Cybercrime can be carried out by a host of people ranging from disgruntled employees to individual hackers, organized syndicates, enemy governments or activists. Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the number of cybercrime attacks, prompting organizations to stay alert and seek means to fight cybercrime threats.

KPMG strives to be on the forefront of developing stronger intelligence mechanisms. As a part of this endeavor, we conducted our inaugural UAE cybercrime survey. 


Impact of Covid-19

While the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted management to focus on their organization’s core operations, 46% of those surveyed reported that the pandemic has significantly increased their exposure to cybercrime, making them vulnerable. Findings also identified cybercrime as an increasing concern in the local corporate sector— particularly in relation to the remote working environment.

Throughout the pandemic, transactions from new devices have increased and more financial services customers are turning to digital for the first time. This has resulted in more new online banking registrations for numerous financial services organizations and, therefore, an increase in new accounts. This and other factors, such as fraud, have caused 71% of respondents to expect their business to invest additional resources in cybercrime prevention initiatives.

The pandemic has led to increased crime risk

There is clear, reported evidence of cyber criminals targeting Covid-19- related support packages across multiple financial services organizations, and an increase in identity spoofing and cybercrime directed at several online traders. Eighty-three percent of UAE businesses surveyed had seen a change in cybercrime as a result of the pandemic. In particular, they experienced or observed a significant change in the following:

  • 50% Phishing scams
  • 46% Email spamming
  • 38% Online scams

Biggest future threats to organizations

According to our findings, businesses expect to see a significant change to the following types of cybercrime over the next 12 months:

  • 60% Phishing scams
  • 44% Security breach (hacking)
  • 52% Email spamming
  • 42% Ransomware
  • 50% Online scams

Prior to the pandemic, few organizations had the capability to anticipate cyber threats and implement preventative strategies, despite prevention being more cost effective and customer focused. Contrary to that, 75% of respondents have made a change to their cybercrime prevention measures.

In this increasingly hyper-connected world, nearly all (48% “significantly” and 48% “slightly”) businesses expect to see changes to the overall level of cybercrime in the next 12 months.