Protecting computers ‘as important as doctors washing their hands’

Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor in the UK, Stuart Aston, has said protecting computers from hackers is as crucial as doctors washing their hands in a hospital.

Aston told a summit of healthcare professionals that all companies need to understand cyber threats and respond to them better in order to keep staff safe and operations running smoothly.

He urged IT experts across the country to adopt a three-point plan of “protect, detect and respond”.

“Understand attack scenarios and you will better defend against them,” Aston told the event at Microsoft’s London office. “You need to adopt a holistic approach to cybersecurity. The truth is, most people don’t have a plan to deal with a cyber-attack, They don’t look for threat indicators.”

Senior staff and their IT departments need to work together to highlight and focus on what they want to protect from potential hackers – data, devices or users – as the responsibility of keeping organisations safe cannot fall to the entire workforce, Aston said.

“You can’t blame the end-user, you need to put systems in place to help everyone stay safe.”

Part of that solution, Aston said, is ensuring IT systems are patched and updated regularly. “Modern software is more secure, we now have 20 years of experience to put into new programs,” he added, pointing to Windows 10 features such as facial recognition software Windows Hello, phishing protector SmartScreen and malware blocker Defender.

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