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Ransomware reveals the hidden weakness of our big tech world

Ransomware continues to cause damage across the world. Rarely a week goes by without another company, or city, or hospital, falling prey to the gangs who will encrypt the data across PCs and networks and demand thousands or millions in exchange for setting it free.

These aren't victimless crimes; every successful attack means a company facing huge costs and risking being pushed out of business, or public services disrupted just when we need them, or medical services put in jeopardy in the middle of a crisis.

And yet it seems impossible to stop the attacks or catch the gangs. That's because the ongoing success of ransomware reflects many of the real world failings of technology which we often forget or gloss over.

There are obvious, fundamental weaknesses that ransomware exploits. In some cases these are problems that have existed for years, that the tech industry has failed to address; others are issues that are, right now, beyond the skills of smartest entrepreneurs to tackle right.

A few examples spring to mind. Hackers would be unable to gain even their first foothold if companies took security seriously. That means applying patches to vulnerable software when they are issued, not months or years later (or never). Equally, companies wouldn't be on the tedious treadmill of applying constant security updates if the tech industry shipped software code that was secure in the first place.

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