May 17, 2017 8:04:43 pm
The WannaCry ransomware attack has hit about 150 countries globally, including Russia and the US. In India, five or six isolated instances have been reported in states like Gujrat, Kerala and West Bengal; though any substantial disruption to country’s IT backbone has been denied by the IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan.
“One such incident pertains to 18 computers of Andhra Pradesh Police… and apart from that, there are five other cases… one of them in Kerala where some of the panchayat computers were affected,” Sundararajan said.
Taking cognizance of the issue, Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told news agency ANI, “As far as this cyber issue is concerned, the Government of India is keeping a very strong watch on it. We have been updating our whole security measures since March itself, software has been installed.”
On the other hand, Pune-based cyber security firm Quick Heal Technologies detected over 48,000 attempts across the country. “Our observation is that the attack is not focused towards any particular industry but it is widely spread across industries especially those organisations which are online and connected,” Quick Heal Technologies’ managing director Sanjay Katkar said, reported PTI. According to the firm’s data, 60 per cent of the attacks were targeted at enterprises while 40 per cent against individuals.
In one of the biggest cyber attacks in history, WannaCry infected computers running on older versions of Microsoft operating systems like XP. The ransomware locks user’s devices and prevents them from accessing data and software until a certain ransom is paid to its creator. In this case, cyber criminals have demanded a fee of about $300 in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin for unlocking the device.
Let us take a look at all the states that have fallen to the global cyberattack:
In Gujrat, over 120-odd computers connected with GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network) were affected by the WannaCry ransomware attack. However, no “crucial data” has been lost in the cyberattack, claimed the state government officials.
GSWAN is a network of 60,000 computers that connects the 33 districts and 3200 government offices for secure digital communication.
Further, several personal computers in Vadodara fell victim to the cyberattack. About 10 per cent of the total computers of the district administration were affected by the ransomware, according to district collector P Bharathi, reported PTI.
A government-run hospital in Ganjam district, Odisha, was targeted by the WannaCry ransomeware virus, officials confirmed. The data and information management system at Berhampur City Hospital, which is located nearly 170 kilometres from Bhubaneshwar, was infected by the virus which in turn affected its e-medicine and data services.
Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO) Saroj Mishra said experts from the National Informatics Centre were deployed to tackle the issue, reported PTI. He added that a ransom of $300 was being demanded for the restoration of the system.
An FIR has been lodged with the police.
At least 10 computers at customer care centres of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) were attacked in West Midnapore, South Dinajpur and East Midnapore districts.
State power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay told PTI that few computers were affected out of the total 504 customer centres of the WBSEDC. “We have shut down those computers. Our operations have run smooth and we have faced no problem as the virus could not affect the central server,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), few computers of the Police Department in Andhra Pradesh were disabled due to the attack, reported PTI. The AP government was directed to follow the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team’s (CER) advisory to handle the attack. IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan pegged the figure at 18 computers.
The Maharashtra Police department was also partially hit by the WannaCry ransomware. Other isolated incidents were reported in Mumbai and Pune as well.
Computers in two panchayat offices in Wayanad and Pathanamthitta districts too were disabled yesterday in the cyberattack. Four computers at Thariyathodu panchayat in Wayanad and two computers at Aruvappulam panchayat in Pathanamthitta district were hit, but no major damage was caused, the police said.
Few isolated incidents were reported from the southern state.
The national capital reported incidents of the attack as well, although specific details have not been mentioned.
Computers of the Southern Railways’ Palakkad division came under attack on Tuesday, but luckily was limited to those in the personnel department that deals with staff matters such as appointments, transfers and promotions etc. The Railways said 23 of the 500 systems located in various departments of the office were targeted.
(With inputs from PTI)
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