Cybersecurity at Emirates NBD Head Office
Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director General Department of Criminal Investigation, Dubai Police and Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD during the Dubai Police and Emirates NBD discussion on a joint public service campaign, aimed at raising public awareness and education on cybersecurity at Emirates NBD Head Office, Deira, Dubai on June 30. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Dubai: More than 800 bank fraud cases have been reported in Dubai over the last three years, Dubai Police said on Sunday to drive home the point that UAE customers should be more vigilant and not fall prey to fraudsters.

Dubai Police shared the figures on Sunday during the launch of its UAE-wide #SecureYourAccount campaign, a joint initiative with Emirates NBD to educate the public not to take the bait of fraudsters.

“This initiative has been launched as there have been several cyberattacks happening in the UAE. E-crime attacks always happen and we are always prepared to address it. This #SecureYourAccount campaign is not only addressed to Emirates NBD customers but for all UAE residents as well as tourists,” said Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police.

“Over 811 cybercrime attacks related to banks have been reported over the past three years. We look forward for this number to drop after this campaign.”

Brig. Al Jallaf stressed that Dubai Police have resolved many of the cases. Some of them were contained within the UAE while others involved con artists based abroad.

Globally, the banking industry has been confronted with an increasing number of cyber-attacks in recent years. The average cost of cybercrime for the banking sector globally rose by about 10 per cent last year to $18 million (Dh66,060,000), according to the 2019 Cost of Cyber Crime Study, by Accenture and the Ponemon Institute.

Related figures in the UAE are scant, although Abdullah Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer of Emirates NBD, agrees that cybercrimes have been on the rise in general and this global threat should be tackled collectively. “We reiterate that we, as Emirates NBD, will never call customers or send emails asking about their secret questions like account numbers, CVVs or user ID. So please don’t share these pieces of information with any source or with any individuals,” Qassem said.

$18million

The average cost of cybercrime for the banking sector globally last year.

Officials at the launch stressed that human error remains as “the biggest vulnerability when it comes to fighting cybercrime.”

As for the bank procedure for recovering stolen money due to bank fraud cases, Qassem said in their case, they conduct investigations and decide on a case-to-case basis to rule out fake claims.

“We have to ensure that it is a genuine human error and there is no collusion [between any party any the fraudster]. So we study it case by case and if it’s a genuine human error, the bank will refund them. But we are not to give blindly to everyone because that will defuse the purpose of the campaign that we’re doing now,” he said.

Qassem said Emirates NBD has invested a major portion of its Dh1 billion digital transformation investment towards strengthening their infrastructure and digital processes that provide customers with increased protection, including the SmartPass that enables customers to authorise transfer and payments by using a token generated through their mobiles.

The highlight of the campaign is a music video featuring a 2000 hit song by Shaggy titled ‘It Wasn’t Me’ but with a different set of lyrics about the dos and don’ts of banking securely.

The two-minute music video features a customer calling his bank relationship manager to seek help. “My account just got wiped …[by] some guy pretending to be you,” the man said. To which the banker replied, “It wasn’t me.”

The banker reminded the customer to never give access to his bank accounts to anyone regardless of who they claim to be.

Four more educational videos will be released across all media and social channels and UAE malls as part of the campaign.

Security tips

Remember, no one at Emirates NBD will ever ask you for your internet banking password. If it happens and someone asks you for it, do not entertain them and report them to the bank.

  • Minimise the use of attachments.
  • Question unsolicited documents
  • Never respond to spam email
  • Never respond to the spam email’s instructions to reply with the word “remove.” This is just a trick to get you to react to the email -- it alerts the sender that a human is at your address, which greatly increases its value. If you reply, your address is placed on more lists and you receive more spam.
  • Never sign up with sites that promise to remove your name from spam lists These sites are of two kinds: genuine and spam address collectors. The first kind is ignored (or exploited) by spammers, and the second is owned by them. In both cases your address is recorded and valued more highly because you have just identified it as read by a human.
  • Keep your virus protection up-to-date
  • Question executable programmes received via email. This is a common means for passing on viruses. Do not open them, do not pass them on, and notify your system administrator if you receive them.
  • Disable macros on your machine To do this, you will need to open the application. On Word 2000, select Tools, then select Macros, then select Security, and then checked High: Only signed macros from trusted sources will be allowed to run. Unsigned macros are automatically disabled
  • Make sure that file extensions are viewable. This will alert you to files of the following types: .exe, .vbs, and .shs. To view file extensions in Windows select the Start menu, then select Settings, then select Control Panel, then select Folder Options, then select View, then UNCHECK the command that reads Hide File Extensions for Known file Types.
  • Notify the person you received an infected file from This helps them correct the problem within their system before passing the virus on to other users.
  • Don’t reply to any e-mail that requests your personal information Be very suspicious of any business or person who asks for your password, PIN (Personal Identification Number), or other highly sensitive information.
  • Protect your Password and Personal Information: Do not use passwords that are easy to guess, e.g. your name, your date of birth, your telephone number(s), etc. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. Do not use share your password with anyone and do not use the same password for other websites. Change your password frequently and never write it down.

How to report a bank fraud cases: www.ecrime.ae or call your bank’s customer service centre.

Source for security tips: Emirates NBD