Global ransomware virus hits 19 Kenyan firms

2017-05-19 21:15:54 GMT2017-05-20 05:15:54(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 19 organizations in Kenyahave been affected by the ransomware virus in an ongoing globalhacking attack.

Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) on Friday issued theupdate, noting the WannaCryptor virus has infected networks andcomputers the East African nation.

The number is an increase from the previous five reported on May13 by the authority in an attack that has affected over half amillion users globally as anxiety mounts amid today's deadlineissued by the hackers.

"So far, the National KE-CIRT has received 19 cases of instanceswhere the WannaCryptor virus has infected networks and computers inKenya. The authority will continue working with stakeholders tomitigate the effects of such instances while encouraging parties toput in place preventive mechanisms," said the authority'sdirector-general Francis Wangusi in a statement Friday.

Information and Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary JoeMucheru had named Kenyan banks as among institutions targeted inthe large-scale attack against computers worldwide that began lastweek.

He noted the software encrypts systems and denies the owneraccess to them, while the perpetrators demand payment using Bitcointo allow access.

"Individuals and organizations are discouraged from paying theransom, as this does not guarantee access will be restored," saidWangusi.

The authority formed the National Kenya Computer IncidentResponse Team (National KE-CIRT) to help in the coordination offighting the virus.

CA said National KE-CIRT is working with other governmentagencies, banks, telecoms, academia and information technologyexperts to enhance security of Kenya's cyber infrastructure.

Almost 80 percent of Kenya's servers are based on Windows,another 16 percent on unix or the Linux variant, making the countryvulnerable.

Industry experts noted that more companies are likely to betargeted before the end of the hacker's deadline, but addedtracking the firms may present a challenge as many businesses arelikely to shy away from publicizing the attacks.

Tens of thousands of computer users around the world are anxiousas the deadline to pay ransom issued by hackers is set to endtoday.

WannaCry has exposed the widespread susceptibility of computersacross the globe, with Kenyan experts asking firms to backup datain flash drives and cloud. Enditem