The government on Sunday said it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” to prevent any major cyber attack from a new ransomware – “Wannacry” – which has infected computer systems around the world. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” by instructing CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather “all the information of the reported ransomware”. Just a few days ago a global cyber attack was launched using the “WannaCry” ransomware. The malicious software infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. On May 13, CERT-IN had issued an advisory for both reactive and preventive actions to deal with the ransomware.
“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.
“In India, no reports have been formally received so far regarding this ransomware attack. However, it is understood that a few systems of the police department in Andhra Pradesh were impacted. MeitY has informed AP government, to follow the CERT-In advisory.” As per the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre), ransomware spreads by using a vulnerability in implementations of “Server Message Block” (SMB) in Windows systems.
The IT ministry has also reached out to key stakeholders like RBI, National Payments Corporation of India, NIC and UIDAI (Aadhaar) to advise them to protect their systems against ‘Wanna Cry’ ransomware to ensure that the digital payments ecosystem in the country is protected, PTI reports.
The ministry has also reached out to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to alert Internet service providers (ISPs) to secure their networks as well as the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) and CDAC to ensure that users across the country, especially those in the private sector, are cautioned about the ransomware.
“The impact has been somewhat contained in India because of the weekend. However, one will have to watch the situation as people return to work tomorrow and access their computers,” Kaspersky Lab Head for South Asia Region Altaf Halde told PTI.