Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th May 2017 16:18 UTC
Windows

Friday saw the largest global ransomware attack in internet history, and the world did not handle it well. We're only beginning to calculate the damage inflicted by the WannaCry program - in both dollars and lives lost from hospital downtime - but at the same time, we're also calculating blame.

There's a long list of parties responsible, including the criminals, the NSA, and the victims themselves - but the most controversial has been Microsoft itself. The attack exploited a Windows networking protocol to spread within networks, and while Microsoft released a patch nearly two months ago, it’s become painfully clear that patch didn’t reach all users. Microsoft was following the best practices for security and still left hundreds of thousands of computers vulnerable, with dire consequences. Was it good enough?

If you're still running Windows XP today and you do not pay for Microsoft's extended support, the blame for this whole thing rests solely on your shoulders - whether that be an individual still running a Windows XP production machine at home, the IT manager of a company cutting costs, or the Conservative British government purposefully underfunding the NHS with the end goal of having it collapse in on itself because they think the American healthcare model is something to aspire to.

You can pay Microsoft for support, upgrade to a secure version of Windows, or switch to a supported Linux distribution. If any one of those mean you have to fix, upgrade, or rewrite your internal software - well, deal with it, that's an investment you have to make that is part of running your business in a responsible, long-term manner. Let this attack be a lesson.

Nobody bats an eye at the idea of taking maintenance costs into account when you plan on buying a car. Tyres, oil, cleaning, scheduled check-ups, malfunctions - they're all accepted yearly expenses we all take into consideration when we visit the car dealer for either a new or a used car.

Computers are no different - they're not perfect magic boxes that never need any maintenance. Like cars, they must be cared for, maintained, upgraded, and fixed. Sometimes, such expenses are low - an oil change, new windscreen wiper rubbers. Sometimes, they are pretty expensive, such as a full tyre change and wheel alignment. And yes, after a number of years, it will be time to replace that car with a different one because the yearly maintenance costs are too high.

Computers are no different.

So no, Microsoft is not to blame for this attack. They patched this security issue two months ago, and had you been running Windows 7 (later versions were not affected) with automatic updates (as you damn well should) you would've been completely safe. Everyone else still on Windows XP without paying for extended support, or even worse, people who turn automatic updates off who was affected by this attack?

I shed no tears for you. It's your own fault.

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RE: Comment by FlyingJester
by Alfman on Mon 15th May 2017 18:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by FlyingJester"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

FlyingJester,

I do understand that some embedded systems are basically not viable for upgrade.

The irresponsible part, to me, is putting such a system on a network, or allowing data to pass into such a system from a possibly insecure source. Better yet if data can only move out from such a system, since that eliminates the biggest attack vector.


Yes, it also strikes me as odd that the networks themselves were not better isolated. I guess some employees inadvertently installed the malware inside the network perimeter of critical systems, however for that to be possible it seems there wasn't enough isolation. Critical systems should not have any connectivity to the internet at all incoming or outgoing such that internet based malware could infest the inner network. They should also be physically secured.

Internet facing servers would should be kept outside the perimeter in a DMZ. Employee computers should probably have their own networks as well. They could install honeypot/trip wires to detect any unauthorized activity.

Edited 2017-05-15 18:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

grandmasterphp Member since:
2017-05-15

80% of the systems were okay. Which means 80% are probably doing it right.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Lennie on Tue 16th May 2017 15:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by FlyingJester"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Actually, Microsoft is making it harder and harder to run their operating system(s) without an Internet connection (even just Windows connecting to the Internet).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by FlyingJester
by Alfman on Tue 16th May 2017 16:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by FlyingJester"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Lennie,

Actually, Microsoft is making it harder and harder to run their operating system(s) without an Internet connection (even just Windows connecting to the Internet).



Yeah, they're especially pushing it on home/pro users, it's probably going to get worse. But I would strongly hope that the specifications for hospital computers would ban "the cloud" because the internet going down is a predictable failure mode. Can you imagine a disaster like 9/11 when telecoms were disrupted and then a hospital having to deal with an IT issues at the same time. That's not really acceptable.

Reply Parent Score: 2