Today I have had my last day at EVRY. The picture shows a glimpse of my farewell gathering, where I presented the history of chocolate-hazelnut spreads. Because sometimes, you have to have fun at work!
It has been great getting to know my colleagues during my time with the company. While I am excited about the new opportunity ahead of me, leaving excellent working relationships is bittersweet.
Unless you have been on Point Nemo for the weekend, you are probably aware of the biggest ransomware outbreak in history: WannaCry. Like any other ransomware, WannaCry could have been avoided by adopting two simple best practices:
Keep your operating systems up-to-date
Take backups regularly
IT professionals have always recommended these best practices. However, there is an increasing number of people who justify disabling automatic updates. I call these people anti-updaters.
Anti-updaters are particularly active among Windows users. They usually claim that Windows Update’s interruptions are impairing their productivity.
While I understand that Windows Update can be annoying, its interruptions do not justify turning it off. For instance, Microsoft released the critical MS-17-010 patch that addresses the vulnerabilities exploited by WannaCry two months ago. This means that the PCs infected by the ransomware were at least two months behind with patches. Automatic updates would have prevented many of these infections.
To me, this way of arguing is problematic, as it spreads misinformation about automatic updates. Like scientists are fighting against anti-vaxxers, I believe it is time for IT professionals to fight against anti-updaters.
We may not have seen the full extent of the WannaCry attack, as the ransomware may spread again when people go back to work on Monday morning and turn their PCs on. Perhaps individuals and organisations will learn the lesson this time. Nevertheless, I hope you will join me in this campaign to stop people from disabling automatic updates, regardless if they are techies or not.