Ransomware Attack, 150 Nations Under Cyber Threat, It's Effect In India

A gigantic ransomware cyber attack hits close to 200,000 victims in over 150 countries, said the Head of EU police agency Europol Rob Wainwright on Sunday. This cyber attack on Friday targeted at a number of organizations across Europe, including Spain’s biggest telecommunication firm and Britain’s state-run health service. Rob warned workers of possible new troubles when they’ll switch on their computers at the start of the working week. It was expected that Monday would be a busy day, especially in Asia, which has not yet experienced the worst impact of it as companies and organizations will open their computers by today.

The Europol spokesperson Jan Op Gen Oorth said that “It is the biggest ransomware attack ever”. He also said that the number of affected networks and victims will go up because “many workers left their computer turned on last Friday and will probably find out that they are also affected by the malware on Monday morning.” A malicious software called ransomware, which affected the computer systems, locks up computers and demands a ransom to restore access. According to a BBC report, screenshots of this programme that locks computers and demands a ransom in Bitcoin were shared online by parties claiming to be victims of it. This is yet not cleared that if the attacks were all connected or not.

The investigation is still going on to find the real culprits behind this massive cyber attack. On the other hand, Europol thinks that malware began to spread on Friday from Britain’s National Health Service and later it affected countries like Germany, China, Russia, Spain, and India. The Op Gen Oorth said, “It remains unclear what the motivation was. Usually, ‘ransomware’ attacks are designed to be revenue sources, but in this case, the ransom was quite low.” Only a few individuals or companies have so far selected to pay the ransom of $300 or more, following law enforcement recommendations as per Europol.

A Singapore-based researcher Christian Karam said, “Expect to hear a lot more about this tomorrow (Monday) morning when users are back in their offices and might fall for phishing emails.” According to media reports, investigators are looking for those hackers that had affected systems at hospitals, banks, and government agencies globally. The experts said that this ransom virus named as WannaCry or some other variants has locked up more than 200,000 computers and new versions of the virus are also expected. The various organizations and individuals across the world who faced large cost as after they were threatened to keep computers disabled until victims pay a ransom to receive a decryption key.

This malware hit badly to Britain’s National Health Service as it causes extensive disruptions and interrupting medical procedures across hospitals in Scotland and England. As per the government, 48 out of the National Health Services’ 248 organizations were affected. However, by Saturday evening, all but six were back to normal. A Downing street spokesperson said on Saturday that the British Government had not paid any ransom when they were asked about paying the ransom to out of the situation. In Germany, people posted the pictures on social media of ransomware message displaying on the scheduling screens at the train stations. However, Germany’s national railway service Deutsche Bahn tweeted that its train service had not been affected and they are working at full speed to solve all the issues. As per DPA news agency, Deutsche Bahn’s video surveillance technology was also hit.

The head of EU police agency Europol Rob Wainwright said, “The latest count is over 200,000 victims in 150 countries and many of those will be businesses, including large corporations.” Most of the infected computers are out-dated devices that the organizations considered not worst for upgrading. Many of the organizations are not paying the ransom as they are not sure that after paying it, the access would be restored to normalcy. This virus is not as impactful in Microsoft Windows XP Software as it was first identified by the US National Security Agency. Microsoft also released a security update in March as a cure against the virus, but many of the NHS trusts had not made it functional.

Now, Microsoft has sent out patches for Windows XP in an attempt to limit the harm. Rudd told the BBC, “We’re not able to tell you who is behind that attack. That work is still ongoing.” She also said that it has affected up to 100 countries and it wasn’t specifically an attack on Britain’s NHS.  Many of the systems left vulnerable as they were outdated or system administrators futile to apply the patch.  The chief executive of the cybersecurity firm BullGuard said, “This was a completely preventable attack — to the extent that organizations have comprehensive patching systems in place. However, life is never that simple.”

The IT experts of Healthcare Systems said that there was no surprise that hospitals will become easily the victims of ransomware attack. The health department has faced hundreds of ransomware attacks in the past two years. Avi Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said that they are the ideal target for this type of malware due to a “perfect storm” of factors. “If no one ever paid these ransoms, the hackers would have no reason to launch these attacks. But I’m not the one sitting in a hospital in need of immediate medical attention,” Rubin added.

