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‘SBI ATMs not affected by ransomware’




New Delhi, May 17:  Amid reports of several ATMs remaining shut due to a possible virus attack by WannaCry ransomware, the largest public lender of the country State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday said that it has not been affected at all by the malware and all its ATMs were fully functional.

“We have not been impacted at all. None of our ATMs have been asked to shut down,” SBI Chief Information Officer Mrutyunjay Mahapatra told IANS.

SBI has close to 59,000 ATMs out of over two lakh ATMs in the country.

Mahapatra said that 80-90 per cent of the old ATMs have already got the security patch, and the remaining are being updated, but none of the ATMs have been shut down as SBI has a secure closed loop network and robust firewalls.

“80-90 per cent of the old ATMs have already got the security patch. Wherever remaining, our engineers are updating. We are doing a review, and putting additional security patch if needed,” he said.

“Ours is a close-looped network, where all servers end to end are ours. We are dealing with public trust and public money, so we are very careful about it. Our security network is very high and we have very robust firewalls. We run anti-malware quite often,” Mahapatra told IANS.

The ransomware is said to affect the ATMs which were installed 5-7 years back and are running on the Windows XP software. The newer ATMs which run on Windows 10 are said to be safe from the malware attack.

“Roughly our 50 per cent ATMs are running on Windows XP. ATMs installed 5-7 years back have Windows XP, but they are not greatly vulnerable. Malware files are large in size and cannot travel through firewall. However, for Windows XP, new security patch has been updated,” he said.

Mahapatra claimed that the ransomware attack was aimed at harming the economy but the banking sector has not been affected by it.

“Malware attack means they want to bring down the system. Their idea is to bring down the economy. This is more mischief than reality. As the CIO of SBI, to my knowledge no such thing has come to my notice. To my knowledge other banks are also not affected,” he said.

“There is no need to panic. Taking advantage of this situation, miscreants may send mails to reveal their old password, that should be avoided,” he added.

ATM manufacturer AGS Transact Technologies, which has an installed base of 60,000 ATMs in the country, said they were working with the partner banks to secure their network and updating of the security patch.

“We ensure regular updates of the security patches on the servers to protect all ATMs in our network from such attacks. Additionally, we are working closely with our partner banks to secure their network and eliminate chances of any vulnerability,” Mahesh Patel, President and Group Chief Technology Officer, AGS Transact Technologies, told IANS.

“The WannaCry attack is a wake-up call for all countries including India, which is at the cusp of digital revolution. It brings to the fore the collective need for Indian companies to be more vigilant and treat cyber-security as one of their highest priorities,” he said.


By Meghna Mittal 

(Meghna Mittal can be reached at [email protected])


JNU students take out rally to demand VC’s removal



jnu protest
JNU Student protesting against Vice Chancellor

New Delhi, Feb 20: At least 1,000 students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) embarked on a march towards the Human Resource Development Ministry on Tuesday, demanding the removal of their Vice Chancellor.

The students began their march from Mandi House with slogans, banners, and placards denouncing Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar for his “autocratic” ways in bringing an attendance rule into force which the students alleged was never passed in the Academic Council meeting.

More than 150 Delhi Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed along with a water cannon truck at the Shastri Bhavan which houses several ministries.


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Soon, Parliament House to have a creche



Parliament Of India

New Delhi, Feb 20: The Parliament House will soon open a creche facility on its premises so as to have an inclusive work environment for its women employees.

A 1,500 square-feet creche in the House will be guarded by professionals, ensuring all-round development of children and will also have a separate feeding room for mothers, a statement by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry said on Tuesday.

The work is in progress and a senior official has also been deputed to oversee the work under the direct supervision of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The statement said this development will bring an impact by pushing other private establishments, Central and state-owned organisations to set up same facilities.


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Spell out stand on MPs’ salaries, allowances: SC to Central Government



Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Feb 20: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a “last opportunity” to the Central government to spell out its stand on constituting a permanent mechanism for determining sitting parliamentarians’ salaries and allowances.

Giving a seven days time to the Centre, a bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul stated the affidavit filed by the union government on September 1, 2017, had not made its position clear,  news IANS quoted.

“Government of India policy is dynamic. However, you can’t modify it every day,” Justice Chelameswar said to senior advocate Ajit Sinha, who appeared for the Centre and told the bench that the issue was under the consideration of the government.

“You have not stated your position. Your affidavit in September 2017 was not clear about a permanent mechanism. When are you going to do it,” Justice Kaul asked, as Sinha sought a week, for the last time, for the Centre to firm up its stand.

“What is the government’s view on it? You want it or don’t want it? Your counter-affidavit (response) does not disclose anything,” Justice Kaul observed.

Apparently not happy about the delaying by the Centre on the issue, the apex said: “You may not have a last word, but you may have a last opportunity” to state your position.

Appearing for the NGO Lok Prahari, its General Secretary S.N. Shukla said that it has been 11 years since all parties in a meeting convened by the Lok Sabha Speaker had unanimously decided to have a mechanism for fixing the salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament but nothing has moved so far.

The court is hearing a plea by Lok Prahari demanding a permanent mechanism for fixing salaries and allowances of MPs. It has contended that lawmakers can’t decide on their own.

The Plea has also sought direction that former MPs can’t be given pension and other benefits after they have ceased to be the representatives of the people.

Further proceedings will take place on March 5.


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