“Ransomware” Attack Hits Computers Worldwide

CNET reports:

A global ransomware attack is holding more than 60,000 computers hostage. Banks, telephone companies and hospitals have all been ensnared in the worldwide hack, with the malware locking down computers while demanding a hefty sum for freedom.

The attack has hit thousands of computers across China, Russia, Spain, Italy and Vietnam, but the UK hospitals have attracted the most attention because real lives at risk while their devices are locked down.

IT systems and phone lines in National Health Service hospitals were locked up on Friday, in a coordinated attack across the world. The East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust updated its website shortly after the attack, telling visitors that they were “currently experiencing significant problems with our IT and telephone network.”

More from the BBC:

Several experts monitoring the situation have linked the infections to vulnerabilities released by a group known as The Shadow Brokers, which recently claimed to have dumped hacking tools stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA).

A patch for the vulnerability was released by Microsoft in March, but many systems may not have had the update installed. Some security researchers have pointed out that the infections seem to be deployed via a worm – a program that spreads by itself between computers.

Another firm that confirmed it had been caught out was delivery company FedEx, though it did not clarify in which territories it had been hit. “Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware,” it said in a statement. “We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible.”

  • Jon Doh

    I’m not worried since I never connect to the interwebs.

    • Bad Tom

      Never? Ever?
      How did you post your comment?

  • Paula

    IPad only at home tonight.

  • another_steve

    Today’s Depressing Thought: Just a matter of time before the bad guys hack into the electrical power grid and all the lights go out.

    Just a matter of time.

    • William

      I’m living it.

  • Henry Auvil

    Is this “the digital” that trump was babbling about the other day?

    • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

      It’s why we’re returning to steam-run computers.

    • Oh, Parker

      The cyber.

  • Todd20036

    I’m on a federal computer. If they hack this, they can hack a crapload more than what I want to think about.

    • Bad Tom

      Do you have good password policy?
      What OS? How often is it updated? (Daily, weekly, never)
      Is there virus scanning? How often? How often are the signatures updated?
      Is the system encrypted? How about email, internal websites, databases?
      Does the firewall (there must be a firewall) do MitM monitoring of all internet facing HTTPS / SSL traffic? This is very common, but they may not tell you directly.
      Does the firewall do malware detection?

      If all this is in place, your IT department is on the ball.

  • kcken

    Backup your files regularly (docs, pictures, etc).

    If you get hit with this, simply re-install windows. you can replace your apps, but you can’t replace your personal files.

    Once again, BACKUP your files.

    • BearEyes

      every week and keep it on a device you can remove from the network

      • David L. Caster

        Create an air gap or turn the storage unit in question completely off.

        • Andreabjoseph

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj168d:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !mj168:
          ➽➽
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash168MediaBaseGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj168d..,.

    • I use Backblaze, a cloud backup service. But wouldn’t the virus also be backed up?

      • Tulle Christensen

        have your virus scanner check the directories you are backing up beforehand. Only back up data files in your user directory, your exe and dll can be replaced. If it does not execute, it cannot infect

        • Bad Tom

          Careful.

          Virus vectors have been created from .jpg files and word documents and Excel spreadsheets.

          The JPG standard was enhanced to allow for metadata. Once there was metadata, JPG viewers had to interpret it, which made them potentially vulnerable to buffer overflow exploits. That is also true for RAW camera formats.

          Word and Excel files have data structures that can be exploited. In Excel you can run actual code. In Word you can run macros.

          PDF files can be exploited too, because they are programs.

          A colleague of mine wrote a PDF parser for the NIKSUN platform. If you examine a PDF file, you will find it is a program to create a printout. The programming language is stack oriented (which makes it human hostile,) but since a PDF is a program generated program, that doesn’t matter much.

          All data files more complex than text need virus scanning.

          • Tulle Christensen

            yes I did say scan the directories to backup…

            also this is important…stay away from anything made by adobe

          • Bad Tom

            You also said if it doesn’t execute, it cannot infect. We normally don’t think of images as executing, but in certain ways they do. We don’t think of printouts as executing, but they absolutely do.

            It would be good to stay away from anything Microsoft, but the crowd-sourced replacements for Word and Powerpoint in particular are terrible.

