Free Press Journal

60,000 ransomware attacked India in 2014: Symantec



New Delhi: India witnessed as many as 60,000 ransomware attacks on computers last year, making it the third-most attacked nation in Asia, according to security solutions firm Symantec. Ransomware, a kind of malicious software, encrypts files in a user’s computer and blocks access until the user pays a certain sum of money.

The user has to pay between USD 300-500 (Rs 18,000-30,000) to get access to computer files. “India has evolved from law enforcement e-mails (seen largely in 2013) to crypto-ransomware which encrypts files. India is the third-highest country to receive ransomware attacks in Asia with over 60,000 attacks last year,” Symantec India Director Technology Sales Tarun Kaura told PTI.

This translates into 170 attacks per day and seven per hour, he explained. “About 86 per cent of ransomware attacks in India are crypto-ransomware,” he said. Numbers for the previous year are not available. Globally, ransomware attacks grew a staggering 113 percent in 2014.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Volume 20, digital extortion is on the rise. “India’s growing social media population proved to be a ready base for cybercriminals last year, making it the second most targeted country for social media scams. Over 80 per cent of these scams were shared manually as attackers took advantage of people’s willingness to trust content shared by their friends,” he said.

Symantec saw an increase in the number of attacks on key sectors like financial services (17.1 per cent, up from 11.1 percent in 2013) and transportation and communications (4.4 per cent, up from 0.8 per cent in 2013).

“Despite higher security awareness, Indian metros reported close to 65 per cent of infections across cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi,” he added.