Security

Recently there has been a lot in the general media about security after the Wannacry virus outbreak that affected, amongst many others, the NHS.

A lot has been said, a lot factually incorrect, and with most of these things it is a lot simpler than you imagine to understand what has occurred.

So, by means of an education at a low level, and trying to keep this tech lite, here goes.

The Wannacry virus was a particualrly good one, one of its best features was it's ability to spread itself from computer to computer. That's not actually that hard, I'm writing a blog post on a tablet on a train, connected to a web page which is on another computer. Everything we do connects computers so a virus being able to spread is actually far easier now than ever before. We live on the internet now.

Once the virus infected a machine it then encrypted the files and offered you a chance to get the key to decrypt your files back in exchange for a payment - basically old fashioned blackmail. Except you have no idea who you are dealing with and if once you have made a payment if the decryption works. But basically, that's the end of your PC and files.

A British IT geek who mionitors these things, spotted this virus spreading, captured it, looked at it and worked out a potential route to stop it. The details of this aren't relevant but his action is, he stopped the spread of this significantly. He's a hero.

Now we get to the factual inaccuracies.

NHS were targetted - NO they weren't, they were just using old systems that couldn't have been maintained.

Government withdrew funding for support - No they didn't, the NHS actually got an extra year of support for Windows XP, and the Government paid for that. After that Microsoft withdrew support for a 14 year old operating system. The NHS had an extra year to sort.

The 'Hero' wanted to remain annoymous so the gutter press tracked him down and printed his picture and said where he lived. He's now had to move as after all cyber criminals are... criminals.

Microsoft aren't to blame - they had released a patch in March and so if you keep your computer upo to date with windows update, the virus would not have been able to run EVEN IF you had no Anti Virus in place.

Thankfully none of our systems the we manage and monitor we're affected. Why? Well we ensure all devices have anti virus protection, we make sure that all mail is filtered as often viruses are passed on email, we ensure all run windows update and we prevent access to known bad websites.

4 things you can all do, for not much money, and it should keep you safe.