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[2]: Blame List
by wa2flq on Tue 16th May 2017 18:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Blame List"
wa2flq
Member since:
2006-07-22

But... But they fixed it two months ago?


That's not sufficient.

Microsoft created an ecosystem in which many of their customers do not trust their patching system or updated products. Hence they own this problem.

Apple is not perfect here either but I believe most iOS and OS X users rarely think twice about taking a patch. Okay, I usually wait 2 or 3 days after a release…

I am beginning to think that OS Vendors should be required to supply free Security Patches for NN number of years, where NN is 10, 15 or 20 years. Customer and businesses behavior is never go to match good IT Practice if requires regular support and/or major upgrade costs. Even if you legislated businesses to purchase support or update regularly, it will turn into a bureaucratic mess (example: USA: Sarbanes-Oxley).

Medical, critical infrastructure or life safety equipment with embedded computing is always going to be a challenge. It's going to take changes in the professions that use these devices to step up and demand stricter support processes from their vendors.

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