Hundreds of ATMs shut down across India to escape ransomware attack

Hundreds of ATMs shut down across India to escape ransomware attack

Ministry of Home Affairs sources said some ATMs all over the country have been closed down as a preventive step following concerns against the virus attack.

Amidst reports that India is among the worst affected countries from the Wanna Cry ransomware attack, the Indian government has shut down some ATMs all over the country as a preventive measure against the cyber attack.

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Ministry of Home Affairs sources said some ATMs all over the country have been closed down as a preventive step following concerns against the virus attack.

MHA officials are closely monitoring the situation.

In the meantime, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued an advisory asking all banks to put in place a software update at ATMs to prevent their systems from a malware that has attacked payment systems across the world.

The RBI however denied that they have issued any direction to shut down ATMs.

“RBI has not given any direction or issued any advisory to banks to shut down their ATMs. Wrong information is floating around that RBI has instructed banks to shut down ATMs,” an RBI spokesperson said.

ATMs ARE HIGHLY VULNERABLE

In a separate malware attack last year, 3.2 lakh debit card were compromised in the country. Data of the users who transacted from ATM machines of Hitachi were compromised during three months of May, June and July last year. The Hitachi ATMs deployed by many White Label ATM players and Yes Bank were impacted by the malware.

According to reports Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are highly vulnerable to such malware attacks as they presently run on old version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, making a software security patch update a necessary exercise.

There are a total of 2.2 lakh ATMs in India, of which many old ones run on Windows XP.

EFFECT ON INDIA

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India has not been affected much by the ransomware.

“Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have been affected partly. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and strengthening our cyber system,” Prasad said.  In two village panchayats of Kerala, computers were hit with messages demanding USD 300 in virtual currency to unlock the hacked files.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has come out with list of dos and don’ts and webcast on how to protect networks from the global ransomware attack.

It has been reported that a new ransomware Wanna Cry is spreading widely, RBI advisory to the banks said.

Wanna Cry encrypts the files on infected Windows system and spreads by exploiting vulnerabilities.

Cyber criminals are demanding a fee of about USD 300 in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin for unlocking affected devices.

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.

CERT-In today said it has not received any formal report of cyber attack on India’s vital networks by the crippling global ransomware, Wanna Cry.

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