26 May 2017
The WannaCry ransomware attack, which started on the May 12th, 2017, targeted the Microsoft Windows Operating System and demanded ransom in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Eventually shut down by a UK-based research company named MalwareTech, the virus affected more than 230,000 PCs in less than 24 hours, including over 48 NHS hospitals across the UK. The 22-year old who solved the problem realised that the domain wasn't registered, registered it, and put a halt to the attack.
The spread of virus exposed the vulnerabilities of a system, exposing valuable data and in turn showing how important the role of cyber security professionals is.
According to a Cisco report, the demand for cyber security professionals is expected to rise to 6 million by 2019, with the current number of cyber security experts currently around 1.5 million.
For students planning to study undergraduate computer science, a specialisation in cyber security is a great career option, with the demand for qualified professionals only growing.
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Rashmi Lakshanya Urban Development and Planning at University College London