Qatar, which was hit with the biggest cybercrime in the region in 2017, has approved plans to establish a national cybersecurity agency.
A national agency for cybersecurity will soon be established after Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft Amiri proposal on Wednesday, amid an increase in the number of online crimes in the country.
The draft includes provisions relating to the establishment of the agency, its objectives, competencies, administration and financial system.
The move comes as experts warned the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of cybercrimes globally.
In a virtual event by The Institute of Internal Auditors Qatar Chapter, experts confirmed phishing attacks, trojans for stealing information, ransomware and pharma scams also showed significant jumps. Of particular concern is ransomware, which has seen both high numbers and impact during the pandemic, as work from home initiatives risk loss of sensitive information.
“Zoom bombing, multiple fault lines and others result in home environment compromises where convenience vs. security vulnerability of teleworkers should be addressed,” said Dr K Rama Subramaniam, CEO of Valiant Technologies and Global Chair at the International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals in the US.
Qatar has been working to update its cybersecurity legislations in accordance with latest developments in the industry, in an effort to protect the country’s cyberspace.
The Gulf state has particularly ramped up efforts since what experts call one of the biggest cybercrimes in the region in 2017, which saw the official Qatar News Agency hacked by external forces.
The hacking, which falsely attributed fake statements to the Amir, led to the immediate and illegal land, air and sea blockade of Qatar by neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
Wednesday’s Cabinet announcement also gave approval to a draft Amiri decision to establish the Joaan bin Jassim Academy for Defence and Security Studies in place of the Joaan bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College.
Among the objectives of the academy is the preparation and qualification of military and civilian leaders at the strategic level, as well as to enable students to learn modern military and academic sciences. The academy consists of the national defence college, the force and joint staff college, as well as other research centres.