Hackers foiled by government

Dubai has been hit by a high-profile cybercrime attack for the second time in as many weeks, with hackers forcing a number of government web sites temporarily offline.

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By  Administrator Published  March 1, 2007

Dubai has been hit by a high-profile cybercrime attack for the second time in as many weeks, with hackers forcing a number of government web sites temporarily offline.

The sites belong to online government services body Dubai eGovernment, which announced this week that it has successfully defeated a hacking attack.

While the attack caused some malfunction to services and the loss of some data, Dubai eGovernment said all files and programs that were affected have been safely restored.

Salem Al Shair, e-services director at Dubai eGovernment, told IT Weekly the attackers had managed to gain access to the sites through a vulnerability in one site and then used that to attack several others.

EGovernment's technical team took down the sites while it worked on fixing the vulnerability, Al Shair explained. Most of the sites were down for around two hours, although the site that was originally attacked was down for three days in total, he said.

Al Shair said that there had been a number of previous hacking attempts on eGovernment sites, but it had always managed to thwart them.

"This is the first successful penetration that happened but there have been a lot of tries," he said. Such attacks are "inevitable" Al Shair said, adding that this latest attack had helped Dubai eGovernment to recognise loopholes and work successfully on plugging them.

The announcement follows the busting of an internet fraud ring earlier this month, with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announcing that criminals had targeted investors by pretending to operate out of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

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