With the ramifications of Friday’s cyber-attack on the NHS still being keenly felt today, maybe other businesses and organisations will finally sit up and take notice of the very real threat hackers pose.
As everyone must be aware by now, the NHS was part of a global ransomware cyber-attack which locked users' files and demanded payment to allow access.
In England, 47 trusts reported problems at hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies. Thirteen NHS organisations in Scotland were also affected.
Some hospitals were forced to cancel treatment and appointments and, unable to use computers, many doctors resorted to using pen and paper.
Meanwhile, Fedex and the main telecoms operator in Spain were among 200,000 other known victims with the attack spreading to 150 countries, including Russia, the US and China.
While cyber-crimes have been in the news before, this one has hit the headlines like no other because it dared to attack the very cornerstone of our society and potentially put vulnerable people at risk.
Meanwhile experts, including the anonymous cyber security researcher who managed to halt this particular ransomware attack, have warned that more are likely to follow…maybe even as soon as today.
People who work in the cyber security industry will feel a mixture of emotions. Firstly, they will be strangely grateful that this incident has brought the reality of the threat of cyber-crime to the fore, but also, secondly, dismay that an incident like this one has come as a surprise.
Just ask Bank Tesco, Wonga, Carphone Warehouse…to name a few, these companies and many more have fallen victim to hackers and have lost money and customers details, and damaged their reputations in the process.
Tip of the iceberg
However, these attacks are frankly the tip of the iceberg. UK firms are the second biggest victims of cyber-crime worldwide. According to Kroll's Global Fraud and Risk Report, the UK has the second highest rate of cyber incidents, with 92% of executives questioned saying they had experienced an attack or information loss in the last year, compared with the global average of 85%. And yet we still seem shocked about Friday’s attack!
While none of us want to see any organisation, especially the NHS, or any business suffer at the hands of hackers, the reality is that cyber-crime WILL hit you at some point. The public and private sector must sit up and take notice…and be prepared to invest in cyber security.
Fifth and sixth utilities – cyber security and data backup
Just as organisations and business pay for utilities, and I include internet connectivity alongside water, electricity and gas, they must now add cyber protection and data backup as the fifth and sixth utilities to the list or suffer the consequences.
If you do not believe me, just read, listen to or watch any news report today and all the experts will be asking you to do the same.
Get cyber security and disaster recovery plans on the agenda…and keep it there. If you need further advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.