As technology continues to advance, so do the methods employed by cybercriminals. Cyber blackmail, a form of digital extortion, has been on the rise worldwide, and the UAE is no exception. Many individuals have fallen victim to these crimes.

To combat this growing threat, it is essential to understand the legal framework and measures outlined in the UAE Cybercrime Law (Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021) and take steps to protect yourself from falling victim to cyber blackmail. As cyber blackmail incidents surge globally, understanding how to protect yourself is essential.

Understanding Cyber Blackmail Under Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021:

Cyber blackmail is a type of cybercrime where malicious actors use digital platforms to manipulate, threaten, or coerce individuals or organizations. These threats are often accompanied by demands that range from financial extortion to reputational harm.

Cyber blackmailers influence sensitive information or compromising materials to coerce their victims into compliance.

Article 2 of the law addresses hacking and is another aspect of cybercrime covered by the law. Offenders hack personal information and sensitive data of individuals through electronic mediums, which they later use as leverage for blackmail.

It includes unauthorized access to websites, electronic information systems, information networks, or information technology methods. Those found guilty can face detention and/or fines ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 500,000, depending on the severity of the hacking and its consequences.

Article 13 refers to the illegal collection and processing of personal data and information, which is a significant concern in cybercrimes. Violators can face detention and/or fines ranging from AED 50,000 to AED 500,000.

According to Article 42, which specifically addresses electronic extortion and threats, anyone who extorts or threatens another person to induce them to perform or withdraw from an act, using an information network or information technology method, can face detention for up to two years and/or a fine ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.

If the threat involves a crime or harm to honour or reputation and is accompanied by an implied or express request to perform or abstain from an act, the penalty can be provisional imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Article 44 of the law focuses on breaches of privacy and the unauthorized disclosure of personal information. Individuals engaging in such activities can face detention for a period of not less than six months and/or fines ranging from AED 150,000 to AED 500,000.

Recognizing the urgency of combating cybercrimes like cyber blackmail, the UAE government has introduced Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021. This comprehensive law provides a robust framework for addressing a wide range of cybercrimes, including cyber blackmail.

Key Provisions for Combating Cyberblackmail:

  1. Relief from Penalty (Article 61): This article allows for the mitigation or relief from penalties for individuals who report cybercrimes, including cyber blackmail, to the authorities.

  2. Orders of Correction, Suspension, Interception, and Access Restriction (Article 62): Competent authorities are empowered to issue orders to address illegal content or fake data associated with cyber blackmail. These orders may include suspending websites, intercepting communications, or restricting access when malicious activities are detected.

  3. Grievance and Appeal of Orders (Article 63): Anyone subjected to orders related to cyber blackmail can file grievances and appeals within specific timeframes. This ensures individuals have a fair process to challenge unjust orders.

  4. Judicial Control Officers (Article 70): Designating employees as judicial control officers empower them to seize actions related to cyber blackmail promptly. This grants law enforcement the authority to take swift action against offenders.

  5. Application of the Harsher Penalty (Article 72): Importantly, the law clarifies that the penalties specified within it do not preclude the application of harsher penalties defined in other laws. This underscores the gravity with which cyber blackmail is regarded in the UAE.

Penalties for Cyberblackmail:

Under Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021, penalties for cyber blackmail may include detention, fines ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 500,000, or even provisional imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Protecting Yourself Against Cyber blackmail:

To prevent and protect against the threat of cyber blackmail, individuals and organizations in the UAE should take proactive steps:

  • Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with the UAE's cybercrime laws, including Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021. Awareness of these laws is your first line of defence.
  • Strengthen Cybersecurity: Invest in strong cybersecurity measures to safeguard your digital presence. Regularly update passwords, use encryption, and install reliable antivirus software.
  • Caution:  Be cautious about sharing personal or sensitive information online. Cyber blackmailers often exploit such information as leverage.
  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you experience any form of cyber blackmail or believe you are a victim, report it immediately to the relevant authorities. The law encourages cooperation and protects those who come forward.

In conclusion, Cyber blackmail is a growing concern in the UAE, but with the enactment of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021, the country has fortified its defences against this threat. Vigilance and awareness are your most potent weapons in the battle against cyber blackmail.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.