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Ransomware attack: India vigilant

Prime News, National (New Delhi), May 15:- After infecting over two lakh computers and crippling life in 150 countries, the global ransomware 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.

In Kerala, the computers of two village panchayats were hit, with messages demanding $300 in virtual currency to unlock the files.

Officials who opened the computer at the Thariyode panchayat office in the hilly district of Wayanad found that four of their computers had been hacked.

Likewise, another village panchayat at Aruvapulam near Konni in Pathanamthitta district got a similar virus message when their computer was switched on. IT experts were working on these systems.

In West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, at least eight computers of the state-run electricity distributor were affected. Experts were ascertaining whether it was the same malware virus behind the world’s biggest ransomware attack.

Some media reports claimed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has ordered some ATMs to remain shut as a preventive measure.

When contacted, a Home Ministry spokesperson said: “I am not aware about any such order issued by the Home Ministry. If the Finance Ministry did so, I don’t know.”

The government has already activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” to prevent any major cyber attack.

According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), it has activated a “preparedness and response mechanism” by instructing CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team) to gather “all the information of the reported ransomware”.

“MeitY has initiated contact with relevant stakeholders in public and private sector to ‘patch’ their systems as prescribed in the advisory issued by CERT-IN. MeitY has also requested Microsoft India to inform all their partners and customers to apply relevant patches,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had on Sunday issued an advisory, asking banks to put in place a software update at ATMs to prevent their systems being hacked.

In Japan, nearly 600 companies, including electronics major Hitachi and automaker Nissan, were reportedly affected by the global ransomware attack, officials confirmed on Monday.(MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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