Cybercriminals aim to cash in on Internet-shopping frenzy during pandemic

Cybercriminals aim to cash in on Internet-shopping frenzy during pandemic
With more people than ever choosing to do their holiday shopping online, cybersecurity experts warn that criminals are also out in force in the digital marketplace. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 December 2020

Cybercriminals aim to cash in on Internet-shopping frenzy during pandemic

Cybercriminals aim to cash in on Internet-shopping frenzy during pandemic
  • Both retailers and customers have a responsibility to reduce the risk of fraud, security experts say
  • The retail sector is a particularly attractive target for cybercriminals, in light of the increased e-commerce activity during the pandemic

RIYADH: With more people than ever choosing to do their holiday shopping online because of the coronavirus pandemic, cybersecurity experts warn that criminals are also out in force in the digital marketplace and advise shoppers to be particularly careful.
This is especially true for people who use equipment supplied by an employer. In a report titled Company-issued Computers: What Are Employees Really Doing With Them?, online security software company Mimecast said that the majority of people already use work devices for personal tasks, including online shopping, and the number is growing.
For example, 87 percent of respondents in the UAE said they had used work devices for things not related to their job, including 37 percent who admitted shopping online. In addition, 66 percent said their personal use of work devices has increased since the start of the pandemic. This increases the risk of cybersecurity problems, experts warn.
Mimecast’s Threat Intelligence Center found that COVID-19 is not the only problem spreading rapidly around the world. Between January and October, it detected and blocked more than one billion malicious online threats, a 34 percent increase over the same period in 2019. Cyberattacks in October were up 22 percent compared with September, with retail and wholesale the most-targeted industry sector.
Werno Gevers, regional manager at Mimecast Middle East, said that while many organizations have adapted their security policies and introduced additional cybersecurity-awareness training in an effort to keep remote workers safe, employees need to be more careful about threats and sharing personal information online.
“The research showed that 81 percent of participants had received specific work-from-home cybersecurity training, yet 61 percent still admitted to opening emails they thought were suspicious,” he said. “This shows that while there is a lot of awareness training offered, the content and frequency is completely ineffective at winning the hearts and minds of employees to reduce today’s cybersecurity risks.
“Training needs to be regular and memorable if organizations are to protect workers and company systems from compromise.”
The retail sector is a particularly attractive target for cybercriminals, in light of the increased e-commerce activity during the pandemic and the potential for stealing financial data or credentials.
Mimecast researchers said that cyberattacks on retail organizations are likely to remain at high levels throughout the December shopping period.
“Retailers also need to take steps to ensure their brands are not being hijacked online and used to launch cyberattacks on shoppers,” said Gevers. “By taking ownership, retail brands can prevent criminals from turning the busy shopping period into a phishing frenzy.”
Phishing refers to fraudsters who pose as legitimate, trustworthy organizations or businesses in an attempt to trick a victim into revealing sensitive personal information.
As part of its regular security research, Mimecast monitored 20 leading global retail brands and found almost 14,000 suspicious, recently registered website domains using names related to those brands. Additional registrations continued during the observation period. On some occasions, Mimecast saw between 53 and 87 suspicious domains registered in just one day for a single retailer.
“The damage to a company’s reputation following a successful online brand exploit can take a long time to repair, so it’s in the best interest of the organization and its customers to take preventative measures,” Gevers said.
Saudi cybersecurity expert Abdullah Al-Jaber urged anyone intending to shop online during the holiday period take extra care, especially when dealing with unfamiliar websites that look shady or suspicious. He also advised against using work computers or other shared devices for any online activity.
“Don’t use a work laptop for personal use, such as emails and surfing the Internet,” he said. “Make sure to enable two-factor authentication whenever available on any platform and use complex passwords that cannot be guessed easily. And, of course, report any suspicious emails or calls.”


SIIG to takeover Petrochem shares in a potential merger

SIIG to takeover Petrochem shares in a potential merger
Updated 19 sec ago

SIIG to takeover Petrochem shares in a potential merger

SIIG to takeover Petrochem shares in a potential merger
  • Under the deal, SIIG would pay Petrochem’s shareholders by issuing new shares in SIIG

DUBAI: Two Saudi petrochemical companies have signed a non-binding agreement on a proposed merger, the pair said in separate Tadawul filings.

Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG) offered a share exchange deal to acquire the remaining 50 percent of the National Petrochemical Company (Petrochem). 

Under the deal, SIIG would pay Petrochem’s shareholders by issuing new shares in SIIG. They will also receive 1.27 shares in SIIG in exchange for each share they owned in Petrochem. 

HSBC Saudi Arabia is working with SIIG on the deal, while Petrochem hired GIB capital. 

Talks of merger began last year, after Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, acquired a 70 percent stake in Saudi Basic Industries. 


Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms
Updated 11 min 6 sec ago

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms
  • The company, it said in a statement, is seeing strong traction on its mobile seller app and web-based tools

DUBAI: Payment solutions provider Zbooni has secured $9.5 million in its latest funding round, on the back of the region’s growing e-commerce scene.

Several regional and international investors participated in the Series A round, including family office March Holding, US-based Enterprise Fund, as well as a few European private investors.

The UAE-based startup provides digital tools for businesses to engage with their customers - including an online invoining function, and other mobile-based applications. 

“Our solutions help businesses seamlessly transition into a new era of commerce, offering more relevant ways to sell and interact with customers,” Ramy Assaf, Zbooni founder, said. =

The company, it said in a statement, is seeing strong traction on its mobile seller app and web-based tools. 

Zbooni will use the funds to further develop its proprietary commerce technology, as well as hire new talent and expand into new markets. 

“We see a massive opportunity in front of us and are excited about helping define the next generation of commerce,” Assaf said.


‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
Updated 28 September 2021

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
  • Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent

DUBAI: ‘Solutions by stc’ has allocated a minimum of two shares per individual subscriber as it completes its initial public offering. 

The ‘stc’ unit earlier announced its intention to float on the Saudi bourse, offering 24 million shares or 20 percent of its capital.

According to a filing on Monday, remaining shares will be allocated on a pro rata basis at around 0.5776 percent on average, based on the size of each subscriber’s request compared to the total remaining subscribed shares. 

Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent. 

The institutional offering was 13,0004 percent oversubscribed, raising SR471 billion. 


Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
Updated 28 September 2021

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
  • The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31

DOHA: Qatar Airways said Monday it received $3 billion in state aid to weather the coronavirus travel downturn and to offset losses it blamed on the cost of grounding aircraft.
The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31, double the figure for the same period the year before.
Without the cost of grounding its Airbus A380 and A330 aircraft, Qatar Airways reported an underlying operating loss for the year of $228.3 million compared with $310 million the previous year.
The Gulf carrier did report a slight uptick in overall earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in the amount of cargo carried in the last 12-month period.
Qatar is among several governments that have stepped in to support their national carriers through the coronavirus shutdown, which has pummelled global travel and the aviation industry.
In September 2020 the airline reported it had received $2 billion in state aid after its annual losses exceeded 50 percent of share capital.
“We adapted our entire commercial operation to respond to ever-evolving travel restrictions and never stopped flying,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said in a statement, calling the last 12-month period “difficult.”
“While our organization did not receive any subsidies in the form of salary support or grants, (the Qatari government) did provide an equity injection of 11 billion riyals ($3 billion) to support the business’s continuity.”
Monday’s results are the first full year numbers since the United Arab Emirates, a key market for the Gulf carrier, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, ended a boycott of Qatar in place since June 2017.
They had accused Doha of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran, Riyadh’s regional arch-rival — charges Qatar denied — closing their airspace, borders and markets to Doha until a deal was struck in January.
Qatar Airways is the second largest airline in the Middle East after Dubai-based Emirates, operating a fleet of 253 aircraft — although some remain grounded during the pandemic.

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UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
Updated 28 September 2021

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
  • The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend

DUBAI: Agthia Group, a leading food and beverages company in the UAE, approved yesterday to pay a cash dividend of 8.25 fils per share for the first half of 2021, or 65.31 million dirhams, it said in a statement.

The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend, it said.

"Recently, the Group adopted a semi-annual dividend policy, which aligns with its commitment to maximizing shareholders’ returns," it added.