Cyber-attacks highlight growing vulnerability of us all | Letters

Who’s to blame for the ransomware attacks? Readers suggest Microsoft, Whitehall and the NSA among others

In 2010, an agreement between Microsoft and the NHS to provide almost all Microsoft software to the service for one single fee and to keep the software updated with new releases was not renewed by the incoming coalition government (NHS targeted in global cyber-attack, 14 May). It cost a few billion, but the budget for it was there, and it saved many billions more. Microsoft also liked it, of course, as it saved it the hassle of organising multiple sales with the many different parts of the service. As I understood it, the Cabinet Office stopped it dead.

At the time, I was one of a group of NHS users consulted by those preparing the case for the arrangement to be continued. We were all shocked when it wasn’t renewed. Many people argued it was a mistake at the time. This relatively basic IT (Windows, Office, Mail, SQL server, and so forth) cost the NHS far more as a result. Further, the lack of the single agreement effectively moved the cost of upgrades on to individual hospitals, community providers, GPs and commissioners, and no new money was made available by the coalition government to help these individual units close the gap.

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Surf fan who loves pizza: anonymous hero who halted cyber-attack

Known on Twitter as Malware Tech, the 22-year-old is a self-taught computer expert who reveals little about his true identity

His online avatar is a cat in sunglasses, he drools over surf pictures from Cornwall and orders three takeaway pizzas for lunch. But unlike other home-based computer whizzes trawling the internet for amusing Twitter memes and the latest hacking strategies, the 22-year old known only as Malware Tech this weekend stopped a potentially devastating international cyber-attack in its tracks.

He wants to remain anonymous, not least because he may have got in the way of some serious international criminals, but is believed to be a malware expert working for a US company but living close to his beloved coastline in south-west England.

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Cyber-attack could escalate as working week begins, experts warn

Europol and NHS fear further disruption when workers switch on computers for first time since spread of ‘ransomware’

NHS chiefs and Europol have warned of possible fresh disruption from the global cyber-attack when workers switch on their computers for the first time at the start of the working week.

The pan-EU crime-fighting agency said the threat from the attack was escalating and predicted the number of “ransomware” victims was likely to grow across the private and public sectors.

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Coalition confirms Australian business affected by global malware attack

Dan Tehan says the government received reports of the private sector being impacted but not commonwealth organisations

An Australian business has fallen victim to a global malware attack and there are investigations into two other reports, the federal government says.

The so-called ransomware has wormed its way into thousands of computer systems in an apparent extortion plot, shutting users out unless they coughed up a payment.

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