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Lessons to learn from WannaCry attack

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-15 07:48

Lessons to learn from WannaCry attack

Students attend cyber defense class in the school in Poltsamaa, Estonia, December 4, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

ON FRIDAY, A COMPUTER VIRUS CALLED "WANNACRY" hit about 100 countries worldwide. The ransom ware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of up to $600 to restore access. Beijing News comments:

With computer security agencies taking responsive measures, the attack has weakened. Actually, the virus is not totally new-it used the EternalBlue exploit developed by the United States' National Security Agency that was stolen by hackers.

The incident teaches us at least two lessons. First, there is nothing absolutely safe in the internet age. Even if developed by law enforcers, a powerful computer attack tool is at risk of being acquired by lawbreakers.

In early 2016, there was a debate between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and some internet companies over the question of whether electronic device producers should leave a "backdoor" for legal enforcers to better strike at terrorists. Now we have the answer-No.

No one can ensure that such a "backdoor" will never be used by lawbreakers and the best choice is not to open such a door in the first place.

Second, it is important for computer users to purchase and install genuine software. If a computer user updates his or her windows operating system regularly, he or she is relatively safe. A patch released by Microsoft in March had already filled in a security loophole in the Windows operating system that could be made use of by the new virus. However, only genuine software could be updated. Computers that use pirated copies of the windows operating system have no choice; they will be exposed to the risk.

Fortunately, with the protection over copyrights strengthened, increasingly more people are acquiring the habit of using genuine products. Hopefully, next time the virus will not spread so rampantly.

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