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19 May 2017, 08:43 | Bernard Bryant
Termed as one of the largest and most crippling global cyberattacks of our time, the ransomware is believed to have infected well over two lakh systems across 150 countries.
Although the "WannaCryRansom" malware has not affected India yet, RBI today issued directions to banks not to leave the networks safety to chance and follow diligently the directions of the Government anti - cyber attack body Cert-In and take extra measures to save the vulnerable ATMs.
Wanna Cry encrypts the files on infected Windows system and spreads by exploiting vulnerabilities.
A new ransomware "WannaCry" is spreading widely, RBI's advisory to the banks said.
As per reports, the ATMs are highly vulnerable to the malware as most of the machines are still operated on Microsoft WindowsXP.
Reportedly, there are more than 2.25 lakh ATMs in the country of which over 60% run on the outdated WindowsXP.
"RBI has asked banks to update specific Windows patches on ATMs urgently and not to operate ATM machines unless updates are in place", said an official with a public sector bank. However, the ATM operators dismissed any threat to customer data or money and said,"The objective of ransomware is to shut down critical information in networks and prevent access to this data". The reason being there is no data stored in ATMs. In two village panchayats of Kerala, computers were hit with messages demanding United States dollars 300 in virtual currency to unlock the hacked files. However, there is no confirmation on whether the access is restored after the amount is paid. "But we have been updating our whole security measures since March itself, software has been installed", Union Minister of Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad had said. 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.
Microsoft has introduced a security patch to tackle the situation, and consumers across the globe have been advised to download the solution at the earliest. The most disruptive attacks were reported in the United Kingdom, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers.
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