Monday Blues For India: Fallout of Wanna Cry Attack

Bangalore: Monday will witness many companies worldwide bracing for a greater attack as their workers log onto their systems.

The massive global ransomware cyber attack that began on Friday has downed computers in over 150 countries. India was among the countries worst affected by the ransomware, which uses an exploit first developed by the US NSA. Hospitals, universities, manufacturers and government agencies in the U.K., China, Russia, Germany and Spain have all been affected, said according to the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol.

The attacks exploit a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows that is particularly problematic for corporations that don’t automatically update their systems.

The attack made headlines for targeting hospitals in the United Kingdom. A ransomware attack infects individual computers with a malware that blocks access to all data on the system.

The malware encrypts all the data on a computer system and decrypts it only after the computer user/owner agrees to pay a ransom, usually in bitcoin.

The ransomware – dubbed Wanna Cry – demanded payments between $300 (around Rs 19,000) and $600 (around Rs 39,000) in bitcoin to unlock data on a single system, news agency Reuters reported.

Russia and India could be hit harder, largely because poor update of security installations. Particularly more so because of wide use of unsupported Microsoft’s Windows XP.

India said it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” to prevent any major cyber attack from a new ransomware.

According to the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” by instructing CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather “all the information of the reported ransomware”.

“MeitY has initiated contact with relevant stakeholders in public and private sector to ‘patch’ their systems as prescribed in the advisory issued by CERT-IN. MeitY has also requested Microsoft India to inform all their partners and customers to apply relevant patches,” the ministry said in a statement.

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