Cyber crime poses major threats to individuals and states, participants at a conference warned on Thursday.
The conference on combating cyber crime, organised by the Ministry of Interior, stressed the importance of spreading community awareness about such threats.
Director of the Criminal Investigation Department Brigadier Jamal al-Kaabi said cyber crime jeopardises the interests of individuals and countries, their security, and economy.
He called for more effort to address these crimes.
Al-Kaabi said it was necessary to raise awareness of the dangers and effects of these crimes.
"Society should be educated on the best ways of using the Internet safely in general and social media in particular," he said.
Al-Kaabi said the conference comes within the Ministry's keenness to maintain the security and safety of the community and to ensure the optimal use of the Internet, taking into account the preservation of personal or functional data and to deny access to others and to achieve the highest standards of electronic security for individuals and institutions.
He said the traditional crimes were easy to deal with, but electronic crimes require extra efforts.
Conventional crimes are declining, he said, describing cyber crime as dangerous because of its psychological repercussions on the victim, and its extended impact.
He pointed to the danger of sending work-related information through social media, especially WhatsApp, by employees. He said no important instructions or data related to work should be published or transmitted through these networks.
Al-Kaabi urged media and social media experts to spread awareness about the dangers of using social networks at work, as well as spreading awareness among the people about the seriousness of these networks and to avoid publishing any personal information, photos or films and to monitor children dealing with these networks.
The Director of the Criminal Investigation Department said although it is easy to reach criminals in most cases, many of these crimes are perpetrated outside the country.
Captain Medawi Saeed al-Qahtani, head of the Department of Economic and Electronic Crimes Department at the Criminal Investigation Department, stressed the need to educate the public and encourage them not to publish their personal information and not to over-portray events about their daily life or to use social media networks at work, and called for monitoring children in their use of the Internet and mobile phones.
Assistant professor of law at Ahmed bin Mohamed Military College Dr Anwar Sidqi al-Moussada urged all sectors of the society to be aware of the law of combating cyber crime, so that everyone is fully aware of the nature of these crimes and the types and penalties. He said ignorance of law cannot be an excuse.
He said the punishment for electronic crimes is very harsh, especially if it involves the hacking of websites or tampering with the information on public employees.
Al-Moussada said the penalties include imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of QR500,000.
Mohamed Abu Zeid from the Criminal Investigation Department spoke about frauds, especially those on social networking sites.
Abu Zeid said the perpetrators of cyber crime have many methods, including the use of social engineering, using information disseminated by social media users about themselves, their families, activities, photos and other personal information.
He added that phishing is one of the most serious methods of electronic crimes, and he gave examples of fraud through WhatsApp.