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

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[2]: Responsibility
by Alfman on Tue 16th May 2017 14:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Responsibility"
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I'm surprised Alfman - sure if computers are being "certified" for running e.g. medical imaging equipment - with Windows Update turned off - then SURELY they should not be networked !?

I'm confused what you are responding to, however I agree these computers need to be cut off from the outside world. A lot of equipment still needs to be "networked" internally though in order to provide patient care.

Have a sandboxed secondary drive that is write only used for exporting the data from the primary drive
Have a strict SOP that the IT guys supply the UUID number for the drive (and a little utility for the untrained to enter this - that mounts it write only at a specific mount point and refuses to mount elsewhere, or with other privileges - system wide)

Then physically move it to a 2nd computer terminal beside it that is networked; do this once or even twice a day with a fresh External USB each time. 1TB 2.5" drives are only $50 each now - which is relatively negligable vs cost of imaging 6 - 12 patients on MRI/PET scanners

would this not be a safe-ish workaround. If you're needing to keep to the certification model.

There are a lot of possible solutions, but ideally it shouldn't get in the way or real time data. I read somewhere that ebay or amazon (can't remember which, I wish I could find the article again) deliberately processed credit card payments through a very basic serial protocol to mitigate the risk of network and OS attack vectors. Even if the OS had known vulnerabilities it would be extremely difficult to exploit them through a basic serial protocol.

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RE[3]: Responsibility
by dionicio on Tue 16th May 2017 21:14 in reply to "RE[2]: Responsibility"
dionicio Member since:

Security On Legacy. Ha ha, good idea. Not Worth the trouble and expenses, to most.

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RE[3]: Responsibility
by mistersoft on Sat 20th May 2017 13:38 in reply to "RE[2]: Responsibility"
mistersoft Member since:

Good point.
Re the serial connection

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