Jordan avoids getting burned by computer superbug
The computer malware known as “Flame”, which recently infected computers across the Middle East and North Africa, has not affected public or private institutions in Jordan, according to government officials and private sector experts. “The majority of public agency servers are located at the National Information Technology Centre and are well protected. Advanced software is used to prevent any damage to the government’s data networks,” a source at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, who declined to be named, told The Jordan Times Saturday.
Mohammad Alawneh, enterprise and data solutions manager at Umniah, said private sector companies and the country’s financial institutions had not been affected by the malware, which is suspected to have originated in Russia. “The malware affected many countries in the Middle East, but not Jordan,” Alawneh said over the phone. “Jordan is usually not affected by major cyber attacks targeting the Middle East as the country’s small economy is not attractive to cyber criminals,” he added. “Cyber criminals are usually trying to steal information in order to later steal money online, but the volume of e-commerce and transactions conducted online is limited in Jordan, unlike in the rest in the Middle East.” According to Kaspersky Lab, which first detected the malicious programme last week, Iran was the hardest hit by Flame, followed by Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Flame is designed to carry out cyber espionage. It can steal valuable information, including but not limited to computer display contents, information about targeted systems, stored files, contact data and even audio conversations, Kaspersky Lab said in a statement on its website. Preliminary findings indicate that this malware has been “in the wild” for more than two years, since March 2010.
Due to its extreme complexity, plus the targeted nature of the attacks, no security software detected it, the cyber security firm added. “From the initial analysis, it looks like the creators of Flame are simply looking for any kind of intelligence — e-mails, documents, messages, discussions inside sensitive locations, pretty much everything,” the statement said.