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Middle East sees dramatic rise in infected computers

Most users are not even aware their PCs have been compromised; says trend micro executive .

August 6, 2010 9:21 by

Trend Micro, a global leader in Internet content security, has warned that 2010 has already witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of infected PCs in the Middle East, because businesses and individuals fail to take adequate security precautions.

Trend Micro’s Smart Protection Network ™ technology can see how many computers are active on the internet. The number of infected computers across the region is on the rise. In April of 2010, there were more than 740,097 infected machines that Trend Micro saw as active across the GCC – a 116 percent rise in less than one year.

“The numbers of compromised machines are a key indicator of how well the cyber criminals are doing in stealing from this region. The visible infections have more than doubled in less than one year. The bad guys are winning because in this region we are not taking security seriously,” said Ian Cochrane, Marketing Manager, Med, Middle East and Africa.

“I see this growth continuing unless we start to recognize that this region is vulnerable and we start to take steps to protect ourselves,” Cochrane added.

This latest rise is a part of a historical trend in the GCC. From 2004 to 2009 the region saw an 8,140 percent rise in the number of infected machines.

Over the years Saudi Arabia has been the most affected. From 2004 to 2009, the number of active and infected machines grew by a staggering 45,072 percent. During the same period, the rate of infection in the UAE grew by 4,553 percent.

In Kuwait it grew by 1,545 percent, in Qatar it grew by 4,468 percent. Bahrain has seen an infection rate of 6,047 percent and Oman 8,921 percent for the same period.

“Our dependence on the Web raises our vulnerability and most of us are not even aware of our machines being compromised. Protecting ourselves on the internet does not have to be complex. We just need to use professional security software that can also block threats, regular scanning and exercise personal caution,” said Dave Rand, CTO Trend Micro.

“Although it does not replace a comprehensive security solution, Trend Micro’s House Call is an easy way to check for viruses, and above all it’s free. Working on a compromised machine is a security risk for the individual and for businesses,” added Rand.

House Call is an application for checking whether your computer has been infected by viruses, spyware, or other malware. House Call ( also performs additional security checks to identify and fix vulnerabilities to prevent re-infections.

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