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Increasing Ransomware Attacks in India

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December 01, 2022

Why in news?

Recently, e-services at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were crippled and is suspected to be a ransomware attack.

What is the issue?

  • Issue - AIIMS has a Local Area Network comprising more than 6,500 computers.
  • The centralised records were inaccessible and the e-hospital system has been completely shut down.
  • A ransomware attack is suspected in this regard.
  • Impacts - Preliminary findings have indicated that at least five of the AIIMS’ servers that hosted data related to more than three crore patients were compromised.
  • The institute has been able to provide consultation services to just about one-fifth that number.
  • The latest incident has dented the image of the institute which is known for the quality of teaching and research work.
  • The Delhi Police’s Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations have launched investigations.
  • The experts from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) are working on restoring online services.

According to the Interpol’s first-ever Global Crime Trend report, ransomware was the second highest-ranking threat after money laundering, at 66%.

What is Ransomware?

  • Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access.
  • The malware may usually be injected remotely by tricking the user into downloading it upon clicking an ostensibly safe web link sent via email or other means, including hacking.
  • It can spread throughout the network by exploiting existing vulnerabilities.
  • Ransomware attacks can be accompanied by theft of sensitive data.
  • Recently, Spice jet and Oil India had faced a cyber-threat.


How are cyber-attacks dealt in India?

  • Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) - CERT-In is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.
  • CERT-In is operational since January 2004.
  • The constituency of CERT-In is the Indian Cyber Community.
  • CERT-In has been designated to perform the following functions
    • Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cyber incidents.
    • Forecast and alerts of cyber security incidents.
    • Emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents
    • Coordination of cyber incident response activities.
    • Issue guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes and whitepapers relating to information security practices, procedures, prevention, response and reporting of cyber incidents.
    • Imparting training to computer system managers.
  • National Cyber Security Coordinator - The National Cyber Security Coordinator, under the National Security Council Secretariat, coordinates with different agencies at the national level on cybersecurity issues.
  • The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre - It has been set up for the protection of national critical information infrastructure.
  • The Cyber Swachhta Kendra - It is a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre that has been launched for detection of malicious software programmes and to provide free tools to remove them.
  • The National Cyber Coordination Centre - It works on creating awareness about existing and potential threats.
  • Cyber Crisis Management Plan - The government has formulated a Cyber Crisis Management Plan for countering cyber-attacks.


What are the best practices recommended by CERT-In?

The information tracked by the CERT-In showed that cyber-attacks saw a four-fold jump in 2018 and recorded an 89% growth in 2019. 

  • Maintain regularly offline data backups with encryption.
  • All accounts should have strong and unique passwords and lockout policy
  • Multi-factor authentication for all services
  • Disable remote desktop connections
  • Have a proper Remote Desktop Protocol logging and configuration, and spam-proof email validation system
  • Anti-virus software should be updated
  • Users must not open attachments or URL links in uninvited e-mails



  1. The Hindu│ Are ransomware attacks increasing in India?
  2. Business Today│ Cyber security attacks in India grew in 2020
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