Ransomware Cyber Attack Plays Havoc in Several Countries including India

A global cyberattack has crippled nearly hundred countries, including India. A cyber gang called Shadow Brokers, which is a mysterious organisation is held responsible for this massive cyberattack. The organisation has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called ‘Eternal Blue’ from the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s powerful military intelligence unit. The hacking tool Eternal Blue gives unprecedented access to all computers using Microsoft Windows. It was developed by NSA to gain access to computers used by terrorists and enemy states.

The cyberattack is considered as the biggest ransomware attack of its kind. As per security software company Avast, its researchers have observed more than 75,000 attacks worldwide in 99 countries including the UK, Russia, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and Egypt.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software when infected restricts the user access until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Hackers have spread ransomware known as WannaCry, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry and WCry, often through emails. The files in the infected computers gets locked up in such a way that the user cannot access them anymore. It then demands payment in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve the locked files.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of G7 nations such as the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain have agreed to strengthen cooperation to counter cyber threats such as the present global online attack.

Consequences

The cyberattack has crippled many hospitals, schools and universities in Europe and Asia. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is among badly affected. Other affected high profile victims are international shipper FedEx Corp, Spain’s telecommunications company Telefonica, Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina, Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn etc. According to Avast, the countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan are the top targets around the world.

In India, Andhra Pradesh’s police computers have come under the cyberattack. Computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts have been affected.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017

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