WannaCry, also known as WannaCrypt has infected around 45,000 computers across 74 countries. WannaCry is a kind of ransomware which encrypts the computers data in seconds and displays a message on the screen asking the user to pay amount of $ 300 in Bitcoins to decrypt the data and restore user’s access. This ransomware has targeted Microsoft Windows devices specifically. According to Microsoft it had released the security update addressing the vulnerability posed by such attacks.
In India, most official computers use windows, there is no surety of regular updates, thus the risk of Indian computers being attacked by this worm is very high. Personal data of billions of Indians is now connected to the Aadhar database. Even the user’s bank account is now linked to the Aadhar number; this ransomware can encrypt the entire database and make it inaccessible until the ransom is paid. A greater chunk of individuals and companies are using the pirated versions of the Windows operating system and other miscellaneous softwares which makes India an easy target. In India this ransomware has already infected the Andhra Pradesh police system, manufacturing companies, retailers, banks and a Chennai based automaker facility.
A distinctive feature of this ransomware is that it also works as a worm. It spreads across like a contagious disease, from one system to another. Indian computers are most vulnerable to attacks owing to lack of antispyware or malware software installed in their systems. WannaCry is a mutating ransomware; it changes with time and spreads in the network.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team says, “The ransomware called WannaCrypt or WannaCry encrypts the computer’s hard disk drive and then spreads laterally between computers on the same LAN. The ransomware also spreads through malicious attachments to emails.” Microsoft too has grieved over the matter.
Even if the virus is on spread, the ransomware baiters would be receiving money and might come up with irrepressible worms against which the best of security patches will prove ineffective.