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Google’s Railwire Wi-Fi service among worst hit networks by WannaCry ransomware attack: eScan report

Google’s Wi-Fi service provided by RailTel is currently available in 100 railway stations across India.

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The WannaCry ransomware managed to affect over 200,000 systems across 150 countries. WannaCry ransomware would take control of one’s system and the attackers demanded ransom of $300 and $600 in Bitcoin for their encrypted files. India was one of the victim countries and even emerged as one of the top countries to be affected, according to a report by eScan. The report has also shared statistics about which states were hit the most and also which internet networks were impacted.

According to the report by eScan, Madhya Pradesh was the most affected state comprising 32.63 percent followed by Maharashtra with 18.84 percent and Delhi with 8.76 percent. Popular places in Maharashtra like Lord Balaji Temple in Tirupati, and the state’s police department were affected by the WannaCry ransomware. More states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat made it to the list. While systems of railway offices and village panchayats in Kerala were affected by the WannaCry ransomware, it did not make it to the list.

eScan report on WannaCry ransomware

Amongst the internet service providers (ISPs), the survey resulted in a mix of private and public companies providing internet connectivity. In addition to the WannaCry ransomware, the data shows results of other ransomware infiltrated in these networks as well. Google’s Wi-Fi service in Indian railway stations provided by RailTel topped the list as the network most affected with 32.14 percent of the entire share. Airtel comes second with 12.83 percent, followed by Tata with 3.86 percent. The list continues with telcos like BSNL, MTNL, Reliance Communication, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and more. ALSO READ: WannaCry Ransomeware attack: Experts blame outdated, unpatched servers, see it as a wake up call for India

eScan report on WannaCry Google RailTel most affected

Google’s free Wi-Fi service provided by RailTel emerging as the most affected internet network brings in light the long debate of public Wi-Fi networks being unsafe. Public Wi-Fi networks have always been criticized for putting one’s personal data into risk as it runs on an open network. As of December 2016, Google RailTel’s free Wi-Fi service is available in 100 railway stations across India.

Google said that it has over 5 million monthly users on their free Wi-Fi service and over 15,000 first time users connecting to the network every day. The huge figures of people being connected to the free Wi-Fi network only go on to say the abundance of devices and data at risk of being affected by ransomware. ALSO READ: Express Wi-Fi in India: We need Facebook, Google and many more to drive a data revolution

This comes as a wake-up call to Google and RailTel on implementing stricter measures to provide safe internet connectivity. It also comes as a pre-warning to the government which is slated to launch RailWire Saathi that will provide Wi-Fi connectivity across 7,000 railway stations in India. RailWire Saathi will provide other services as well like e-commerce, online banking, e-ticketing and Aadhaar. This further adds more risk as these services require credentials like passwords, OTPs and other sensitive data. It remains to be seen how the government will manage to provide a safe environment on a public network for such services. ALSO READ: Indian Railways to set up Wi-Fi hotspots across 7,000 stations under Railwire Saathi project

  • Published Date: May 24, 2017 12:40 PM IST