Now, Petya threat looms large over India

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The ransomware has affected the JNPT terminal; corporates put on alert

Hyderabad/Mumbai, June 28:  

Indian corporates and organisations woke up to news reports of yet another ransomware attack, named Petya, that has reportedly hit over 2.3 lakh PCs in the West.

Cyber security experts have sounded a warning after Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), in Navi Mumbai, was hit by the attack.

Though there has been no other reported incident in India so far, it is feared that the virus may have impacted a few organisations in the financial services sector.

As corporates worry about the likely impact on them, business associations such as Assocham and Nasscom have sent advisories to their members, giving them dos and don’ts to ward off attacks.

JNPT Chairman Anil Diggikar told BusinessLine that operations at the APM Terminal have been affected. The terminal handles about 4,000-5,000 containers a day. Containers that need to be cleared urgently have been diverted to other terminals within the port, he said.

The Danish shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk, which runs the terminal, admitted that the IT systems at the terminal had been compromised. “A number of terminals are not on these systems and have not been impacted by the attack. We are currently moving terminals with impaired IT systems to alternative ways of operating and continue to assess the situation,” said a spokesperson for AP Moller-Maersk.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, asserted that there is no large-scale impact on India yet. “We are taking proactive measures and keeping a close vigil on the malware that has hit Europe,” he said in Delhi on Wednesday.

This is the second such attack in the last few weeks after the Wannacry ransomware rattled scores of countries. The attackers released data that they had encrypted only on paying a ransom in the form of bitcoins.

The Data Security Council of India (DSCI), a Nasscom initiative, has sent an 11-page advisory, explaining what the attack is about, how it spreads and how to stay safe.

“The initial impact on Indian organisations is not known yet as very few organisations in India have reported the attack to officials. It is important for companies to report such incidents to CERT-in, the emergency response team of the government,” an industry executive said.

What is Petya?

Cyber experts say Petya is like any other ransomeware but more lethal than Wannacry, which wreaked havoc last month. “The speed of the attacks has changed dramatically. Petya shows the attackers have learned from WannaCry, and have updated it be more powerful. The ransomware is distributed using the same exploit that powered the spread of WannaCry,” said Kartik Shahani, Integrated Security Leader, IBM (India and South Asia).

But what makes it more lethal is the fact that it can infect patched systems on connected networks, unlike the case with Wannacry.

(With Inputs from Ronendra Singh in New Delhi)

(This article was published on June 28, 2017)

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