Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

If you are concerned about your online privacy or you want to access sites blocked in your country then VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) won’t occur are technical mumbo jumbo to you. In case it did hit you as Latin and Hungarian, here’s what VPNs are.

As their name implies, VPNs create a sort of private network or connection between you and a website you visit, without anyone being to find out you are accessing that website, and from where. This makes VPNs a sought-after tool for people who are concerned about their internet activity being tracked (not for criminal purposes; strictly for privacy only!).

Pros of VPN usage (Source Gulf News)

  • Employees working remotely: Through a VPN, company staff working from home can log on to the organisational network and connect to internal company resources
  • Data protection: Users of free public Wi-Fi hotspots such as metro stations, airports or cafes can expose themselves to hackers. VPNs could help protect data in such cases.
  • E-banking services: To prevent hackers from accessing bank accounts, some banks block IP ranges of countries where financial fraud cases have been widely reported.

Certify your team in cybersecurity before your company is hit by a cyberattack

VPNs are much sought after in this region (GCC, Egypt and Iraq), especially with various sights and apps being blocked by governments. Installing a VPN app on your phone or laptop makes the whole internet accessible to you, but you must stay cautious and know VPN rules in your country well before biting the forbidden apple.

Without much ado, let’s tell you if VPN is legal or illegal in your country:

Country VPN status
Bahrain Not banned
Egypt Not banned
Iraq Banned
Kuwait Not banned
Oman Not banned but blocked
Qatar Not banned
Saudi Arabia Not banned
United Arab Emirates Illegal if used to commit a crime

In case you are from one of these countries where VPNs are not banned, you need to know this before you get all excited! There’s a possibility you can still end up in trouble (read paying fines or even being jailed) if you use a VPN for any of the following:

  • Access a website blocked in your country (e.g. Porn sites)
  • Get involved in any online activity illegal in your country (Spread extremist propaganda, sell drugs etc.)
  • Use a fraud IP address through a VPN to commit a crime. Each computer has an IP address, and people can connect to another computer on the internet through VPN to commit a crime.