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TMCNet:  Warning of cyber threats in lead-up to Dubai Expo [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]

[December 15, 2013]

Warning of cyber threats in lead-up to Dubai Expo [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]

(National, The (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Cybersecurity risks in the UAE could intensify in the run-up to the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, says a report by an accountancy body.

The need to combat cybercrime was growing globally, as evidenced by high-profile hacking cases around the world, said the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).

"There will be enormous procurement going on there over the next decade [in Dubai]," said Michael Izza, ICAEW's chief executive. "If a criminal was to hack into a government system, create a fraudulent purchase order and an invoice, Dubai pays automatically on the system." A flurry of projects are expected to be rolled out as Dubai gears up to host the event. As with all big global events, the extent of the planning and high-profile focus create potential opportunities for cybercrime.


ICAEW's global report on cybersecurity risks calls for greater openness by companies and governments about the challenges they face to help to build knowledge to fight the risk. The report was produced by external auditors working with major companies.

"Cybersecurity is becoming one of the biggest risks most companies around the world now have to consider," Mr Izza said.

"It hasn't just crept up on us in the last 12 months, but we are now at a stage where governments and international agencies feel that the pressure is such that multinationals, corporates have to be much more open about how much of a problem it is for them.

"A lot of organisations are frankly in denial or ignorance about how much of this is going on." The Middle East has become one of the global hotspots for cybercrime, as evidenced by the cyberattack in August last year on Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil firm.

The attack wiped out the hardware on 85 per cent of Aramco's devices.

Mr Izza decided to commission a report on the issue after learning that ICAEW faced about 1,500 attempts to hack its information technology system every day.

Globally, banks have to fight tens of thousands of cyberattacks every day, with other companies also at risk.

The world's two largest economies, the United States and China, often exchange accusations of hacking.

In February, US information security firm Mandiant alleged that a Chinese army unit had stolen huge amounts of data from at least 141 organisations, mostly based in the US.

tarnold@thenational.ae (c) 2013 s Abu Dhabi Media Company, All rights reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info, an Albawaba.com company

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