Building columnist outlines how the sector can protect itself

The construction sector must be vigilant in the wake of the recent cyber attacks that crashed computers in the NHS and affected IT systems around the world, an industry expert has warned.

Paul Glass, a partner in the disputes and investigations group of law firm Taylor Wessing, warned that the industry’s rapid adoption of digital technology - including BIM - made projects prone to cyberattack. He said: “Large infrastructure projects are planned out using BIM and other digital systems, therefore a cyber attack could bring a project to a halt.”

He added: “The events of last Friday and over the weekend have shown that while cryptoware has been around for a while, new variants have the ability to wreak havoc.

“Businesses that manage a cyber attack well are those that prepare properly in advance. Ensuring that staff are properly trained and educated is crucial.

“Training staff to be able to identify potentially dangerous emails, and providing them with a quick and easy way to report such emails to IT, is an essential part of any business’ cyber defence. Also businesses must make sure they are up to date with software patches.”

Glass said the recent ‘WannaCry’ attack was the largest global cryptoware attack to date. “While it has caused severe disruption to many businesses, it has also been relatively quickly dealt with. The next version will be more advanced, and will likely be more difficult to decrypt.”

Read Glass’ full comments on the recent cyber attack here.