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Meta regions are vulnerable to cyber attack, says Kaspersky

Two-in-five businesses in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (Meta) were at risk of cybersecurity breaches and data compromises, a Kaspersky report titled Pushing the limits: How to address specific cybersecurity demands and protect IoT showed this week. Picture: Ritchie B Tongo /EPA

Two-in-five businesses in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (Meta) were at risk of cybersecurity breaches and data compromises, a Kaspersky report titled Pushing the limits: How to address specific cybersecurity demands and protect IoT showed this week. Picture: Ritchie B Tongo /EPA

Published Mar 3, 2022

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TWO-in-five businesses in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (Meta) were at risk of cybersecurity breaches and data compromises, a Kaspersky report titled Pushing the limits: How to address specific cybersecurity demands and protect IoT showed this week.

According to IoT Analytics, the global number of connected IoT devices was expected to grow 9 percent, reaching 27 billion IoT connections by 2025.

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Industry IoT Consortium Chief Technology Officer Stephen Mellor said cybersecurity must be front and centre for IoT.

“Managing risk is a major concern as life, limb and the environment are at stake. An IT error can be embarrassing and expensive; an IoT error can be fatal. But cybersecurity is only one part of making a system trustworthy. We also need physical security, privacy, resilience, reliability and safety. And these need to be reconciled: what can make a building secure (locked doors for example), could make it unsafe if you cannot get out quickly,” Mellor said.

According to the report, while 72 percent of organisations in the Meta region used IoT solutions, 44 percent did not protect them completely. This meant that for some of their IoT projects, which might be anything from an EV (electric vehicle) charging station to connected medical equipment businesses did not use any protection tools.

The report found that this might be due to the great diversity of IoT devices and systems, which were not always compatible with security solutions. Almost half of businesses feared that cybersecurity products could affect the performance of IoT (46 percent).

Other common issues businesses faced when implementing cybersecurity tools included being unable to justify investment to the board (43 percent), high costs (40 percent), lack of staff or specific IoT security expertise (40 percent), or that it could be too hard to find a suitable solution (39 percent).

Furthermore, cybersecurity risks were seen by more than half of organisations (63 percent) as the main barrier to implementing IoT. This could occur when companies struggle to address cyber-risks at the design stage and then have to carefully weigh up all pros and cons before implementation.

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Adaptive Production Technology (Aprotech, Kaspersky’s subsidiary IIoT company) chief executive Andrey Suvorov said that despite these challenges, IoT brought fantastic opportunities not just to businesses but to all, including enabling comfortable living, transport, faster delivery and communications.

“IoT is widely used in smart cities (62 percent), retail (62 percent) and industry (60 percent). These include projects such as energy and water management, smart lighting, alarm systems, video surveillance and many more.

“Experts around the world are working on the task of effective protection for such projects but efforts should be made at every level – from equipment manufacturers and software developers to service providers and companies that implement and use these solutions,” Suvorov said.

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