From India to Britain, massive ransomware attack creates havoc

IANS
Sunday, May 14, 2017

A day after a massive ransomeware attack hit nearly 100 countries, including India, terrifying details were slowly emerging on Saturday as computers from hospitals in Britain to police stations in Andhra Pradesh were hacked into, keeping cyber security experts on tenterhooks.

In India, a section of computers at Andhra Pradesh's police departments were hacked. Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts were affected.

According to Director General of Police N. Sambasiva Rao, systems using the Windows operating system were hit by the cyber attack. The police chief's computer with Apple's iOS operating system was safe.

R. Jaya Lakshmi, Superintendent of Police, Tirupati Urban, said the 'ransomware' encrypted data in some police stations, adding that they were not able to access data and hackers were demanding ransom in digital currency bitcoin to restore access.

"The impact is minimal as we also keep offline record of FIRs and other documents," Lakshmi added.

Among the government agencies and companies affected globally were Britain's National Health Service (NHS), the Russian Interior Ministry, Spain's communications giant Telefonica, power firm Iberdrola, utility provider Gas Natural and FedEx in the US.

According to media reports, teams were working round the clock in response to the attack, which resulted in operations being cancelled, ambulances being diverted and documents such as patient records made unavailable in England and Scotland.

After denying reports that its computers had been targeted, the Russian Interior Ministry later confirmed that "around 1,000 computers were infected". The ministry said the technicians had contained the attack.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab detected that variants of a malware called "WannaCry" were used that encrypted the files.

"Once inside the system, the attackers install a rootkit, which enables them to download the software to encrypt the data. The malware encrypts the files. A request for $600 in Bitcoin is displayed along with the wallet -- and the ransom demand increases over time," Altaf Halde, Managing Director Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS.

Kaspersky Lab confirmed that the company's protection subsystems detected at least 45,000 infection attempts in 74 countries, mostly in Russia.

"This is big and set to get bigger. We haven't seen anything like this since Conficker in 2008," Amit Nath, Head of Asia Pacific-Corporate Business at cyber security firm F-Secure Corporation, told IANS.

Another cybersecurity firm Avast said it had seen 75,000 cases of the ransomware around the world.

Europol also warned a "complex international investigation" was required "to identify the culprits".

Rail passengers in Germany were confronted with the ransom message when looking up train information at stations after Berlin-based railway company Deutsche Bahn was targeted.

Carmaker Renault was France's first company to be affected by the ransomware while Portugal Telecom and a local authority in Sweden also faced a similar fate.

The ransomware infects victims by exploiting a Microsoft Windows vulnerability described and fixed in "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010".

Microsoft also said it would roll out the update to users of older operating systems "that no longer receive mainstream support", such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

The seeds of the massive cyber attack were sown by a mysterious hacking group "Shadow Brokers" in April when it leaked a hacking tool called "Eternal Blue" developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Interestingly, the same tool is believed to have been used by another anonymous hacking group to gain remote access to computers, that brought parts of the NHS to a standstill.

"It's likely that regular online criminals simply used the information that the 'Shadow Brokers' put on the internet and thought 'how can we monetise this'," telegraph.co.uk quoted Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, as saying on Saturday.

The attack was the latest in the growing menace of ransomware in which hackers deliver files to computers that automatically encrypt their data, making it unusable until a ransom is paid.

"This is not targeted at the NHS," British Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted as saying in BBC. "It's an international attack, and a number of countries and organisations have been affected."

Hacking group or groups were yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

The Chinese online security company Qihoo 360 issued a warning about the virus, saying that many networks there had been hit and that some computers used to mine Bitcoin in China were among those infected.

The US Department of Homeland Security, in a statement, encouraged people to update their operating systems, CNN reported.

"We are actively sharing information related to this event and stand ready to lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally," the department said.

Meanwhile, the Group of Seven (G7) nations, which were holding a two-day meeting (May 12-13) of Finance Ministers and central bankers in Italy, released a draft statement committing to join forces to fight the rising threat of cyber attacks.


Express your comment on this article

Submit your comments...
     
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are strictly personal and IndiansinKuwait.com does not hold any responsibility on them. We shall endeavour to upload/publish as many of the comments that are submitted as possible within a reasonable span of time, but we do not guarantee that all comments that are submitted will be uploaded/published. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene, unlawful, defamatory, libellous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content; or have spam, commercial or advertising content or links are liable to be removed by the editors. We also reserve the right to edit the comments that do get published. Please do not post any private information unless you want it to be available publicly.
Image

“On reaching the pinnacle, I called it a day”

She was all set to occupy the enviable top spot... was being hailed as the rightful heir of the zen

Image

“Politics is transient for me; writing is perpetual...”

One of those few politicians whose speeches and poems have won the hearts of masses alike - in Indi

Image

The War of Words

Another journalist is brutally killed. Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Lankesh Patrike is shot dead re

Image

Migration Norm Set: Safe Orderly and Regular Migration

“Global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration” The Norm on the Build. "Migrants are h

Image

The bogus words

A few days back I received a message on Whats App:If an assault with the intention of committing ra

Image

Anybody Got a Spine???

Fourteen Prime Ministers have taken charge of our country, and between themselves they have had Sev

Image

Indian Rupee (INR) -3 Questions

The Indian Rupee (INR) is surprisingly strong proving many analysts wrong. In a world where emergin

Image

“What have you done for me?”

Suruchi was twelve years old, when she had blurted out the above words, and her words had sharp

Image

Linking India to Kuwait through Music: The One and Only Veena Guru in Kuwait.

Veena is one of the most ancient south Indian instruments. However, amongst the multitude of string

Image

GST: One Nation, One Tax

When parliament of India passed constitutional amendment bill in 2016, it paved the way for GST. An

Image

Mughal Mahal Exotica - An aromatic and exotic twist to Indian food

When it comes to Indian food in Kuwait, no doubt ‘Mughal Mahal’ set an example among the residents

Image

Experience Indian Corner Tandoori Nights at Al Manshar Rotana Hotel

Al Manshar Rotana Hotel at Fahaheel, Kuwait launched an authentic Tandoori Night with an Indian cor

Image

Biryani & Kebabi restaurant opened at Arabia Mall in Egila

Biryani & Kebabi is the newest addition to Al Sabah & Kohli food and beverage brands. Al Sabah & Ko

Image

Indulge in the luxury of Indian dinner every Tuesday at Jumeirah’s Garden Café

We all love luxury. We have many occasions to celebrate life luxuriously. Be it our anniversary, bi

Image

Transfast Cricket League Season- 01

Transfast Cricket League Season- 01 has been accomplished successfully with great entertainment

Image

KIFF league finals tomorrow 25th August 2017

" The much awaited KIFF league finals which will be played between KGA(Kuwait Goan Association ) &

Image

Summer Cricket coaching camp by Cricket Coaching Academy

22 Yards Cricket Coaching Academy would like to invite cricketers of all age group to attend the Su

Image

Kumble withdraws as India head coach

Legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble has decided against continuing as the head coach of the Indian c

Image

Kuwait Cricket congratulates all the winners and runners

KC Desert T20 Finals, KC T20 Premier League, KC U16 Juniors Championship and KC 50 Overs Champions

Sep
19
Sep
21
Sep
21
Sep
21
Sep
21
Sep
22
Sep
22
Sep
22
Sep
25
Sep
29
Sep
29
Sep
29
Sep
30
Oct
6
Oct
13
Oct
13
Oct
20
Oct
27
Oct
27
Oct
27
Nov
17
Nov
24
Nov
28