Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Hadaf under virus attack

Updated 24 January 2017
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Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Hadaf under virus attack

RIYADH: Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail said the ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund’s (Hadaf) electronic systems were attacked by a virus, but they are coordinating with the National Center for Cybersecurity (NCC) at the Ministry of Interior to address the problem.
Both the ministry and Hadaf have taken necessary steps for the safety of their systems, he said, adding that no significant damage was done as a result of the attack.
An alert from the telecoms authority advised all parties to be vigilant for attacks from the Shamoon 2 variant of the virus that in 2012 crippled tens of thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco.
Aba Al-Khail said the two institutions are following all the needed technical procedures and taking all measures to protect their databases, stressing that they were able to deal with (such situations) in coordination with the National Center for Cybersecurity.
He said the virus infected only some websites and some peripheral systems for users, but the databases containing customers’ information were not affected.
He said that the ministry and Hadaf’s electronic systems would be gradually running normally soon.
Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture firm owned by Saudi Aramco and US company Dow Chemical, said it had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning and was working to resolve the issue.
The company made the disclosure on its official Twitter account after the warning by Al-Ekhbariya TV, which cited the telecoms authority. It did not say whether the disruption was due to a cyberattack but said as a precautionary measure it had stopped all services related to the network.
Other companies in Jubail, the hub of the Saudi petrochemicals industry, also experienced network disruptions, according to sources who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Those companies sought to protect themselves from the virus by shutting down their networks, said the sources, who declined to identify specific firms.
• With inputs from Reuters


Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

Updated 24 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia pledges $3bn to Pakistan, defers oil payments

  • It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support: statement
  • Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion in support to Pakistan and allowed for deferred oil payments to help stave off a budget crisis.

The deal came as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the opening of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Earlier Khan met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss bilateral issues. It was his second visit to the Kingdom in just over a month.

“It was agreed Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of $3 billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It was also agreed that a one-year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to $3 billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

During his address to the gathering of global business executives, Khan also confirmed that Pakistan was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new bailout.

Pakistan is seeking foreign aid to help plug a massive budgetary gap which the Pakistan prime minister has blamed on the mismanagement of the previous administration. During his election campaign, the former cricketer vowed to create 10 million jobs and establish an “Islamic welfare state.”

After a consultative visit last month, the IMF had warned that Pakistan needed to quickly secure “significant external financing” to avert a crisis. 

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have also discussed potential investment in mineral resources in Balochistan, the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces which borders Iran and Afghanistan.

Further discussions were held about a refinery project in Pakistan, the Finance Ministry said in the statement.

Pakistan’s external balance of payments represents one of the biggest challenges facing Khan.

The country’s current account deficit has ballooned as its central bank’s foreign reserves dropped to about $8.1 billion in October.

That was barely enough to meet the country’s sovereign borrowings between now and the end of the year.

The IMF expects Pakistan’s economic growth to slow to about 4 percent in 2019.

Pakistan is seeking to attract increased inward investment to help shore up its finances and Khan used the event as platform to talk about opportunities in sectors such as tourism, minerals, coal and gas exploration.

He also highlighted what he said were the successes of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, which has brought peace and stability to the country, and pointed to the significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China has become an increasingly high-profile investor in Pakistan as Beijing pushes ahead with major projects such as the CPEC.