Southern Railways’ Palakkad division today faced the ransomware cyberattack with 23 of its 500 computers getting affected by ‘WannaCry’ virus, but its reservation and ticketing services escaped the attack. In a press release, the Railways tonight said “the virus threat was found in 23 out of about 500 computer systems available in various departments of the office.” The affected computers ceased to function, displaying the warning that “unless specified ransom money is paid in bit-coins made in the address stipulated within the prescribed time limit, the whole data stored in the systems was bound to be destroyed.”
As most of the affected systems were located in the personnel department which deals with staff matters, data loss would be limited to particulars of Railway staff, like appointments, transfers, promotions, seniority, it said. All this data had already been backed up in the main server and also in hard copies available in files and so their loss would only be a temporary one for the division.
The lost data would be retrieved from the server in due course, the release added. The Railways use different networking system for Reservation of tickets, management of goods movement, coach regulation and crew deployment and as such there is no security threat to any of these systems, Palakkad division Public Relations Officer M K Gopinath said in the release.
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.
Over the weekend, global ransomware WannaCry has hit systems in over 150 countries, including Russia and UK, in one of the most widespread cyberattacks in the history.