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UAE Come Under Increased Threat from Cyber Criminals

In its recent biannual Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec warns that although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has significantly advanced in curtailing the volume of phishing and spam attacks, the region in totality, and Saudi Arabia in particular, seems to face a greater threat from organized, international groups of online criminals, as reported by ArabianBusiness on April 15, 2008.

According to Symantec's report, Saudi Arabia ranks first among the countries in the Middle East as a leading target and source of malicious activity, and occupying the 32nd position across the world. Meanwhile, the UAE stands at number 38 globally.

Also, according to the report, because the number of broadband subscribers in Saudi Arabia is small, the country has been rated the worst nation in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for malware activity during the last six months of 2007.

Symantec also revealed that in 2007, 711,000 new pieces of malware were detected. These accounted for two-thirds of all malicious codes ever detected, showing a massive increase in the total amount of threats.

However, the news isn't all bad as the UAE seems to be winning the fight against being a host to phishing and spam. As a spamming country, the UAE reached the 91st rank globally from the 51st in June 2007 and as a source of phishing it went up to the 69th spot globally from 66th in the same month.

Ivor Rankin, Senior Security Consultant, Symantec said that some nations in the Middle East showed some improvement, with the general trend being for increased security related incidents as the number of users on the Net increased, as reported by ArabianBusiness on April 15, 2008.

Rankin added that it was quite interesting to find Saudi Arabia come up to the first position in the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) sources of malware attacks.

Another observation that Symantec's report highlights is that not only do attacks on Websites hosted in the UAE region pose a threat to Net surfers in the Middle East but also sites in great demand among the region's users, such as the social networking sites cause considerable risks.

Related article: U.S. Businesses Lose $712 Per Worker Due to Spam

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