Most online threats 'from legitimate destinations'
Dubai, June 3, 2013
The highest concentration of online security threats come from legitimate destinations used by mass audiences, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media outlets, according to Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report in Middle East and Africa.
The increasing level of security threats has not gone unnoticed by consumers in the Middle East region. 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 per cent, 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 respondents 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.
Security risks in businesses are also on the rise because many employees adopt "my way" work lifestyles in which their devices, work and online behaviour mix with their personal lives virtually anywhere - in the office, at home and everywhere in between.
The survey findings further revealed that: 76 per cent of respondents in the Middle East maintain five to nine passwords as opposed to 29 per cent globally.
Almost half, 42 per cent, of Middle East respondents' "online identity" differs from their "offline identity". Globally this was 39 per cent.
More than half of Middle East respondents, 55 per cent, have multiple online identities as opposed to 44 per cent globally.
In the Middle East, 50 per cent do not want their online browsing to be tracked. Globally, 40 per cent of respondents agreed with this.
Half of respondents in the Middle East trust very few sites to keep their information private and secure.
Global respondents were less trusting with 49 per cent distrusting most sites security.
Almost three quarters of respondents in the Middle East, 73 per cent, are worried that their personal information is no longer private. This concern was not felt as widely on a global scale with 54 per cent of respondents worried about their personal information online.
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.
"Each year, the security threats and defences evolve and change and the Cisco annual security report is our expert research, highlighting global threat patterns and trends," Cisco Gulf, Levant and Pakistan general manager and director Tarek Ghoul said.
"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 organisations by default.
"This year's security report, 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."-TradeArabia News Service