World gears up for yet another cyber attack today
India's cyber security agency has alerted Internet users against damaging activities of a strong and globally active ransomware virus- 'Wannacry'- that critically infects workstations and locks them remotely. A red-coloured 'critical alert' has been issued by the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In), the nodal agency to combat hacking, phishing and to fortify security- related defences of the Indian Internet domain.
Critical infrastructure agencies including banks, airports, telecom networks and stock markets have been asked to take precautions to shield themselves against the crippling global ransomware attack 'WannaCry'. Another major cyber-attack is imminent after Friday's global hit that infected more than 125,000 computer systems and could come on Monday, a security researcher warned on Sunday.
The UK security researcher "MalwareTech", who helped to limit the ransomware attack, predicted "another one coming... quite likely on Monday", the BBC reported.
The "unprecedented" ransomware cyber attack over the weekend has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries, Europe's leading security chief said on Sunday and warned of another "imminent attack".
The countries, including India, were hit by what is believed to be the biggest-ever recorded cyber attack on Friday with investigators looking for those behind the hack that affected systems at banks, hospitals, and government agencies globally, media reports said.
"At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat. The numbers are going up, I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn (on) their machines on Monday morning," Europol Director Rob Wainwright said. "It has been reported that a new ransomware named as Wannacry is spreading widely. Wannacry encrypts the files on infected Windows systems. This ransomware spreads by using a vulnerability in implementations of server message block (SMB) in Windows systems.
"This exploit is named as ETERNALBLUE," an advisory issued by the CERT-In, accessed by news agencies, said.
It said the ransomware called 'WannaCry' or 'WannaCrypt' encrypts the computer's hard disk drive and then spreads laterally between computers on the same local area network (LAN).
"The ransomware also spreads through malicious attachments to emails," it said.
A huge extortion cyber attack had hit dozens of nations on Friday, holding computer data for ransom at hospitals, telecommunications firms and other companies.
A cyber ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid through the online medium.
The cyber sleuths agency advised users to apply patches to their Windows systems in order to prevent its infection and spread.
The ransomware virus is so lethal and smart that "it also drops a file named '!Please Read Me!.txt' which contains the text explaining what has happened (to the computer) and how to pay the ransom."