Teach per­ils of ran­somware at school

Computer Active (UK) - - Letters -

I would like to thank Com­put­er­ac­tive for the ex­cel­lent analysis of the Wan­nacry ran­somware at­tack in Is­sue 503. It was re­as­sur­ing to read an ex­pla­na­tion of what had hap­pened that wasn’t stuffed with jar­gon and so-called ‘facts’.

Dur­ing the week­end of the at­tack I looked in vain for an in­tel­li­gent re­sponse. News pro­grammes on TV tried their best, but they all had the same prob­lem. The pre­sen­ters were mostly elo­quent, but lack­ing in knowl­edge, and seem­ingly proud of their tech­ni­cal ig­no­rance.

They were in­ter­view­ing se­cu­rity ex­perts who suf­fered from the usual prob­lem of ex­perts. They ob­vi­ously knew what they were talk­ing about, but were in­ca­pable of ar­tic­u­lat­ing it in the kind of lan­guage or­di­nary peo­ple use. It was al­most like they had too much in­for­ma­tion in their brains and their tongues couldn’t cope.

I think you were right to pre­dict that Wan­nacry will be the first of many large at­tacks over the next few years. I know that a lot of peo­ple blame the el­derly for click­ing dodgy links in emails, but I think schools should do more to ed­u­cate chil­dren. There’s a lot of em­pha­sis on warn­ing kids about the dan­gers of so­cial me­dia, but very lit­tle about how to avoid mal­ware. The next gen­er­a­tion needs to be bet­ter in­formed. If any­thing good comes out of the Wan­nacry at­tack, it’s that the word ‘ran­somware’ has now en­tered com­mon par­lance. As a Com­put­er­ac­tive sub­scriber I first en­coun­tered it sev­eral years ago. But I no­ticed how many of my friends who aren’t heavy com­puter users started to ask me whether I had heard of “this thing called ran­somware”. Hope­fully it’s no longer seen as some­thing only tech ex­perts should be wor­ried about.

Ed­die Coburn

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