Employees of a small Indian Ayurvedic pharmaceutical company were in for a shock recently after their systems were hit by a ransomware attack. The attack which happened last month was reported by the mainstream media only recently.
According to media reports, servers of an Amritsar, Punjab-based Shri Dhanvantari Herbals were targeted by cyber criminals, infecting them with ransomware. The attack was discovered after the firm’s employees found themselves unable to log into their computers the next morning. Instead of the login screen, they were welcomed by a message in some foreign language along with an email address.
Being the first ever recorded incident of ransomware attack in India, the local law enforcement agency was initially left clueless. After few failed attempts to break the encryption, the department decided to seek assistance from other law enforcement agencies in the country and the IT department of Union Government.
Meanwhile, the company executives reportedly received communication from the cybercriminal demanding an unspecified amount in Bitcoin. The company is said to have made attempts to negotiate with the cybercriminal without making any headway.
While it is not known whether the company decided to pay the ransom or not, the Cyber Crime Cell of Punjab police is continuing an investigation into the incident. According to the Chief of the Cyber Crime Cell, they have not come up with a solution to tackle this problem yet.
Punjab police believe that the attack originated from outside the country and the encryption protocol used by them is found to be hard to crack. The department has issued an advisory asking people not to download illegal software or click on suspicious advertisements or links in their emails.
Ransomware is a prevalent issue across the world and there are limited solutions available at the moment. As cybersecurity experts continue to find ways to tackle the problem, the ransomware continues to evolve.
In order to prevent such attacks, it is advisable to follow best practices while using the internet and not to download or open suspicious attachments or software. It is also important to keep the devices up-to-date with the latest software and security patches.
Ref: India Today | Image: NewsBTC