01 Sep 2023
Between now and the next five years, or through 2028, cybercrimes are estimated to cost the world $13.82 trillion, up by $5.7 trillion, or nearly 70 per cent, according to experts.
That’s because as technology becomes more advanced and sophisticated, so do scammers, hackers, and other cybercriminals who are constantly trying to outsmart the system. In today’s digital world, they are faceless and nameless, lurking behind our computer screens or mobiles, waiting for the opportunity to get a score for small or big bucks with no sweat.
In the United States alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre, or IC3, reported receiving over 800,000 cybercrime-related complaints in 2022, with losses totalling over $10 billion.
Indeed, cybercrimes have turned into a lucrative multi-trillion business that requires governments, public and private entities in various industries, different organisations and communities, and individuals to become more vigilant and invest in some form of cybersecurity, whether paid or free.
The financial damages inflicted on victims, whether government entities, companies, or individuals, are enormous, with little or no possibility of recovering them. And they must also deal with reputational damage and compromised personal information.
The importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated in our increasingly interconnected world through e-commerce, social media, and rapid globalisation. Protecting our digital assets and personal information while keeping a watchful eye on every digital transaction we make is now paramount.
So, what exactly is cybersecurity? Cybersecurity refers to the practise of protecting computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorised access, theft, and damage. It encompasses a range of measures, including technologies, processes, and policies, designed to safeguard against cyber threats.
As our reliance on technology increases, so does the potential for cyberattacks. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, targeting individuals, businesses, and even governments.
Here are some common types of cybercrimes that you should be wary of:
Malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and ransomware, can infect computers and networks, causing significant harm and data breaches.
Cybercriminals use deceptive emails, messages, or websites to trick users into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card details, to access their financial accounts.
This technique involves manipulating individuals to gain unauthorised access to systems or obtain confidential information.
Distributed Denial of Service attacks overwhelm a target website or network with a flood of traffic, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users.
It’s when a person adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s trust and affection and then uses the relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
To better protect yourself against cyberattacks, industry experts recommend taking the following steps:
Use unique and complex passwords for each account and consider implementing multifactor authentication for an extra layer of security.
Keep your operating systems, applications, and antivirus software up-to-date to patch vulnerabilities and protect against known threats.
Be cautious of suspicious emails, messages, or requests for personal information. Verify the authenticity of the source before providing any sensitive data.
Regularly backup your important files and data to an external storage device or cloud service to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks or data loss.
Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practises. Training and awareness programmes can help individuals and organisations build a strong security culture.
With so much at stake if cybersecurity is breached, it has been a collective responsibility amongst governments, organisations, and individuals to work together to fight cyber threats.
In the UAE, the adoption of smart technologies and digitalisation is a priority. And so is protecting people and entities against cybercrimes. In a UAE first, etisalat e& introduced “personal cyber insurance,” which covers you annually against online banking and credit card fraud, loss of internet purchases, cyber extortion or identity theft, and direct economic losses coverage of up to AED12,000.
Recently, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, launched the Dubai Digital Cloud project, the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at creating a world-leading, efficient, agile, and reliable digital infrastructure in Dubai.
In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, the initiative reinforces Dubai’s position as a digital economy capital and further strengthens its robust and reliable digital infrastructure, built with the toughest security measures.