Over 120 computers connected with Gujarat government’s GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network) have fallen to a global cyberattack that’s crippling businesses and government agencies since the last couple of days. The state government officials claimed Monday that no “crucial data” has been lost in the cyberattack.
“We have reports that 120-odd devices which are personal computers operated by government employees have got affected. We are taking remedial measures,” Dhananjay Dwivedi, secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat told The Indian Express.
These infected 120-odd personal computers were part of the 60,000 computer-strong GSWAN system that forms crucial communication backbone of all e-governance projects of the state government and other local bodies. Not only does this network connects all the 33 districts and 3200 government offices for secure digital communication, but it also hosts over 250 websites of various state government departments, offices, boards and corporations. It also supports over 20,000 email ids created for state government officers across the state.
“None of the affected devices had any critical data, So there is no loss of data,” Dwivedi said adding that the affected devices were spread across the state and the information regarding them being infected with the ransonware came to light only after government officials rebooted the IT system Monday morning.
A new ransomware named “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt” has been spreading globally. It encrypts the computer’s hard disk drive and then spreads laterally between computers on the same LAN. The ransomware also spreads through malicious attachments to emails.
“Despite these reports, there has been no harm to the state’s data centre or servers, or any of the applications operated by the state government websites. There is no effect on the e-governance projects,” the official said adding the state government had started taking remedial measures on Saturday and had thus prevented any loss to GSWAN that also provides secure access to various applications like Public Distribution System, Land Record Information System, Electoral Roll Management System, Hospital Management and Information System, Agriculture Soil Health Card Application, Grievances Redressal of Chief Minister, Commodity Price Monitoring, and many other e-governance initiatives.
According to reports from Vadodara, work in local government offices came to a standstill on Monday as several personal computers in the district collectorate fell victim to the cyberattack. According to district collector P Bharathi, about 10 percent of the total computers of the district administration were affected by the ransomware.
“Few of our computers were down with the virus. We are being cautious and the computers are being checked. We are ensuring that the virus does not affect our data. We are installing the anti-virus and have received support from the state science and technology team, which discussed the issue with us,” said Bharathi.
Meanwhile, several ATMs remained shut across the state as a precautionary measure. There were no reports of any ransomware infection being reported from the private Information Technologies entities operating in the state. “So far we have not received any reports from our members of a ransomware attack. We have been sensitising our members since the last couple of days and several mitigation measures have been taken up. These measures include preventing the progress of the ransomware, blocking certain domains and security checks,” said Vivek Ogra, chairman of Gujarat Electronics and Software Industries Association (GESIA).
“Sanity checks were also conducted by disconnecting the network,” Ogra added when asked if some members had shutdown websites or their IT systems as a precautionary measure.