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Business security risk on the rise
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 06 - 2013

RIYADH – The highest concentration of online security threats come from legitimate destinations visited by mass audiences, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media outlets, Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report) in Middle East and Africa revealed.
Security risks in businesses are also on the rise because many employees adopt “my way” work lifestyles in which their devices, work and online behavior mix with their personal lives virtually anywhere – in the office, at home and everywhere in between.
Cisco Middle East survey highlighted growing online security and privacy concerns.
The increasing level of security threats has not gone unnoticed among consumers in the Middle East region.
Dr. Tariq Enaya, Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia, said “each year, the security threats and defenses evolve and change and the Cisco Annual Security Report is our expert research, highlighting global threat patterns and trends. Today, we live a blended work-personal life. The hackers know this, and the security threats that we encounter online such as embedded Web malware while visiting popular destinations like search engines, retailers, social media sites and smartphone/tablet apps no longer threaten only the individual; they threaten our organizations by default. This year's ASR, coupled with our Middle East survey, highlights this and other trends while providing the hard data, and ideas, for how we should be approaching security today and in the future.”
A survey conducted by Cisco in the Middle East revealed that a third of consumers in the region are concerned about the vulnerability of their online information and personal data as well as the possibility of identity theft. As a result, a surprising number of users (50 percent) prefer that their online browsing is kept strictly private and have high expectations that websites will keep their information confidential.
However, there are concerns that in today's Internet era, the age of privacy is over. Over three quarters of respondent's fear that they are no longer in control of their data online and are worried about how much personal data is being captured and how it is stored.
The survey findings further revealed that:
• 76 percent of respondents in the Middle East maintain 5 to 9 passwords as opposed to 29 percent globally
• Almost half (42 percent) of Middle East respondents' “online identity” differs from their “offline identity”. Globally this was 39 percent.
• More than half of Middle East respondents have multiple online identities (55 percent) as opposed to 44 percent globally.
• In the Middle East 50 percent do not want their online browsing to be tracked. Globally, 40 percent of respondents agreed with this.
• Half of respondents in the Middle East trust very few sites to keep their information private and secure (51 percent). Global respondents were less trusting with 49 percent distrusting most sites security.
• Almost three quarters of respondents in the Middle East are worried that their personal information is no longer private (73 percent). This concern was not felt as widely on a global scale with 54 percent of respondents worried about their personal information online.
The Cisco report further noted that Android malware encounters grew 2,577 percent over 2012. However, mobile malware represents only 0.5 percent of total Web malware encounters.
Looking ahead, the Internet of everything represents the largest online trend today. As more people, things and devices connect to the Internet, more data from more places will be introduced across corporate and service provider networks, which open up new vulnerabilities and a need for more sophisticated security approaches. New connections generate data in motion that needs to be protected in real time as it is evaluated for actionable insights through the network and before it's compromised and causes irreparable damages. For network security professionals, the focus becomes content-neutral plumbing. — SG


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