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Ransomware attack: A look at top data breaches and how to protect yourself

Here’s a look at the top data breaches in recent times. And how to protect yourself from one.

business Updated: May 16, 2017 17:01 IST
Suchetana Ray
A photo taken on May 15, 2017 shows staff monitoring the spread of ransomware cyber-attacks at the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) in Seoul. More cyberattacks could be in the pipeline after the global havoc caused by the Wannacry ransomware, a South Korean cybersecurity expert warned May 16 as fingers pointed at North Korea. (AFP)

Ransomware, WannaCry wreaked havoc as it spread to over 150 countries mainly targeting banks, hospitals, government agencies by exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft operating systems.

This fast-spreading malware is the first ever detected virus to combine both a worm -- which enables it to penetrate into a network from a single infected computer locking files in its wake -- and a ransomware, demanding $300 in Bitcoin virtual currency to unlock systems.

A look at the recent malware attacks and you understand the panic among people and agencies.

Top data breaches in recent times:

October 2016: A server hack hit Indian ATM’s corrupting over 3 million cards issued by 19 Indian banks. Several banks, including the State Bank of India, advised customers to change their personal identification numbers. The banks recalled thousands of debit cards and blocked others that they fear were hacked. The breach was caused by malware introduced in the Hitachi Payment Services system.

October 2016: Axis Bank reported to RBI about an unauthorised login into its servers. There were no reports of any fund transfers but the bank had hired EY to probe the matter.

July 2016: Union Bank of India reported a cyberattack into one of its offshore accounts. The money trail was traced and the funds transfer was blocked.

February 2016: Bangladesh central bank reported a heist of $ 81 million from its account at the New York Federal Reserve. The FBI led an international probe into the theft that was perpetrated using the SWIFT messaging network. The money was tracked to a casino in Philippines.

How to protect yourself from a data breach:

If you are using Microsoft Windows, experts say it is a must to install the Windows Defender for protection against virus attacks. The operating system should also be regularly updated.

If iOS is your preferred operating system, then you need not worry. Experts advise you to ensure you are connected with the Apple ecosystem through an id and you are safe. As apps on the iOS

Store are verified by Apple, it acts as a protection against virus. Also, downloading any spurious app would be tracked by Apple, you will get advisories against it.

Most experts feel that protection on Android is limited as unlimited apps can be downloaded. Here, awareness of the user is of utmost importance.