Signals Intelligence Agency

The Signals Intelligence Agency (SIA), formerly known as the National Electronic Security Authority (NESA), is the United Arab Emirates intelligence agency.[1]


In May 2014, the NESA launched Cyber Quest, a competition for school and university students.[2][3] As of 2019, CyberQuest is on its 5th edition.[4] And it has several social media accounts that covers the competition including Twitter account and Instagram Account

A January 2019 report by Reuters revealed that the agency participated in Project Raven, a confidential initiative to help the UAE surveil other governments, militants, and human rights activists. In 2014, Project Raven helped the SIA (NESA at the time) break up an ISIS network in the UAE.[1][5]

In December 2019, The New York Times reported that the SIA or other Emirati intelligence services used ToTok, a messaging app widely used by the Emirati public, to record all conversations, movements, relationships, appointments, sounds and images by the app's users.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Exclusive: Ex-NSA cyberspies reveal how they helped hack foes of UAE". Reuters.
  2. ^ "LEARN TODAY, DEFEND TOMORROW". December 1, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "NESA's first ever 'UAE Cyber Quest 2014' concludes with team from Al Hosn School announced as winners of the final day competition". May 28, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "Signals Intelligence Agency organises 5th edition of UAE CyberQuest". October 4, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "Can a U.N. Report Help Rein in Expansive and Abusive Digital Surveillance?". Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  6. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Perlroth, Nicole; Bergman, Ronen (22 December 2019). "It Seemed Like a Popular Chat App. It's Secretly a Spy Tool". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2019.