Many UAE residents access the internet in public places such as shopping malls, airports and hotels etc. While these open networks offer people the convenience of free access to public Wi-Fi, they pose security risks to personal information, especially bank account details that are available on mobiles and laptops.

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest bank, has sent out an advisory to its customers, advising them to be very cautious when using open Wi-Fi and also be aware of fake Wi-Fi hotspots that can result in their data being stolen by unscrupulous elements.

First and foremost, people should never log in to websites on open Wi-Fi networks because it could allow third parties to access their personal details.

Recently, there have been some incidents where hackers stole customer data from UAE companies, including emails and phone numbers.

FAB said protecting customers against fraud is its top priority, and it’s proud of its successful record of keeping customer accounts safe and secure.


- Be cautious when connecting to open Wi-Fi

- Beware of fake Wi-Fi hotspots

- Update device with the latest security patches

- Use anti-virus, anti-spyware and personal firewalls

- Don’t share personal or banking information on open Wi-Fi

- Don’t respond to unsolicited emails on open Wi-Fi

- Never login to banking websites on an open Wi-Fi

- Never click on suspicious links or attachments

- Always open a new browser window and type the address to access online accounts

In another advisory, the Abu Dhabi-based lender asked its customers to be aware of business email compromises.

“Business email compromise is when fraudsters impersonate a trusted contact to commit fraud. Typically, the fraudsters will send an email that appears to come from a legitimate source such as national authorities, a trusted colleague, a supplier or customer – often this is addressed to a specific employee in a company,” FAB said.

Some of these emails may include harmful links or attachments that install malware, viruses, or key loggers onto the target’s computer, it said.

“They can also be emails from a supplier or business associate requesting a change in payment or account details. Others are as simple as submitting a fake invoice that directs payments into an account controlled by fraudsters, or instructions to change legitimate payment details to a fraudulent account. Fraudsters have even registered companies, email domains and bank accounts that imitate the name of a legitimate supplier to avoid their instructions being questioned,” the lender said in the advisory.


- Check if the sender asking you to transfer money to a different account from usual

- Check if the email ID matches that of your business associate completely

- Check if the email asks you to send money

- If a sense of urgency is shown, this could be suspicious

- Be suspicious of any email informing you of a change to a business associate’s contact or banking details

- Check the characters in an email ID

- Call only your business associate’s previously known phone numbers for verification, and not on the numbers mentioned in a suspicious email

- Change your password regularly

- Never use the same password across all applications


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