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Wed 28 Feb 2007 03:27 PM

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Hackers target Dubai government websites

Dubai eGovernment claims to have foiled an attempt by hackers to corrupt data.

Dubai eGovernment today announced that it has successfully thwarted an attack by hackers attempting to corrupt data and damage government websites.

Salem Al Shair, eServices Director of Dubai eGovernment told that no financial or personal information was accessed or damaged.

"The eHost system that was targeted is very secure. For instance, we do not store any open financial information and only transfer encrypted information from users to financial institutions," Mr Al Shair said.

Dubai eGovernment has two web hosts, eHost Plus and eHost. While eHost Plus is highly developed and hosts very sensitive sites, eHost is less developed and hosts sites with limited data.

The attacks have caused malfunction to some of the services and loss of data. However, Al Shair said that because personal information never gets deciphered while in the company's system, it makes it difficult for hackers to access.

The company has since disabled the hacked sites and mobilised security teams to recover all lost files, and guarantees that other sites are safe and secure from future attacks.

"Dubai eGovernment adopts a high-security system to prevent hacking, but this doesn't mean that it is completely impregnable as there are always vulnerabilities with software and networks," Mr Al Shair said.

"This problem is not unique to us as it has happened to other high-profile organizations in other countries," he added, listing the United States CIA and Pentagon.

Hacking incidents are on the rise all over the world. According to US-CERT, in the US, there were 5,000 incidents reported in 2005, which rose to 23,000 in 2006 and there are already 19,000 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2007.

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