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Cyber Crime Prevention Law in Qatar

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What is a Cyber Crime?

According to the Qatar National Cyber Security Strategy, a cyber crime can be described as a:

“Misconduct or crime committed using technology. Examples of cyber crime may include illegal access to systems or information, fraud, identity theft, or content-related offenses such as spam.”

Examples of Cyber Crimes

Use the links below to quickly navigate the list of online scams you need to stay away from right now.

Phishing email scams
The Nigerian scam
Greeting card scams
Bank loan or credit card scam
Lottery scam
Hitman scam
Romance scams
Fake antivirus software
Facebook impersonation scam (hijacked profile scam)
Make money fast scams (Economic scams)
Travel scams
Bitcoin scams
Fake news scam
Fake shopping websites
Loyalty points phishing scam
Job offer scams
SMS Scaming(Smshing)
Overpayment Online Scam
Tech Support Online Scams

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How to avoid being scammed by a cyber criminal?

To reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  • use a strong password or passphrase, which is at least 12 characters long and contains a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols
  • never give personal or sensitive details out online or over email
  • make sure all devices have up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed
  • keep software and apps regularly updated
  • only download from legal, trusted websites
  • only open emails and attachments from known and trusted sources
  • only ever use websites that start with https://, however make sure that you’re on the correct site by sense-checking the full website address
  • avoid using public WiFi hotspots that are not secure, use your 3/4G data. If you have no choice but to use Public WiFi, then only use it with a Virtual Private Network enabled on your device
  • regularly back up your data
  • control your social media accounts – regularly check your privacy settings and how your data is being used and shared
  • be cautious of internet chats and online dating – there’s no guarantee you’re speaking to who you think
  • be extremely cautious if you’re asked for money

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Cyber Crime Prevention Law in Qatar

Qatar has high levels of internet connectivity, with 96% of households now connected to the internet, a six-point jump since last year, according to a new report from the UN Broadband Commission.

This means Qatar retains its rank as second place among 132 developing countries in terms of online connectivity. We are seeing a spike in legitimate digital content services and solutions, not only from the incumbent companies, but also from innovative start-ups, both working through the internet. However with this increase in internet use comes increased cyber crime.

On 16 September 2014 the Qatari government promulgated a cyber crime prevention law (No.14 of 2014) in an effort to increase the tools for combating online and cyber crimes. The new law imposes many sanctions and several penalties for offences committed through the Internet, IT networks, computers and other related crimes. The legislation is aimed at safeguarding the country’s technological infrastructure and strengthening cyber security within Qatar. The law took immediate effect but it will be posted in the Official Gazette to comply with formalities.

During the drafting of the legislation there was considerable criticism surrounded it as many viewed some parts of the legislation as threatening freedom of speech and access to media. https://www.tamimi.com/law-update-articles/cyber-crime-prevention-law-in-qatar/

The law contains the following provisions, amongst others:

  1. The law stipulates a 10 year jail term and a fine of up to QR 200,000 for forging any official e-document, or a three year jail term or a fine of a maximum of QR 100,000 if the document forged is unofficial. Similar punishments await those who impersonate  individuals or entities, or are involved in identity theft or steal movable property using the Internet.
  2. Provisions on so-called “content crimes” that make it illegal to publish “false news”. These terms are not defined, making it unclear what content would land local journalists and social media users in trouble. Therefore news agencies, social media users and journalists must be careful to verify the source of the news before broadcasting it to the public in order to avoid contravening the law.
  3. A jail term of up to three years and a fine of up to QR 200,000 for unauthorized possession or use of e-card, whether it is an ATM or credit card, or stealing numbers or forging e-cards.
  4. A jail term of up to three years and a fine of up to 500,000 Qatari riyals for the breach of intellectual property rights by using the internet article 13), be it copyrights, patents, trade secrets, trademarks, trade names, geographical indications and industrial designs, or designs of integrated circuits.

As reported in a study conducted by the 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper, cybercrimes are the second most common form of economic crime reported in the Middle East. As such businesses operating in the region are at high risk. Despite the concerns raised about the new Cybercrimes law when it was in the drafting stages, it is undeniable that Qatar along with the UAE has taken the lead in addressing the issues related to cybercrime and has implemented penalties and jail terms for those who contravene to the law.

National Laws(Active Tab)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has a dedicated computer emergency response team (Q-CERT), which identifies and resolves major threats and maintains a reporting and analysis coordination effort. Q-CERT works to address cybersecurity threats to minimize the risks from malware, malicious actors (e.g. hackers, terrorists, organized criminal networks, industrial, and foreign government espionage) and cyber warfare. Companies and members of the public can report cyber incidents by phone, by email, and through an incident reporting form. Q-CERT’s website includes a daily threat alert dashboard, statistics, and access to technical services assessment and testing. In addition to Q-CERT, MOI established E-SHIELD and a Cyber Security Center (CSC) in 2018 to protect the country’s digital infrastructure and respond to cyber-attacks. CSC and E-SHIELD use the MITRE ATT&CK framework.

How to report a Cyber Crime in Qatar?

The MOI in Qatar investigates and prosecutes all kinds of cyber crimes, that fall under its criminal investigation jurisdiction. Under the Qatari law, these include, but are not limited to, defamation and use of the Internet for a wide range of criminal purposes.

To report a cyber crimes in Qatar, contact the MOI’s Cyber Crime Investigation Centre on:

Address: CID headquarters, Duhail, Doha – Qatar
Online: Metrash2 (CID/reports)
Tel: +974 2347444
Hotline: +974 66815757
E-mail:
 cccc@moi.gov.qa

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