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Ransomware Attacks: The Digital Extortion Epidemic | #ransomware | #cybercrime



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Ransomware Attacks: Read this article to learn basic details about ransomware, its legal implications and laws related to it. Know how you can prevent your system from being its victim.

Atul Rawal




Know What are Ransomware Attacks?

Introduction to Ransomware: The world is now running on technology, and globalisation is growing new feathers due to the advancements in online business. While looking at the merits, we cannot neglect the red signs that come with this modernization. Ransomware is a menacing form of cybercrime that has been steadily growing both in scope and scale worldwide. Let us delve into the specific challenges and implications of ransomware attacks worldwide and in India.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware, or ransom malware, is a type of malware that causes the prevention of data usage by users. This creates issues with accessing the system and other personal files; to access and use all that data, it demands a ransom payment.

The Pervasive Threat of Ransomware

A Global Menace

Ransomware is not confined to India alone. It is a global menace that affects individuals, businesses, and governments across the world.

According to the UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific “Experts estimate that ransomware attacks will globally occur every 11 seconds, resulting in total damage costs of US$20 billion in 2021.

However, the unique vulnerabilities and opportunities present in India have made it an attractive target for cybercriminals.


Why India?

India’s rapidly expanding and exponentially growing digital landscape, coupled with a rapidly increasing online population, provides cybercriminals with a huge pool of potential victims. Additionally, the country’s economic growth has led to an increase in the number of businesses and organisations that build and rely on digital infrastructure, making them attractive targets for ransomware attacks. 

The Mechanics of Ransomware Attacks

Delivery Methods

Ransomware is typically delivered through sending emails, malicious websites, or infected software. Once a victim’s device is infected and compromised, the attacker gains access to the system.

Encryption and Extortion

The attacker or hackers encrypt the victim’s files, making them inaccessible. A ransom demand is then made, usually in cryptocurrency, in exchange for the decryption key that will unlock the victim’s files.

The Economic Impact

Financial Consequences

Ransomware attacks result in financial losses due to ransom payments as well as indirect costs associated with downtime, recovery efforts, and reputational damage. Thus, it leads to huge losses overall.

Data Loss and Recovery Costs

The data lost or exposed during the process can have serious repercussions for businesses, often requiring substantial investments in data recovery.



Legal Implications

Regulatory Framework

India’s legal framework has provisions to address cybercrimes, including ransomware. Understanding the existing laws and regulations is critical for both victims and law enforcement agencies.

S. No.

Section

Offence

Punishment

1

65

Tampering with computer source documents

Imprisonment upto 3 years or fine upto Rs 2 lakh or both

2

66

Computer related offences

Imprisonment upto 3 years or fine upto Rs 5 lakh or both

3

66B

Dishonestly receiving the stolen computer resource and communication device 

Imprisonment upto 3 years or fine upto Rs. 1 lakh 

4

66D

Cheating by personation by using computer resource or communication device 

Imprisonment upto 3 years and fine upto Rs. 1 lakh 

5

66E

Violation of Privacy

Imprisonment upto 3 years or fine upto Rs. 2 lakh or both  

 

Source: e-PG Pathshala

Promptly reporting ransomware attacks to law enforcement agencies is vital for tracking and mitigating the impact of such attacks.

Report your concerns to the appropriate authorities, such as the Cyber Security Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Cyber and Information Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. Check all the contact details at meity.gov.in

Strategies for Mitigation

  • Training: Proper training about the risks of ransomware and best practices for online security.
  • Regular Backups: Maintaining up-to-date backups of critical data can be a lifesaver in the event of a ransomware attack.
  • Network Segmentation: Divide your network into segments and limit lateral movement. 
  • Endpoint Protection: Install reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on all endpoints.
  • Cyber Insurance: Consider investing in cyber insurance to help cover the costs associated with a ransomware attack.
  • Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities. 

Future Trends and Challenges

Evolving Ransomware Tactics

As technology evolves, so do ransomware tactics. Staying ahead of the cyber thieves in cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge.

Defending Against Emerging Threats

Adapting to new threats and vulnerabilities is a crucial aspect of safeguarding against ransomware attacks.

 

Experts in the field of cybersecurity show their concern and suggest tactics to prevent ransomware attacks and the loss of data to hackers. Govind R. CEO I Co-Founder I Director, Adivine InfoSec Pvt. Ltd. says The future of ransomware presents an ominous outlook for cyberspace, as attackers continually refine their techniques and target critical infrastructure and emerging technologies. To combat this escalating threat, a multi-pronged approach is necessary, combining robust cybersecurity measures, ongoing awareness programs, and collaboration among stakeholders. By staying vigilant, adapting security strategies, and embracing proactive measures, we can mitigate the impact of ransomware and safeguard our digital ecosystem.

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