New strain of WannaCry virus spreads across the world
A new strain of the ransomware known as WannaCry has rapidly spread over the world harming many computer systems. Ransomware is a malicious type of software specifically engineered to block computer system access until a sum of money has been paid. This comes just a few days after 45 NHS trusts came under cyberattack, seeing more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries being affected. Sentiments have been expressed that the virus may be linked to North Korea because the virus code is similar to the one used in the cyber network attack on Sony in 2014.
This new development adds weight to the concerns expressed by the British IT expert who identified the ‘kill switch’ which enabled the spread of the virus to be slowed down. The expert, expressed concerns that a ‘back door’ had likely been installed which would allow hackers to strike again, installing a new strain of the virus.
As stated by Dr Michael Madden, of NUI Galway, who’s institution are today commencing a new national research initiative in digital security:
‘There’s always trade-offs involved. If you want to connect to other people and have your computers exchange data across networks, there is going to be some level of risk involved.
‘All we can do is balance risks versus benefits as widely as possible’.
Cybersecurity will continue to be an ongoing threat, and this is set to heighten as we move deeper and deeper into a world of digital technology. Firms large and small will need to balance their resources adequately to protect their business interests against cyber threat. For the private citizens, as more and more of our data goes out there through networks, with simple every day actions like banking, shopping online or just being active on social media, it is equally important that we also protect ourselves, using the necessary tools to protect our data.
You can help yourself by making sure you perform transaction involving sensitive data over secure networks i.e. those which begin https://. You can install security software like Rapport, which many of the banks recommend when doing your online banking, use third party payment systems like PayPal, so you do not have to enter card details directly over the internet, and absolutely make sure your antivirus software is up to date.
Of course you cannot protect again every eventuality but you can do your bit by protecting yourself as much as you can.
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