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Beware! Locky Ransomware Is Making A Comeback – Here’s How To Stay Safe!

The perpetrators are demanding payments in cryptocurrency.

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The ransomware attacks around the globe are rising at an exponential rate, and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. After WannaCry and Petya, it’s the turn of email-based Locky ransomware.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has already issued several alerts on their website about this new email based ransomware. The perpetrators are demanding payments in cryptocurrency like bitcoin, which is effectively untraceable.

It has already caused a major damage globally, but there are no reports of how much damage it has done in India.

What Is Locky Ransomware?

Ransomwares block the access to the data on your computer and demand a ransom to unlock it. You have to pay a ransom for the key. Locky ransomware has been active globally since last year, but after a campaign on August 9, it has started to penetrate in India. As per, cybersecurity company AppRiver, already over 23 million emails have been sent infected with the ransomware, which makes it one of the largest malware attacks seen so far.

How Does Locky Ransomware Work?

The ransomware is being piggybacked through spam emails containing a malicious ZIP attachment with a new file extension called ‘.diablo6’. These zip files have Visual Basic Scripts (VBS) which remain embedded in the secondary zip file. If you open any these attachments, there are variants of the Locky ransomware, which will get downloaded automatically on your computer and you will lose access to your files.

How Much Are The Victims Being Asked To Pay?

Users are being asked to pay a ransom of 0.5 Bitcoin (around Rs 1.5 lakh) for the decryption key to their data. Once the ransom is paid, the victims are instructed to install the Onion Router Network (TOR) browser, which will take them to a decryption service for the Decryption Key.

CERT-In Has Issued A Prime Alert

CERT-In (The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a national nodal agency under the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY). The team deals with all sorts of cyber security threats which relates to hacking and phishing. They take emergency measures to handle cyber security incidents, and related to the Locky Ransomware attack, they have issued a major alert how it is penetrating in India, and reports indicate that over 23 million messages spam emails have already been sent out.

How To Protect Your Computer From Ransomware?

Here are a few ways how you can protect your computer from any ransomware attack –

  1. Keep a Backup Ready – It’s always a good habit to keep a backup of your files, either on an external hard disk and also to an online cloud service.
  2. Use an Antivirus – It does half of your job to protect the computer from any sort of malware, phishing, cyberattack or any such attack.
  3. Do not open Suspicious Links from Unknown Emails and Websites – These links are the direct gateways to such viruses and malwares. Use an antivirus extension on your browser or use a good antivirus. It will block such spamming emails and websites.
  4. Perform Regular Backups of all Critical Data – Wherever you are saving an important file, do a backup instantly, or perform a backup on a regular basis.
  5. Never Pay Ransom – Never ever pay any ransom if you are hacked. Visit a tech specialist, or wait till a mass encryption key is figured out.

Final Advice

All users are advised to exercise all the above actions. Be extra cautious while opening any sort of e-mail. It’s better to deploy an anti-spam solutions (antivirus or browser extension) or update your spam block lists as soon as possible.

MeitY Wants All Ministries To Spend 10% Of Their Budget On Cyber Security

To keep all the ministries safe from cyber attacks, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has advised all ministries to spend at least 10% of their budget on cyber security.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Minister has come up with a list of new propositions to standardize the cyber security standards.

  1. MeitY wants all the Ministries to spend at least 10 percent of their budget on cyber security.
  2. Appointment of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISOs) in all ministries.
  3. 10 Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) labs in cities like Vizag and Amravati.
  4. Need of low cost cyber technology and low cost well-qualified cyber auditors.
  5. Any digitally connected industry should have a Cyber Security Officer.
  6. All banks should have Cyber Security Auditors.
  7. Cyber Security Training drills on a mass scale for officers, judges, and policemen.
  8. Creation of Human Resource in the field of Cyber Knowledge (44 universities and colleges have been identified in this regard).
  9. Cyber Security Educational courses for graduates.

Hopefully, all the suggested measures will help in curbing the menace of Locky. Be alert, stay safe!

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