            Good luck not using any .pdf files in a modern office. They are ubiquitous. If you aren’t, you are most likely using .docx files. Your can chose between Microsoft or Adobe, but you can’t not chose both.

            It’s possible, if you have a 100% Apple ecosystem, to avoid all those tools. Very few people have that luxury.

        • THIS!!!!

        • Grumpy Old Man

          This is not true – scanning for viruses in an email message will/can be exploited to infect a computer.

      • catherinecc

        Only as fast as your upload allows (as the encrypted files would need to be uploaded), so you’d probably lose very little, and nothing if backblaze has file versioning.

    • Hue-Man

      simply re-install windows

      create a Windows Installer Disk on USB.

      • Blackfork

        Sometimes the ransomware fucks up your disk drive… so beware.

        • This is why you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALLLLLWWWWAAAAAYAYYYYYYYZZZZ do a full re-formatting of the hard drive before installing any OS.

    • Professor Barnhardt

      Reinstall Windows? On a Mac?

    • cmbennett01

      Delete windows, format the drive and install Linux. And of course back up your files.

    • Ninja0980

      A lesson I learned the hard way three years ago.
      Lost over 1,000 photos from over four years and a lot of movies and shows too.

    • catherinecc

      Google Photos has a great desktop uploader that will slowly upload all your pictures to their server for free.

  • bkmn

    So we can thank Assange for this since he and wiki leaked these tools?

    A good reminder to update your OS regularly, run GOOD antivirus and anti-malware.

    • cmbennett01

      Publicly disclosing exploits is not a bad thing. The criminals have them anyway. But Assange is an colossal ass, that is undisputed.

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    It’s not rocket science.

    My network has not, and will not be hacked. I teach family and friends good practices, before I let them online or in my internet network. I monitor all of this frequently and if anyone goes beyond my requirements, they are booted from my network of users and internet contacts. No exceptions. Haven’t had my network hacked ever.

    • another_steve

      Respectfully, there’s no such thing as 100 percent certain systems security. No computer on Planet Earth is 100 percent safe. You can have installed on your computer state-of-the-art security software and still get malware or get hacked.

      Someday, computers will be 100 percent secure.

      But not today.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        Wrong. It’s entirely subject to my users.

        • another_steve

          And you are 1000 percent certain — beyond any conceivable doubt — that each and every one of your users are saints?

          Please. 😉

          • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

            Saints? I’ve never stated that. But, I do monitor.

    • Hue-Man

      A private server? You’ll never be President!

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        It’s only as private as I make it.

    • Scott Carpenter

      I teach a certification class every month that isn’t related to computers, but one thing I tell them applies:
      Yes, the company has spent millions on hardware to protect things, and they’ve spent millions more in overhead costs for you to sit here and listen to me drone on about [my class subject] for hours every month. All those millions are wasted if you forget just once, just for a split second. That’s all it takes.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        Yep! Former IT here. The problem isn’t the technology, it’s the consumers using it.

      • robindaybird

        Yep, one of my instructors used to do IT Security consulting – he pretty much hammered that Social Engineering is the biggest risk, and the current password practices are easy for computers to crack while making it difficult for humans to use – he prefers passphrases, long phrases easy to remember but will take too long for a logger to get in.

  • Nowhereman

    I love my chromebook.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      Same here.

    • SoCalGal20

      Ooh I need a new laptop and I was considering a chromebook. Mostly I just need somethibg I can do the internet ans stream videos with. What Chrimebook do you have?

      • Nowhereman

        I’ve got an ASUS with a 13″ screen. And prices are really reasonable. If you just need to cruise the web, watch videos, do bills and banking and shopping, chromebooks are the bomb! I also use mine to stream Pandora. And if something somehow goes wrong, you just go to your settings and hit “powerwash” and it’s just like new. You just have to redo all your personal settings. The OS is online. No need for a security company. If you do a lot of photos or need to do word processing and such, you can do it on the Cloud. I haven’t needed that yet, but I do want to get a cloud ready printer.

        • SoCalGal20

          Thanks!

          • Nowhereman

            You betcha.

