How to protect ourselves against cyberattacks?

It remains unclear who was behind the latest cyberattack that caused disruptions in roughly 80 countries. But even if we don't know who is responsible we can protect ourselves against future attacks, many commentators believe. Some call for tougher punishment for perpetrators who are caught.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Security gaps as favourite toys

A solution to the problem is also being blocked at the national level, Deutschlandfunk points out:

“We must ensure that the security gaps that make such attacks possible in the first place are finally closed. And we must invest in robust computer systems. Neither of these two demands are popular in politics or in the business world. After all, consistently closing the security gaps would mean depriving the intelligence agencies and the military of their favourite toys, because every digital weapon, every surveillance programme, every spyware is based on the presumption that such security gaps exist. If they are closed, the German intelligence agencies can forget their 'state Trojan' spyware. … So let's sit tight and wait for the next cyberattack.”

The Times (GB) /

Time for a counterattack

The West must not mince around when dealing with hackers, The Times urges:

“The right response consists of robust defence and uncompromising counterattack. ... Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, has raised eyebrows by threatening conventional military responses to cyberattacks. He is on the right track. Hackers exist in the real world and it is in the real world that they should be run to ground when they break laws or international norms. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Just ask Julian Assange.”

Aamulehti (FI) /

Anti-virus programmes and updates protect users

For the average Internet user the threat of being hit by cyberattacks remains limited, Aamulehti comments reassuringly:

“The big cyberattack at the start of the week caused damage worldwide; in Ukraine numerous key services were affected, which prompted concern here in Finland. … However, as far as normal Internet users are concerned the threat to data security shouldn't be exaggerated. For them, taking the usual data protection precautions such as a functioning anti-virus programme, regular updates, a healthy dose of distrust and sufficiently secure passwords are adequate protection.”