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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

WannaCry: What can you do to protect your business?

The WannaCry cyber-attack infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, affecting government, healthcare and private company systems. But how easily could it have been avoided and how can firms protect themselves against future attacks?
On the face of it, the accepted narrative seems simple. Microsoft issued a patch, or update, for the vulnerability in its older Windows operating systems in March.
If all IT departments everywhere had implemented this patch immediately, the WannaCry ransomware worm wouldn't have been able to run riot across the globe.
Although the hackers are thought to have extorted just £60,000 worth of bitcoins, the disruption was significant, with some patients having operations and appointments cancelled and some corporate data being lost for ever.
David Venable, vice-president of cyber-security at Masergy Communications, an IT services firm, is a former intelligence officer with the US National Security Agency.
He says: "There are a lot of practical challenges in deploying patch updates; from having unsupported operating systems [OSs] that don't have patches available, through to the practicalities of rolling out sweeping changes across massive networks, potentially globally.
"But these aren't new challenges - anyone running these networks should have had this solved long before now.
"This isn't rocket science; it's an oil change."
And Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, believes that the recent failings in cyber defences were more to do with lack of leadership in large organisations than lack of IT investment.
"It's frustrating frankly, because in the health sector there have been multiple ransomware attacks, in the United States, in Europe, for the last two years, long before WannaCry came along, and so the lessons should have been heeded by now," he told the BBC.
According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2017, ransomware accounts for 72% of malware incidents in the healthcare industry.
Overall, there has been a 50% rise in ransomware incidents reported in the last 12 months.

Complex systems

But how easy is it really to keep large, complex computer networks up-to-date and protected?
Nik Whitfield from security firm Panaseer says that for many large businesses, patching their systems isn't a question of turning on "auto-updates" then sitting back and relaxing.
This is because some software applications specific to their business might rely on certain versions of operating systems (OS). Updating the OS could affect how those programs function.
Source By BBC.COM



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