This year has seen several high-profile global malware outbreaks, including the WannaCry ransomware which took down large swatches of the NHS in May.
Following hot on the heels of that attack was NotPetya, another piece of ransomware which this time was thought to be designed to disrupt rather than turn a profit.
When large outbreaks like these start to hit networks around the world, security teams in affected organisations go into overdrive - but perhaps none more so than those at the security companies themselves.
Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, lifts the lid on the furious activity that goes on at his firm during an outbreak. He begins by emphasising the importance of external communications.
"The key is to develop communications to answer the questions customers have," Samani says. "They want to know what's happening, are they protected, what do they need to do? And that's not a simple as it sounds. When you're dealing with Wannacry, it was Saturday and I had 400 messages an hour across multiple platforms. I was working and communicating with law enforcement, journalists, comms teams and others, and it was important to detail what we knew so far as the research continued."
He adds that internal testing is also critical, to ensure that they advice his firm publishes is accurate.
"I was working all weekend," Samani explains. "My phone was going off every other second, and my daughter said she can't wait to get 400 messages an hour, as she gets one. I said I'd happily swap!"
Samani says that it's important to stay on top of the communication as customers expect to be kept up to date.
"If you look at [the] Petya and NotPetya [outbreaks], we had knowledge-based articles up within the hour. That's the beginning of the snowball. You get the initial message that there's this issue occuring and then suddenly it's wider than expected, then it's a global outbreak.
"I was in California, and I was working with my lead resarcher in the Netherlands. We were getting internal teams together, conducting research, performing analyses, looking at third party sources, and making sure we weren't missing anything. We had a very detailed blog up within around three hours.
McAfee has also been involved in the No More Ransom initiaitve, which it co-founded. Samani explains that there are now over 100 partners in the programme, which aims to help people be aware of the issues, and understand how to protect themselves.
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