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Global ‘ransomware’ virus hits Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: After large-scale and stealthy cyber attacks that infected worldwide computers, the ransomware – malicious software – has infiltrated computers of State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan while an alert has been issued across the country.

The government owned insurance company has issued precautionary measures and recommendations to its staffers in order to prevent the organization’s computers from getting infected.

According to sources, several computers of various organizations were reportedly under cyber attacks while infiltrating the malicious software to computers of at least three famed hospitals, a cement factory, and an oil refinery company.

Cyber security expert Abdul Qadir has demanded the government to immediately take notice of the cyber attacks and constitute a ‘Cyber Incident Response Committee’.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan has directed all commercial banks to upgrade their operating systems and boost security in the computers by updating the anti-ware and virus software to prevent any hacking bid.

It is worth mentioning here that around 150 countries of the world came under cyber attacks last week.

Countries affected with Ransomware

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to data until a ransom is paid and displays a message requesting payment to unlock it.

Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse. More advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

The ransomware may also encrypt the computer’s Master File Table (MFT) or the entire hard drive. Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

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