Monday, 15 May 2017

WannaCry Ransomware Virus Hits West Bengal


The WannaCry ransomware attack is being reported in some parts of India. The computers of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company are suspected to have been hit by this ransomware on Monday. The report comes even as India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) held a press conference to discuss the WannaCry ransomware attack and laid out steps for users, organisations on protecting themselves against this.

News Agency ANI tweeted, “West Midnapur: Computers at WB State Electricity Distribution Company at four locations suspected to be hit by #WannaCry Ransomware attack.” Earlier it was reported that computer systems of the Andhra Pradesh police department were hit by the ransomware attack.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in a statement said it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” by instructing CERT-IN to gather information on this attack.

“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, according to IANS. However, there have been no formal reports of Indian government organisations being hit by the cyberattack for now.

The ransomware, which locks crucial files and data unless the user pays a ransom of $300 Bitcoin, has affected thousands of computers across the world, including India.

In India, the issue is made worse because many computers might still be on Windows XP, for which Microsoft had not issued security updates for some time. However, in light of the attack, Microsoft issued a security patch to Windows XP as well, in order to fix the security vulnerability related to the cyber-attack.

Meanwhile in Gujarat, the state government is now upgrading its computer systems with anti-virus software, and updating the Microsoft OS as well. According to PTI, over 45,0000 computers, which are linked to the Gujarat State Wide Area Network (GSWAN), are being monitored closely.