WannaCry havoc: India issues red-cloured critical alert

WannaCry Attack

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A red-coloured critical alert has been issued in connection with the WannaCry attack that hit over 90,000 systems across 75 countries across the world including India. India’s Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) said individuals or organisations are not encouraged to pay the ransom as this does not guarantee files will be released.

wannacry attack

Report such instances of fraud to CERT-In and law enforcement agencies,” a statement read.

The ransomware worm that stopped car factories, hospitals, shops and schools over the weekend worldwide, with Asia having escaped the worst so far, could wreak fresh havoc on Monday when employees log back on, cyber security experts have warned. Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks.

Code for exploiting that bug, known as “Eternal Blue”, was released on the internet in March by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers. The group claimed it was stolen from a repository of National Security Agency hacking tools.

The US cyber security researcher who helped halt the WannaCry attack, Darien Huss, said on Sunday that it wouldn’t be difficult for those responsible to re-release it or for others to mimic it.

Monday is expected to be a busy day, especially in Asia which may not have seen the worst of the impact yet, as companies and organisations turn on their computers.

Ransoms paid amount to tens of thousands of dollars, one analyst said, but it is generally predicted to surge when the deadline to pay the ransom approaches, and people start paying up once news spreads that payment solves the problem. One estimate put it as high as a billion dollars, but till Saturday, some $33,000 had been paid into the several bitcoin accounts associated with the ransomware, according to Elliptic, a company that tracks online financial transactions involving virtual currencies.

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