In today’s digital age, the line between cyberspace and reality is getting blurred as technology advances at a blistering pace. Everyday life as we know it is very much dependent on technology and computer systems and software.
Technology also shapes the very world around us; from tweets and posts on social media that influences the geopolitics of the world and our social constructs, daily financial infrastructure and transactions, daily activities at home and work. Dare I say that we have become slaves to technology, and without it, it is hard to imagine how we can get by with our lives.
As such, when a devastating cyber-attack known as the WannaCry ransomware (a.k.a WannaCrypt, WanaCrypt0r 2.0, Wanna Decryptor) targeting Microsoft Windows operating system was detected last week, it has hit at more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries worldwide, crippling not only individual users, it basically shut down businesses, public and government agencies, causing unprecedented havoc upon its unsuspecting victims.
Attackers used and modified cyberweapons (codes) that were stolen from the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked online last month. Although Microsoft said that it had already patched the vulnerabilities exposed as a result of the theft, now, several variants of the WannaCry ransomware is suspected to emerge and is predicted to cause further damages worldwide.
The growing threat of the ever sophisticated cyber-attacks has forced businesses and government organizations to rethink its strategy in dealing with such cyber-threats. Furthermore, the ease of access of such cyberattack codes, downloadable and shareable within cyberspace, the unpredictability of the attacks and the difficulties in managing, enforcing and thwarting such attacks has made cyber-attacks one of the most feared form of threat in the world. More so then the threat of terrorism and plagues.
So how do we deal with cyber threats? Well, most responses are still passive and reactive: systems are patched, antiviruses are created to detect possible threats, and public announcements on lessons of how to protect against current and future attack. There is also the difficulty in tracking attackers until they actually attack, let alone the legal and logistic complications of conducting pre-emptive self-defense strikes at possible attackers. To complicate matters further, it’s nearly impossible to anticipate a cyberattack.
For now, all that we can do is to take extra preventive and precautionary measures to protect ourselves from such attacks; back up data regularly, download and update software patches, use antispyware and antivirus software, and most importantly, remember to use safe ‘e-Practices’ and guidelines to avoid being a victim of future attacks.
Be e-Safe and stay e-Safe.