Posted on October 23, 2018

Qatar Airways has joined Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) in leading a national consumer awareness campaign aimed at developing enhanced security and protection strategies designed to combat cyber fraud.

The national flag carrier of the State of Qatar has partnered with the MOI to raise community awareness of ways to combat the growing threat to consumers and businesses. The national campaign will provide consumers with information, strategies and resources to raise awareness of the schemes devised by fraudsters, as well as the actions and reporting mechanisms that can be employed to protect consumers and lead to the apprehension of cyber criminals.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is pleased to partner with Qatar’s Ministry of Interior in this major community service initiative to raise awareness of how people can remain cyber-safe. As an airline, security is one of our highest priorities, and this includes cyber security. By working with local government, international law enforcement agencies and financial services providers, we aim to help prevent fraud before it occurs, thereby protecting consumers and business’s hard-earned resources.”

The Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior and former Head of the Economic Crimes Prevention Section, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Hassan Al-Kubaisi, said: “The Ministry of Interior exerts every effort to protect users of e-services from cybercrimes. Despite the fact that Qatar is making a series of achievements in the field of IT, and resorts to technology in day-to-day business, this may lead to dangers that threaten the security of End Users and make their security vulnerable. With upgrading electronic systems in different organisations and institutions thanks to sophisticated IT infrastructure, fraudsters have turned their attention to users to attempt to penetrate their accounts and information, including financial information, credit card and personal information. This has led us to direct more attention to internet frauds, and has encouraged us to find new ways to fight this phenomena and to inform users about the dangers on the horizons.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Hassan Al-Kubaisi applauded the partnership and praised the ongoing cooperation between MOI and Qatar Airways Group, saying that both play a vital role in developing security systems and awareness campaigns, as well as fighting these crimes that accompany the progressive development of technology used in flight ticket reservations. He said: “We deeply thank Qatar Airways Group for its outstanding business model in this regard. We urge all internet users to double-check the official website address accurately, as well as the official application of the airline when booking tickets. We also urge users to check terms and conditions of service. For example when using a credit card to book a ticket online, the same credit card may be asked for at some airports, so not having the card at the time of check-in may result in delays. Airlines are always keen to check on the validity of information, with the aim of fighting frauds and protecting passengers.”

Engineer Mudawi Saeed Al-Qahtani, Head of the Economic and Electronic Crimes Section at the Criminal Investigation Department, said the efforts of Qatar Airways Group in raising awareness on frauds has paid off. He added: “I want to seize this opportunity to congratulate Qatar Airways on the success of the field operation ‘Global Airport Action Day’ that took place at Hamad International Airport earlier this year. The operation’s aim was to protect travellers from all types of frauds, through equipping employees with the latest updates about how to be fully protected from cybercrimes, as well as upgrading the security precautions implemented by law enforcers in detecting fraudsters and scammers. Many travellers may become victims of cybercrimes by visiting random websites to book tickets, but later they realise that the website is a scam and their credit card details have been stolen.”

He added: “Hundreds of global organisations participated in the awareness campaign, alongside a host of international airports, airlines, credit card providers and law enforcers, under the supervision of INTERPOL and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).” The State of Qatar regularly shares its resources to develop global best practice in crime-prevention. In conjunction with INTERPOL, Qatar funds ‘Project Stadia’, established by INTERPOL in 2012 to create a centre of excellence and good-practice platform to help INTERPOL member countries plan and undertake security and cyber security preparations for major sporting events. The nation also hosts annual regional cyber security drills through Q-CERT (Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team) that works with government agencies, private and public sector organisations and Qatar’s citizens to ensure that online threats are monitored and risks are contained. Q-CERT is a member of FIRST, the global forum of incident response and security teams.

Qatar Airways actively participates in these national initiatives, having developed its own robust IT security capability for the protection of its computer systems and its customers. The national carrier has a zero-tolerance to credit card fraud and actively promotes awareness of cyber fraud to its customers through information on its website and social media channels. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat’, ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, and ‘Best First Class Airline Lounge’.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft via its home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), to more than 150 destinations worldwide. Earlier this year, Qatar Airways revealed a host of forthcoming global destinations in line with its expedited expansion plans, including Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Gothenburg, Sweden; Langkawi, Malaysia and Da Nang, Vietnam.