Editor's note

The WannaCry ransomware attack still circling the globe could have been prevented if people updated their software regularly. University of Maryland computer scientist Elissa Redmiles explains why people don’t (not even computer experts), and how her research is working to impress upon people the real-world importance of keeping computers and smartphones up to date.

After video spread across the internet showing security forcibly dragging one of its passengers off a plane, United Airlines vowed to alter some of its policies to ensure an incident like that never happens again. But a few rule changes won’t cut it, argue Michele Gelfand and Virginia Choi of the University of Maryland. Their advice? Loosen up!

Jeff Inglis

Editor, Science + Technology

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People don’t want to be interrupted to update their software. irin73bal via Shutterstock.com

Why installing software updates makes us WannaCry

Elissa Redmiles, University of Maryland

People don't want to endure the interruptions and inconveniences of keeping their computer software up to date. Research tells us why, and how we might fix the problem – and protect ourselves.

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