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59% of the data breaches in the Middle East are caused by malicious or criminal attacks

Hacking continues to be the most common cause of data breaches in the Middle East

IBM Security together with the Ponemon Institute have recently released their annual Cost of Data Breach Study. The results are clear: companies based in the Middle East are in the spotlight of hackers.

At a global level, 47% of companies are affected by malicious or criminal attacks.In the Middle East this figure rises to 59%. Human errors represent 19% of the data breaches and other technical problems account for the remaining 22%. In addition to the greater incidence of hacking in the Middle East, at an average of US$ 172.00 per file, these attacks have a higher cost per file breached than human error and technical problems, which carry costs per file of $131.00 and $129.00 respectively. Malicious and criminal attacks also take companies longer to discover. On average a hacking attack has taken 214 days to identify and then a further 77 days to resolve and restore the service.

The study shows that there is a close relationship between the time to identify the data breach and its overall cost to the business. On average a data breach has been identified within one hundred days has carried a cost of around US$2.8 million. However, in cases where it has taken longer than one hundred days to identify the attack, the average total cost has risen to around US$3.8 million.

Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are going to continue to be an ongoing threat for businesses. The risk won’t go away, the question is how best to minimise any potential impact?

The study has provided some insights on the impacts of several factors on the cost per file breached. Some of the more high-cost areas of risk involve:

• Third party data processing

• Extensive cloud migration

• Lack of understanding of compliance procedures

• Use of mobile platforms


Some of the factors that have the strongest influence on risk reduction are:

• The presence of an incident response team

• The extensive use of encryption

• Employee training to help staff recognise where the potential for breaches when they see them

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