The chief information officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School John D. Halamka said that the healthcare organizations just spend 2 to 4 percent of their operating budget on information technology, compared with 25 to 35 percent for financial services. “We spend billions on new technology. Yet the reality is that we’re still as vulnerable as our most gullible employee,” he added. Rubin also put lights on the issue of poorer hospitals and said that they are more vulnerable than wealthy hospitals that have built cyber security rooms effectively. Most of the cyber security researchers were shocked by the fact that complicated telecommunication firms like of Spain’s Telefonica were so vulnerable. “This just goes to show that even the largest, most resource-rich enterprises can be brought low by something as simple as a skipped patch,” said Lipman.

On Saturday, Centre issued a security alert to computer users, following a wave of ransomware cyber attack crossing more than 150 countries including India. Near about 100 computers of the Andhra Pradesh police have been affected as per the monitory arm of the ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The Cyber Security professionals are working round the clock over the weekend to save the Indian computer users from the biggest ransomware attack. The cyber security firms told the Economic Times that the effect of the WannyCry cyber attack is minimal so far, but the real test would be on Monday when the professionals will switch on their computers.

This malicious virus blocks the access to the computer until the user pays the asked ransom to them through BitCoin. It has affected more than 150 countries till now including India. According to reports, ransomware attacks impacted systems of Andhra Pradesh police, four manufacturing companies, two retailers, the Indian operations of a multinational, the Chennai facility of an automaker and two banks. The executive director at PwC Sivarama Krishnan said that his team is working round the clock over the weekend and assisting more than 2,000 clients in helping identify and block threats using firewalls. Microsoft released a patch to prevent from this malware in mid-March, so the organizations and individuals who did not update their systems created a problem for themselves.

Narendra Modi Has Made More Foreign Trips Than Manmohan Singh: Amit Shah Is Wrong

The former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh has made more foreign visits than the active PM Narendra Modi, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah recently in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. But we want to inform the saffron party, President Amit Shah, that his statement unquestionably lacked the facts as we are going to provide you some real facts about it, which unveils the opposite case.

The PM Narendra Modi has made more foreign visits in his first three years tenure as former PM Singh has made lesser foreign visits in his both terms (2004-2009 and 2009-2014) as the data figures. According to a report by Factly.in, a data journalism portal based on external affairs data rejects the statement of BJP’s President in every way. We explain you the whole issue in a simple and reliable manner through some important facts and events on the same.

Statement of BJP President Amit Shah

The saffron party President Amit Shah recently claimed that the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited more countries than the PM Narendra Modi and said that it was not much hyped because the media never covered the visits of former PM Singh as much as of Modi’s. Amit Shah said, “Our opponents make an issue of Prime Minister Modi’s foreign visits, but as per figures, Manmohan Singhji visited more countries than Modiji. The number of PM Modi’s foreign visits appears higher because Manmohan Singhji used to go, no one got to know when he went or came back.”

Former PM Singh made 80 trips spanning 303 days in total

The former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh enjoyed his tenure for 10 years – 2004 to 2009 and 2009 – 2014. In between 2004 to 2009 and 2009 to 2014, Singh made 80 foreign trips spanning 303 days. Singh made at least 10 trips in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The former PM made no less than five foreign trips every year in his tenure except in 2012 and 2014. Before handing over the office in 2014, Singh made just one foreign trip. Singh was in abroad at any rate for a month (30 days) in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. On an average note, every foreign trip of Singh’s lasted approximately of 3.8 days. Singh made a little higher number of foreign trips in his second term compared to his first one.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made 54 trips spanning 132 days in total

The present PM Narendra Modi has made 54 foreign trips spanning 132 days already in the first three years of his tenure. Trips of PM Modi stands like this if it’s divided by years – 9 foreign trips in 2014, 27 in 2015 and 18 in 2016. PM Modi was in foreign countries for 32 days in 2014, 64 days in 2015 and 18 days in 2016. Modi’s each trip lasted for 2.5 days on an average note. The PM has visited about 44 countries so far. Talking about the expenses of trips of PM Modi from June 15, 2014, to November 10, 2016, the expenses, gained on chartered flights amount to Rs 274,88,64,465 as per the data available on pmindia.gov.in.

