Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Follow CERT-In instructions on WannaCry attack: RBI to banks

Follow CERT-In instructions on WannaCry attack: RBI to banks

CERT-In has been on an overdrive advising critical infrastructure agencies including banks, airports, telecom networks and stock markets to take precautions against the ransomware attack by downloading software "patches".

After infecting over two lakh computers in several countries, the global virus attack continued for the third day on Monday, with more reports of hacking pouring in from India, China and Japan as offices re-opened after a tumultuous weekend.

Over the weekend, the ransomware has hit systems in more than 150 countries, including Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, in one of the most widespread cyber attacks in history.

India's cyber security unit CERT-In today said it has not received any formal report of cyber attack on India's vital networks by the crippling global ransomware, "WannaCry".

The systems using Windows XP was particularly seen vulnerable to the malware.As the malware was expected to encrypt the hardware disk of a computer before spreading to other systems on local area network (LAN), the banks were asked to install the latest patch of anti-virus.A senior official in the IT department of State Bank of India said the anti-virus was centrally installed in the bank's headquarters in Mumbai and all 3,300 ATMs in Karnataka were safe.

In a separate malware attack past year, 3.2 lakh debit cards were compromised in the country.

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"We are working on the advisories sent out by various agencies on data protection within the banking system, but we have not yet received any communication regarding ATMs". Considering the apparent threat, the Reserve Bank of India has asked banks in India to follow Indian Computer Emergency Response Team's (CERT-In) instructions thoroughly.

Bankers and ATM operators suggest that ATMs work in isolation and are not exposed to the internet on which the malware has roamed free. Over 60 per cent of these ATMs run on Windows XP, an outdated version of Windows which has stopped receiving regular software patches from Microsoft.

On Monday, South Korea's top theater chain CJ CGV said some of its advertisement servers were hit by the ransomware. After taking computers over, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of 300 dollars in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock files and return them to the user.

Following the alert, the Gujarat government began equipping its state computer systems with anti-virus softwares and upgrading its Microsoft operating systems.

On May 13, CERT-IN had issued an advisory for both reactive and preventive actions to deal with the ransomware.

"WannaCry" has disrupted networks in over 150 countries, including Russian Federation and the United Kingdom and is being termed as one of the most widespread cyber-attacks in the history.

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