DOHA: Most victims of cyber crimes in Qatar are people aged 40 and above as they are not quite proficient in use of electronic gadgets, say the police.
Younger people are more knowledgeable about modern electronic devices since they have been using them since an early age and are, thus, less vulnerable to cyber criminals.
Several complaints of cyber crimes in Qatar are from men, about alleged blackmail by women, according to the police.
These women threaten their male targets, claiming that they have recorded their conversations and the photographs they have exchanged and would make them public.
Sometimes, the person against whom a complaint of a cyber crime has been made is based out of Qatar. Often, the country where the person is based refuses to extradite him.
The mobile phone is a small device but all conversations and photographic exchanges using the phone or various apps can be tracked by Qatar’s cyber crime fighting unit.
“We have devices to track the conversations and photographic exchanges. In fact, we have an entire workshop,” said Lieutenant Jassem Yusuf Al Kuwari.
Al Kuwari, who is from the cyber unit of the Search and Follow-Up Department of the Ministry of Interior, was speaking at a Ramadan symposium organised by Al Sharq.
Also present at the symposium was Lieutenant Owaida Abdullah Al Nuaimi, investigation officer in the cyber crime combating unit.
Al Kuwari said that Qatar was about to put in force an extensive cyber law which will have as many as 70 articles.
He said that Twitter and Facebook were like newspapers, so using them to defame or blackmail people was a crime punishable by law.
Cyber crime is often cross-border crime, so tracking and combating it are not easy. Sometimes, the other countries refuse to cooperate in solving the crime and punishing the culprit.
People approach the cyber crime combating unit here directly with complaints, and often the Public Prosecution refers cases to the unit with a request to solve the case, said the officials.
“We have advanced devices with us to collect evidence from the Internet and mobile phones, and have an entire Internet division at our unit,” said Al Kuwari.
Information and recordings gathered by the unit in a case involving cyber crime are admissible as evidence in the local court, the officials added.
If the person or persons involved in a cyber crime are based abroad, help is sought from Interpol.
Replying to a question as to what happens if a cyber criminal has used a fake name, Al Kuwari said that his Internet Protocol address can help find out his real identity.
The officials said that the cyber crime combating unit was set up as part of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Ministry of Interior in 2009.
The unit was set up because of information explosion and increase in the number of cyber crimes in the country.
The increase is, though, not alarming.
Most cases of cyber crimes pertain to cheating and fraud.
Qatar has become the target of some hackers after its massive economic development, said Al Kuwari.
One of the objectives of the unit is to create awareness about cyber crimes so that people don’t fall victim.
Spying, attempts to defame, use of abusive language, use of forged credit cards and impersonation are some of the other major cyber crimes.
Most cheating attempts are made from countries in Africa while credit cards frauds are committed by people in the Far East, said officials.
As regards cyber crimes that target women, officials said use of abusive language, encroaching on their privacy, attempts to defame them and seeking revenge are some of the offences.