Locky virus hits 150 computers in Maharshtra Mantralaya

Maharashtra's Information Technology department has managed to contain the spread of the Locky virus, a file-encrypting ransomware, in computer systems at Mantralaya, ensuring the safety of all data are safe.

About 150 computers, mostly in the Revenue, Public Works Department had been affected as also a number of isolated computers in other departments of Mantralaya.

These computers had now been isolated and are being sent for forensic tests, principal secretary, IT department, V K Gautam, said.

Gautam said all the data on the Maharashtra Local Area Network (Maha LAN) was safe.

"The virus first showed its presence around Friday last week, which probably sneaked into the Maha LAN through a spam mail," Gautam said.

He added after it gains entry into the system, the virus starts encrypting the doc., PPT or other files into Locky files.

"When one tries to access these encrypted files, the system asks the user for lock key and then asks to pay for it in Bitcoins for granting access to the files," he said.

He said the virus was actually very dangerous for the world of finance and corporates, wherein data related to financial accounts and other sensitive information got locked and the user was asked to pay for the access to own data.

Meanwhile, the state government has announced a forensic probe to identify the source of the virus and banned private mails and use of USB drives for its 7,000 employees.

 ''The virus has attacked thousands of computers in the US and Germany and the hackers have extorted billions of dollars,'' HT reported, quoting Gautam, adding the hackers used to send emails using IDs identical to the ones of the head of the financial institutions and multinational companies.