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Dubai: Dubai Police said on Thursday they, in cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) in Italy, arrested an Arab national suspected of participating in cyberattacks directed at a school in the UAE.

The suspect, a former IT official of the school, was caught in Italy after an international arrest warrant and a red notice was issued against him for hacking into the school databases and deleting its files, taking advantage of the right to access the data, according to Brigadier Abdul Rahim Bin Shafe’ei, Director of Al Barsha Police Station.

Brigadier Bin Shafe’ei said that a tip-off was received from the school officials stating that a former director of the IT department, who had been working for them for 16 years hacked and deleted files of the school, which has 18 branches across the country.

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“The suspect wiped out all data information of the schools and the students, which negatively impacted the study process,” he said.

Brigadier Bin Shafe’ei said that the suspect took advantage of his position. He had the passwords to access the school data; and after he resigned and left the country he attacked the school’s system and deleted the files.

“The Al Barsha Police station, in collaboration with the Department of Cyber Crimes and the Interpol section of the General Department of Criminal Investigation in Dubai Police set up a team to follow up the complaint. Experts in the Cyber Crime Department immediately went to school and were able to retrieve deleted files and secure the school network and their data,” he said.

He added the Interpol issued an international arrest warrant and a red bulletin against the suspect. Dubai Police’s effort led the Interpol officers to track the suspect down in Europe. He was caught while attempting to enter Italy.

Dubai Police are coordinating with the competent authorities in Italy to bring the suspect to UAE in order to start legal proceeding against him.

The director of Al Barsha police station praised the quick action of the school administration’s and its keenness that the law take its course despite the fact that the suspect left the country. “This rapid communication between Dubai Police and schools is credited to the Schools Security initiative, launched in February last year as part of Dubai Police’s plan to secure roads around schools to enhance student safety and to establish a friendlier relationship between children and policemen.

A decline of 38 per cent in complaints related to schools and students and 33 per cent drop in accidents around schools were attributed to the ‘Schools Security’ initiative by Dubai Police, he said.