High measures to block ‘ransomware’ attack across Arab banks

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Banks and financial institutions in the Arab countries have taken precautionary measures in order to anticipate the unprecedented electronic attacks that some banks have experienced directly in the region.

Al Arabiya traced the developments of these measures at the banking sector of a number of Arab countries.


Egyptian measures

The Central Bank of Egypt announced today that it has held intensive meetings over the past two days with all banks working in the market to coordinate efforts to address the cyber-attacks.

The recommendations of the Central Bank of Egypt included updating security systems, the launch of anti-virus protection programs, more efficient solutions to protect Internet access addresses, and the activation of Microsoft's latest firewall PATCHES to secure the bank's data network.

The Central Egyptian regulations also instruct the need to update the firewall "Firewall Configurations" to close access to the ports hosting Internet services or internal data networks.

The Central Bank of Egypt obliged banks to follow instructions from Microsoft to disable the SMP system for data servers that are not used for the purpose of the activity or electronic services to prevent the access of malicious interactions and secure all data servers are modified and resolved.

The Banks are instructed to close and block all files that carry certain extensions, such as "EXE" from the portals of emails, for the possibility of carrying malicious and harmful files.

Egypt’s Central Bank called for the need to review the information security systems "SEIM" with regard to the services of data providers "PROXY" and the gates of "DNS" and monitor the extent to which any of them relate to IP protocols used by data hackers.

The bank stressed the prohibition of contacting Internet addresses that are given commands or control keys encryption data servers.

He pointed out the need to alert all employees of the bank, not to open any emails unless they are from a trusted person, and directed banks to back up important data on external devices to be retrieved at any time.

The decision also instructed banks operating in Egypt to report immediately when they are exposed to any attacks, to take the necessary measures and report to the emergency team assigned to the NTC.

Lebanon bank

Sources in the Central Bank of Lebanon confirmed the suspension of electronic services after being attacked by pirates, while there were reports that a bank in Jordan stopped working all bank cards. In the UAE, some have also indicated that calls are being received asking if customers have credit cards.

The US stock market, boosted by technology gains, surged after a global electronic attack and strong earnings announced by a few companies, ending the session with Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's records hitting new levels.

The ransomware attack, which demands payments to unlock infected computers and work-related files, hit more than 200,000 victims in about 150 countries in Asia and Europe.

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