Egypt Records Highest Malware Attacks on Smartphones in the Middle East

The Middle East has witnessed a flurry of cyber attacks over the past few months, with Egypt being the most attacked country , a recent report reveals.

This time of world health crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic has given hackers more spaces to launch their attacks on unsuspecting victims. The cybercriminals are more concerned with how they are distributing attack vendors and malware to increase their activity during this period.

UAE had between 11,000 and 14,000 attacks per month, which is lower than Saudi Arabia. But the highest number of cyberattacks was recorded in Egypt, with more than 200, 000 attacks as malicious attackers pounced on mobile users from January to May this year.

From the reports gathered by security solutions firm Kaspersky, Saudi Arabia was the second most impacted country after Egypt with about 160,000 attacks while UAE was third with 68,000 attacks followed by Kuwait and Oman with 20,000 and 15,000 respectively.

The threats on smartphones this time have increased in great numbers and security firms are always issuing advice to users regarding how best to protect their phones from attack vendors and scammers.

The only explanation while UAE’s level was low is the fact that most mobile platforms were formerly designed to be adjustable to different lifestyles and independent of the physical location of the user.

According to a security expert at Kaspersky Victor Chebyshev, it’s a good thing UAE tablet and smartphone owners were very cautious during the crisis and did not fall for scammers easily. He further stated that even though 14,000 attacks per month may be huge, it’s still relatively lesser than some other countries in the Middle East. This is encouraging considering the massive smartphone and tablet usage in the country. 

“Every system has a vulnerability, but the human factor is often considered the greatest of them,” Chebyshev further stated, which is pointing to the fact that cyberattacks can only be contained if people are more vigilant. 

On a lot of occasions, a well-selected operational timing can play a key role in the success of a hacking campaign in today’s world. They can easily take advantage of who changes their security practices under pressure and lack any good installed security solution on their phones. Kaspersky says these are the sets of users who are most vulnerable to malware attacks.

Based on a Harvard Business Review, mobile security is not given more attention compared to a computer and network security, despite becoming the primary target for hackers. Even within the mobile network, the Review noted that funding of security on mobile phones is far below the funding received for mobile app development. And since the 

Trendy Micro globally discovered and blocked more than 48,000 hits to malicious URLs and 907,000 spam messaged in the first quarter of the year alone. Unsurprisingly, these spam messages were related to Covid-19.

Similarly, the Gulf Council countries (GCC) recorded over 3067 file threats, URLs, and emails on spam messages related to Covid-19 all from only January to March this year.

Additionally, the GCC received about 216 URL attacks (the seventh highest in Asia), 1,114 malware attacks (the third-highest in Asia), and 1,737 email spam attacks, which is the highest in Asia.

But the UAE was also on the top list of malware attacks with 1,541 Covid-19 related attacks, which includes 145 URL attacks, 621 email spam attacks, and 775 malware threads.

Saudi Arabia recorded only 17 URL attacks, with malware attacks and email spam attacks amounting to 59 and 268 attacks respectively.

While reviewing the attack statistics for the past three months, Kaspersky said the number of cyberattacks on mobile users has been overwhelming, surpassing the previous numbers within the same period each year. As expected, these unprecedented attack figures were fuelled by the present lockdown, as hackers and spammers take advantage of the situation.