The opening of a new office (photo) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the formation of a local FireEye Labs team comprising of world class IT and Forensics response consultants, signals the region’s emergence as a nexus for organized cyber-attack.
FireEye’s research indicates that the main drivers behind most of the recent incidents tend to be of a political nature. Regime changes in the Middle East have given rise to a wave of attacks targeting countries for supporting or opposing certain regimes. Saudi Arabia and Qatar top the list in terms of number of encounters with malware over a 30 day window out of the GCC countries. They also have very similar distributions in terms of the type of malware strains identified, both showing approximately 120 different strains.
FireEye recently announced two new solutions designed to equip organizations to scale their defense strategies. The new FireEye as a Service™ offering is an on-demand security management offering that allows organizations to apply FireEye’s technology, intelligence and expertise to find and stop cyber attacks. The second new offering announced today, FireEye® Advanced Threat Intelligence™, provides access to threat data and analytical tools that help identify attacks and provide context about the tactics and motives of specific threat actors. Together, these new offerings enable organizations to implement an Adaptive Defense™ security model, so that they can rapidly detect and respond to security incidents as they occur.
The Adaptive Defense security model is an approach for defending against advanced threat actors that scales up or down based on the unique needs of each security organization at any point in time. With this new approach, organizations can significantly reduce the risks of cyber attacks with on-demand access to FireEye’s expert team of analysts, forensics specialists and malware reverse engineers.
The threat is alive and present in the UAE and its neighbors, according to Ray Kafity, FireEye VP of Middle East, Turkey and Africa: “The Gulf States have been transformed by the wave of cyber-attacks that have occurred over the past two years, and this is played out against the back-drop of cyber warfare being waged in Syria and Iran. “Hacktivism” has become more prevalent, ranging from simple defacements to denial of service attacks. Recent attempts by Anonymous to disrupt commercial and government activities in the region have largely failed, but the identified target organizations have spent significant efforts in some cases in preparation against the potential attacks.”
The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the Middle East governments increasing their spending on cyber security, while the private sectors in both countries are forecast to increase their technology security budgets by 18% between 2012 and 2018, according to consulting firm Frost and Sullivan.