Lawrence Jones, CEO of one of the UK’s leading technology and security businesses, is calling on industry and government to urgently engage in a more collaborative approach to cyber-defence in the face of growing cyber-terror threats.

Following the recent WannaCry cyber-attack, which affected huge swathes of the NHS – as well as schools, businesses and organisations across the world – Jones’s team of IT and cybersecurity experts are working to identify solutions for the most at-risk areas with organisations including the Cabinet Office and National Cyber Security Centre, as well as collaborating with Manchester City Council to inventory the city’s IT estate.

Jones, who will address the Unlocked Cybersecurity Conference at London Tech Week today, is CEO and founder of cloud hosting firm UKFast and founder of cybersecurity and ethical hacking specialist Secarma which provide hosting and cybersecurity solutions for businesses, local government and the public sector including areas of the NHS.

He said: “Global success in cybersecurity is only achievable through greater collaboration. The theory that you only look after your own just doesn’t wash any more. We are all using similar systems and sharing networks, so it’s critical we work together to protect ourselves.

 “Recent attacks have had a real-world impact on real people and are a huge wakeup call for everyone; we have to remain vigilant at all times to this threat. Businesses with security expertise have a responsibility to support government and public sector organisations. All of us rely on the services they operate and we have seen the catastrophic damage that occurs in the event of an attack.”  

Secarma last week uncovered a significant exploit capable of infiltrating fully patched Windows 2003 servers offering IIS 6.0. The “ExplodingCan” exploit came from the same “dump” of leaked National Security Association (NSA) cyber tools which also contained the virus responsible for the global ransomware attacks last month.

Jones said: “Secarma has the finest minds working on independent, not-for-profit research, which has already helped the likes of Apple, Dell, eBay, Oracle and Apache to stay safe online. We have to take the same approach to intel sharing with governments to keep our critical national infrastructure safe from attackers.

“The uncovering of the ExplodingCan exploit is already saving organisations a great deal of pain, and we’ll continue to work with governments and the business community to try and mitigate risks.”

Jones said he was “disappointed” by Microsoft’s apparent unwillingness to patch existing issues, saying: “You can see why they wouldn’t, as from their perspective it drives sales in their latest software, but it is difficult for many small businesses and some public sector organisations to keep up to date with the scaling costs of software.

“Microsoft managed to produce a patch within a matter of hours after the WannaCry malware wreaked havoc on the global IT community. I believe they could be considerably more pro-active in helping their users defend against threats.”

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