Medical

WannaCry ransomware scare! List of Indian states affected by attack

WannaCry ransomware scare! List of Indian states affected by attack

Researchers have already found variants of the attack, so there is more than just one way it works. The other good news is that relatively few people apparently paid the $300 ransom. If there are none, don't lose hope: There may be new security tools to unlock your files in the future. [The criminals who create malware nearly always look for a coding crack in widely used operating systems and apps, so they can exponentially maximize the number of infected computers.] Here's where it gets really hairy: the Windows vulnerability appears to have been stolen from a menu of major coding flaws kept in the highly encrypted servers of the National Security Agency's special cyber warfare unit.

It's hard not to engage in a bit of victim-blaming in this situation, especially because security experts say the attacks could have been prevented.

The particularly nasty computer program dubbed WannaCry that attacked hospitals, businesses and government agencies around the world this past weekend was like a cybercrime highlight reel, a compilation of by-now familiar elements that played out on an epic scale. The virus is primarily targeting older versions of Windows since Microsoft had already released a security patch for Windows 10. The latest wave of attack has attracted widespread media attention as WannaCry spread to more than 150 countries, locking up 200,000 computers and systems in countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Britain, according to the New York Times. Once the code is installed on the machine it takes control and does whatever the hacker intended. As of Monday May 15, the attackers had received some $48,000 in ransom, which was paid in bitcoins. Microsoft did issue patches for the vulnerabilities before the attacks took place, but not everyone downloaded them.

Last Friday, the company's British-based 22-year-old data breach research chief, Marcus Hutchins, created a "kill-switch", which security experts have widely hailed as the decisive step in halting the ransomware's rapid spread around the globe.

So what has been the impact of WannaCry on Indian companies?

Major global companies said they came under attack as well.

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"So these types of attacks are certainly one of the key trends" driving up spending on computer security systems and tools, Grunwitz said, but "buying more software or hardware products will not fix the problem - awareness, procedures and a strategy aligned with the specific risk profile are key".

Nicolas Drogou, Head - Security Practice, Asia Pacific, Orange Business Services informed us what he observed in Singapore.

This was the moment ransomware caught the world's attention, and the attack should drive further initiatives for better, faster patching.

While encrypting individual computers it infects, WannaCry code does not attack network data-backup systems, as more sophisticated ransomware packages typically do, security experts who have studied WannaCry code agree.

So why was the NHS using an old system? In response, some Indian banks refrained from refilling their ATMs, inconveniencing millions of customers across the country. The data and information management system at Berhampur City Hospital, which is located around 170 kilometres from Bhubaneshwar, was infected by the ransomware which in turn affected its e-medicine and data services.

A number of other sectors were impacted too. It had done so for Windows XP a long time back. However, the outdated software of ATMs was least affected. Lives are at stake here. Microsoft is pointing the finger at the USA government, while some experts say the software giant is accountable too. "For them, patching end-points is not a regular routine, as you would see in say, the banking industry".


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