Worst Ransomware Attacks of India

State of Affairs of Ransomware Attacks in India: 2019

Did you know more than 230,000 ransomware attack submissions were discovered in 2019 between April 1st and September 30th? Last year, the resurging ransomware attack in India became a headache for the corporate sectors targeting and affecting various organizations across the nation. In fact, the three most notorious members of the ransomware family- Ryuk, Purga, and Stop made major headlines in the nation.

How to Beat Hackers Targeting Backups with Ransomware Attacks | IT Pro

The Stop ransomware caused about 10.10% of the ransomware attacks followed by Ryuk making about 5.84% attacks along with Purga for deploying 0.80% of ransomware attacks! (source: TSG Sunday  Guardian Live)

Ryuk seemed to have been the most active threat landscape in the Indian public as well as private sectors. On the other hand, brute-force attacks on RDP and SMBs seemed to have steadily increased in 2019.

According to the Business Standard, last year was entirely the year of ransomware attacks on municipalities. It was observed that not less than 174 municipal institutions were targeted with more than 3000 subset organizations! In comparison, 60% of the increase from 2018 was experienced in 2019!

Reportedly, organizations have faced double extortion in Q1 2020 across the globe. Moreover, security research has anticipated that a business is attacked every 11 seconds by cybercriminals. The cost of damage is predicted to hit around $20 billion by 2021.

Although, this figure may vary later depending upon the cost of attacks and its devastating consequences. To know how brutal ransomware attacks can get, here are the top devastating ransomware attacks that took place in India.

Top 6 Ransomware Attacks in India

  • Telangana and AP Power Utilities Hacked

A malicious software attacked the power utility systems of  Telangana and Andhra Pradesh last year where all the servers went down until the glitch was rectified. Since the computer systems of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh power utilities were interlinked, the virus attack quickly spread, taking down all the systems.

Ransomware hits Telangana and Andhra Pradesh power department websites | Hyderabad News - Times of India
  • UHBVN Ransomware Attack

Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam was hit by a ransomware attack where the hackers gained access to the computer systems of the power company and stole the billing data of customers. The attackers demanded Rs.1 crore or $10 million in return for giving back the data.

UHBVN Billing Data Hacked and Hackers Demanding one Crore in Bitcoins

  • WannaCry

India was the third worst-hit nation by WannaCry ransomware, affecting more than 2 lakh computer systems. During the first wave of attack, this ransomware attack had hit banks in India including few enterprises in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The ransomware majorly affected the US healthcare system and a well-known French car manufacturing firm.

WannaCry Attack: Why Proper Backup Solution Is A Must

  • Mirai Botnet Malware Attack 

This botnet malware took over the internet, targeting home routers and IoT devices. This malware affected 2.5 million IoT devices including a large number of computer systems in India. This self-propagating malware was capable of using exploitable unpatched vulnerabilities to access networks and systems.

Mirai DDoS Attack Explained

  • Petya

India was one of the top 10 countries to be hit by Petya ransomware. This ransomware attack halted work at one of the terminals of India’s largest seaport causing computer lockdown and serious consequences for the country’s exports.

Petya Ransomware Spreading Rapidly Worldwide, Just Like WannaCry

  • BSNL Malware Attack

The state-owned telecom operator BSNL was hit by a major malware attack, impacting nearly 2000 broadband modems! 60,000 modems became dysfunctional after the malware attack hit the Telecom Circle.

Malware Attacks on BSNL, MTNL Broadband Modems – Steps To Restore | DataReign

Proactive Measures to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

As we continue to develop smart cities and smart grid technologies in 2020, the risk of ransomware attacks will stay put as a big challenge for all the organizations. Apart from focusing on development and advancement, every industry vertical must understand the crucial role of cyber security.

With the help of these below listed proactive measure, organizations can reduce or prevent the constantly evolving ransomware attacks in the future:

Employee Awareness Training

Cyber threat actors majorly use emails as bait in attempting cyber attacks on an organization and humans being the weakest link tend to easily fall for it. So to avoid and overcome this problem, organizations must educate their employees by making them aware of the prevailing cyber threats.

7 Tips for an Effective Employee Security Awareness ...

A right security attack simulator and awareness training tool can help in reducing the threat of employee error. Such tools help in mitigating existing cyber risks within the organization and enhance the cyber security posture.

Backup Your Data Separately

The best way to stay proactive is by backing up your data in a separate external storage device but it should not be connected to your computer. Backing up your data will help in securing it from being encrypted and misused by cyber attackers.

Regular Vulnerability Assessment 

Basic cyber security hygiene like vulnerability assessment and penetration testing can help in preventing malware like ransomware. With the help of continuous vulnerability assessment, one can find out the exploitable vulnerabilities and fix them before any threat actor discovers it.

Never Click on Unverified Links

Avoid clicking links that are attached in spam emails or on an unfamiliar website. Such links are the bearers of malicious files that badly infect the user’s computer when clicked. Moreover, these links are the pathways for ransomware to access the user’s system and encrypt or lock confidential data for ransom.

6 Biggest Ransomware Attacks that Happened in India - Kratikal Blogs

Use Security Software 

With cybercrimes becoming more widespread and constantly evolving in nature, protection against them has never been more crucial. It is necessary for organizations to secure their entire IT infrastructure with comprehensive cyber security solutions and software to blocking and keep the cyber threat postures at bay.

Among all other cyber attacks, ransomware is one kind of criminal activity that can be easily prevented by these above-mentioned solutions. Companies must remain vigilant, watchful and prepared to stay protected against such prevailing cyber risks.

The best way to deal with ransomware attacks is to stay protected by following healthy security practices and avoiding suspicious emails in the first place!

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