Big boys don't WannaCry

As the dust began to settle on last week's interesting federal budget and we began to digest the interesting news that the My Health Record will become opt-out earlier than expected, news suddenly started to erupt about the WannaCry ransomware attack, which caused a flurry of outraged squawking when it seemed to knock a whole lot of UK hospitals offline.

As soon as the news broke out so did the heroes of the day, the masked infosec avengers who took to social media to tut-tut about how terrible it was that the NHS still seemed to run on Windows XP. It later emerged that it doesn't really and that the affected hospitals seemed to have their business continuity plans in order, but that didn't stop every alleged expert from demanding that hospitals update all their software to Windows 10 overnight, just like they do on their home PC.

That a massive hospital running large numbers of very expensive machines that go ping is a slightly different matter than your dinky little desktop escapes them, but there's no doubt that these issues are going to keep coming up. Some of Royal Melbourne Hospital's systems were knocked out last year by a worm that may have wriggled its way in through an XP machine that was still required to run certain aged clinical software.

While we don't presume to be IT security experts, we here at Pulse+IT agree with tech journo Stilgherrian in his view that rather than point the finger at the victim, the tech industry needs to clean up its own backyard first. What would these experts say if they found out that many applications still run on DOS?

There was a great deal else happening this week but it seemed to become submerged under the WannaCry saga. The lingering budget fallout still had a few legs, with a great deal of disquiet being voiced in the medical fraternity about the ramifications of the RACGP and AMA seeming to have done a deal with the devil in signing compacts with the health minister.

That was one of our top stories for the week and we imagine it will continue to bubble under the hood for a good while yet, or until a ministerial reshuffle happens and the whole thing is made moot.

Our poll question this week is: Do you think Australian hospitals are prepared for a large-scale ransomware attack?

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Our poll last week asked if you supported spending $375m to make My Health Record opt-out. As expected this question has divided Pulse+IT's readers: in a close run thing, 52 per cent said yes, 48 per cent no. Our sums say the whole shebang has now cost $1.5 billion. Better be worth it, eh?

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