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QNA hacking: 2 years on, Qatar enhances measures to tackle cyberattacks

QNA hacking: 2 years on, Qatar enhances measures to tackle cyberattacks

Tribune News Network
Doha
Ever since the hacking of Qatar News Agency (QNA) website two years ago, Qatar has taken strong measures to counter any such cyberattacks, thanks to its National Cybersecurity Strategy.
The National Cybersecurity Strategy represents a roadmap for enhancing cyber security in Qatar. The Ministry of Communications and Transport (MoTC) is working continuously to strengthen the capabilities of various entities in the information security sector.
The ministry is also working to enhance coordination among different entities to tackle the challenges facing the information security sector.
Cybersecurity experts and lawyers are unanimous in their praise of the measures taken by Qatar to prevent future cyberattacks. They said the QNA website hacking falls under the category of cyber terrorism.
Lawyer Issa al Sulaiti said the QNA website hacking and the subsequent posting of fabricated statements constitute an open aggression against the security and sovereignty of Qatar. Qatar has taken upon itself to prosecute the perpetrators and proved the involvement of the blockading countries in the crime, he noted.
Over the course of two years, Sulaiti said, Qatar has taken legal measures to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.
Sulaiti praised the swift measures taken by the authorities concerned in Qatar immediately after the hacking.
International law criminalises such crimes across the border and punishes the perpetrators and instigators also. As per the law, the criminals will be tried at the place where the crime took place, he added.
“International laws stipulated stringent punishments for cybercrimes, especially those that violate freedom and promote hatred and discrimination,” he added.
Khalid al Amari, an IT expert, said the hacking of QNA website was one of the most serious electronic crimes that have occurred in the region.
He said Qatar, over the past two years, has strengthened the infrastructure of its institutions to prevent any such attacks.
He said the authorities have become aware of the importance of cybersecurity and the MoTC has rolled out several plans to tackle any such attacks. The authorities concerned have increased the level of awareness among employees through training courses that aim to highlight the importance of being careful about anonymous emails and unknown software that may be carrying viruses, he added.
Despite the blockade dragging on for two years now, Qatar is now enjoying greater security and stability and is marching ahead with its developmental plans, he added.
Imad Ramadan, an information security consultant, said, “Two years after the QNA website hacking, we can say that the hacking had positive aspects. In the past two years, Qatar has increased the efficiency and readiness of various state institutions to deal with cyberattacks.”
He said the authorities concerned have also worked to promote and develop the human element through the organisation of training workshops on information security for employees in ministries, government agencies and financial institutions.
He said Qatar has also set up information security centres in vital sectors to deal with any cyberattacks. The state institutions have in the past two years largely committed to implementing the regulations set by the MoTC to implement the cybersecurity strategy.

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