Consumers residing in the UAE have been affected by an alarming level of cybercrime, resulting in over $1 billion in financial losses – over three million people.

The UAE have a national legislation in place to safeguard the public from cybercrime and in recent years new businesses have also developed individual protection strategies. The start-up company VUL9, are a group of advisory professionals who focus on informing UAE residents of the online threats.

Similar new releases from the Norton Security Middle East department indicate that the public simply don’t know enough about how they are exposing themselves. Data holding companies of all sizes have been targeted by cybercrime… which is the reason for Cedar Rose’s decision to branch out into aiding companies looking to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect their business.

However, first it’s important to consider the hefty penalties which are published frequently as a reminder…

UAE Cybercrime Legislation

In 2012, the President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa introduced a range fines which can range up to 3 million Dirhams (approx. $800,000):

  • Those caught gaining access to a website, network or system without authorisation are to be imprisoned and fined at least Dh50,000, but fines can go as high as Dh1 million if personal information is stolen or deleted.
  • Those caught using technology to invade someone else’s privacy – which can even include eavesdropping, copying photos or publishing news – can be jailed for six months and face fines of between Dh150,000 and Dh300,000.
  • The most severe penalty – five years in jail and a Dh3 million fine – is reserved for those who run malicious software that causes a network or IT system to stop functioning ‘or results in crashing, deletion, omission, destruction and alteration of the programme, system, website, data or information’.
  • Additionally, the law stipulates various penalties for a number of other cybercrimes, including insulting religions and their rituals, slandering public officials, forging electronic official documents, sending or re-publishing pornographic materials, reproducing credit or debit card data, and obtaining secret pin codes or passwords.

These fines are clearly spread across the public, possibly due to publicising such hefty fines; the targeted inhabitants of the UAE may be overlooking their options for mobile protection against hackers. Arguably this is because government policy regarding heightened laws, may have led the public to believe that they are protected, and thus overlook their own security options for security.

Millennials Overlooking Cybercrime Protection

The most technologically savvy demographic is millennials, who own on average four devices per person. Unfortunately, careless habits in regards to password security leaves them exposed. A large number, 28% in fact, of millennials are using the same password for multiple accounts and people in general are not taking enough precautions, the threat landscapes are constantly evolving and the public need to be more aware of exactly how a hacker can access their mobile device.

Dubai is a high profile destination for tourists and business travellers, and the targeting rate is higher than the global average. The need to connect through mobile while on the move, with less installed antivirus software, acts as a breeding ground for hackers and scammers, people are generally not using enough device security applications. Thus, understanding the most effective way to respond in the case of a cyber-attack is of critical importance.

Cybercrime in the last year

The last year has seen a significant rise in global attacks via ransomware. Ransomware cases – locking files and demanding money to unlock these files – of late, targets the mass public for smaller amounts, with hundreds coming up in the UAE cybercrime daily reports. Norton Security advises the public not to pay as there is no guarantee that the money will be returned.  Millennials are more inclined to use up to date protection, however exhibit low levels of protection across the population.

“Consumers’ actions revealed a dangerous disconnect – despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” explains Tamim Taufiq, Norton, Head of Norton Middle East. “This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”

It is becoming clear in Dubai the general public need more information which clearly explains that the UAE is prone to cyber-attacks, more so than any other country in the world. Free services are available to them such as password managers which according to Norton is the primary entry gate to personal files, used by cybercriminals.

Source: Cedar Rose News

Cedar Rose is a member of BIIA