Control of Internet Affects Rise in Kuwait Cyber Crime

Brigadier Mahmoud Al-Tabbakh, acting Director General of the General Criminal Investigation Department, was quoted by Al-Seyassahsaying that the alarming increase in cybercrime is in most part due to the latest technological developments. He directly attributed this spread to a lack of control over the Internet. These technological developments, he claimed, lead to advancements in cybercrime. An awareness campaign dubbed “Sailor” is born of the cybercrime issue and includes guidelines on protecting the Internet network.

Sailor

An anti-cyber crime team has been formed out of the growing need to combat cyber threats though its creation directly follows the release of the latest cybercrime statistics. The new team is working under the supervision of Brigadier Adel Al-Subaei with the help of Captain Mohammad Khaled Al-Jassem. The “Sailor” awareness campaignaims to combat cybercrime through raising awareness and educating the public in ways to avoid attacks.Al-Tabbakh stated that there are many angles to the cybercrime issue, and because of its nature is not limited by geographical boundaries. The approach is therefore very different than other types of defense and the new team will be properly equipped to develop suitable methods to deal with the threats. He further stated that his department is putting their full effort into the fight against cybercrime in the hopes of halting and reversing the hold that cybercrime has taken over the past two years.

Cyber crime Revenue

Al-Tabbakhannounced that the revenuegenerated by cybercrimesurpasseseven that of drug-related crimes, and that terrorist activities now rely mostly on the Internet. It is unclear whether this alarming revelation is aimed at battling complacency over the real threat of cyber crime, or is an attempt to rally support. With the threat of increased terrorist activity on top of the existing real threat of cyber theft, the public’s growing fear over terrorism can possibly give the government more leverage to institute new policies relating to the use of the Internet. The concern over a lack of control over the Internet is a clue to opening an avenue leading to the regulation of Internet use in the country.

Kuwait Victims Include Government Official

One recent victim of cybercrime is a Kuwait Ministry of Health official. His email was hacked as used to request emergency assistance from over 40 contacts claiming he was robbed in Spain. The official’s personal information was compromised and his address book lost. The email account was used by the official to store valuable personal information and documents. After his contacts realized that this was a scam, the hacker sent a follow-up email containing a copy of his passport as proof of identification to supplement the request for money to be wired via Western Union. The hackers had opened a nearly identical email account to perpetuate the scam and almost convinced one of the official’s close friends.

Other Kuwait nationals have been victimized, one student living overseas losing not only all her contacts and correspondence, irreplaceable personal documents and mementos, but years’ worth of thesis research. The student called for the criminalization of online identity theft. Recent action by the General Criminal Investigation Departmentincludesthe opening of telephone hotlines and an email to user complaints, assuring the public that any information passed on to his department will remain strictly confidential. Email phishing that redirects users to click a link which then downloads malware to the users’ computers is suspected as the primary culprit for the numerous email hacks.

The continued spread of various email scams emphasizes the need for more secure personal practices. The victims have been warned again to never store valuable information in an email account and to never reveal passwords or personal information through online communication. This is an added precaution to the warning about opening emails from unknown senders.

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