CERT-In Current Affairs

CERT-In issues alert on Locky Ransomware

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued an alert about spread of new ransomware (malicious software) ‘Locky’ that can lock computers and demand ransom for unlocking them.

Ransomware is basically type of malicious software designed to block access to computer system until sum of money is paid.

Locky Ransomware

Locky ransomware is being circulated through massive spam campaign in which spam emails with common subject lines target computers by locking them and demanding ransom for restoring access to users. It first had surfaced in 2016.

It encrypts files on victims’ PCs and adds a .locky file extension. The attackers then demand ransom in Bitcoin payment to unlock the files. It is demanding ransom of half bitcoin, which at present rate is equivalent to over Rs 1.5 lakh. So far, it has extorted more than $7.8 million in payments, according to a recent study. However, its impact on Indian systems is not clear so far.

Comment

The Locky Ransomware cyberattack is third major ransomware attack this year after Wannacry and Petya which had crippled thousands of computers, including those of multinational corporations. According to an Assocham PWC study, India was third worst affected country in list of over 100 countries hit by Wannacry in May 2017.

CERT-In

CERT-In is nodal agency for information technology security under aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT. It was established in 2004. Its mandate is to protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. It also responds to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout country. It also issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention,

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National Cyber Coordination Centre made operational: Government  

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has announced that the first phase of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) has become operational.

NCCC has been set up to scan the country’s web traffic to detect cyber security threats. It scans the cyberspace in the country for cyber security threats at metadata level to generate situational awareness.

Key Facts

NCCC is a multi-stakeholder cyber-security and e-surveillance agency implemented by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It derives its powers as per provisions of section 69B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Rules notified thereunder.

It will be India’s first layer for cyber threat monitoring and all communication with government and private service providers will be monitored by it. Its mandate is to scan internet traffic and communication metadata coming into the country to detect real-time cyber threat and alert various organisations as well as internet service providers (ISPs) for timely action.

NCCC also will coordinate between intelligence agencies, specifically during network intrusions and cyber-attacks. It will have virtual contact with the control room of all ISPs to scan traffic within the country, flowing at the point of entry and exit, including international gateway. Apart from monitoring the Internet, the NCCC will also look into various threats posed by cyber-attacks. It will have top experts from the cyber security field and will run like similar organisation in other countries such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, etc.

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