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Peter Creasey

Ransomware Alert

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In mid-April, an arsenal of powerful software tools apparently designed by the NSA to infect and control Windows computers was leaked by an entity known only as the “Shadow Brokers.” Not even a whole month later, the hypothetical threat that criminals would use the tools against the general public has become real, and tens of thousands of computers worldwide are now crippled by an unknown party demanding ransom.

 

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Whoever put in that lazy, single-anchor kill switch code must be feeling pretty bad right now.

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Hard to say if it was a stub for a c&c server or a lazy way to avoid infection in the lab, but in any event it must have cost them.

 

 

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I am very concerned about another ransomware scheme launched by Albanian hackers. It works by reversing the output of the built in graphics chip in laptops and desktops. (Handheld devices like iPhones and Blackberrys seem to be immune so far.) The virus can take over a computer in seconds.

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seriously though, this was an SMB exploit that only affected people running Windows XP (which isn't even supported anymore) and Windows 7 (if they weren't running updates/installing patches). None of you should still be using those OS' at home. (As I type this on a government computer running Windows 7 (at least it's patched albeit half the internet doesn't work)).

 

keep your operating systems up to date and use two factor authentication on your accounts. That will protect you the vast vast majority of the time.

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Nathan, "seriously" some of our home PCs still use XP and 7 (and also Vista). Such is true of MANY people.

 

I haven't seen anything that says the ransomware was only exploiting XP and 7, but perhaps I missed it. The patches are being provided for all of the OSes.

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seriously though, this was an SMB exploit that only affected people running Windows XP (which isn't even supported anymore) and Windows 7 (if they weren't running updates/installing patches).

 

I thought the exploit was written this way (because of when it was written?), but the theoretical vulnerability also exists in Windows 10 not patched since March.

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I can remember being told by Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments years ago that they wouldn't support Windows XP for trading, even account checking. Easily 6 years ago. Also Vista, which I no longer used.

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Yeah but windows 7 is still the most common desktop os by far.

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