Cyber experts should increase efforts following ransomware attacks

Governments and computer users across the world should take IT security more seriously, according to cyber experts from Oxford University.

Last week, a wave of ransomware attacks incapacitated computers across the world. The UK was affected when NHS computers in Oxfordshire hospitals and surgeries were locked during these cyberattacks, which led many to ask who was responsible for failing to stop them.

According to Peter Knight, CIO of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the organisation has strong cybersecurity measures in place and is working efficiently to protect all systems. Its IT team is carefully monitoring the situation, as protecting patients’ confidential information is a priority. Mr Knight also pointed out that NHS Digital has established a dedicated helpline for those who were affected by the attacks, and suppliers are offering IT support to find solutions.

Dr Ravishankar Borgaonkar, Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science, opined that the world is spending a lot of time digitising society but not using sufficient resources to keep systems secure. He blamed poor network management for the recent ransomware attacks.

It is imperative that experts try to improve IT security programming rather than blame the individuals who click email attachments that start malicious incidents, said Andrew Martin, Professor of Systems Security at Kellogg College. He added that systems should not be vulnerable to such exploits, and users should take IT security warnings more seriously.

Professor Martin believes that digital security experts have to put in more effort to ensure that better security measures are available. With the Internet of Things becoming the norm, measures should be taken to protect all types of appliances that are connected to the Internet. Otherwise, attacks such as the recent ones will result in physical damage as well as informational damage.


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