The WannaCry malware attack that crippled 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries was not a surprise to Michael Chertoff, former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, and now executive chairman of the Chertoff Group, which counsels companies and governments on cybersecurity and other security issues.
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“Literally every week we have more and more developments in the area of cybersecurity,” said Chertoff, addressing the 2017 Cyber Investing Summit held at the New York Stock Exchange, recounting not only the WannaCry attack but the theft of data from more than 1 billion accounts from Yahoo, disclosed in 2016, three years after the fact.
Both attacks involved not just individual criminals but also nation-states, said Chertoff, noting that North Korea is suspected in the WannaCry attack and Russian intelligence operatives in the Yahoo breach.
No enterprise is immune from a cyberattack attack, said Chertoff, who went on to offer his prescription for minimizing the impact of one, taking precautions similar to what a doctor would recommend to patients: maintaining a healthy immune system, including vaccinations, and engaging in activities to build up a body’s defenses.