Computer hacking: potentially a new kind of war in the Middle East

Although some regional states are tackling crime, many lag behind. Security for companies’ IT systems is a growth market as firms move to protect themselves from costly phenomenon. The Middle East accounts for just over 1 per cent of hacking globally ­ a statistic about unauthorized breaking into computer systems that may not necessarily jolt you. But take a closer look. In the United Arab Emirates alone, hacking in the first six months of this year grew 300 percent over the last six months of 2002.

Just one hacking incident ­ the ATM fraud ­ earlier this year, meant the country lost between $2 billion and $3 billion. The hacking group which got access to bank computers storing user IDs was later traced to Indonesia. But with no cyber laws in place in many developing countries, bringing the perpetrators to justice is unlikely.

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, are now holding meetings to put together a cyber law. The law will enable the Gulf Arab countries to cooperate with one another in dealing with cyber crime. European countries already have a cooperation agreement among themselves on this issue. And so do Europe and the US.

Among countries with more than a million internet users, the United States of America and Israel are still the top 10 sources of attacks. But what is surprising is that among countries with between 100,000 and a million internet users, five countries from the Middle East region have been classified as among the top 10 countries vulnerable to hackers’ attacks, according to a recent report by Symantec. These countries are Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Symantec is the world leader in internet security. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.