As we’ve seen from the latest cyberattacks, old technology can be far more scary (and harmful) than the scariest Sci-Fi movies. “We have the sci-fi depictions of sentient networks that will turn against us, but the problem is, we’ve already built something way too complex for us to be able to manage as a society,” according to Wendy Nather, principal security strategist at Duo Security. “This is a very shaky foundation that we have to clean out and redo.”1
The majority of cyberattacks occur as the result of exploiting a weak spot in legacy software running on legacy machines. “The problem with these outdated systems is that they are (predominantly) no longer supported by the company that created them. You are on your own. If a new vulnerability is discovered by cyber criminals, there will be no security updates released to patch the issue. It’s also unlikely you will be informed of this vulnerability, meaning you are blindly running a system prone to constant attack.”2
These attacks aren’t just perpetrated against small companies. In 2015 and 2016, Russian hackers brought down Ukraine’s power grid, plunging 103 cities and towns into darkness.3
Hospitals are another high-value target for cybercriminals. Medical facilities focus primarily on patient care. Technology if often a secondary concern. The WannaCry attack, for example, struck UK hospitals, forcing many to turn patients away. Security expert, Janie Larson, recounted an incident in which malware had infected EEG machines that were connected to children – disconnecting them to update the software would have proved detrimental to the patients.1 How would you choose between paying the ransom demanded by the hackers and preventing harm to high-risk patients?
So, what can be done to prevent a cyberattack like this?
- Regularly check for updates and patches on all software and devices in your environment.
- Be mindful of end of life. Know when your technology will no longer be supported and have a plan in place for when that happens.
If you’re ready to protect your organization, it pays to work with a Managed IT Services/Managed Cloud Services company, like Bryley Systems, to ensure that you’re taking the right steps. Bryley will recommend solutions to eliminate weak links in your security chain, and help you develop an organization-wide policy to help prevent potentially catastrophic data loss and system downtime.
Please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com.
We’re here for you.
1 Larson, Selena. CNN Tech. “Why old tech is scarier than Hollywood AI.” 30 June 2017.
2 Jones, Ed. CloudTech. “The hidden dangers of legacy technology – and how to resolve them.” 10 October 2016.
3 Perez, Evan. CNN Politics. “U.S. official blames Russia for power grid attack in Ukraine.” 11 Feb 2016.