WannaCry Ransomware: The neoteric cyber attack

The world on 12 May faced an unprecedented cyber attack from WannaCry Ransomware that targeted the computers running on the Microsoft operating system. The WannaCry ransomeware is said to have infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries with the software demanding ransom payments in the crypto currency Bitcoin in 28 languages.

The WannaCry Ransomware attack is said to have affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, and LATAM Airlines. This cyber attacks was made comparison with savage hack on Sony Pictures in 2014, and another on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016. The attacks were attributed to the Lazarus Group that worked out of China, but on behalf of the North Koreans.

According to Google security researcher Neel Mehta, there are similarities between the code found within WannaCry and that used in the hack by the Lazarus. The Sony Picture hack of 2014, was done to forestall the release of the movie, ‘The Interview’ which mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The WannaCry on the hand has infected indiscriminately everything it could.

As far as India is concerned, it remained almost immune to WannaCry Ransomware, with only sporadic cases reported from cities such as Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Chennai and Kolkata.  While the government’s cyber security arm, CERT-In, has confirmed that  that apart from five or six isolated instances, there are no reports of a substantial scale to indicate that Indian systems have been hit.

In Uttar Pradesh, motorcycle dealer of Gorakhpur was asked to pay $300 to access files on his PC in a pop-up on Saturday. The business establishments of country have reinforced cautions. In view of the threats, the Reserved Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to operationalize their ATM networks only after software updates are installed. There was also report of non-functional of ATMs in the country, which the government has shut as a preventive measure against the attack. Reserve Bank of India later denied of issuing any advisory to shut ATMS in the Country.

India has a total of 2.2 lakh ATMs, many of which run on Windows XP, a system prone to such cyber attack. Similarly, in a malware attack in the country last year, the data of more 3.2 lakh debit card were comprised. The malware was reported from Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates ATMs.



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