Hacking: Is It Time to Panic Yet? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Hacking: Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Katie Jones discusses the need for more appropriate protection of online material, in light of the recent cyber-attack on the NHS

If someone asked you what you would imagine a dangerous criminal to be like, you probably wouldn't consider someone without a face. Someone who wouldn't need to enter the building to cause complete chaos. One or many intellectual geniuses who are either greedy, bored or deluded.

In the last month, we have seen the NHS - already on its knees - become a victim of a massive cyber-attack which led to numerous operations and appointments cancelled, ambulances diverted and up to forty hospitals infected with the ransom-ware. It was initially thought that the attack was aimed specifically at the NHS but it was in fact part of an international incident, showing just how vulnerable the NHS and the sensitive patient data it holds really are.

When you consider the fact that lives could have been lost by this infiltration and personal patient data could have been leaked, it shows how seriously society needs to take cyber-crime

On top of this, the hero of the day, who stopped the spread of the ransomware, did it in his words “by accident”. When you consider the fact that lives could have been lost by this infiltration and personal patient data could have been leaked, it shows how seriously society needs to take cyber-crime.

It is thought the NHS was so vulnerable because most (90%) of the trusts were using obsolete systems which hadn’t been able to apply recent security updates. This is an example of where the NHS desperately needs more funding and where the security of computer-networks needs to be taken far more seriously. The ironic thing is that this is not completely unheard of or unexpected either. Major companies like Yahoo, Sony and eBay have all been victims of major hacking crimes in recent years and with the increased amount of digitalisation and with society becoming more and more dependent on technology, we really should have been prepared.

So perhaps a fresh outlook on the way we treat the digital world would be better - treat it with the same caution that you would treat the outside world with. You wouldn’t run a large company without properly working CCTV outside the building or security guards in the lobby. You wouldn’t give your details to a stranger in a mask. We shouldn’t be in a position where we are having our private information stolen or held ransom by someone without a face.

Article by Katie Jones 



Published

13th June 2017 at 10:46 am



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