More than half of the UAE's computer users struggle to identify phishing messages, according to the cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab.
In a survey conducted by O+K Research, 62 per cent of the respondents said they were unable to recognise phishing messages sent via email or social-networking websites. Around 35 per cent of PC users in the GCC admitted their computers had been infected as a result of opening a malicious attachment.
So-called phishing attacks are typically intended to steal private information, including usernames and passwords, to gain access to social media, retail and online banking accounts.
The majority of phishing messages are delivered via email or social networks since they are the most widespread means of communication, according to the report. Usually these emails will urge the user to follow an infected link or open an attached malicious file.
In June, 68 per cent of phishing messages unleashed onto the web targeted data theft, while 14 per cent of the respondents had entered personal or financial data at suspicious pages.
Increasingly, cyber-criminals are turning their attention to mobile devices and tablets. About 25 per cent of tablet users and 20 per cent of smartphone users received messages with suspicious links and attachments, the survey found.