Countries like USA, Nepal, China and Japan are the ones where PM Modi has visited twice. According to the Hindustan Times report, PM Modi has a packed schedule of foreign visits from May to July, starting his first visit from Sri Lanka. There are also reports that Modi will visit countries like Russia, Germany, Israel, Kazakhstan and Spain as well.

Comparison of PM Modi’s first three years’ visits and 10-year tenure of Manmohan Singh

If we talk about the first three years of former PM Manmohan Singh, not only he made fewer trips, but also in both of his terms, he was in abroad for fewer days than the PM Modi in his first three years of his ongoing term. The other interesting fact is that Manmohan Singh made fewer trips in his 1st term than PM Modi made in 2015 alone. It is also a fact that the average duration of each trip of PM Modi is shorter than of the former PM Manmohan Singh.

We can easily say that the saffron party President Amit Shah must verify his facts in future before presenting anything incorrect to the public.

9 Things About Punjab Election That Predicts The Next Government In Punjab

The election results of Punjab assembly have a lot at stake for all the parties. Congress is fighting Punjab elections to win their very first election without any alliance to strong its pillars again, especially after the shocking defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Whereas the BJP-SAD alliance wants to win these elections on their development agenda and good works they have done at least that’s what they believe in. And the newbie entry to the Punjab elections, Aam Aadmi Party, comes with a hope in Punjab to make their territory big and take some step to become a National Party like Congress and BJP. This triangular fight created a great hype for the elections of Punjab.  It is not easy to say at all that which party is going to win the elections, but I can show you some of the things that I have observed about these elections.

I will show you my Analysis through points to make it easy for all of you to understand the position of political parties in Punjab and the main issues of this beautiful Indian State.

  1. The issue of Drugs

If you think that Drug issue is just the Media hype, then you are absolutely wrong. We are not trying to say that the state is full of drugs or it has no drugs at all, but Drugs have become the major issue of the Punjab. The political parties like AAP or even Congress left no occasion in criticizing the present Government SAD-BJP for not handling the Drug issue in the state.

In the rural areas of Punjab, we found that the issue of Drugs is wider than of the urban areas. One thing is sure that the Drug issue is definitely going to impact the present government very badly. This issue already had created the bad image of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.

  1. AAP’s magic in Malwa

There are three regions in Punjab, Malwa, Majha and Doaba, and Malwa is the biggest region in Punjab. With 69 seats in Malwa of the 117-seat assembly state, it is going to decide the fate of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab. We can tell you one thing that the AAP is going to perform great in Malwa, but the question is how well.

If the AAP makes a Delhi-style clean sweep, then they will form the government in Punjab very easily. But if the Congress gave a tough fight to the AAP, then for this newbie Party, it would be very important to win some good seats from the Majha and Doaba region too, where it’s not as strong as Majha. So, we can say that Majha is ultimately going to decide the fate of the AAP in Punjab.

  1. Badals are going to perform worse in these elections

The CM of Punjab, Prakash Singh Badal, has always maintained his image as a great, intelligent and a very mature and well-mannered man and he is still doing great with his position. But the grave charges of corruption, poor law, drug mafia and much more made the party very weak.

We can tell you one thing according to our observation that SAD is going to be third in this triangular race. Yes, they have lost their roots and it is going to be a bad case for the party in these elections. SAD always performs great in the rural areas, but this time AAP is going to eat their base vote very effortlessly. Although, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, does some development works in the state that needs to be appreciated but it’s quite late. The story aside, the Tourist plaza at the Golden Temple is just incredible.

  1. The public loves Captain Amarinder Singh

In spite of some corruption charges and being detached from the public and enjoying the life like a Maharaja, which he is, indeed, the Captain’s image is the best for the CM at least for this election. Captain Amarinder Singh is the one and only wall that is stopping AAP from a clean sweep and saving the Congress party from their internal fights.