  • Tulle Christensen

    Bad ideas

    1) Using Windows on important systems needed to keep your place running
    2) Using the internet instead leased lines for computers that store your important data

    The immediate solution

    1) disconnect from all networks,
    2)restore data from last nights backups,
    3) install March patch

    if for any reason you cannot do above you have greater problems than this virus

    Long term solution

    1) Use a more secure operating system in the future

    • Telling people to switch operating systems is rarely practical or helpful. Every OS in the world is vulnerable to those who don’t know not to click on links or not to put USB sticks from unknown sources into their machines.

      Windows, iOS, Linux — everything is vulnerable to one degree or another.

      • Tulle Christensen

        This was not about casual computer users like you or these days me (retired) This is advice for system critical computers, like at the government or hospitals or police etc…

        People like us just need to backup your user directory once an month or so and keep your windows and virus scanner up to date

        If your computer loses data no one will die

        FYI: I use windows cause i like computer games and most are available on windows

        • robindaybird

          Linux is not very practical for large scale businesses, there are GUI versions, but you need a system even someone computer illiterate can use, and not to mention as an open source software, it’s a fucking bitch to keep to a same standard for every system.

          IT can deal with it, but often times the IT department will have their hands tied by the Pointy-Hair Bosses who think they know better, then proceed to SNAFU it.

  • Sam_Handwich
  • Hank

                   …… 😀

    • Hank

      Just ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for the Mac and it was deemed clean!!!

  • I work in the computer industry…

    (1) Don’t panic.
    (2) The most vulnerable systems are Windows servers, particularly older installations (like Win Server 2008, etc.), but also the oldest versions of Windows.
    (3) They’re going after institutions mainly, that is, those with deep pockets
    (4) Do keep your operating system up to date. If you have been, you’re fine now.
    (5) DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN EMAILS. Or open attachments unless they are something you were expecting and from someone you trust.

    • bkmn

      You mean like the servers that Trump companies use because Trump is too cheap to buy new software? Gee, it would be a shame if Trump Co got hit by this…a real shame.

      • KarenAtFOH

        Silly, the Russians aren’t going to allow their hackers to infect trump computers.

      • Oh, Parker

        They’ve already got the goods on Trump. That’s why we’re in this mess.

    • Gustav2

      but…but…but I might be a WINNER!

    • William

      My aunt regularly gets her Outlook mailbox hacked,spammed and otherwise invaded. I don’t even open her emails.

      • Best solution for that: Change email addresses every few years.

        • teedofftaxpayer

          I have three email addresses. One for personal and bills, one for online purchases and one for online “news sites”. Makes it easy to find out where the problems are.

          • Good job – I add two more to that. 1 for online gaming, another for things I KNOW I’m going to be spammed the shit out of (like political activist or poll sites).

          • teedofftaxpayer

            I did have another email for the gaming but I changed it to the “news” email since I haven’t been gaming for a while. I use that one for the political sites as well. People should never use their main personal email for everything.

        • UrsusArctos

          Yes/no. I have an AOL address that’s almost old enough to vote now 29 years old (1988) *gasp*.
          It is among the LEAST spammy addresses I have. I figure spammers/scammers figure it’s either of someone dead or too stupid to be using a modern computer.

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        I have an aunt like that. And she is the one who is constantly sending everybody emails with attachments like “Watch this Power Point of these adorable little tiger cubs.”

        • Bad Tom

          Or a Flash animation. Either can be loaded with malware.

      • bkmn

        That is what email filters are for.

      • m_lp_ql_m

        My aunt regularly gets hacked, spammed and invaded. She doesn’t own a computer.

        • William

          Ah yes, living the good life!

    • another_steve

      I’m noticing more and more malicious emails “sent” from friends whose email address books have been hacked.

      If you get an email from someone you know, but with an uncharacteristic subject line (e.g. “Hi!” or “Have I Got News for You!”), consider contacting the someone you know before opening the email.

      • BearEyes

        maybe contacting them by phone

      • canoebum

        See above*

    • canoebum

      My policy is always delete first, ask questions later. If someone I know has something really important they want me to know, they’ll call me on the phone.

