Ransomware threat: Govt issues webcast to spread awareness

The webcast, ‘Prevention of WannaCry Ransomware Threat’, explains what exactly a ransomware is and how it asks for ransom through a file on the infected system


‘WannaCry’ or ransomware is a malware that encrypts content on infected systems and demands payment in bit coins. Photo: AP
‘WannaCry’ or ransomware is a malware that encrypts content on infected systems and demands payment in bit coins. Photo: AP

New Delhi: A day after the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued a “critical alert” against “WannaCry” ransomware threat, the government’s cyber security arm on Monday issued a webcast in public interest to spread awareness about the latest cyber attack.

“WannaCry” or ransomware is a malware that encrypts content on infected systems and demands payment in bitcoins.

The webcast, “Prevention of WannaCry Ransomware Threat”, explains in detail what exactly a ransomware is and how it asks for ransom through a file on the infected system. The webcast can be accessed here.

CERT-In, the organizer of the web session, strongly warned the users to not run such files once the ransom message has been displayed on the system. Individual users and organizations have been advised to create a backup of important data and save it offline.

The central agency has also advised the installation of relevant “patches” to protect against any data breaches. These patches work for updated versions only and hence the users were advised to update their systems.

Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix the vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks, a rare and powerful feature.

On Sunday evening, the information technology ministry said in a statement that it has activated a preparedness and response mechanism by instructing CERT-In to gather all information about the reported ransomware.

CERT-In has also informed all chief information security officers (CISO) about the ransomware. The IT ministry has also requested Microsoft India to inform all its partners and customers to apply relevant patches, the statement said.

CERT-In also issued an advisory on Saturday in this regard on its website for detection and prevention of this malware.

The IT ministry said that no reports have been formally received so far regarding the ransomware attack in India. However, it is understood that a few systems of the Police Department in Andhra Pradesh were hit. The ministry has informed the Andhra Pradesh government to follow the CERT-In advisory, the statement said.

The country most affected by “WannaCry” is said to be the UK, where 48 of the 248 National Health Service trusts were hit, causing widespread disruption to health services in the country.

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