Centre alerted Telangana, Andhra Pradesh about ransomware attack threat

The biggest cyberattack the world has ever seen is still claiming victims and threatens to create even more havoc on Monday when people return to work. The attack is a virus that locks people out of their computer files until they pay a ransom to the hackers. Experts say the spread of the virus had been stymied by a security researcher in the U.K. Hackers have issued new versions of the virus that cyber security organizations are actively trying to counter and stamp out.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT), that falls under the Union ministry of electronics and information technology and tracks cyber security incidents, is learnt to have sent an alert to officials of the IT departments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana about the possibility of the ransomware attack five days back. Despite being alerted a day before the ransomware attack, the fact that crucial data of AP police was encrypted by the attackers shows how ill-prepared they were on the measures they should have taken to ward it off.

In fact, government sources confirmed to TOI that more than one alert was received in the past two weeks. “While there are many alerts that are sent by CERT, escalating the alert to the next level requires the capability of understanding how much importance should be given to the alert and the possible implications. Not all alerts are acted upon,” said a government source.

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The Telangana IT department, which has so far remained unaffected by the attacks, asked its officials to be extra careful accessing their emails. As per a ‘propaganda drill’ other departments too were asked to be cautious. “We were asked not to click on any suspicious mails and back up all important files and data on the systems,” said a government official.

Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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