Tina Wu

The recent spate of cyberware attacks, including malware such as WannaCry and BlueBorne, has struck the world over and left many companies scrambling to get their antivirus software in check.

These attacks have been pandemic, infecting computers on a global scale. With most of the world now having access to computer technology, this holds significant implications for the global corporate future.

Australians woke up on the morning of 13 May to the news of WannaCry hitting British hospitals, schools and other major organisations, which quickly spread across computers in Europe, Africa and the US until over one hundred countries became infected with the ransomware. The worm was thought to have spread through an email, rapidly encrypting files on vulnerable Windows software so users could not access them until they paid US$300 in bitcoins as ransom.

More alarmingly, airborne virus BlueBorne only came to the public attention last month having already been identified by cyber experts in April. This virus allows the sender to gain control over a person’s device if their Bluetooth is turned on and within range. It has the ability to infect billions of people worldwide, preying on the vulnerabilities of Windows, Android and iOS devices. Apple and Windows have since then patched the security hole but fears continue to loom for future malware attacks.

There have been countless other malicious cyber software drifting throughout the web, and computer viruses are hardly new. But the global impact of cyberware and viruses have the ability to impact us in very significant ways, particularly in today’s age of instant global connectivity.

Global corporate firms, trade ports and organisations with overseas servers all have to brace for the impact of future malware pandemics. One of the hardest to be hit this year was major shipping company Maersk, affecting trade ports from Mumbai to Rotterdam to Los Angeles. Several Australian businesses were also hit by ransomware, either nationally or as collateral from other firms who were infected internationally.

In an age where businesses are increasingly going offshore, it’s crucial to consider the possibility of world-scale cyber malware and viruses as a major concern of the future. It’s important to see that the economy is not only vulnerable to market swings or foreign policy, but that it may also be directly affected by the technology that we use and take for granted every day.