Monday, May 15, 2017

It looks like we put all our eggs in one basket, then dropped the basket

Unless you spent the entire weekend with mom slugging down mimosas in honor of her day, you'll probably know there's a nasty ransomware virus going around, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide that use the Microsoft Windows operating system.  Specifically, 200,000 computers in 150 countries have been hit so far, with the cyber-attackers demanding a $300 extortion to be paid in Bitcoins.  The UK's National Health Service, the German railway system, Chinese universities, many international businesses and others have all had their files locked up.

It seems that our NSA nerds found a flaw in the Windows system and utilized it to [CENSORED].  Unfortunately their secret got out and hackers developed it into this "Wannacry" virus, and now here we are all over the internet with our pants down around out ankles looking foolish.

Bad as this is, this is chump change compared to what might have happened.  What if they had hacked in and just hit the DELETE button?  What if all that info just permanently disappeared?  It could take months or even years to reconstruct it all, if that's even possible.  

As I've written about in the past, this is the new face of warfare.   No hostile military power is likely to roll 10,000 tanks across the border and invade the US or Germany or any other developed western nation.  There's no need to if they can just worm their way into our computer systems and knock out our stock exchanges, our medical centers, our research centers, etc.  They can bring us to our knees without firing a shot.

I know we have an army of cyber-security experts working to prevent this, but they will always be at a disadvantage.  Those on this case the cyber-attackers...know what they're going to hit, and when, and where, and exactly how.  Those on defense...our cyber-security experts...have to try and cover all bases all the time.  IF they can even identify all the bases.

This is the new normal.  We are hopelessly addicted to computers.  They control everything.  And with 90% of the world's computers running on the (apparently) super-vulnerable Microsoft Windows operating system, I have to wonder why we haven't kicked Microsoft to the curb years ago?  M/S seems to work 24/7 just developing new patches to fix their old patches.  DOH!  Isn't there anything safer/better?

Bottom line....there will always be hackers, and they will often win.  We will be increasingly inconvenienced, and likely even crippled now and then.  Count on it.  Individually, all I can think to do is hoard cash, for when our bank accounts and ATM's and such are zapped, cash will always be king.  I have no idea how businesses and other major institutions will defend themselves.  That's way above my pay grade.



  1. Windows could have been finished years ago if Macs didn't cost so much.

  2. Agreed. I've always heard it said that Apple was preferred for "creative" type work, while MS was more geared to business. I have no idea if that's true, or why that might be. I have a Mac and would give it up for 10 Windows PC's.

  3. I have worked with PC's and Windows since I got rid of my Commodore 64 and never had a real problem with them. As for the hackers who began the WhyCry or WhyCrypt stunt, I have heard that they were rank amateurs, probably from North Korea, who didn't really know what they were doing.

  4. I've always had Windows PCs and never had a problem. I've decided that I will back it up way more regularly than I have, and if anything happens that takes my computer hostage, I will just abandon it and buy a new laptop.

    At work, they're switching more and more to Macs. Are engineers considered creative types? Sooner or later, I'll probably end up getting a Mac, too.