labels: World Bank
Satyam demands apology from World Bank news
26 December 2008

Satyam Computer Services has vigorously objected to certain statements made by World Bank B Ramalinga Rajurepresentatives as being "inappropriate" and formally requested the bank for their immediate withdrawal. (See: Satyam barred from World Bank work for 8 years )

The IT major has asked the bank to issue a new statement and an apology. It has also demanded a full explanation of the circumstances related to the bank's "inappropriate statements".

Satyam further advised the bank that it would evaluate all possible options in view of both the Bank's public statements and its response to Satyam's requests.

However, so far the bank has been silent on the issue.

On 23 December It issued a clarification saying that it had confirmed that it declared Satyam ineligible to receive direct contracts from the World Bank under its corporate procurement programme for eight years.

Satyam was declared ineligible for contracts for providing improper benefits to bank staff and for failing to maintain documentation to support fees charged for its subcontractors.

The bank's decision had  become effective in September 2008 and followed a temporary suspension earlier in February 2008.  Interestingly , Satyam's fall from grace was first reported by Fox News in October 2008, which was then denied by the bank. 

The story so far
Satyam has supported the media design of the World Bank intranet, which was ranked among the world's 10 best intranet sites by US agency Nielsen Norman Group in October 2002.

In 2003 Satyam had announced winning the new long-term contract from the World Bank,  which was then an existing customer,  despite stiff competition from other global IT companies. Satyam was the bank's primary offshore IT services partner for this contract.

According to the Fox News report in October the World Bank Group's computer network, one of the largest repositories of sensitive data on the economies of every nation, had been raided repeatedly by outsiders for more than a year.

It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank had confirmed to the news broadcaster that servers in the institution's highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank's network for nearly a month in June and July.

At least six major intrusions, two of them using the same group of IP addresses originating from China, had been detected at the World Bank since the summer of 2007, with the most recent breach occurring just last month.

In a frantic midnight e-mail to colleagues, the bank's senior technology manager referred to the situation as an "unprecedented crisis." In fact, it may be the worst security breach ever at a global financial institution. And it has left bank officials scrambling to try to understand the nature of the year-long cyber-assault, while also trying to keep the news from leaking to the public.

According to the US broadcaster, a forensic analysis of the treasury breach, revealed that spy software was covertly installed on workstations inside the bank's Washington headquarters - allegedly by one or more contractors from Satyam Computer Services.

The software, which operates through a method known as keystroke logging, enabled every character typed on a keyboard to be transmitted to a still-unknown location via the internet.

Therefore, bank officials shut off the data link between Washington and Chennai, India, where Satyam has long operated the bank's sole offshore computer centre responsible for all of the bank's financial and human resources information.

However, the bank said there was no evidence that Satyam was involved in malicious attacks on the Bank's information systems.

Satyam was also banned from any future work with the bank. "I want them off the premises now," world Bank president Robert Zoellick reportedly told his deputies. But at the urging of the bank's CIO, Satyam employees remained at the bank till 1 October, while it engaged in "knowledge transfer" with two new India-based contractors.

The World Bank had then denied the veracity of this report, which has now resurfaced within two months, with the bank issuing a statement this time declaring Satyam ineligible for direct contracts with the bank for eight years, effective from last September.

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Satyam demands apology from World Bank