Up front we say we are plain dumb when it comes to computers. We know enough to get by in using one at work. That’s about as far as it goes with this writer.  

We know computers are a wonderful invention. What you can do with a computer is nothing short of amazing. There seem to be no end to the length of their extension in the lives of all people and in business and the military. Little and compact, computers have changed lives and society. The impact is profound and there still is more to come as to the extent of computers’ impact.

The fact that the internet can be hacked is the worry. The criminal element has found its way into the cyber world. A new phrase has been coined — ransomware assault. The assault happened last week. The Associated Press reported that hackers, exploiting malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency, executed damaging cyberattacks that hit dozens of countries.

The attack forced some British hospitals to send patients away, freezing computers in Russia’s Interior Ministry and inflicted damage on tens of thousands of computers elsewhere.

“The attacks amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread by the internet and underscored the vulnerabilities of the digital age,” according to the Associated Press.

Transmitted via email, the “malicious” software locked British hospitals out of their computer systems and demanded ransom before users could be let back in — with a threat that data would be destroyed if the demands were not met. Think of the ramifications for businesses, hospitals, police, the military — well, the list is endless.

Reports said these attacks had spread to more than 74 countries. Russia was the worst-hit, followed by Ukraine, India and Taiwan. 


There also were reports of attacks in Latin America and Africa.

All of this begs the question, if we can find a way for computers to be used almost anywhere and for everything, why can’t a defense be developed to protect computer systems? We don’t know enough about computers to try to answer that question. All we can do is to ask more questions. Has too much time been spent on expanding the use of computers, and what they can do, that we haven’t given enough attention to protect the individual systems from attacks? How secure is data inserted into our computers? 

What has been happening certainly must be warning enough that a solution has to be found to protect data from the smallest to the largest systems.

Is the nation’s security at risk from hackers?

The ironic aspect is that the hacking  methods were developed by the National Security Agency. Hackers stole the methods from the NSA and now are using that technology against us.

If the NSA can develop hacking methods, shouldn’t it be able to come up with a defense  to protect our data from hackers? Is there a way to identify the hackers?

Countries have such a dependence on computers, along with businesses, the military and countless other users, that a defense against hackers should be given the highest priority.