MAY 18 ― The WannaCry ransomware attack that broke out on May 12 has infected tens of thousands of computers worldwide, as hackers intentionally encrypted computer files and demanded ransoms for their decryption by way of exploiting a security loophole in the Windows operating system.
The extent of influence has been described as “unprecedented”. Other than affected businesses which cannot function normally, even hospitals and schools from the Americas all the way to Asia have not been spared from the scourge.
As the incident took place shortly before the weekend, the world was in jitters over whether things would deteriorate when computers were to be switched on Monday, as the culprits behind had yet to be identified.
Fortunately the situation was not as bad as previously thought, probably because networking experts at companies and government agencies around the world updated their softwares over the weekend to block the infiltration of the virus.
Cybersecurity experts have nevertheless warned that an enhanced version of WannaCry could stage a comeback anytime to ravage more extensive havoc, ringing once again the alarm bell globally.
Enforcers worldwide are currently working hand-in-hand to pursue the hackers initiating the attack while launching criminal investigation into the case.
Microsoft was fast in lashing out at the National Security Agency (NSA) for the security loophole exploitable by hackers. The alleged leaking of EternalBlue exploit, believed to be developed by the US authorities, has resulted in massive public damages. It is learned that this is not the first time government resources have been breached.
As Microsoft president Brad Smith has said, governments worldwide must at once inform the developer the moment a security loophole has been detected, instead of quietly selling, storing, using, or allowing irresponsible individuals to gain access to it.
In other words, while governments are enjoying the convenience from technology, they need to have a sense of responsibility and not to downplay the destruction security loopholes in computer networks could bring.
Do bear in mind that almost every single operation in this world is reliant on computer networking, and in the darkest corners of the networking world lurks an evil force that is waiting for an opportunity to strike, and profit from it.
Governments and major software users must make sure they update their systems and security programs regularly, as hackers may exploit the security loopholes in existing systems. Unfortunately majority of users have failed to do this.
To securely plug the loopholes from being exploited by hackers and evolving into a large-scale networking disaster, it is utterly essential for the technology sector and software customers, including governments and corporate uses, to join forces to prevent this from happening.
On the international governmental cooperation level, the Group of Seven (G7) has urged the world to step up cooperation to combat hacking activities and take immediate actions to plug security loopholes in global financial system.
Countries worldwide, including Malaysia, must jump into action before it gets too late, as risks of global economy being subjected to cyber attacks become bigger and bigger. ― Sin Chew Daily
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.