It wasn’t only the NHS, although that’s what has grabbed all of the headlines today. (Anything to do with a General Election?). Clearly the way in which this virus has brought our health system to its knees is shocking and possibly tragic, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.
The cyber attack driven by the WannaCry virus has already struck an estimated 60 million computers in 100 countries across the world. These computers are now locked unless they pay $300 each.
Some experts are saying that another 100 million computers could be affected over the coming days. That’s a lot of people who will stop thinking that “all of this fuss about digital security” is “not my problem.”
Did you remember to make secure back-up on Friday? If not, you may have lost all your files.
Let’s face it, the few people who actually did make a recent back-up would also have kept their software up-to-date and wouldn’t have been affected by the cyber attack anyway. But what about the normal people, the ones who went out for a drink, watched TV or played with their kids instead?
Apparently, it is – sort of – possible to de-bug your computer after this attack, but you do need a degree in computer science to do it.
Again. What about ordinary people?
Paying the money (in BitCoin) doesn’t guarantee that the problem will be resolved and it isn’t clear that the hackers will be traced. For most of us, losing the contents of our computers will cost a huge amount of wasted time at best and losing important documents may have more serious consequences as is happening for the businesses which have been affected.
Digital security software firms are laughing all of the way to the bank. Even more depressing is the fact that Microsoft (whose Windows software is the weak link) won’t be held responsible for this – they will also have a massive sales spike as businesses and individuals frantically try to update older versions of the software and renew maintenance licenses.
My new novel, Best Eaten Cold, is a psychological thriller which reminds us how digital security issues can affect the lives ordinary people. It is somewhat depressing to see how much it is proving to be a novel for our times.