Hackers are using remote desk protocols to access servers © Getty Images
Hackers are using remote desk protocols to access servers © Getty Images

UAE cyber attacks jump 193% due to remote working

13 April 2021

Middle Eastern companies are facing new cyber attack risks due to large numbers of employees working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

IT security company Kaspersky said hackers were trying to enter networks via the protocols used by employees to access corporate resources remotely.

The company’s research found the UAE saw more than 15.8m of these so-called “brute force attacks” in 2020 on remote desktop protocols (RDP).

When the UAE announced lockdown restrictions in March 2020, the total number of such attacks jumped by 193% from 467,115 in February to 1.3m in March.

Kapersky said hacking of this type had skyrocketed as remote working increased around the world.

RDP is the most popular such protocol and is a general means of accessing Windows or servers.

The findings come as surveys reveal UAE workers are unwilling to return to pre-pandemic work patterns.

A survey by Avaya, which also canvassed workers in the US, Germany and the UK, found UAE employees were most reluctant to renounce home working.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of UAE respondents said they preferred a hybrid work model, compared to 40% in Germany, 44% in the UK and 62% in the US.

Half (51%) of UAE respondents say they felt happier over the last 12 months as a result of working from home.

But 40% of UAE employees worry about working from home forever.

Nidal Abou-Ltaif, president – international, Avaya, said: “This means a key requirement for business success in 2021 and beyond will be building a hybrid model of work that suits the needs of every employee.”

Kaspersky said its own survey showed 88% of employees in UAE do not want to renounce remote working.

“This goes to show that cyber criminals will continue to attack, making it vital for companies to protect their remote workforce,” said the company.

“Refining security measures should be taken as a serious task and is an important step for organisations, big and small.”

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