We all know that Captain Amarinder is not an ace speaker like Navjot Singh Sidhu or Bhagwant Mann, but he always stands strongly on the tough and foremost issues of the Sikh community firmly. It is one of the big reasons why he has earned the goodwill from the people of Punjab. We have observed that he’s the first choice for the CM face of Punjab of probably every second person in the state.

  1. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s charisma is very limited

There is no leader in Punjab who can beat through speaking. Sidhu is definitely an ace speaker. It will be wrong to say that Sidhu played any impressive role in changing the results of Punjab for the Congress. There is no doubt in that the congress enjoyed his entrance to the party, but it will not impact the results of the state assembly at all. He worked as a great crowd puller for the Congress party and it may help the party in swinging few seats, but he’s definitely not bringing any revolution to the party. But he enjoys a great fan following all across the Punjab, especially in Amritsar. Sidhu is going to win his seat (Amritsar East) with a huge margin.

  1. ‘Jhaadu’ is the new love among the rural people

The voters of the rural areas in Punjab are in just love with the AAP’s symbol ‘Jhaadu’, which means Broom. We have asked many of the people in rural areas randomly that whom you have voted in this Punjab election, and all of them said ‘Jhaadu’. Without even knowing the CM Candidate or hardly anything about the party, the people in the rural areas are just with the support of the ‘Jhaadu’ unconditionally.

After the unconditional love for ‘Jhaadu’, the people of rural areas are mesmerized with the AAP’s ace speaker-politician and a former comedian, Bhagwant Mann. We will not be surprised to see Bhagwant Mann as the CM of the Punjab if AAP manages to pull off a win in Punjab.

  1. The time of introspection for BJP

Like SAD, we are going to see the worst defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party too. After the results of this state assembly election, BJP should introspect and understand what they are wrong with themselves in Punjab. They have been in coalition with SAD, which the common people of the state do not want at all. I have asked many of the people in the state that which party you want to vote and mostly every second person said that we will go BJP if they will leave their partner SAD. BJP should spend time with their volunteers and start working to improve their roots in the state as it will benefit them in fighting the elections without any alliance next time.

  1. Desecration of Guru Granth Sahib

The incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib occurred all across the state in the last quarter of 2015. The people of Punjab outraged the SAD-BJP alliance for not handling the situations and stopping the radicals from doing it all over again and again. This issue made the Sikhs vote base of SAD-BJP alliance against them as the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib happened in a series of incidents again.

This issue is definitely going to impact SAD in the elections very badly, and the results are going to clearly show this. Both AAP and Congress tried to appeal the people that SAD is behind all the dirty controversy. The SAD failed to win the faith of the public like they had before. So, this issue has played an important role in the Punjab election.

  1. Kejriwal is a Messiah for Poor people

It cannot be denied that Kejriwal is the one who played a vital role in making an entry for the AAP in the assembly election. The time came into Punjab when the party was down sliding badly, but the master of doing magic in Politics, Arvind Kejriwal, saved the party from getting drowned.

From the numerous rallies in the state to his speeches, Kejriwal knows very well how to pull the crowd. Now, AAP is the leading party of Punjab at least in the rural areas. There are many chances that AAP could touch the magic number 59 (out of 117) and forms their government in the Punjab. And we just can’t deny that the Kejriwal factor played an important role in this election.

Coming to an end and considering all the factors, it looks like that AAP has the maximum chances of winning the Punjab elections because of unconditional rural and youth support, a hope of change and the hatred against the previous political parties like SAD-BJP and Congress. It looks like that Congress may become number 2 party or even win the elections, but only if AAP fails to convert the supporters into the winning seats. Congress has an advantage of favorable CM face Captain Amarinder Singh. The SAD-BJP is out of race in this assembly election, but you never know anything can happen. They will not be purely out of the race as they have maintained their base vote bank, which is always going to vote for them. But will that base vote bank able to convert into the winning seats or not is only 11th March will tell. The result of Punjab election will definitely make an enormous impact in the Indian Politics.