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Qatari expats warned about cyber theft from mobile devices

virusResidents are being advised to pay careful attention to their online activities, after reports stating that Qatar has emerged as ‘an interesting target for cyber crimes’.

This might be, as gulfbusiness.com states, because in recent decades Qatar has become a ‘global powerhouse with one of the world’s highest per capita incomes at $100,000′. Its growth as a major gas exporter has also seen it transformed into a multi-cultural emirate which is home to thousands of expatriate workers.

A new report from global security firm McAfee has revealed that cyber criminals are likely to focus on mobile devices in an attempt to procure passwords and information with which they can steal money at ATMs and from point of sale systems.

The report warned that consumers’ continual migration to smartphones and tablets gave hackers ‘direct access’ to devices, especially when the internet is accessed via public wi-fi services. Social platforms could also be used by criminals to glean personal information that could be held to ransom.

McAfee EMEA director of incident and response Christiaan Beek told gulf-times.com that the firm recorded around 300,000 different examples of malware and viruses in the region on a daily basis. These are said to be directed at government institutions, banks and big companies, not individuals.

That said, one expatriate based in Doha reportedly had QR10,000 withdrawn from his account without his knowledge, baffling both himself and the bank staff.

Advice remains to ensure that all connections, servers and websites are secure when accessing the internet from a mobile device, plus remembering to log out is vital.

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