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Cyberthreats heighten in Middle East during Ramadan 

Businesses and companies across the Middle East are urged to step up cybersecurity measures to safeguard consumers and brands during Ramadan. 

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is a period of fasting, reflection, and discipline. But it is also a time for increased spending on gift tokens and food, resulting in a surge in retail and online transactions. 

The spike in e-commerce activity offers a perfect backdrop for cybercriminals to defraud individuals and conduct online scams. 

Los Angeles-headquartered cybersecurity firm Resecurity has estimated that the total financial impact of fraudulent activities and scams ranges between $70 million to $100 million across the Middle East. This accounts for frauds committed against expatriates, residents and foreign visitors. 

Resecurity identified gifts/charity/donations fraud as the most emerging type of fraudulent activity across the Middle East during Ramadan, followed by job scams.  Other malicious types include financial fraud, phishing/smishing, investment fraud and cryptocurrency scams. 

The cybersecurity firm also highlighted a rising trend where cybercriminals impersonate shipping companies such as Aramex, SMSA Express and Zajil Express, targeting people through SMS, iMessage or WhatsApp.

The deceptive messages claims that a parcel delivery is pending, urging individuals to pay for a ‘delivery’. 

“Cybercriminals are aggressively exploiting platforms and well-known logistics services to deceive internet users and draw them into different scams. It is strongly advised to refrain from sharing personal and payment information on questionable sites or with individuals posing as bank or government employees,” Resecurity said in its report. 

Countries across the Middle East have upped their cybersecurity game in recent years. The UAE launched its National Campaign for Cybersecurity in the run-up to the holy month to enhance public awareness of cyberthreats and various ways of protection against them.

Last December, Saudi Arabia’s National Cybersecurity Authority updated its cybersecurity toolkit to bolster cyber preparedness in the kingdom. 


Middle East