Kingdom safe from ‘ransomware’ attack

Kingdom safe from ‘ransomware’ attack


By Irfan Mohammed
Saudi Gazette

Jeddah — The authorities have said that Saudi Arabia has not been affected by “ransomware” cyberattack which spread to thousands of more computers worldwide on Monday as people logged in at work, disrupting business, schools, hospitals and daily life.

“We have received information that some partial infection occurred in some individual computers in the Kingdom as a result of the global ‘WannaCry’ virus attacks,” Ministry of Interior’s National Cyber Security Center director Abbad Al-Abbad told Saudi Gazette.

He said that all electronic services of various ministries and government agencies have been running without any problem. “National Cyber Security Center shared technical information and warned of possible cyberattacks some time ago. As a result all stake holders adhered to proper security measures to prevent such attacks,” Abbad said.

He lauded the cooperation and coordination between the center and various government agencies to apply extra security level to avoid any possible damages.

He said the Kingdom exhibited its technical capabilities during the Shamoon virus attack.

Abbad said that measures should be sustainable and continuous to prevent cyberattacks.

He blamed the latest breach on poor adherence to security protocols ignored by many individual users.

He said the ‘WannaCry’ virus was a result of a loophole in the updating of Microsoft operating system that caused havoc in many of parts of the world.

Abbad said that attack is targeting companies rather than individuals.

A Saudi banking committee official also said that none of the banks in the Kingdom were exposed to any such malware attack.

“As a result of the highest standards of alertness and extra level of protection in place, Saudi banks were not exposed to any such attack,” Talat Hafez, general secretary of Saudi Banking Awareness and Media committee told Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) also denied on Sunday that its systems were affected by WannaCry ransomware virus that has spread across 150 countries since Friday.

It was responding to photos circulated on social media claiming to show infected STC computers.

“The company clarifies that its networks and systems were not affected, and further that what was shown in the media relates to some personal devices which specialized technical teams will address,” the Kingdom’s s biggest telecoms operator said in a statement on Sunday.