    • Cuberly

      I support, predominately, mac users. Security literacy is sorely lacking with most mac users. Sad to say.

      I’ve had to remove malware, ransomeware and phishing apps that users inadvertently installed. After the most recent bout of issues it looks like they finally got the message.

      The ransomeware attack we had was particularly awful. Had two users whose systems were frozen except for a popup message claiming to be from Apple notifying them their computer had been attacked and that they should call an 800 number for assistance. Both users called the number and of course it was less than a few minutes before the person on the other end of the phone asked for a credit card number to charge them for fixing their computer. They also wanted remote access to it…..gah!

      Thankfully the users didn’t fall for it and they called me instead.

      • Apple users tend to take “security” for granted, and are very lazy about it. Proprietary closed environments may be more difficult to hack, but not impossible. Your example is a perfect illustration of that.

        • Cuberly

          Across the board the majority of the threats I’ve had to remove were from users installing something.

          Someone goes to a website & buys a great pair of shoes, oh and look, if you download and install their discount coupon app you’ll get an additional 10% off.

          Then their default search engine is changed to some random thing I’ve never heard of, ads in their browser are hijacked. yada yada…you know the drill.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    This is why, among other things, I only connect to the internet via a VPN. My IP should probably show me in Australia right now.

    • RoverSerton

      Australia would gain if it were true.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        I have a lot of friends in Melbourne that would agree with you 🙂

    • Lumpy Gaga

      G’Day, mate!

  • JDS

    Microsoft. Nuff said.

  • Nic Peterson

    An apple today keeps the hackers at bay.

  • William

    Does this explain why the power is out at my house?

    • Gustav2

      No, it’s the squirrels.

    • Sam_Handwich
      • Lumpy Gaga

        TY

      • Cattleya1

        He made that movie!

    • Gene

      wont make the bounced check joke….wont make the bounced check joke…wont make the bounced check joke…

      😉

      • William

        The bill was paid yesterday. It isn’t considered late for another week

        • Gene

          so….the check is in the mail….

          uhhh HUH… 😉

          (huggs…you know I am joking…I hope!)

          🙂

          • William

            I’m more annoyed that the studly electric co-op repairmen haven’t even stopped and gotten out of their trucks. Someone in their hiring office has an eye for good looking men.

          • Tulle Christensen

            So you broke your electric just to oogle the repairmen? Shame on you….

          • William

            If you hit the fuse above the transformer just right….

    • William

      And we’re back in the 21st Century. Has Trump resigned yet?

      • KarenAtFOH

        So the christians at your power company decided they didn’t have an objection to sending electrons to a gay household?

        • William

          The internet is still out. It will be tomorrow before the company sends someone out to push the reset button. I can’t do anything gay on my phone, Ma Bell is soo judgemental.

  • BobSF_94117

    Ya know, as much as I enjoy the cyber-company of the folks here, I’d totally go back to index cards if everyone else did.

    • Gustav2

      We got new phones last week, I was embarrassed I couldn’t remember anyone’s telephone number to enter them. I used to remember everyone’s number.

      I’m not getting old, speed dial kills the memory.

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        It is. This has been documented. All of our apps (and spell-check, etc.) are making us dumber. Test scores rose continuously up until around 2000 and they have since been slowly declining every year.

        The one I curse myself for the most is GPS. For decades, whenever I was in a new city I would look at a (paper) map and in a few minutes I would figure out and remember where major things were and how to drive around the city. Nowadays, I often can’t remember how to get from a hotel to an office on a route that I’ve already driven several times. And I know it’s the Garmin, because in places where I don’t use it, I can still remember routes and orient myself like I used to.

        • William

          My father can’t go anywhere without GPS. Next time a satellite falls out of orbit, he will be found in northern Canada.

          • Reality.Bites

            Be grateful you have a father who can USE GPS. Being overly dependent on technology may not be great, but being incapable of using it isn’t very good either.

        • another_steve

          Thank Zeus for Disqus spell-check.

          I’m the world’s worst speller. I simply lack the brain circuitry for accurate spelling.

          • Cattleya1

            Spell-check changes right to wrong a lot!

