Understanding the True Nature of Data Breaches and Cybersecurity in UAE: Beyond the Stereotypes

Pranav Kumar
May 27, 2023

Cybercrimes and data breaches plague the UAE, causing extensive damage to businesses in different sectors.

In today's interconnected world, data breaches have become an alarming reality, threatening the security of businesses across industries. However, the commonly perpetuated image of a hacker in a hoodie fails to capture the true nature of these breaches. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the importance of cybersecurity is magnified, it is essential to understand the significance of protecting corporate networks and data from evolving cyber threats that transcend the hacker stereotype.

The Wide Open Back Doorfor data breaches in UAE

Companies store and process a wealth of sensitive data, ranging from customer information to financial records and intellectual property. Unfortunately, this data is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals leverage the hidden corners of the internet known as the Dark Web, using it as a marketplace to buy and sell corporate data. This amplifies the risks associated with data breaches, as malicious actors gain access to valuable information that can be exploited for various illicit purposes. The repercussions of data breaches extend beyond immediate financial losses and can result in severe compliance fines, damaged share prices, and erosion of customer trust.

What Criminals Do With Your Data?

Cybercriminals employ sophisticated techniques to infiltrate corporate networks and exploit compromised data. By obtaining authentic login credentials, they can operate undetected within an organization's systems, setting the stage for devastating attacks. Phishing attacks, for instance, deceive individuals through fraudulent emails or messages to extract sensitive information. Ransomware attacks encrypt files or lock access to systems, demanding ransom payments for their release. These malicious activities inflict substantial financial and reputational damage on businesses, leading to potential revenue loss, compromised brand reputation, and even legal consequences.

 Protecting Your Data with Skurio Digital Risk Protection

In the face of ever-evolving cyber threats, businesses in the UAE require robust solutions to defend against data breaches effectively. Skurio Digital Risk Protection offers a comprehensive defense mechanism that proactively monitors the surface, deep, and Dark Web for potential breaches. By leveraging advanced technologies, Skurio promptly alerts businesses when their data appears in illicit marketplaces, enabling proactive responses to mitigate risks. With its user-friendly interface and cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, Skurio simplifies integration into existing security infrastructure, ensuring organizations can easily fortify their defenses.

Real-Life Case Studies Highlighting Organizational Vulnerabilities of Cyber security in UAE

#1 Moorfields Eye Hospital: A Wake-Up Call for Data Protection

Moorfields Eye Hospital, a renowned ophthalmology centre with a branch in Dubai, UAE, recently suffered a ransomware attack by the AvosLocker group. The attackers accessed and downloaded 60GB of sensitive data, including ID cards, insurance claim forms, accounting documents, call logs, and internal memos. The hospital remained operational and promptly initiated an investigation into the incident while notifying affected users. The attacker either sent an email or an ad with the malware and then proceeded to encrypt the customers' data.

#2 Voice Cloning Scam: $35 Million Bank Heist Leaves Authorities Stunned

Posing as the UAE company director, the perpetrators contacted a bank in Hong Kong and demanded the transfer of a staggering $35 million to various locations worldwide. To add credibility, they claimed that a US-based lawyer was overseeing the transactions and that corresponding emails could be found in the mailbox. Shockingly, the unsuspecting bank manager, who had just spoken to the real company director minutes earlier, failed to detect any discrepancies and obediently transferred the funds. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the evolving tactics employed by cybercriminals and the need for heightened vigilance in safeguarding against such scams.

#3 ‘Dharma Ransomware’ Spreads Chaos Across UAE Companies

Multiple companies in the UAE fell victim to a widespread ransomware attack known as Dharma in 2019. This malicious infection is operated by encrypting all data and forcefully logging out users from their systems. In a desperate attempt to restore their systems, the companies reached out to the hacker responsible for the attack. However, given the notorious nature of ransomware attacks, they were hesitant to comply with the hacker's demand for payment in Bitcoin.The Dharma ransomware incident serves as a stark reminder of the evolving threats faced by businesses in the UAE. 

Ref: https://www.cyberlands.io/topsecuritybreachesuae


In the realm of cybersecurity in the UAE, cybercriminals employ diverse malware and exploit various vulnerabilities, posing significant risks. The repercussions extend beyond potential data breaches, as even if the compromised data is not maliciously utilized, it can inflict long-lasting damage to reputation and trust.

To safeguard against such threats, it is imperative to prioritize regular security audits, identifying and addressing any detected weaknesses promptly.

Protecting against data breaches extends beyond the stereotype of a hacker in a hoodie. Businesses in the UAE must acknowledge the ever-growing risks posed by cybercriminals and adopt proactive measures to safeguard their valuable data. Embracing solutions like Skurio Digital Risk Protection enables organizations to identify and mitigate potential breaches, ensuring comprehensive cybersecurity. Neglecting data protection can result in substantial financial and reputational costs, highlighting the urgent need for businesses to remain vigilant and proactive in defending against data breaches.

Pranav Kumar

Excited about digital disruption and exponential impact of emerging technologies; I have a deep passion for technology, business, and progress. I envision a future where an intellectual and responsible use of technology will positively change the future of work, and life.