Windows XP left open to cyber-attack on HMS Queen Elizabeth as well as in NHS? | Letters

Ministers should seek reparations from the US government and Microsoft, and invest to protect civilian infrastructure, says J Robin Hughes

Among HMS Queen Elizabeth’s vital statistics, Ian Jack mentions the use of Windows XP (Britain’s new aircraft carrier may be a vast folly – but it still provokes awe, 1 July). The Ministry of Defence denied in December 2015 that it would be used once the vessel is operational, but appears not to have informed defence secretary Michael Fallon, who during his 27 June interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme seemed unable to confirm or deny its use. He also asserted – wrongly – that the system is not vulnerable, and then blamed NHS staff for enabling the WannaCry attack in May this year through “the sloppy use of passwords”.

This obscures the fact that, apart from the criminals, others bear heavy responsibility. The US National Security Agency concealed the security problem for years, and only warned Microsoft months after it was stolen. Microsoft held back the fix for non-paying Windows XP users until after the attack. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt cancelled the support contract which could have protected the NHS. Ministers should seek reparations from the US government and Microsoft, and invest to protect civilian infrastructure.
J Robin Hughes

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Legend of Zelda Master Trials: a nice amuse-bouche that could leave fans hungry

It’s hoped first Breath of the Wild DLC will tide fans over until The Champion’s Ballad is released in December – but it might not sate them for long

The first downloadable content for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a neat extension to the game for those who’ve exhausted its considerable pleasures, but ultimately just an appetiser to tide you over until the real meat – The Champion’s Ballad – lands this Christmas.

At the heart of the expansion is the Trial of the Sword, a multi-tiered test of your combat ability with more than a passing resemblance to one of the standout segments of the main game, Eventide Island. That locale stripped players of their items, weapons and armour, and tasked them with rebuilding their capacity from scratch: desperately foraging for food to heal hearts, stalking weak enemies to kill and steal weapons from, and ultimately taking out a Hirox, the one-eyed giants more generally seen as a world boss roaming around Hyrule.

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