India seeks to avoid ATM tears from WannaCry ransomware

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The WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack deployed a Windows exploit that the National Security Agency had used for its own purposes until it was leaked in April by the hacking group Shadow Brokers.

In Kerala, the computers of two village panchayats were hit, with messages demanding $300 in virtual currency to unlock the files. Officials at Thariyode panchayat office in Wayanad found on Monday that four of their computers have been hacked.

According to the Financial Times report, Microsoft was charging some consumers almost $1000 a year in order to get protection against threats like WannaCry ransomware attack.

Vu Ngoc Son, deputy head of the anti-malware department of Bkav Corporation, the largest internet security firm in Vietnam, said that the WannaCry ransomware's behaviour is "not new", but he believes that the use of this ransomware will not really ease up as "it can directly earn large profits for hackers".

In West Bengal's West Midnapore district, at least eight computers of the state-run electricity distributor were affected.

He said that private sector companies in the city were regularly hit by ransomware virus attacks in the last five years and that around 70 percent of them were infected.

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.

Experts say this ransomware that spreads as a worm needs only one computer on a given network to be infected.

However, others focused the blame at institutions for being too slow in updating their systems, given that this attack happened nearly two months after a (free) fix was made available by Microsoft. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India had asked all banks to put in place a software update at ATMs to protect their systems from WannaCry ransomware that has attacked payment systems across the world.

In Japan, almost 600 companies, including electronics major Hitachi and automaker Nissan, were reportedly affected by the global ransomware attack, officials confirmed on Monday. It was responsible for crippling Britain's hospital network and Germany's railway, along with other governments and infrastructures worldwide.

In March, Microsoft unveiled a patch to address the issue, but several users are yet to have their systems updated.

In the wake of the attack, Microsoft said it had taken the "highly unusual step" of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

The flaw in Windows behind a huge cyber-attack affecting organisations around the world, including some United Kingdom hospitals, can be traced back to the US National Security Agency (NSA) - raising questions over the US government's decision to keep such flaws a secret.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world". "An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen".

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