Dubai: Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) conducted a study recently. It says that the cybercrimes in Dubai has increased to 600% since February. This time period becomes more relevant when we realize that this hike in cybercrimes has occurred during the Covid lock-down months.
According to the government reports, Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a big rise in “opportunistic” cybercrime attacks across the world. The report underlines that the health sector is the one which is more vulnerable to these attacks. The study by Dubai Future Foundation found a 600 per cent increase in phishing emails recorded since February. In most of such e mails, scams were used to take sensitive data.
The research highlighted how hackers seek to exploit the security vulnerabilities of people working from home, as many do not have access to the level of IT support they would have in their office. The health sector is at high risk as a number of cases with ransomware attacks are reported from various health organizations.
The Dubai Future Foundation was established in n 2016 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to help shape the emirate’s development. “Anxiety about Covid-19 is leading people to click on dangerous links in content that appears to be helpful information,” the report said. “Opportunistic hackers are looking to exploit the increased reliance on digital systems, such as those being used by hospitals and public service organizations”, it added.
The report said that the cybercriminals could understand that the lock-down was an easy chance to hack or phish IT sector staff as they have only a little cyber safety provisions compared to their work places and companies. It was not just people working from home who were being targeted, with the medical sector proving to be an attractive prospect for online criminals. “Hospitals, medical centres and public institutions worldwide are being targeted, primarily through ransomware attacks,” the report said. “Healthcare professionals require digital infrastructure to tackle Covid-19, and cyber criminals have been exploiting this necessity, believing the organizations will have no choice but to pay to re-enter their systems.”
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned all the countries about the attacks designed to access the personal information of the staff members in all companies. Last month, The National reported that Aster Healthcare, one of the UAE’s leading providers, said staff were bombarded with suspicious emails. “We have definitely noticed an increase in the amount of spam and phishing emails, which can lead to cyber attacks,” said chief information officer Vineeth Purushotaman, at the time. “People are so reliant on digital technology for information it leaves them vulnerable and makes them easy prey for criminals.”
The talks on cyber-security heated up when Hazel Whitehead, a UK citizen faced a cyber attack on her bank’s credit card while several similar cases backed up the action plans. Meanwhile, based on the report of DFF about the cybersecurity threats, Dubai police plans to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) technique to encounter the spams as well as preserving the vital data.