United Arab Emirates:
New Updates On How UAE Combats Cybercrime: Punishments And Penalties
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The UAE has been at the forefront of taking decisive and
proactive measures to curb the prevalence of cyber-attacks in the
region. The strategy and success in combatting cybercrimes in the
region lies in the adoption of more comprehensive and streamlined
laws and regulations with stricter penalties. In this article, we
would like to take you through the main concepts of cybercrime with
a special focus on how the UAE tackles these issues.
What is ‘cybercrime’:
Cybercrime involves the use of a computer as an
instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud,
trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property,
identity theft, or privacy violations etc. It involves
distributing viruses, illegally downloading of files, phishing and
stealing personal information like bank account details etc. A
crime can be thus be distinguished as a ‘cybercrime’,
if the key ingredients of the crime include ‘computer’
and ‘internet’. For this reason, cybercrimes are often
termed ‘computer crimes’.
Cyber-crimes can be further classified into five
- Economic crime – Economic cyberattacks are often highly
organized crimes that use the most advanced technology and tools to
commit such crime, often via hacking.
- Terrorism: A cyber-attack is a term as an act of terrorism if
it is targeted against a nation’s interests, particularly
targeting its infrastructure, economy, resources etc.
- Activism: ‘Wikileaks’ would be the right example to
showcase an activist cybercrime, wherein the hacking is done in
furtherance to an idealistic agenda.
- Espionage: This can include both corporate and political
espionage. Wherein the offender tries to obtain confidential
information, protected trade secrets and other intellectual
property rights to gain commercial or political advantage.
- Warfare: Cyberwarfare involves action by a private or
international organization attempting to damage or attack another
nation actively by targeting its information network or computer
How the UAE tackles instances of cybercrimes:
- The telecom regulatory authority (TRA) actively monitors the
information and content available online and takes prohibitory
measures for content that is malicious in nature.
- TRA also initiates curbing measures against unlicensed VoIP
service providers, including illegal websites.
- The licensing telecom service providers in the UAE such as
‘Du’ and ‘Etisalat’, also take prohibitory
measures to block online content based on complaints received for
abusive or defamatory aspects.
- UAE authorities often take stringent legal action against
unauthorized websites after verifying the validity and seriousness
of each cyber complaint. Stringent penalties are imposed depending
on the veracity of the act;
- For example: An act of IP address forgery can be punished with
imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to AED
- Privacy violations, whether it is illegal hacking and obtaining
private picture or other reformation, are very strictly
- Acts of forgery can be punished with fines ranging from Aed
100,000 to up to 300,00, and if such an act is committed against
the government, then the penalties can be up to Aed 1 million in
fines and imprisonment sentence.
- Acts of cyber hacking against banks in order to obtain illegal
data concerning banking accounts and card information can be
punished with huge fines of up to Aed 1 million and also with
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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