A lock screen from a cyber attack warns that data files have been encrypted on a laptop computer in this arranged photo in London. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

‘WannaCry’ May Strike Again In New Form, Fears Symantec

A ransomware attack last Friday hit computers in 150 countries, exploiting the vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

While the attack has been contained for now, cybersecurity companies are trying to beef up defences in case the hackers strike again. Symantec Corp. at the moment is running analysis to check preparedness against any new variants of the malware that could strike global networks, Nick Savvides, a cybersecurity expert at the company, told BloombergQuint via Skype.

India is the third largest country affected by the ‘WannaCry’ malware after Russia and Ukraine, according to a report by Kaspersky Lab. Within India, the government has confirmed that computers of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat police departments and a Kerala panchayat have been infected.

Apart from state government networks, Dharshan Shanthamurthy, founder and chief executive officer at SISA Payment Security Solutions, told BloombergQuint via Skype that the threat on India’s ATM infrastructure looms large because the majority of the systems run on legacy Windows operating systems, which are particularly susceptible to this malware.

Majority of the ATMs still run on Windows XP, it is not that all of them have transitioned to Windows 7 and above, so obviously, they are quite vulnerable at this point in time.
Dharshan Shanthamurthy, Founder and CEO, SISA Payment Security Solutions

Even if the banks patch their networks soon enough, they won’t be able to counter a threat as big as this overnight, he said.

Amid speculation over the malware’s origin and its variants hitting global cyberspace, the worst may not be over yet.