Chandigarh: The Centre has issued a special advisory on ‘Ransomware’, a malware designed to block access to a computer system until money is paid, asking people not to pay ransom. Individuals and organisations have been advised not to pay the ransom as this does not guarantee that the files would be released.
Affected users should report such instances of fraud to Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and law enforcement agencies, said a release issued by Haryana State Information Security Management Office here.
According to the advisory, it has been observed that Ransomware malware attacks on financial and academic institutions and businesses in the country were on the rise. Ransomware are a type of malicious software, namely malware, that scramble the contents of a computer or server and demands payment or ransom to unlock it usually by anonymous decentralised virtual currency ‘Bitcoins’. The malware usually causes temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information, financial losses, disruption to regular operations and potential harm to an organisation’s reputation, it said.
Ransomware is typically spread through spear phishing mails that contain malicious attachments and drive-by download wherein a user unknowingly visits an infected website and malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge or when user clicks on links spread through web-based instant messaging applications. Some of the prevalent Ransomware variants observed in Indian cyberspaces include CryptoLocker, Reveton, CTB-Locker, Cryptowall and TeslaCrypt, it said. CERT has issued alerts on Ransomware, which could be accessed on the website www.cert-in.org.in.
To prevent such attacks, users and administrators should perform regular backups of all critical information, check regularly for the integrity of the information stored in the databases and check the contents of backup files of databases for any unauthorised encrypted contents of data records or external elements, and adopt safe browsing practices, among taking other steps, the release said.
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