The Centre has asked Microsoft for a “one-time special” discount on its latest operating system to help users in India guard their systems against malware and ransomware attacks, PTI reported. The software giant has agreed to the request in principle, National Cyber Security Adviser Gulshan Rai said.
The government “wants to incentivise the common man to upgrade their systems” Rai said.
“We have asked Microsoft to offer a one-time special pricing, so that people are able to replace their old operating systems with the latest operating systems (Windows 10),” Rai told PTI. The official said that India is pitching for “less than a quarter of the current price” to ensure people are able to guard their systems against ransomware attacks, Reuters reported. Microsoft representatives are yet to comment on the announcement as it could pave the way for similar requests from around the world.
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10 Home, is priced at around Rs 8,000 while the professional version can set users back by around Rs 14,999. While lakhs of users in India rely on the Windows operating system, only a few have upgraded to the latest version.
A report had said India was the worst-affected in the Asia-Pacific region during the latest global cyber attack called Petya that first targeted systems in Ukraine. The ransomware forced India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to shut down operations at one of its terminals on June 28. Rampant piracy in the country also makes systems even more susceptible to breaches.
In May, the WannaCry ransomware virus had crippled systems worldwide and affected more than 150 countries. It had locked data on computers it struck, which could only be released after a paying a ransom in bitcoins. The major cyber attack had targeted several nations, bringing operations at hospitals, telecommunications firms and other companies to a halt.