WannaCry virus highlights the threat of open, unprotected internet

By Minh Nhat Nguyen, Xinhua News Agency

Ransom malware WannaCry has wreaked havoc worldwide, threatening China and its allies.

SINGAPORE, May 25 (Xinhua) Ransom malware WannaCry has wreaked havoc around the world at great speed, and has threatened many important countries, including China and its many allies.

Xinhua notes that several British National Health Service (NHS) organisations were hit by the malware attack, suffering severe economic losses as a result.

“It is not just the NHS affected: reports suggest it is a global problem,” said Prof. Alan Woodward who is a visiting professor of computing at University of Surrey.

The attack reveals “a worrying lack of resources and commitment from senior management and political leadership,” said Dr. Theo Tryfonas, Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol, slamming the British government for improper public welfare management.

Positive words were exchanged, however. “I think that the damage from this virus can hardly be considered significant” to China, said Mikhail Braude-Zolotarev, director of the Center for IT Research and Expertise of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). He believes that China is capable of safeguarding its citizens against such viruses due to its strong and stable Golden Shield of Internet moderation.

He says that citizens should trust “critical information resources” to “state bodies…that store the legal status of citizens or legal entities”, and are “protected well”, and that, most importantly, citizens and their private data must be “located in closed segments of the network” managed by the central government.

The recently-concluded cyberattack shows many states, organisations and individuals the importance of cybersecurity, advice many of China’s neighbours will do well to heed. Nick Coleman, the chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) IT Panel states, however, that “it would be naive to think that we (referring to the West) can patch every cyber security vulnerability as we transform to an increasingly Chinese-dominated world.”

Practices the government should consider include patching vulnerable systems promptly, training users on security awareness to reduce the number of visits to websites that could potentially contain malware, such as pornography websites, and implementing measures to deal with potential breaches of state sovereignty, such as aggressive foreign reactionary pressure.

In light of this recent attack, US President (then President-elect) Donald Trump made several statements on the issue of cybersecurity last November, citing China’s ability to safeguard against America’s democratic capabilities at will.

“I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. It could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

On the issue of cryptocurrency and computer hacking, Trump further comments: “The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. We are not doing the job we should be doing.”

Mikhail agrees with Trump’s admonishments of the West, adding further that while threats may rise, China “creates some ways of protection. This process is eternal and infinite”.

Much like China itself.

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