State of Affairs of Ransomware Attacks in India

According to The Indian Express, ransomware attacks worldwide have increased by 102% in 2021 compared to 2020. Ransomware attacks are increasing in number and intensity every passing year.

This year is no different, the resurging ransomware attack in India has become a headache for the corporate sectors. The attack vector is targeting and affecting various organizations across the nation. In fact, in recent times the three most notorious members of the ransomware family- Ryuk, Purga, and Stop made major headlines in the nation. 

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)

 

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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 the last five years. 

According to Forbes, there is one ransomware attack every 10 seconds in 2020.

Reportedly, organizations have faced double extortion in 2020 across the globe. Moreover, the cost of ransomware damage is predicted to hit around $20 billion by 2021.

Although, this figure may vary later depending upon the cost of attacks and their 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.

Telangana and AP Power Utilities Hacked
Source: 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

  • WannaCry

India was the third worst-hit nation by WannaCry ransomware, affecting more than 2 lakh computer systems. During the first wave of attacks, 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

Proactive Measures to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

As we continue to develop smart cities and smart grid technologies in 2021, the risk of ransomware attacks will stay put as a big challenge for all 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 measures 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.

Security Awareness Training
Security Awareness Training

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.

Phishing Example
Source: Connecticut State Colleges & Universities

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 block 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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Pallavi Dutta

By Pallavi Dutta

Content Marketer and Team Leader

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