Home Breaking News Experts Identify Education, Aviation, and Healthcare as Most Vulnerable Sectors to Cyberattacks in the UAE.

Experts Identify Education, Aviation, and Healthcare as Most Vulnerable Sectors to Cyberattacks in the UAE.

36 percent of cyberattacks targeted the education sector, 29 percent affected aviation, and 15 percent targeted healthcare.

by Jamsheera
Amer Sharaf

“Education, Aviation, and Healthcare Sectors in the GCC, Including UAE, Prime Targets for Cyber Threats”

During the ongoing 2024 Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC), Help AG disclosed that the education, aviation, and healthcare sectors are prime targets for cyber threat actors. According to their data, 36% of cyberattacks targeted the education sector, 29% affected aviation, and 15% targeted healthcare.

Help AG CEO Stephan Berner emphasized, “These sectors combined represented 80 percent of targeted organizations in the GCC. Of nearly 30,000 critical risk alerts identified by us, the dominant threat categories were found to be Credential Theft at 49 percent and Brand Abuse at 39 percent, while Data Leakage and Phishing represented 10 percent and 1.5 percent of use cases respectively.”

He further noted, “Government entities encountered eight percent of the attacks, Investment sectors faced seven percent, and Banking and Finance sectors experienced four percent, as digital transactions in these sectors continued to rise.”

Consequently, experts underscored the urgent necessity for implementing advanced cybersecurity measures to counter the escalating complexity and sophistication of cyber threats.

The escalation of this trend is compounded by the financial consequences of data breaches. In the Middle East, including the UAE, data breach costs rank second globally, highlighting the economic objectives of cyber threat actors amidst the region’s prosperity.

Pandemic triggered an increase in cybercrime

Furthermore, the increasing occurrence of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks underscores the geopolitical complexities of cyber threats, highlighting the need for a comprehensive and strategic defense strategy to safeguard the nation.

Amer Sharaf, CEO of Cyber Security Systems and Services Sector at the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) UAE, remarked, “We have observed a surge in cybercrime, particularly during the pandemic. With the ongoing global digital transformation, these numbers continue to rise. The global cybersecurity market size was valued at approximately $183 billion in 2024 and is projected to reach $273.6 billion by 2028, indicating an annual growth rate of 10.56 percent.”

Sharaf added, “It’s imperative that we collectively invest efforts to fortify our defenses and enact the necessary policies to safeguard our nation. Phishing emails remain a significant challenge, but both the private and public sectors have undertaken extensive awareness campaigns to educate individuals on identifying such threats.”

However, it’s noteworthy that investments in cybersecurity in the UAE, including those by private entities, encompass preventative, detective, responsive, and predictive controls.

For instance, at the conference, Huawei Cloud is showcasing its industry-leading intelligent and simplified cloud-native security solutions aimed at protecting entities across the Middle East and Central Asia from sophisticated cyberattacks.

According to Huawei Cloud’s Chief Security Expert of Enterprise Digitalization and Cloud Transformation, Eagle, “The company’s cloud-native security system is built upon a cloud platform that seamlessly integrates assets, security, and security operations, making it the optimal solution for the digital intelligent world.”

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