UAE: Don't click on unknown links; everyone is vulnerable to hacking, warns expert

Online predators can use private data -- via emails and social media -- for extortion, threats and blackmail.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 7 Feb 2022, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Feb 2022, 2:27 PM

A legal expert in Abu Dhabi has warned residents against opening or clicking on links from suspicious and unknown senders as it can lead to hackers breaking into their electronic devices or emails and steal their personal information, including bank details and passwords.

These online predators can also commit online crimes such as extortion, threats and blackmail using other people’s emails and social media accounts.

Dr. Youssef Al Sharif, lawyer and advocate, says families and the general public should be cautious about suspicious websites, links and emails that steal their personal details and use them in various deceptive methods to lure people and impersonate them.

“It is a good thing that people be vigilant while using the Internet to avoid falling victim to hackers who may steal their personal details and passwords to impersonate them. This might land them in trouble for crimes they haven't committed,” said Al Sharif.

The lawyer explained that Article 10 of the UAE Rumors Law stipulates 'an imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh500,000 and not more than Dh2 million or one of these two penalties, for anyone who circumvents the internet protocol address (IP address) of the information network and using the IP address belonging to others, or by any other means, with the intention of committing a crime or preventing its detection.'

Internet users have also been advised against opening links or attachments they receive via email or SMS from unknown sources while using public Wi-Fi.

The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) had earlier warned that hackers use public networks to gather sensitive data. “If possible, always use your own data network connection or make sure you have a VPN installed,” the ADDA said.

Free Wi-Fi is available in at airports, shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, hotel rooms, coffee shops, libraries, public transport and other places in UAE and thousands are using the free internet service.

Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, a global tech security firm, Dubai-UAE, earlier told Khaleej Times that with many online users being so easy to trick into visiting attractive fake sites or opening unknown emails, it makes them vulnerable to hackers who find it easy to steal their credentials and other important information.

He noted that while an increasingly connected world makes people's lives easier, it also poses great risk as online users expose their personal data to cyber criminals or hackers.

“With the increased use of technology, people (users) are the weakest link and the main target for cybercriminals,” said Yamout.

“Human factor is among top things that make hackers’ fraudulent acts so easy and this is because people can easily be tricked. Hackers create fake sites that seem attractive to the users and also send attractive emails with a link that directs a user to their website, and hence steal their credentials including usernames and passwords.”

He added: “Everyone is vulnerable to online threats. People just have to be very careful while online and shouldn’t visit unknown sites or reply to emails from unknown people.”


“Think before you interact with other people online. Think before you click. People using the internet must have the clue, knowledge and how to protect themselves against cybercriminals.”

Internet don'ts

- Don’t click on links from unknown senders.

- Don’t share your password or credentials.

- Don’t download attachments from suspicious emails or numbers.

- Don’t conduct personal activities on public Wi-Fi.

- Don’t leave your mobile unattended.

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