        • Jay George

          I’ve never thought it was mentally healthy to let our devices do our thinking for us. I won’t use a GPS for that reason. I have a friend who regularly makes fun of me for spurning certain technologies and out of the two of us, guess which one can’t remember shit?

          • Scott Carpenter

            I’m directionally challenged. Before GPS I’d learn one route and white knuckle it forever. Now I’m brave(r) than I used to be.

          • MaryJOGrady

            I do not use GPS, either. The voices on it are so bossy.

        • SoCalGal20

          I refuse to use a GPS. I look at Google maps, remember the basics, and glance at the blue dot if I need to (not while I’m actually driving). But I can’t with the voice talking at me while I drive.

      • Reality.Bites

        I can remember lots of phone numbers.

        From my childhood.

        • Gustav2

          Yeah, there are a few I still remember, but that was in the days of rotary dials.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      Same here. I love the convenience of Google and Wikipedia, but I’d even be willing to invest in a nice encyclopedia set and some shelves.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        Computers replaced encyclopedias as that expensive thing you had to buy or YOUR CHILD WILL FAIL!

        • another_steve

          I know there are screening programs that teachers use to detect this — but I can’t imagine that lots and lots of papers prepared by students are not cut-and-paste jobs from the internet that elude the detection programs.

          I simply can’t imagine that.

          • WretchedMouse

            heh true enough. I’ve used Turnitin a few times at school and it is rather interesting. It gives a percentage of what could be plagiarized or overused quotations. I can generally tell when a fellow student is plagiarizing something. Generally if the materials sounds too good and there are no citations around it then it is probably cut and paste. Easy to detect in student papers.

            Also hi! It has been a while! 😀

          • another_steve

            Good to see ya!

            Great insights on your part. 😉

          • WretchedMouse

            Heh I often don’t know how to use them words purdy but I know how to read em good! 😛

      • 2guysnamedjoe
    • another_steve

      I remember with considerable fondness actually talking to people.

      Do you remember what that was like, Bob?

      • MaryJOGrady

        Here in New Mexico we talk to each other. Even to strangers. It slows things down, but adds to the charm of the place.

        • another_steve

          Not everyone is on their hand-held devices — in restaurants and buses and the like, MaryJO? I’m seriously glad to hear that. And happy for you.

          I make it a point to actually talk to people. My husband and I don’t do hand-held devices when we socialize together or with friends. When we go to a restaurant, I enjoy striking up a conversation with the server or bartender.

          Just for the simple pleasure and delight of personal, human contact. 😉

          • MaryJOGrady

            I love that “personal, human contact,” too, 999 times out of 1000.

  • Halou

    Haha, joke’s on them. Any attempt to place malware on this computer will be thwarted by the fact it wont even be able to finish downloading itself before the connection cuts out again.
    TalkTalk can go and drown in it’s own diarrhea.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9aaf81bce2dee95914f02a4d727652ec544eee33f7459262c2dacfa1b9e5c514.png

    • Gustav2

      Thanks for the giggle.

    • William

      Do you live across the road from me?

    • Jon Doh

      You must also be on Cox Cable?

  • m_lp_ql_m

    Does this virus count as a pre-existing condition?

  • Sam_Handwich

    i feel stupid wearing this hazmat suit

  • Hue-Man

    Anti-vaxxers get infected more often!

    • Cuberly

      Oh don’t get me started….the most recent measles outbreaks in MN are truly evil. Anti-vaxers targeting immigrant Somalis no less. A very vulnerable group.

      Andrew Wakefield is truly one evil fucker.

      https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/measles-outbreak-rages-after-anti-vaccine-groups-target-vulnerable-community/

      Sorry for the rant but this shit makes me see red.

      • Reality.Bites

        I read a different article about that. Appalling.

      • fuzzybits

        Thank goodness none of that crap here in Columbus since we have the second largest population of Somalis.

        • Cuberly

          Problem is the anti-vaxx activists are purposely targeting these communities. They’ve already spread their nasty message to other states.

          I hope you’re right.

      • Ray Butlers

        Kind of like how Evangelical bigots target third world countries.

