Govt wakes up to WannaCry threat

Bhubaneswar: The state government has issued an advisory to all government departments in the wake of cyber attacks with ransomware ‘WannaCry’ which encrypts all files in windows system and demands users to pay a certain amount of ransom in bitcoin to retrieve data from being infected.
The advisory was issued to all government department heads, revenue divisional commissioners and district collectors, said Electronics and Information & Technology department secretary Ashok KK Meena.
“The ransomware spreads by using the vulnerability in implementation of Server Massage Block (SMB) in windows system and the exploit is named ETERNALBLUE.”
The 18-point advisory suggested all concerned department to maintain updated versions of anti-virus software in the systems to prevent the ransomware threat. The advisory said, “Use genuine software/OS for regular updates and fixes”, and added, “Users are advised to apply patches to Windows system as mentioned in the Microsoft security bulletin MS17.” The government has instructed all officials to maintain at least two backups of government data in separate media, offline.
“Perform regular backups of all information to limit the impact of data or system loss and help expedite the recovery process. Ideally, this data should be stored in a separate device and backups should be stored offline,” the advisory says.
It further asks all users not to open any attachments in unsolicited emails, even if they come from people in contact list and not click URL containing such unsolicited e-mails.
“In case of genuine URLs close email and go to the organisation’s website directly though browser,” the advisory suggests.
It advises users to use smart screen filter/malware and phishing filter in Internet Explorer/Mozila Firefox and enable phishing and malware protection in Google Chrome to avoid malware & ransomware attacks. The government alert says, “Individuals or organisations are not encouraged to pay the ransom, as this does not guarantee release of files or decryption.”
Meena said the government has uploaded the advisory on Meanwhile, state IT minister Chandra Sarathi Behera held a review meeting at the Secretariat on the cyber attack with representatives of National Informatics Centre (NIC), OCAC, IIIT and senior State government officials. Confirming the cyberattack in the information management system of Berhampur City Hospital, Behera said, “A joint team of IIIT, NIC and OCAC will soon visit the hospital to probe the case.”

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