Common sense versus criminals
By CAPTAIN MAHMOOD AL MAHMOOD
It is routine in Bahrain for people to knowingly or unknowingly breach the Kingdom’s cybersecurity laws – many of us casually record conversations on our phones without informing the other party (parties) that we are doing so; while we all appreciate the convenience of the zoon meeting, we think nothing of taking unauthorized screen grabs and recordings for future reference.
Now all this is usually done without malice but that does not make it right or pardonable in the larger scheme of things. Because, consistently overlooking such mistakes and breaches of law, lays the foundation for the overall weakening of the Kingdom’s cyber law processes.
As a country that is the hub of the global finance sector, Bahrain has always stayed ahead of the race in anti-money laundering processes and now, in safeguarding companies and individuals against the possibilities of cyber fraud via Fintech apps and the internet.
And yet, the possibilities to dupe people are endless and can come from any corner of the world and the criminals can be far out of the reach of Bahrain’s arm of law. Often, cybercriminals use everyday transactions to cheat people – it could be a Whatsapp or sms announcement of a reward from your local supermarket or a notice from your bank about freezing of your account – the red flag in such messages either text or voice, is that the sender asks for personal and banking details to supposedly either “transfer” the gift or process the correction of the error such as freezing of the account.
Now, all commercial entities repeatedly warn customers and clients that they never ask for personal banking details over the phone but I guess the convenience of the idea – that all can be done or won over the phone – is a great attraction.
Recently, your newspaper reported that a man in Bahrain lost BD29,000 from his life savings after falling prey to a call that informed him of the expiry of his Central Population Registry (CPR) and assured renewal provided he gave his personal and bank details. Luckily, the victim quickly informed the police who managed to get back BD13,000 of the stolen amount.
As we work in a world powered by AI and rely more and more on the internet, let us use the old-fashioned power of common sense to defeat cyber criminals.
(Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism)