With the continuing surge in using the internet and adoption of digital technologies in government, industries and society, Cybercrime has become a growing threat to critical infrastructure, banking and financial markets, commerce as well as to governments around the world, with personal data of customers, money and classified information being a main target for hackers, organized criminal organizations and states.

Losses from cybercrime are rising fast. More banks and other types of service providers are being subjected to relentless cyber-attacks by global criminal or state sponsored organizations. The results are manifesting themselves in significant losses particularly from theft of data, disruption of business and ransom.

A recent PwC survey on the Economic Crime in the Middle East, revealed Cybercrime as the second most reported corporate crime in the region. It also showed that only 33 % of organizations have a cyber incident response plan. In the past few years many government, oil and gas companies and banks websites were targeted with sustained attacks that led to some breaches and losses.

In Lebanon, reported losses from cybercrime through emails more than doubled in the past two years. According to the Special Investigation Commission (SIC) of the Central Bank of Lebanon, these losses from exceeded $12 million in 2015. To counter the rapid rise of cybercrime and raise awareness, SIC has taken vital steps to deal with this phenomenon, including many directives to banks and financial institutions, monitoring, launching the Anti-Cybercrime Forum in 2015 and recently publishing an information guide to help raise banks’ and public’s awareness on major aspects of cybercrime. SIC has been also working with key stakeholders to align and increase the effectiveness of the efforts to counter and prevent cybercrime in Lebanon.

To focus on the efforts of fighting cybercrime in Lebanon and discuss technical and operational aspects of this threat, Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group, in collaboration with the Special Investigation Commission of the Central Bank of Lebanon and the Cybercrime and the Intellectual Property Bureau of the Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces, organized the 2nd Anti-Cybercrime Forum on the 29th of November 2016, at Phoenicia Hotel, in Beirut.

The forum was held under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Mr. Riad Salame, and with the presence of the Director General of the Internal Security Forces, Major General Ibrahim Basbous. The forum hosted over 400 participants including compliance officers and CIOs from major banks and companies as well as members of various law enforcement and security agencies, legal practitioners, solution providers, ICT experts and consultants.

The forum discussed the risks facing Lebanese banks, companies and individuals from cybercrime and it focused on preemptive strategies, policies and best practices to counter these threats and provide a safe and secure environment for online banking and commerce from both operational and technical perspectives. It also discussed the role of all stakeholders to collaborate in establishing a national strategy and putting in place needed laws to combat cybercrime.