cyber awakening for the Gulf occurred when Shamoon (a modular computer virus used for cyber sabotage) was unleashed upon Saudi Aramco) in 2012. The attack wiped out 30,000 hard drives and forced the company to rely on fax machines in order to continue their business. A long and uneasy silence followed during which the calamity was all but forgotten.
The quiet shattered when two waves of a Shamoon variant erupted this past November and January. This time the brunt of the attack lay on Saudi government agencies and the Sadara Petrochemical company with several additional organizations also affected. Future attacks will undoubtedly wield even more advanced techniques to compromise computer networks. Shamoon marked a beginning, not an end.
Cyber warfare is the new battleground with government, business, and individual citizens square within the cross-hairs of malicious attackers. Gulf Insider sat down with Ryan Ernst, Enterprise Consultant at Sword and Shield Security to find out more about cyber warfare and how you can protect yourself.
Social engineering tactics aimed at gaining access to company and personal online accounts are growing in sophistication. Ransomware, a malicious software which encrypts your files then seeks payment to render the decryption key, ran rampant in the West last year and is gaining momentum here in the Gulf. The Internet of Things brings both fascination and concern due to a general disregard by manufacturers to securely design their products.
It is of critical importance for the GCC to invest in cyber security and equally important for individuals to become cyber-aware to protect themselves from criminal activity.