Last year, my Dubai credit card was used to buy a Qatar Airways ticket by US-based hackers who stole my data after I’d sent flowers to a friend in Europe. After a little chasing, Citibank replaced my card and refunded my hard-earned cash. Turns out I was one of the lucky ones to emerge relatively unscathed by cybercrime.
A whopping 76 per cent of UAE residents who lose money in cybercrimes only get some of their money back – or none at all, according to new research from Kaspersky Lab.
Worldwide, losses from identity theft, cyber fraud and hacking now clock up to billions of dirhams a year – and that’s only the cases that are actually reported. On average, people lose $476 (Dh1748) per attack, with one in ten reporting losses of more than $5,000 ($18,365). Globally, that’s a total of Dh80 billion in 2015, according to The Nilson Report.
The internet security firm says three-fourths of all internet users in the UAE bank or conduct other financial transactions online, with as much as 40 per cent storing financial data on connected devices. This leaves them open to hackers looking for unsuspecting victims. And it appears that only 60 per cent of internet users protect all their devices.
One reason for our lax attitudes is the belief that lost money will be returned to us – 41 per cent of UAE respondents assume banks will reimburse them. However, that comes down to insurance and how quickly the crime was reported, among other considerations, and as Kaspersky Lab’s data shows, a majority of people don’t get their money back at all.
“Cybercriminals can conduct financial crimes via malware, phishing and more. Don’t assume you will always get all your money back if you become a target and funds are stolen from you,” Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of the Anti-Malware Research Team at Kaspersky Lab, said in a statement. “Cybercriminals are continually looking for new ways to exploit and defraud consumers and that’s why it’s important for internet users to be on their guard at all times.”
Here’s how you can protect yourself in the future.
The Kaspersky Lab survey was conducted in August 2016. Users from 21 countries were surveyed online. 499 respondents from the UAE participated.