Qatar bolsters cyber security in preparation for World Cup

Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup this year – the first time the event has been staged in the Arab world. Cyber security experts in the country predict that ticketing, hotel bookings and restaurant reservations will be faked by hackers to capture personal data from people travelling to Qatar. Also, phishing and social engineering will be used to steal personal and financial information from anyone using the internet to get information about the tournament. 

“If there is anything we have learned about cyber crime from past encounters, it would be that it thrives around major global events,” said Mohammad Al-Kayed, director of cyber defence at Black Mountain Cybersecurity. “Both viewers and attendees are advised to keep their guard up for cyber threats in the form of online scams and malicious emails promoting the sales of tickets and sporting goods. The biggest threat of all is piracy of ongoing football matches through online platforms.” 

On 25 March, Interpol gathered a group of global cyber security experts together in Qatar to analyse threats ahead of the World Cup. The meeting was part of Project Stadia, which was established by Interpol in 2012 and funded by Qatar. Although special emphasis is placed on the 2022 World Cup, the project aims to contribute to security arrangements for any major sports event. 

Qatar has partnered with several countries to provide physical security for the World Cup, including Turkey, France and the UK. Turkey will send 3,000 riot police, France will send four airborne warning and control systems to track airborne threats, including drones, and the UK will providing maritime security support and counter-terror policing.  

But surprisingly, the biggest announcement so far about helping Qatar with cyber security comes from Morocco, which will send a team of cyber security experts to Qatar as part of the two countries’ efforts to expand cooperation in security. Could it be that Qatar thinks it has enough home-grown expertise in cyber security not to call on help from more powerful countries? 

Al-Kayed told Computer Weekly: “The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has already issued a cyber security framework ahead of the…