TEL AVIV ø An Israeli military investigation has determined that an
Egyptian-based company could not have inserted bugs in software employed in
the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow-2 missile defense program.
Senior Israeli military sources said an investigation by the Israel Air
Force in conjunction with the Defense Ministry determined that IBM Egypt, a
software company based in Cairo, did not introduce any bugs or so-called
trojan horses into software provided for the Arrow-2. The sources said the
involvement of IBM Egypt was negligible although they said the ministry
could decide to find another supplier, Middle East Newsline reported.
"No Israeli software was sent to IBM Egypt," a senior military source
said. "IBM Egypt was used in development and revisions."
The sources said that for nearly two years IBM Egypt has provided Hebrew
text software for systems operated by Israel's military. They said that so
far there have been no reports of attempts to sabotage the software.
In late 2003, the Defense Ministry began a review of the role of IBM
Egypt in the Arrow missile defense program. Israeli military personnel
conducted tests on all of the software in the Arrow to determine whether it
The sources did not rule out a search for another supplier for the
Hebrew text software required for Motif, the program that helps run the
Arrow system. But they said no such decision has been taken.
The IBM Egyptian Technology Development Center in Cairo, known as IBM
Egypt, is responsible for a small role in the development of the Motif
software. The sources said the U.S.-based IBM chose its Cairo branch to
develop the software for a small portion of the program that deals in
Motif is a graphical user interface guideline and development tool kit
employed in most Unix-based operating systems. Developed in 1989, Motif has
become an IBM and industry standard for computer desktops and provides
graphic user interface for such tasks as cut and paste, multi-line text
editors, file browsers and drag and drop mechanisms.
In October 2002, IBM Egypt was chosen to provide support for Semitic
languages -- such as Arabic and Hebrew -- used in Motif graphic user
interface. IBM Egypt developed support for Semitic language text that
included adaptations to key parts of the user interface and input/output
software as well as such basic applications as text editing.
IBM Egypt, launched in 1982 and which contains 200 software engineers
and programmers, was authorized to resolve problems in the difficulty of
placing Arabic and Hebrew letters in relation to surrounding segments, which
may contain other characters. The company provides support for the entire
Middle East region.