Computer Scientist: Tech Still Vulnerable to 'WannaCry'

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Ball State's computer science program is located in the Robert Bell Building on the Muncie campus. Ball State's computer science program is located in the Robert Bell Building on the Muncie campus.

A computer science instructor at Ball State University says Hoosier businesses and individuals are "not out of the woods yet" when it comes to potential future threats from the WannaCry ransomware attacks that have swept the world. Vinayak Tanksale urges computer users, especially with Microsoft Windows, to update their software immediately to help "nip this in the bud." He says medical facilities are particularly vulnerable because they can be lucrative targets for digital bad guys.

Tanksale says businesses, information technology professionals and personal computer users must be proactive. "What a lot of businesses are doing is: number one, educating their employees to make sure that the work computers, as well as if they are bringing in personal computing devices to work, they are all updated with the right software," he told Inside INdiana Business. "At the enterprise level, companies are contacting other software vendors or, in this case, even Microsoft." He says even with some old, unsupported versions of their Windows software, Microsoft is providing patches and updates as a means of heading off further spreading of the malware.

Tanksale says security is "no longer an afterthought" for software developers and designers of all sizes and they now take security precautions all along the way. "A company that doesn't think of security with respect to anything -- be it user security, corporate security, internet of things security, network security, database security, consumer security -- if a software development company is not thinking on those lines and is not integrating that a part of the overall design and development process, they probably aren't going to stay in business for too long," he said.

Tanksale believes future attacks using a modified version of the ransomware that hit computers in hundreds of thousands of instances throughout the world over the weekend are still possible.

Tanksale says businesses, information technology professionals and personal computer users must be proactive.
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