Organisations across Scotland have been warned to take steps to protect cyber security as systems get back up and running on Monday. It follows Friday's ransomware attack on NHS computers which affected 13 health bodies in Scotland. There are fears of more cyber attacks as people begin work after the weekend, although few have been reported so far. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC Scotland that patient confidentiality had not been affected. Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme she said she expected computer networks "by and large" to be up and running on Monday morning, but urged organisations to follow government guidance and take appropriate security steps.
Facebook is to step up its attempts to tackle extremist material on the internet by educating charities and other non-government organisations about how to counter hate speech. The technology company will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK on Friday, which includes training organisations about how to monitor and respond to extremist content and the creation of a dedicated support desk at Facebook where concerns can be flagged up. The launch of the initiative comes after growing criticism of Facebook, Google, Twitter and other technology companies about the proliferation of extremist material online. Earlier this month, Theresa May called on technology companies to do more to curb the "poisonous propaganda" that fuels terror attacks such as the recent atrocities in Manchester and London. May made the comments after talks with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, where they agreed to explore creating a new legal liability for technology companies if they failed to remove extremist content.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network's data policies as lengthy questions left the 34-year-old American little time to answer. Betraying little emotion, Zuckerberg apologized to leaders of the European Parliament in Brussels for a massive data leak, in his latest attempt to draw a line under the damaging scandal. However, he avoided answering numerous specific questions, notably around opt-outs from targeted advertising, the sharing of data between Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp, as well as Facebook's collection of data on non-users. He spoke for over half an hour in total, mostly repeating assurances and descriptions of Facebook plans that he detailed to U.S. lawmakers during 10 hours of hearings in Washington last month. Though some questions were sharp, there was no chance for the Europeans to follow up if they felt the answers fell short.
Hackers have mounted a "brute force" cyber-attack on the Scottish parliament's computer systems, weeks after a similar attack on email accounts at Westminster. MSPs and Holyrood staff were warned on Tuesday that hackers were attempting to access numerous email accounts by systematically and repeatedly trying to crack their passwords. Holyrood officials said they were not aware of any compromised email accounts, but staff and MSPs were warned the attack could mean some people were locked out of their accounts. The attack follows a sustained assault on computers at Westminster in June, which security officials blamed on the Russian government. In that incident, up to 90 email accounts with weak passwords were accessed.
Hackers are becoming more and more adept at developing or finding malware to wipe data on computers, making them inoperable and causing data breaches. Britain's last major cyber attack was the "WannaCry" ransomware attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May and caused disruptions in more than 150 countries.