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]: In other security news...
by Alfman on Tue 16th May 2017 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE: In other security news..."
Member since:

Bill Shooter of Bul,

I think at this point, I'm more interested in a secure device that I don't have full control over, than one that has vulnerabilities that can be exploited to allow me greater control over the device.

Yea, I understand. Although personally I don't like that manufacturers present us with such a contrived choice in the first place. Owners should never be put in a position to depend on vulnerabilities to get the most out of their devices. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

winter skies Member since:


Yea, I understand. Although personally I don't like that manufacturers present us with such a contrived choice in the first place. Owners should never be put in a position to depend on vulnerabilities to get the most out of their devices. ;)

Indeed. I am sick of people pushing this false dichotomy and preaching that you can be safe only if you give up your freedom. It is not like that.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

Well, its certainly true that you don't have to give up freedom to have a secure device. However, the options for that in a mobile phone are very limited at this point.

Heck its difficult just to get a secure device without freedom. Right now the options are...
Maybe Top of the line Samsung*?

I think Nexus/Pixel will also allow most freedoms (obviously there are some binary blobs there and closed source pieces that can't be replaced).

*Samsung phones are getting Android security updates, but they also have Samsung written software in them.

Reply Parent Score: 2