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Global ransomware attack could be long-awaited wake-up call
This article is part of the Computer Weekly issue of 23 May 2017
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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Features in this issue
A failure by many organisations to take cyber security seriously has long been blamed on the lack of a single significant event to shake things up. Does WannaCry fit the bill?
Computer Weekly meets with Andrey Belozerov, strategy and innovations advisor to the CIO of Moscow, to learn how the city government is taking a joined-up approach to digitisation and smart city technology
Europe-wide research finds that government departments are deeply dependent on Microsoft software and services, while attempts to migrate to open source are difficult, temporary and sometimes under the radar