An increasing number of businesses and government departments are becoming worried about the political and reputational effects of a data breach or cyber attack.

A new report by US-based security vendor McAfee highlights the growing trend of attacks targeted at intellectual property (IP).

“Cyber attacks have transformed from attacks through the web to gain credit card information or financial data to targeting IP and this can become dangerous,” says Hamed Diab, regional director of Middle East and North Africa at McAfee.

The company identified a sophisticated network of attacks on several global oil, energy and petrochemical companies. Called Night Dragon, the viruses target proprietary operations and project-financing information on oil and gas field bids and operations.  

Cyber criminals are also now try to gain access to day-to-day information of a business. Out of the top 1,000 companies worldwide, more than $1m is spent a week on securing sensitive information abroad. Only three in 10 organisations report all data breaches. There is no legislation in the GCC that stipulatesdata breaches must be reported.

“The world is very vulnerable to new threats. Organisations need to be consistent with security checks to keep up with the dynamic changes,” says Diab.

McAfee identifies 60,000 new malicious attacks a day, up 5,000 in just five months.