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23 May 2017

Global ransomware attack could be long-awaited wake-up call

The unprecedented ransomware attack that kicked off on 12 May and almost simultaneously hit about 200,000 computers in 150 countries may finally force businesses to take cyber security seriously. It was global, indiscriminate and has had real-world consequences on businesses and high-profile public institutions such as NHS trust hospitals. In response, comment and advice has come from just about every quarter, but it all boils down to the same set of action points. The main recommendations are: Make sure security software patches are up to date. Run antivirus software. Make multiple backups of data, including offline backups. Avoid opening unknown email attachments or clicking on links in emails. At the top of everyone’s list of recommendations is patching. WannaCry exploits a known vulnerability in Microsoft Windows to spread rapidly without human intervention. Microsoft patched the “EternalBlue” server message block (SMB) vulnerability two months ahead of the attack. If all systems had been patched, the attack would not have ...

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