The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has come under a major ransomware attack with the culprits demanding around Rs 200 crore in cryptocurrencies as the threat continued for almost a week now.
What’s more worrying is that the data of three to four crore patients of the government-run facility could have been compromised due to the cyber security breach at the premier health care institute, according to reports.
Currently, ransomware attacks are among the biggest cyber threats in India. In simple words, a ransomware attack is a type of cyber invasion wherein attackers access the victim’s system and encrypt sensitive data by deploying malicious software and asking for a “ransom” to restore access to files.
Notably, a report by India’s cyber security watchdog CERT-In recently mentioned that there has been a 51% rise in ransomware attacks in the first half of 2022 as compared to 2021.
Not only the first half, there have been multiple cyber attacks in the second half of this year that have kept cyber authorities on their toes.
How Is It Happening?
As technology advances, cyber attacks have also become more sophisticated with hackers using new tools and technologies to bypass even the most cutting-edge of securities.
It’s no surprise that experts have predicted that the number of such attacks is likely to only go up in the coming days.
According to a report by cyber threat intelligence firm CloudSEK, the Indian healthcare industry has been hit by the second-highest number of cyberattacks worldwide and over 71 lakh records have been compromised.
Some Of The Biggest Ransomware Attacks In India:
AIIMS Server Down
This is the latest in the attacks. The digital services of AIIMS Delhi have been down since November 23. The hospital was hit by a major ransomware attack and its officials have blamed a weak firewall, outdated systems and lack of cloud-based servers as the reason for the cyber attack.
ALSO READ: AIIMS Ransomware Attack: Hackers Demand Rs 200 Crore In Cryptocurrency
They also suspected that Chinese hackers might be behind the attack, which has impacted basic daily operations like appointments, admissions and billing systems.
While the country’s premier healthcare institution is still trying to get its systems online with the help of the National Information Centre (NIC), along with CERT-In, it has deployed additional staff to manually run basic services.
India’s prominent budget airline Spicejet witnesses a series of unusual activities in May 2022. Several of its flights were either cancelled or delayed. This happened due to a ransomware attack on the airline.
ALSO READ: Ransomware Attack On SpiceJet: How Safe Is Aviation Sector From Cyber Attack
SpiceJet later took to social media as it confirmed that their IT team had contained and rectified the situation and flights had started operating normally. The threat and its impact was short-lived but had thrown thousands of passengers into tizzy, while the airline and its management were obviously worried over the cyber attack.
#ImportantUpdate: Certain SpiceJet systems faced an attempted ransomware attack last night that impacted and slowed down morning flight departures today. Our IT team has contained and rectified the situation and flights are operating normally now.— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) May 25, 2022
A month before the Spicejet attack, government-owned Oil India (OIL) faced a major cyber-attack in Assam. OIL officials confirmed that the hacker demanded over Rs 57 crore as ransom.
The company’s server, network, and other related services were affected. According to a news report, the hack involved a Russian malware planted from a server in Nigeria.
However, OIL later stated that it didn’t suffer any financial losses and the company’s operations were running smoothly.
ALSO READ: Cyber Attack On India’s Biggest Port: Ransomware Cripples Services At Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust
If you thought companies dealing in software or technology are safe from cyber threats, sample this. Tech Mahindra, one of India’s leading IT firms, was hit by ransomware that targeted 27 servers of the Pimpri Chinchwad Smart City project and led to a loss of Rs 5 crore in early 2021.
The company also reportedly spent close to Rs 15 crore on a firewall to secure the systems of the smart city.
ALSO READ: India Ranks 2nd In Cloud Hacking, Govt Most Targeted Industry By Ransomware
In October 2020, Snacks manufacturer Haldiram’s faced a ransomware attack on its servers. The hacker reportedly encrypted the company’s files, data, applications, systems and demanded $7.5 lakh for decryption.
ALSO READ: Haldiram Data Theft: Everything You Need To Know About Ransomware Attack And Safety
Andhra Pradesh And Telangana Power Utilities
Hackers used the “Robinhood” ransomware to attack the computer systems of power distribution companies located in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2019.
The attackers also demanded six Bitcoins (which was approximately Rs 24 lakh at that time) to restore access to data of the companies in both states. This attack endangered the data of about 3.5 lakh consumers who visited the websites.
Wannacry and Petya Ransomware Infected 40,000 Computers Across India
In the middle of 2017, computers across the globe were attacked with WannaCry and Petya ransomware. Among those under attack were multiple banks, businesses and companies like Railwire. CERT-In alerted businesses by releasing an advisory.
According to cybersecurity company Symantec, India was among the worst-affected nations in the Asia Pacific region to be hit by the Petya ransomware.
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