Do state institutions have the resources to fight hackers?

Public sector has lessons to learn as hospital trusts and GPs struggle to recover from ransomware attack

Last October the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust was subject to a cyber-attack that saw it forced to shut down its IT systems, resulting in the cancellation of almost 3,000 patient appointments.

Until last Friday the incident was one of the few known examples of an attack on the NHS using ransomware, a type of software that encrypts a computer system’s files and refuses to unlock them until a payment is made.

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How to escape the online spies

Whether you’re tweeting, shopping or just browsing, internet companies are monitoring you. Here’s how to evade the snoopers

Nobody likes being spied on. When you’re innocently browsing the web, it’s deeply unpleasant to think that faceless technology corporations are monitoring and recording your every move.

While such data collection is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s all right. There are plenty of things you might prefer to keep to yourself, such as your income, your sexuality, your political views or your membership of the Yoko Ono fanclub. For an indication of what can be inferred from your online habits, take a look at the Apply Magic Sauce tool produced by Cambridge Psychometrics Centre, which produces a profile of your personality based on Facebook and Twitter data.

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Ransomware attack reveals breakdown in US intelligence protocols, expert says

Attack renews debate over agencies such as the NSA leaving vulnerabilities in place for strategic purposes rather than alerting companies immediately

The attack that temporarily crippled the NHS in Britain and dozens of other institutions across Europe and Russia reveals the failure of the US government’s protocols for warning software developers and the private sector about system vulnerabilities, a cyber-security expert told the Guardian.

Related: ‘Accidental hero’ halts ransomware attack and warns: this is not over

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Cyber-attack that hit NHS sparks bitter political battle over health spending

Labour and Lib Dems claim Conservatives’ austerity squeeze has left service with outdated and unprotected IT systems

The cyber-attack that crippled NHS systems and forced operations to be cancelled throughout the UK on Saturday has become a bitterly contested election issue, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats blaming the crisis on the government’s failure to upgrade hospital computers.

A Cobra emergency ministerial meeting held on Saturday afternoon heard that 48 NHS organisations – a fifth of the total – were caught up in the attack, which spread to 99 countries.

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