the morning of Friday May 12, 2017, computers around the world started to shut down. Screens flashed red with a ransom note that read, “Ooops, your files have been encrypted” and demanded a payment of between $300 and $600 (£230 and £470) in bitcoin.


Although Robert Hannigan had resigned as head of GCHQ four months earlier, he kept his finger on the pulse of Britain’s computer networks and watched the WannaCry attack unfold. 


One of the biggest problems facing the UK, as WannaCry showed, is a lack of technical proficiency. There just aren’t enough defenders in the face of highly trained foreign criminals and state-sponsored hackers, Hannigan explained.