Ethiopian sources ask about why there are currently so many government sites infected by harmful software, nobody had an answer. Initial speculations went in the direction of sabotage acts from Eritrea or from exiled opposition groups. None of the sources however wanted to state their names.
The theory is not totally unreasonable. One year ago, hackers infected the website of the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, along with embassies from two other countries, with similar spyware. The Embassy’s website was quickly cleaned up and is now risk-free.
But there may be other explanations to these attacks on Ethiopian government websites. Virus and spyware protection programmes are used too seldom on computers in Ethiopia, while outdated software with high security threats is widely in use. In Ethiopian Internet cafe’s, visitors are at high risk to get a virus infection on their memory sticks. Since 2008, computer viruses have been a serious problem in Ethiopia, even with home-grown infections.
And also computers in public offices are known to be poorly protected. Since one year, though, the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency launched its own virus protection programme for the national public. The programme has replaced expensive foreign anti-virus programmes on pc-s in many state agencies.
There is another detail indicating that the spread of these viruses comes from within Ethiopia, and not from the outside. Also a few non-Ethiopian websites operated from Ethiopia have been infected. The Google search engine also warns that the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Addis Ababa “may harm your computer.”
The recent False Alarm
” ……………….URGENT!!! PLEASE CIRCULATE to your friends, family and contacts.
In the coming days, DO NOT open any message with an attachment called: BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE, regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus that opens an Olympics torch that burns the whole hard disk C of your computer. This virus comes from a known person who you have in your list.
Directions: You should send this message to all of your contacts as possible as any one can. It is better to receive this e-mail 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. If you receive a message called BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE even if sent by a friend, do not open, and shut down your machine immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN. This new virus has been discovered recently. It has been classified by Microsoft as the virus most destructive ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee. There is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the hard disk, where vital information function ”
The claims in the warning are false. There is no virus that has the characteristics described in the message. The message is just another version of a long running hoax warning that has been circulating for a number of years.