company remains dedicated to raising regional awareness about IT security threats and trends and regularly conducts informative vendor-agnostic events such as its flagship Security Spotlight Forum (SSF) and CIO Circle of Trust.


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Source: Mid-East.Info


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