After the NHS hacking attack, spending on defence should be channeled into cyber security

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Sunday 14 May 2017 19:48
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Cyber crime is now the biggest threat to Britain and that is where our defence funding should be spent
Cyber crime is now the biggest threat to Britain and that is where our defence funding should be spent

Does the recent cyber attack not point to the folly of prioritising nuclear weapons over cyber security? Even nuclear submarines are vulnerable to computer interference, and while there are a quantifiable number of rogue possessors of a nuclear capability, the potential cyber terrorists are legion. Surely our priority in defence spending should be on cyber security? It would create many jobs, enhance our national security and safeguard the NHS, utilities and our way of life.

Joanna Pallister
Durham

Global attack should prompt unified global response

The tsunami of unprecedented malicious cyber attacks across the globe is just a sneak preview of what could go wrong in an increasingly digitalised and computerised world. It is a harbinger for a far more chaotic and dangerous situation where sophisticated masked hackers, operating from unknown countries and demanding ransom, can wreck havoc across the world. Their destructive prowess is unlimited and has now targeted a spectrum of confidential data including UK's National Health Service.

Ironically, these attacks are leveraged by a cyber weapon developed by the NSA that got into the wrong hands. In the light of these stealth cyber crimes, I wonder how safe are the stockpiles of nuclear weapons across the world that require activation of inscrutable multi-tiered security codes? They are starting to look like sitting ducks.

Above all, against the backdrop of a politically divided world, the vulnerabilities of cyber security can be surreptitiously hacked by sagacious cyber criminals who may owe singular allegiance or be acting at the behest of the forces perpetrating global terrorism or rogue nations. Unfortunately, this may further deepen the complexities in zeroing on the perpetrators and their sinister objectives, unless the international community mulls on a joint security platform for their cyber security.

Atul M Karnik

New York, USA

Cyber attack hit 200,000 victims across 150 countries, says Europol chief

Collective blame for failure to update IT systems

The NHS is still using Windows XP on some of its computers. Windows XP was launched in 2001 when Labour was in power. Since then, various new operating systems have been launched. Vista and Windows 7 were launched while Labour were in power, Windows 8 under the Coalition government and Windows 10 when the Conservatives had a majority in 2015.

Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats should all take responsibility for not ensuring that trust boards, chief executives, the Care Quality Commission and NHS management failed to stay on top of their IT systems.

A bug’s life

Kim Thonger
Rushden

While I do not want to take anything away from your argument that change is needed in the NHS (Editorial, Sunday), I do feel the need you correct your misconception that the millennium bug was just a scare story. The impact was minimal because of months of hard work updating the software and operating systems that were at risk. That work may not have been visible to the general public, but it was completed.

Peter Milne
Fareham

We need a social revolution

There is another dimension that may not be realised in absorbing the impact of the Labour manifesto. For a long time now, under Thatcher, and maybe even before that, communities in Britain were split up and scattered. Along with this we had the consumer revolution, when the catchphrase was "keeping up with the Joneses". Materialism apparently encouraged this to such an extent that people no longer felt they were part of a community. Without realising the effects, the humanity of our society became somewhat estranged and disengaged. With it went the focal part of large local industries, leaving behind it dereliction and mass upheaval.

Now, with the new emphasis on listening to the local voices in the communities that have been ignored and left behind, there is the real hope of re-establishing those communities with their focal points embedded there among them.

The other factor that comes into reckoning, with the recognition of fairness in the treatment of the employee in the workplace, and a decent income for the people now living on the edge of poverty, the effect of the impact of these measures will bring about a new desire to make improvement in all aspects, such as education and general advancement, as discovered and borne out by those towns which have adopted the universal wage. Thus we will achieve the transformation that has been sought through the ages, and particularly since it was recognised that the person is not purely a cog in a machine, but an intelligent and peace-loving human being, with the same aspirations and abilities that we boast of for ourselves.

It is clear that the first social revolution must happen in order that the dramatic second change comes about. I am sure that Jeremy Corbyn has this vision in his socialist agenda. It is expected that others will recognise this as it comes about. I feel that this is the goal we wish for our fellow men, and it is important the majority consider this when we all come to cast our vote.

Ronald Boxer
​Royston

Don’t knock the Seventies

I don't quite understand the jibe about Labour going back to the 1970s, as though it were a bad time. The 1970s were a good time for many people. The gap between rich and poor was at its lowest level, consequently happiness levels were at their highest point. Working weeks were getting shorter, the retirement age coming down. There were even hot summers.

Then came Margaret Thatcher, who brought longer working weeks for less pay and ever later retirement ages. Today stress and anxiety are commonplace complaints as mental health problems proliferate. Maybe its all a grand piece of obfuscation by the Tories, who also want to go back in time – only in their case it is to the workhouse days of the 1870s.

Paul Donovan
London E11

Mark Steel: Labour's leaked manifesto proves it's stuck in the 1970s, unlike those modern Tories

What’s Gordon’s game?

Shouldn’t someone close to Gordon Brown advise him that if he wants to support the Labour Party then he should keep a low profile? Even leaving aside his practice of only giving speeches to handpicked audiences, he can’t really expect to get away with attacking the Tories record on the poor, having himself presided over the worst increases in social inequality and workplace casualisation in our post-war history.

Between his public appearances and Tom Waston’s invocations of Margaret Thatcher-like poll loses you’d think that the hard-right of the Labour Party was deliberately seeking to lose the election. But given that the current Labour manifesto appears to be an attempt to undo the damage done during the Blair/Brown era perhaps there is some truth to this?

Dr Gavin Lewis
Manchester

My manifesto wishlist

Climate change, overpopulation, soil erosion, resistance to antibiotics, PCBs in the food chain, a devotion to unfettered economic growth, isolationist politics and Donald Trump: these are top of my list for threats to global stability, the environment and mankind.

I suggest we look for mentions of them in the manifestos this week to help us decide how to vote. Unless you're in a marginal constituency where tactical voting could prevent the election of a Conservative MP.

Patrick Cosgrove
Chapel Lawn, Shropshire

Headstrong and unstable

We have a proud tradition in this country of telling “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Given that Theresa May has U-turned over many of her promises (including her promise to not call an early general election) and has tried to override parliamentary process in order to get her own way (by refusing to allow a vote over any Brexit deal), I would suggest that describing her leadership as “strong and stable” is only part of the truth. The whole truth, surely, would be “headstrong and unstable”.

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

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