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FERG ramps up awareness strategy against cybercrime

Trade Arabia

The UAE’s Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG), comprising of businesses engaged in money exchange and remittances in the country, has ramped up its awareness strategy to combat cybercrime. 

The strategy focuses on disseminating information to member exchange houses to combat cybercrime activities costing the global economy over $110 billion every year, said a statement.

Rajiv Raipancholia, FERG secretary and Orient Exchange’s chief executive officer, said: “Not only is cybercrime a concern that costs the world large sums of money in direct losses but also an issue that takes additional resources to combat. Our estimates reckon that global organisations spend up to USD 270 billion in combating cybercrime. 

“The key factor in combatting cyber-crime is awareness: technology allows organisations to conduct business quicker and in more cost effective ways. However, institutions have been slow to realise that increased connectivity and technology also bring threats that need to be addressed.”

Cybercrime has become a serious business concern all over the world. In 2014, the cybercrime department at Dubai Police CID received 1,549 reports. 

In the same year, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey indicated that 69 per cent of the CEOs revealed, through a Global CEO Survey, that they were concerned about cyber threats. 

“The best way to combat cyber threats is to constantly assess exposure to cyber risk, and build precautionary measures into standard operating procedures,” said Raipancholia.

“The best defence mechanisms combine technological safeguards with behavioural training. It’s often a user error that opens the way for hackers to gain the access they need to conduct criminal activities,” he said.

FERG alerts its members continuously on the importance of firewalls as a first line of defence, combined with up to date virus and malware scanners. Operating systems and browsers should also be kept up to date to close potential security loopholes, said the statement.

Behavioural training and precautions are key elements of the FERG campaign. 

“At the end of the day, the fight against cybercrime requires constant vigilance. Employees shouldn’t use IT assets on autopilot. They should be very attentive to email addresses very similar to ones used by clients, and to links that take them to genuine-looking sites,” said Raipancholia.

“Social engineering – relying on people making a mistake – is one of the most common ways for hackers to get into a system. We are very cognizant that employee training and information sharing is the best way to counter this,” he added.

FERG recommendations has also suggested that passwords, access codes, bank account details and login credentials not be stored on any device connected to the Internet, the statement said.

“FERG is committed to creating a robust, transparent and ethical remittance and exchange industry in the UAE, which benefits our customers, business partners, members and the nation’s economy as a whole,” said Raipancholia.

“Our efforts are directed towards raising awareness about cybercrime, as well as helping in mitigating that risk. This is part of our commitment to educate businesses and consumers on creating an effective and safe financial environment,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service

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