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UAE reports rise in cyberattacks since normalization with Israel

Emirati cybersecurity czar says attacks targeting financial sector, but doesn’t elaborate on their nature or source

A member of an Israeli tech delegation uses his phone in a video call during an evening meeting with Emirati counterparts at a hotel in Dubai on October 25, 2020. (Karim SAHIB / AFP)
Illustrative: A member of an Israeli tech delegation uses his phone in a video call during an evening meeting with Emirati counterparts at a hotel in Dubai on October 25, 2020. (Karim SAHIB / AFP)

The head of cybersecurity in the United Arab Emirates said Sunday that the Gulf state has suffered several cyberattacks on its financial sector since agreeing to normalize ties with Israel.

“Our relationship, for example, with the normalization with Israel really opened a whole huge attacks from some other activists against the UAE,” Mohamed Hamad al-Kuwaiti said during a conference in Dubai, according to Reuters.

He didn’t elaborate on the nature or source of the attacks.

Al-Kuwaiti also said there has been a marked increase in cyberattacks on the UAE since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that most cyberattacks in the Middle East emanate from Iran, but didn’t explicitly blame the Iranian regime.

The UAE agreed in August to normalize Israel as part of a US-brokered agreement, followed weeks later by Bahrain. Sudan also later agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

Iran has lashed out at the UAE and Bahrain over the deals. Both countries share Israel’s antipathy toward the Islamic Republic.

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