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Egypt witnesses more malicious attacks on smartphones in Middle East

(Image credit: Future)

Egypt saw the highest number of malicious attacks on mobile users in the first five months of this year in the Middle East as cybercriminals are paying more attention to how they are distributing malware and the attack vectors used, increasing their activity in times of crisis.

According to security solutions provider Kaspersky, Saudi Arabia came second with 160,000 attacks, followed by the UAE with 68,000, Kuwait with 20,000 and Oman with 15,000.

Security threats for smartphones are increasing in number and evolving in scope and quarantine did not have a particular influence in the Middle East.

The UAE had approximately 11,000–14,000 attacks monthly. This can be explained by the fact that mobile platforms were initially made to be independent of the physical location of the user and are adjustable to different lifestyles.

 “While 14,000 attacks on mobile users every month may seem to be a big number, it is great to see that UAE smartphones’ and tablets’ owners remained vigilant during the crisis and did not fall for scammers tricks. Victor Chebyshev, security expert at Kaspersky, said.

“Every system has a vulnerability, but the human factor is often considered the greatest of them, so seeing that there is no increase in the attack that reached users and were blocked by our products during a shift to work from home and the global pandemic is reassuring.”

In many scenarios, a properly chosen timing can be a key part of the success of a malicious campaign today, taking advantage of those users who are changing their security practices under pressure and do not have any reliable security solutions installed on their phones.

According to Harvard Business Review  (HBR), despite becoming a preferred target for hackers,  mobile security is not prioritized relative to network and computer security. Even within the mobile ecosystem, HBR reported that security spending was chronically underfunded relative to mobile app development.

In the first quarter of this year alone, Trend Micro globally found and blocked over 907,000 spam messages and 48,000 hits to malicious URLs – both related to Covid-19. 

In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, 3,067 emails, URL and file threats related to the Covid-19 have been recorded in the first three months of the year.

Moreover, the GCC recorded 1,737 email spam attacks, the third-highest in Asia; 1,114 malware threats detected, the third-highest in Asia; and 216 URL attacks, the seventh-highest in Asia.

The UAE led the region with 1,541 Covid-19 attacks, including 775 malware threats, 621 email spam attacks and 145 URL attacks detected. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recorded 344 attacks, including 268 email spam attacks, 59 malware threats detected, and 17 URL attacks.