        • Cuberly

          Yep, no need to travel outside the country.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    The credit card hack I suffered was a card I’ve used pretty much exclusively as a payment method for online subscriptions (Netflix, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

    Say what one will about big corp., I don’t think my CC from my pet credit union in CA could have responded the way Macy’s and Capital One did (i.e., quickly and effectively).

    Made me give capitalist overlords a big hug.

    • Tulle Christensen

      I have a separate bank account for use online, I never have more a few hundred in it, (unless I am making a BIG purchase online and then the money is not in there long)

      • Lumpy Gaga

        I have an account like that, and I feed PayPal with it. Yeah, people don’t understand the personal liability they take on using debit cards (vs. credit).

        • another_steve

          Depends on the bank.

          My bank will negate a fraudulent debit card charge if the fraudulent charge is reported promptly upon receipt of one’s monthly bank account statement.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        Same here. One for “play” money, the other for investments etc. The “play” money account is online, the investment accounts at the other bank are not. I have to do any banking old school with those accounts.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    OMG, speaking of recurring charges, so the new people who took over my old gym were offering this incredible $5/mo deal (I was paying $50), but there was a catch… no lockers, no showers, no bathrooms…. WTF?

    • Tulle Christensen

      no bathrooms? That would not even be legal here in Florida.

      In Florida you have a constitutional right to pee

      • Lumpy Gaga

        The poor salesperson really didn’t know which problem to bring up last.

        The bathrooms are almost done, so showers soon. I was willing to go for it, and get locked in at $5/mo. But “No lockers” was the dealbreaker. I said I’d check in again.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      I’ve observed that a lot of millenials don’t change or shower at the gym. They do, however, like to use the big mirrors in the locker rooms for taking selfies.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        I knew I had hit a generational change when I started seeing young frat-rats walking around the gym spaces without even hitting the locker room to change their friggin’ shoes!

        Okay, you’re a scaredycat that some homo might see your tiny dick. Fine.

        But CHANGE out of YOUR FUCKING STREET SHOES!

    • another_steve

      How could it be legal for a public accommodation not to have bathrooms?

      Is there any municipality in the United States where such a thing is legal?

    • TuuxKabin

      why bother?

      • Lumpy Gaga

        Close to work and has a pool.

        • TuuxKabin

          Bother.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    And of course, I’m smack in the middle of a weekend-go-live project including a manager from TX who fingered me weekly and loudly as the “rebel” who objected to encrypted workstations and threatened everybody.

    Great timing, Obama!

    • Paula

      Ohhhh, we could all be pen-pals!!!

    • Reality.Bites

      It’s been many weeks since I’ve been fingered. 🙁

  • Ninja0980

    As everyone has said… have a backup of everything and NEVER leave them plugged into your main server.

  • AdamTh

    The White House just released a statement…. It’s all Obama’s fault.

  • Bad Tom

    These attacks appear to specifically target hospitals and health care centers. Hard to understand the kind of person who would do that.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Oh, those are called terrorists or, if you choose to be genteel about it, sociopathic murderers.

      • Bad Tom

        Sociopathic murders works for me.

  • Dave F.

    If you have files you can’t afford to lose, buy an external hard drive and back up your critical data if not your whole system. Run a backup every few days or at least once a week to the external and disconnect it between backups so that if the worst occurs the malware can’t reach that drive. Keep your malware and AV software updated. Malware Bytes is free on the PC and Mac platforms – download it and install it. If you’re a Mac user, consider getting Little Snitch. It monitors all outgoing internet requests and lets you decide whether or not to allow the connection (it’ll create rules that remember the connections you allow). That gives you time to lookup a web address and you can always block it temporarily. Several new programs are in development from the AV folks that will allow you to control file access on your machine (Excel can only touch .xls files, etc.) and monitor what programs use what files but they’re pretty rough to use at the moment unless you like being bombarded with prompts all the time. Apple just hired the developer of Little Flocker, which was one of those prototypes. For years we’ve practiced safe sex – time to get serious about safe computing.

    • AdamTh

      No, time to follow the money trail back to the perps – then nuke them.

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        Nah, just find where they are and then send in a wet works team. Simple, easy and very effective.

