The Kerala government today said that its IT policy based on free and open-source software had helped insulate the state to a great extent from the WannaCry ransomware virus. “The ransomware attack in Kerala was not as extensive as in other parts of the country. The free software-based IT policy implemented during the previous LDF rule was one of the main reason for this,” Law Minister A K Balan said while replying to a calling attention motion in the assembly. He was answering on behalf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
While computers using the Windows operating system had been affected by the ransomware attack, those using open- source software such as Linux were not affected at all, he said. The intensity of the attacks had been reduced due to various preventive steps taken by the government, he said adding that the state’s policy was to promote free software in public institutions. “Government departmnets have also started a massive awareness campaign among people on the steps to be taken to prevent such attacks,” he said.
The minister said computers in six panchayats were hit by the virus and a probe was on by police. However there were limitations to tracing those responsible as it was a fraud at the international level, he said. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also expressed concern over the attack and asked government to take necessary steps to prevent it in future. P Ubaidulla (IUML) who moved the calling attention motion, demanded that urgent steps be taken to strengthen the cybersecurity system in Kerala.