NEW DELHI: In a recent alarming development, the government’s cybersecurity arm, CERT-In, has issued a critical advisory cautioning against the emergence of new and insidious ransomware named “Akira.” This malicious software poses a significant threat to both Windows and Linux-based systems, infiltrating and compromising sensitive information, followed by encrypting data, ultimately leading to potential extortion.
The advisory highlighted the highly sophisticated tactics employed by the operators of the “Akira” ransomware. Unlike conventional ransomware attacks that merely encrypt data to hold it hostage, the perpetrators of Akira first employ stealthy techniques to pilfer crucial information from the victim’s system. Once they accomplish this stealth data theft, the ransomware springs into action, encrypting the stolen data, rendering it inaccessible to the user. What makes Akira particularly menacing is its double extortion scheme. After encrypting the data, the hackers coerce the victim into paying a ransom to regain control of their vital information. In an attempt to intimidate those who refuse to comply with their demands, the attackers resort to a sinister tactic of publicly releasing the stolen data on the dark web. This not only causes reputational damage to the victim but also exposes sensitive information to the world.
To safeguard against this burgeoning threat, CERT-In has strongly recommended that all internet users adopt basic online hygiene and protection protocols. These measures include keeping all software and operating systems up-to-date with the latest security patches, regularly scanning systems for malware, and exercising extreme caution while opening email attachments or downloading files from untrusted sources.
In addition to these preventive measures, CERT-In advises individuals and organizations to maintain offline backups of critical data, ensuring they are consistently updated. By doing so, they can protect themselves from data loss in the event of a ransomware attack.
Furthermore, CERT-In emphasized the utmost importance of implementing a robust password policy. Users are encouraged to employ strong and unique passwords for all their online accounts, making it significantly harder for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access.
The rapidly evolving landscape of cyber threats calls for increased vigilance and proactive measures from all users of internet-connected devices. As Akira poses a considerable risk to systems and data, CERT-In’s advisory acts as a wake-up call to adopt a holistic approach to cybersecurity. By being diligent in adopting best practices, users can better protect themselves from falling victim to the menace of Akira ransomware and other such cyberattacks.
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