World needs to tighten cyber security: Press

ABU DHABI, 17th May, 2019 (WAM) — A UAE-based daily has underlined what it described as the “mind-blowing influence of digital technologies in everyday life,” highlighting “the need for a foolproof system to protect people, organisations and governments from cyber attacks.”

“The complex cyber-crime network that operated from Eastern Europe and fleeced victims including small businesses and charities of some $100 million is the latest incident that has highlighted the vulnerability of people to cyber crimes,” the Gulf Today said in an opinion piece Friday.

“The GozNym network, led by a man from Tbilisi, Georgia, used phishing emails to infect the computers of more than 41,000 victims with malware. Specialised members of the group in Bulgaria and Ukraine then seized control of victims’ online bank accounts. The stolen money was then laundered in the US and other accounts.

“The security challenge is huge as the network operated across countries. Prosecutions have been launched in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the United States over the scam, while five Russians charged in the US remain on the run,” added the paper.

The newspaper cited Scott Brady, the US Attorney General for Pennsylvania where the US indictment was unsealed, as describing the operation involved as an “unprecedented” international effort.

“Even reputed organisations are susceptible to cyber attacks. The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) declared on Thursday that its website had been hacked and the personal data of more than 4,000 potential blood donors compromised in the latest cyber attack on the city-state. Despite being one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries, Singapore has been the target of multiple high-profile hacks in recent times, including the theft last year of 1.5 million citizens’ health records. Personal details, including names, blood types, and contact numbers of 4,297 potential blood donors were compromised after an unauthorised access to a section of the SRC website on May 8.

“Weak passwords can pose major problems, as preliminary findings showed that a “weak administrator password” may have made the SRC site vulnerable.”

The paper concluded by saying that “malicious cyber activity and threats should be fought efficiently and unitedly through stronger cooperation among countries.”


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