According to EY’s latest Global Fraud Survey, Corporate misconduct — individual consequences, only 29% of executives in the Middle East recognize cybercrime risk, compared to 47% globally. The survey found that many respondents maintain the view that fraudulent activity is not their problem, despite recognizing the prevalence of the issue in their own countries.
Michael Adlem, EY’s MENA Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services (FIDS) Leader, says: “As the use of technology to disrupt organizations’ systems becomes increasingly rampant, companies are becoming more and more susceptible to cyber breaches.
However executives in the Middle East do not recognize cybercrime as a high risk. This hints at two possibilities: either executives in the Middle East are overly optimistic and believe their systems are more sophisticated than those globally, or — there is a general lack of awareness around the subject, which is why management does not view it as a concern. To combat such threats, it is imperative that organizations develop a cyber-breach response plan that brings together all parts of the business in a centralized response structure.”
Unethical behavior to
Approximately one in five respondents in the Middle East explicitly stated that they are willing to act unethically and offer entertainment to win or retain business. Globally, 42% of respondents can justify unethical behavior to meet financial targets, with 23% of respondents in the Middle East agreeing that it is common practice to use bribery to win contracts.
Stuart Jones, Executive Director, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services at EY, says: “There is a problem when it comes to unethical behavior to win business, and this applies to countries around the world. Unless senior management and the board are involved to remedy the situation, it is highly unlikely that such issues will resolve on their own.
“Leadership need to understand the emerging fraud trends and ask themselves whether the health and integrity of their companies are being jeopardized.”
With respect to due-diligence, 40% of companies in the Middle East stated they are not assessing anti-corruption policies compared to 29% of respondents globally.
“The fact is that fraud, corruption and criminal activity are inevitable in today’s business environment. They are however, manageable and to an extent preventative provided companies know the risks they are exposed to — risks such as cybercrime and inadequate due diligence are becoming more prevalent regionally and require serious attention from executive management immediately,” concludes Michael.