    • Tulle Christensen

      I just back up my documents directory onto a thumb drive, everything else can be re-downloaded or re-installed

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Yup. I have a double redundancy back up. Two 10TB drives, each regularly scanned for malware & viruses. First on the PC/Laptop, then on the 1st drive then the last. It may be a bit much, but sensitive files need to be protected.

      • Bad Tom

        It is not at all a bit much.

        I have a RAID storage cube, which is then backed up onto an external HD, and is also backed up into the cloud.

        But I should simulate a failure and try to get some random important file back. Because you never know if your backup system is good until you really, really need it. And that is not the time to find out it does not work.

    • kareemachan

      Yeah, and then your external hard drives dies. Like mine did, with a LOT of photos and financial information and such backed up on it.

      I’m still pissed about that. And it wasn’t that old…

      • Gianni

        Sounds like you need to try cloud storage, Carbonite or somesuch.

      • Bad Tom

        I have had many external hard drives fail. For whatever reason, they are not nearly as reliable as internal hard drives. Same deal for thumb drives.

  • KnownDonorDad

    These extortionists should be thrown in jail for a good long time, make ’em an example.

    • Bad Tom

      All you have to do is find them.

      • KnownDonorDad

        I know, I know…minor detail, right?

      • kareemachan

        Russia? China?

        • Bad Tom

          Ukraine? Israel?
          It was Israel in one recent case.

  • fuow

    I’ve always avoided Windoof – OS/2, Unix and Linux have kept me safe and running for decades an decades now.

    • Tulle Christensen

      ah yes OS/2 I liked OS/2 it was a good OS at the time.

  • fuow

    C*nt, you really chose a bad day for this little scam of yours.

  • Mark

    are those things real or silicone?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    I believe the term you’re looking for is Cyber Terrorism. When people’s lives are directly put at risk, it’s no longer just hacking.

  • kareemachan

    Computers at our school got phished last week. We got emails saying “So-and-so has shared a Google document with you” when they hadn’t. Nothing like this, but annoying all the same.

  • Cuberly

    Amazon came out with their latest and greatest voice activated assistant gadget.

    heh….I’ll just put this here, for all your techno-nightmares…bwahahahahaha….

    Not sure I like the idea of an always on active camera like that….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQqxCeHhmeU&index=36&list=PL5DsJ8Kumr3VhpyhDS8GIeZRyqmJbs6dc&ref_=MP_AUCC_MX_HV_Sub_Fri_echo_crm_05_12_echo-show-video-link

  • TuuxKabin

    Now look. Them, the Russians and all the rest are just warming up. Wait ’til 2018, 2020, we’re going to be so non trusting of the powers that be, and rightly so, shit like this is to divide us. We’ll be turning on each other. All Russia wants to do is destabilize the worlds’ democracies and why not start with us? Is anyone paying attention? Is this thing still working? Didn’t think so.

  • infmom

    Russia. Oh, boo hoo.

  • 1. If you insist on using Windows, invest in a router. Deploy it between your ISP’s modem and your computer. This creates a physical firewall that, when properly implemented, is 99.99% impenetrable.
    2. Windows security updates are critical – do NOT delay in installing them. Windows always was, is now, and always will be the worst OS for security. Period. I know, this has been my profession for nearly 2 decades.
    3. ANTIVIRUS!!!!! Personally, I prefer Bitdefender. Does a damned good job, doesn’t hog resources, and doesn’t shove it’s nose into every damned thing you do on your computer – unlike Norton and the others – plus, it’s FREE. Been around for ages, and consistently rates among the top AV’s.
    4. Anyone who sends you chain or junk emails, delete it immediately – DO NOT FUCKING OPEN IT!!! Then hunt them down and make them worm food. Use your AV to scan ALL attachments before saving them to your computer. DO NOT open the attachment in your email application or in your Web browser. This is a prime target for hackers as they create linkages with the OS that are easier to use to infect your system.
    5. Never divulge your credit card, bank, social security, health or personal information online. Sometimes it is required, but make damned sure that the connection is encrypted if you do. If it’s not, refuse and leave.
    6. Linux. Get it. Use it. It’s free, and there’s an entire world-wide community of people supporting it.

  • JCF

    Ransoming a HOSPITAL??? Monsters. Lock ’em up, throw away the key!