There has been a surge in cyberattacks worldwide following the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The UAE government has launched advisory to financial institutes and regulatory bodies to maintain heightened security in a time wherein increased dependence on digital infrastructure is being experienced.
There are increasingly number of fake and fraudulent websites employing methods to collect the sensitive data such as details of the bank accounts and identity of the users. The region has also seen an increased number of cyber-attacks on smart phone users with 68,063 number of cyber-attacks being recorded in 2020 and the number is relatively low when compared with other regions of the middle east such as Saudi Arabia, which has recorded 160,000 while Egypt records 220,000.
In April 2020, the United Arab Emirates launched a “Fraud Awareness Campaign” focused on digital banking services, the first of its kind in the UAE, to ensure that businesses are equipped to fight digital crime.
Reporting Cyber Crime:
A strong public and private partnership is crucial in the fight against cybercrime.
You can now report cybercrime online through the Dubai Police E-Crime website, through the UAE’s federal public prosecution ‘My Safe Society App’ or by contacting 80091 which is the UAE’s digital well- being support line.
Digital security and Identity Theft:
The UAE ensures the digital security of its citizens through the Emirates ID, the UAE Pass app and the SmartPass.
The emirates id constitutes the identity cards linked with biometric details and is issued to all nationals and residents in the UAE by the Emirates Identity Authority. The unique identity number (UID) of your emirates ID is divided in to four parts:
First part, consisting of the first three digits of the international code of the UAE
Second Part, consist of a four-digit part which may or may not match the birth date of the card holder,
Third part, consists of the 7 a digit random number; and
Fourth part, consists of one digit which consists of the verification number.
The unique identity number of the Emirates id is allocated for the entire lifetime of the holder and is not allowed to be replicated or changed.
The UAE pass app constitutes the first national digital identity and signature solution in the UAE. It allows for signing of documents digitally with high end security features and provides identification of the user by the government service providers through smart phone based authentication.
SmartPass constitutes the UAE Government’s digital security initiative to provide access to the UAE’ government’s online services through a single account using one username and password. The Smartpass initiate allows for enhanced digital access by eliminating the hassle of setting multiple usernames and passwords which could have led to increased security risks. Citizens or residents holding valid emirates id can now register with the SmartPass services.
Cyber Security law in the UAE:
The UAE legal system has effected the Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes and its amendment by the Federal law no. 12 of 2016.Criminal sanctions apply against persons indulging in violation and includes: actions pertaining to the use of the internet to invade privacy of another person; gaining unlawful access to system, including persons who abuse their position and act in excess of their permitted authorizations. The law punishes persons who gain unlawful access to system with the intention of gaining government data, or confidential information relating to the financial, economic or commercial activity with imprisonment for a term of five years and a fine between Aed 500,000 to Aed 2 Million towards the violation.
Cyber security in the DIFC:
A recent initiative launched by DFSA calls for all companies in the DIFC to register with the DFSA Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform TIP. The TIP Platform aims to ensure financial security and improve cyber security and consumer protection by sharing important information about cyber threats.