14:00 GMT +321 October 2019
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    A worker watches operations at the container off-loading terminal in the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) premises in Mumbai (File)

    Ransomware Halts Cargo Movement at India's Largest Port

    © AFP 2019 / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE
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    India’s largest port, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, has been forced to shut down one out of its three operations following ransomware cyber-attack on the network of one terminal operated by Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Authorities at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust are clearing cargo manually as the system is unable to identify which shipment belongs to whom. In the last year alone, India has witnessed four sophisticated ransomware cyber-attacks, including an attack of WannaCry virus that had infected up to 40,000 computers.

    "The private terminal operator has informed [us] that this disruption is a consequence of a worldwide disruption [caused by] a cyber-attack. While the terminal operator is taking steps to address the issues disrupting the operations, it is anticipated that there could be [a problem with] in-bound and out-bound container cargo," the Indian Shipping Ministry said in a statement.

    "We have been taking proactive steps… we have sent out advisories (on the cyber-attack and the malware)… India is not [heavily] affected at this stage," Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's Information and Technology Minister, said.

    These multiple attacks are happening at a time when India is moving towards its biggest tax reform. From July 1 onwards, all details of sale-purchase transactions of 1.3 billion people will go online.

    "The impact of these attacks was minimal because of a low level of digitization. As digitization is increasing at a much faster rate, the risk of cyber-attacks would be higher due to a low level of cyber security investment," Manoj Gairola, a Delhi-based cyber expert, told Sputnik.

    Last week, India's industry group FICCI in collaboration with Pinkerton released a survey report which finds ‘Information and Cyber Insecurity' as the biggest risk in 2017.

    "Information & Cyber Insecurity has become more pronounced due to the shift that the nation is undergoing towards digitization of various assets and services being delivered via the Internet and mobile platforms; and the ever-present loopholes that hackers breach upon. The WannaCry malware incident has been, by far, the worst incident this year in which several systems were attacked, both of the public and the private sectors. The focus should be to create robust security mechanism to address cyber-security challenge," FICCI said.

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    ransomware, cybersecurity, India
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