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Why ransomware is so dangerous and hard to stop

10 Comments
By FRANK BAJAK

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How? Under what right would a state have to prevent its populace from purchasing something they want to as an adult? This is something authoritarian states would do. I thought you righties hated the tyranny of the state...

The Federal government might not have the authority to ban private individuals from owning crypto currencies but they can certainly prohibit the banking system from buying, selling, holding or exchanging crypto currencies as part of Federal banking regulations. They could also conceivably prohibit publicly traded corporations in the US as well as public agencies at all levels of government from buying, selling, holding or exchanging crypto currencies. These hackers are only interested in large entities and not individuals. If large entities and public agencies are prohibited by law from owning crypto currencies then the hackers can't demand them in payment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Apparently all you have to do is just set your Windows language setting to Russian and you'll be spared.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Outlaw" crypto-currencies" and much of this problem would go away.

How? Under what right would a state have to prevent its populace from purchasing something they want to as an adult? This is something authoritarian states would do. I thought you righties hated the tyranny of the state...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Apparently all you have to do is just set your Windows language setting to Russian and you'll be spared.

Can you read and write in Russian? There is the rub. In addition you need a Cyrillic keyboard. What I wonder is if an enterprising software coder could create an emulation software that would show anyone looking into your computer that you are using a Cyrillic keyboard and your language setting is Russian?

A second thought is would it not be interesting if someone could write malware designed to infect only computers using a Cyrillic keyboard and Russian language, a malware that on an appointed date and time would automatically re-format every storage device that is so infected. Poof, all of your software and data is gone. Business, banking, government, central bank, telephone system, oil refineries, aircraft production, personal devices, everything all wiped clean. Write the malware so any device that is turned off at the appointed data and time will automatically reformat when turned back on. And because the storage device is reformatted there are no digital fingerprints left from the hack. Imagine the pandemonium if suddenly nearly every computer in the Russian speaking world went blank and everything was lost.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Outlaw" crypto-currencies" and much of this problem would go away.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What next? A government fund for those who leave their front doors open when they go on holiday?

Don't put your key systems - public utilities etc - online.

Have proper, offline back-ups. That's your data and enough kit to operate it on in an emergency.

Air gap your intranet from the public internet.

Train your staff.

Your IT security is the most important part of your business, so pay more for it, and less to your golf-loving CEO, turn-up twice a year board and 'donations' to politicians. IT security is too often done on the cheap.

Better still, switch to systems that design out the problem. Don't store a cache of data on your system or run all of your data through your servers. Use distributed topologies that store users' data on their own systems in encrypted wallets.

If you can afford IT you can afford to secure it. If you rely on IT, you cannot afford to leave it insecure.

No insurance company should cover a company for ransomware without stress testing their IT. If it fails, you aren't covered.

Allowing legal take-downs of botnets is controversial because it legalises the private hacking of victims' computers. It will go wrong quickly. Instead of ransomware gangs taking down hospital systems, private hackers will be doing it as they target the systems of folk who have no idea that their tech, or the tech of their ISP/cloud provider is hosting a botnet. It already happens, but it is typically done by GAFA working with state agencies, so there is usually at least one competent person able to prevent unwise actions.

The easiest solution is for governments to engage with each other instead of behaving like angry four year olds.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yawn, and so Biden is now doing what exactly to punt this and to stop the increasing hacking that now seems to be happening on a more frequent basis? These hackers are getting way too comfortable and doing this with impunity.

A question I have is what is the obligation of the government to use taxpayer money to fix IT problems at private businesses? My take is that in an instance where you have a company with 20% market share in something critical like food or energy, maybe there needs to be anti-trust action. With more competitors in the market losing one to a malware attack is not such a big deal. Why should the taxpayers have to fix the problems of private industry? If they are too stupid to secure their systems then maybe they deserve to lose big money to ransomware? And obtw it appears that JBS had their data backed up off line and were up and running in three days with no ransom was paid. What is the big problem? It looks to me like JBS was prepared and handled the situation well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

StrangerlandToday  08:09 am JST

How? Under what right would a state have to prevent its populace from purchasing something they want to as an adult? This is something authoritarian states would do. I thought you righties hated the tyranny of the state...

How?? By making it illegal of course, as is the right of a state. Such as in the countries below:

Algeria

Bolivia

Ecuador

Bangladesh

Nepal

Macedonia

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Strangerland...

How? Under what right would a state have to prevent its populace from purchasing something they want to as an adult? This is something authoritarian states would do. I thought you righties hated the tyranny of the state...

Really? Try buying kiddy porn, cocaine, a tiger skin or a kidney.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can you read and write in Russian? There is the rub. In addition you need a Cyrillic keyboard. What I wonder is if an enterprising software coder could create an emulation software that would show anyone looking into your computer that you are using a Cyrillic keyboard and your language setting is Russian? 

A second thought is would it not be interesting if someone could write malware designed to infect only computers using a Cyrillic keyboard and Russian language, a malware that on an appointed date and time would automatically re-format every storage device that is so infected. Poof, all of your software and data is gone. Business, banking, government, central bank, telephone system, oil refineries, aircraft production, personal devices, everything all wiped clean. Write the malware so any device that is turned off at the appointed data and time will automatically reformat when turned back on. And because the storage device is reformatted there are no digital fingerprints left from the hack. Imagine the pandemonium if suddenly nearly every computer in the Russian speaking world went blank and everything was lost.

Yawn, and so Biden is now doing what exactly to punt this and to stop the increasing hacking that now seems to be happening on a more frequent basis? These hackers are getting way too comfortable and doing this with impunity.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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