This isn’t my usual biotech beat, but compromising my computer can certainly affect the beat and I don’t like that. Over the last week, a nasty ransom-ware program infiltrated hundreds of thousands computer in 150 countries. It affected 20% of hospitals in the UK and much more.
I don’t understand these misfits who do this; their effects can range from severe inconvenience to mass casualties. I know of a few professors who had their life’s academic work lost due to ransomware. And what about the patients in the UK hospitals whose telemetry suddenly stopped working while they were in intensive care?
Robert Gren was working from home on Friday when, all of a sudden, his laptop stopped working.
What he initially thought was just a kink in his computer’s software was in fact part of a global ransomware attack that has affected more than 200,000 computers and caused untold havoc from China to Britain.
The global ransomware attack called “WannaCry,” which began last week and continues today, could have been avoided, or at least made much less serious, if people (and companies) kept their computer software up to date. The attack’s spread demonstrates how hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries are running outdated software that leaves them vulnerable. The victims include Britain’s National Health Service, logistics giant FedEx, Spanish telecom powerhouse Telefonica and even the Russian Interior Ministry.
When the National Security Agency began using a new hacking tool called EternalBlue, those entrusted with deploying it marveled at both its uncommon power and the widespread havoc it could wreak if it ever got loose.
There’s a huge court case you need to hear about. It might not be on your radar yet because, frankly, some of it gets pretty technical. But the outcome is likely to have enormous repercussions for online privacy, net neutrality and the economy.
Germany has always been a place for industrial invention and innovation, reflected by the creation of the concept of “Industrie 4.0” by the German Government.
Last week saw Europe’s leading technologists involved in the digitalization of industry bought together at Hannover Messe to showcase their answers to the key question faced by industrial enterprises everywhere: How can I best get my company into shape for the digital future?
In December, hackers impersonating an executive at Interscope Records, the record label owned by Universal Music Group, managed to bypass all the latest in digital defenses with a simple email.
In a carefully tailored message, the hackers urged an executive at September Management, a music management business, and another at Cherrytree Music Company, a management and record company, to send them Lady Gaga’s stem files — files used by music engineers and producers for remixing and remastering.
When the cybersecurity industry warns of digital threats to the “internet of things,” the targets that come to mind are ill-conceived, insecure consumer products like hackable lightbulbs and refrigerators. But one group of researchers has shown how hackers can perform far more serious physical sabotage: tweaking an industrial robotic arm to cost millions of dollars worth of product defects, and possibly to damage the machinery itself or its human operator.
But today, the utilities sector is under pressure to simultaneously reduce costs and improve operational performance.
Utilities are a bit late in digital innovations than retail, banking or insurance. With energy getting on the digital bandwagon with online customer engagement, smart sensors and better use of analytics, utilities are now beginning to adopt it.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order creating the American Technology Council, an organization tasked with modernizing the federal government’s IT systems and the digital services they offer U.S. citizens. This could be good news for the Department of Health and Human Services, a federal agency badly in need of an IT tune-up.