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International cyber attack could yet see more cases



The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is warning that more cases of ransomware may yet be reported as countries around the world attempt to get to grips with the ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack on Friday that wreaked havoc for thousands of private and public sector organisations.

The cyber attack hit 150 countries, as companies faced demands to pay £230 to return control of their files and systems. It is estimated over 200,000 computers have been hit so far.

The WannaCry ransomware warned those infected that the cost would double after three days and files would be deleted within seven days if no payment is made.

In a statement, the NCSC said that more infections could become known at a ‘significant scale’ due to attacks that have yet to be detected and spread throughout networks.

A Cobra meeting chaired by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt is to be held to discuss the cyber attack.

Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, described cyber security as a “huge issue” as he arrived in Brussels ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

He commented: “A huge amount of work goes on between the UK Government and all our friends and partners around Europe, and indeed in the United States, where they are now stepping up their precautions against cyber attacks of these kinds.”

The cyber attacks were described by Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith as a “wake up call” for the governments across the world.

Mr Smith urged users to update their systems. He said: “As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems.”

Last month, UK Construction Online’s Matt Brown spoke with Vince Warrington, founder of Protective Intelligence, about the evolving cyber threats facing unsuspecting companies.

Mr Warrington warned of the vulnerability of SMEs in the construction industry, saying: “SMEs are particularly vulnerable to ransomware. It is almost like a virus with a specific design. Once you become infected, it then encrypts all the data that it can find on your computer and servers. Until you pay the ransom, you cannot use that data and it essentially turns your computers into stone.

“There are only two ways out of this; the first is to restore all your data from a backup, which is time consuming and even for an SME, could take days to recover all the information. That’s assuming the back ups are current and haven’t been also been corrupted.

“The other option is to pay the ransom. Most authorities would recommend that you don’t do that. As a last resort, you might be tempted to do so but there are no guarantees that your data would be released. The hackers already have what they want – your money.”

 

The message is clear, industry, government and public need to be aware of their cyber security requirements and keep up-to-date. Cyber Essentials can put you on the path to a safer digital future.

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