More than 250,000 computers infected with malware in Kuwait in August

October 10, 2010

Around 250,000 computers were infected with malware in Kuwait in one month, a marketing expert said.

A study has uncovered 99,000 infected PCs in the northern Arabian Gulf state in August, but given its limitations, the total estimate goes beyond a quarter of a million, Ian Cochrane, Marketing Manager, Trend Micro Middle East, said at the IT Security Roadshow organized by International Data Corporation (IDC).

These computers are operating as ‘BOTS’ which means they are operating under the influence of an external, typically malicious, agent. Bots are short for Robots because an infected computer is controlled like a robot by an external user.

The agents use spasm to spy the data on the machines and use the machine to compromise other machines in a multi billion dollar criminal racket.

Cochrane said that spams in Kuwait have increased 850 percent in one year.

“So malware is increasing exponentially in the world. Currently, there is a malware derivative written every one and half seconds,” he said.

According to the expert, the hackers are not in the Middle East and are operating out of countries like Nigeria, China and Russia.

“These are countries where there is a lack of control over people’s behaviour. It is very difficult to track down these malicious agents. For example, if you are an organization in China, with some servers in the US, which is running a controlled network of Bots in the Middle East, and your own PC is hacked and is sending out malicious information, then who can the international regulatory body actually go after?,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Arab Times.

Cochrane said that such reasons were the impediments to track the sources of the recent worm in Iran.

“This is not an easy field to police. People like us can only protect our customers from the malware. “The worm that attacked Iran, Suxnet, is not a very complex worm. It is a variant of a worm that we had seen before. It has not only attacked Iran, but it has attacked China as well. Iran also had its government website hacked, which was more for political gains rather than financial gains,” he said.

Hackers gain by stealing personal data such as bank account details, credit card numbers and so on and steal money. They can replicate these data and impersonate the hacked person. On some occasions, hacking is done for political ends too, he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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