Old viruses found alive and kicking in Middle East PCs

Viruses that have been successfully tackled elsewhere continue to attack computers in the Middle East, according to security vendor Symantec.

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By  Diana Milne Published  June 11, 2006

Viruses that have been successfully tackled elsewhere continue to attack computers in the Middle East, according to security vendor Symantec. Large numbers of un-patched computers in the region have led to the continuing presence of the Nimda, Jeefo and Redlof viruses — threats that have subsided in the rest of the world, warned Richard Archdeacon, director of the innovation team, enterprise segment, EMEA, Symantec. A study of viruses that had occurred in the region during the previous six months showed that Nimda — which was a global threat in 2001 — was the second most prevalent here, despite the fact that it does not appear anymore in the global top ten. Speaking at Symantec’s Vision 2006 event in Dubai last week, he said: “We looked at a snapshot of the Middle East and what is interesting is the forms of malicious code that we are seeing here.” “What is interesting is that these are older forms of attack virus which we don’t see in the rest of the world,” he claimed. “Nimda was number two which was quite surprising and would indicate there are a lot of unpatched systems around,” he went on to add. Archdeacon said the viruses were not particularly dangerous but could be used to indicate the vulnerability of a network then, if successful, could be followed by a more harmful attack. “They are not particularly serious ones but they indicate potential for more attacks to the bad guy and could be used to spread other viruses as well,” he warned. “You can have some that are very dangerous but others are used to spread more dangerous ones,” he added. Archdeacon believes that the existence of the viruses indicat- es a strong need to tackle unpatched systems and update security software in the region. “It seems to us that there’s still a lot of patching which has to be done to ensure compliance,” he said.

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