U.A.E. Thwarts Cyber-Attack Attempts on Government Sites

The United Arab Emirates, the second-largest economy in the Middle East, fought off a series of cyber-attacks later traced to Egypt.

The July 19 attacks targeted governmental websites, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said today in a statement on it website. The country’s computer emergency response team managed to neutralize the danger and fix the problem with “minimal damage caused,” it said. The targeted sites were not identified in the statement.

The U.A.E. and other Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are increasing efforts to defend against cyber attacks after a series of network infiltrations. Saudi Arabia in December blamed unidentified people based outside the kingdom for a cyber-attack against state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. aimed at disrupting production from the world’s largest exporter of crude oil.

“We confirmed that the attempts started in Egypt and acting accordingly, we contacted the concerned authorities in Egypt to coordinate our efforts on this matter,” Mohamed al-Ghanim, the director general of the authority, said in the statement. “We agreed to provide the Egyptian authorities with a list of IPs which started the attack.”

The U.A.E. pledged $3 billion in aid to Egypt after the country’s military deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3. The U.A.E. has cracked down on its own Islamist groups, sentencing 69 people to jail for establishing secret cells to seize power, according to a federal court judgment cited by the state-run news agency WAM on July 2.

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