Ransomware attack also spreads to India; Andhra Pradesh Police systems affected – The largest global cyber attack has now affected India!
A global cyber-attack leveraging hacking tools believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries, has now spread to India. A section of computers of Andhra Pradesh’s police departments were affected by the global cyber-attack on Saturday, authorities said.
According to reports, computers in 18 police units in Chittoor, Krishna, Guntur, Visakhatpatnam and Srikakulam districts were affected. However, officials said the day-to-day functioning was not hampered. Reportedly, systems using the Windows operating system were hit by the cyber-attack but the police chief’s computer running Apple’s iOS OS was safe.
These hackers were demanding ransom in digital currency bitcoin to restore access. Officers stated that as the data was stored in different offices in the police administration, they will be able to retrieve the same.
The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers. International shipper FedEx said some of its Windows computers were also infected. “We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible,” it said in a statement.
Only a small number of US-headquartered organizations were hit because the hackers appear to have begun the campaign by targeting organizations in Europe, said Vikram Thakur, research manager with security software maker Symantec. By the time they turned their attention to the United States, spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious, he added.
The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility or otherwise been identified, likely made it a “worm”, or self-spreading malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as “Eternal Blue” that was released last month by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, researchers with several private cyber security firms said. The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the US spy agency.