Yes, indeed there is blood on that man's hands. I too remember the Great Internet Explorer Wars. Saw many good people lose their lives in that dark chapter of human history. What brutal, senseless suffering, and all because machines came pre-packaged with this one certain browser. Damn it Bill, why did you have to go and include a browser with every operating system, you heartless, greedy bastard! Were those ill gotten gains worth it?! And now you think you can just undo the sins of your past by eradicating malaria, hunger, and illiteracy? Well, it won't work! None of that can compare to the horrors of browser/operating system bundling. Truly, Micro$oft money is blood money.
I'm all for solar windows on buildings. It doesn't bring in that much energy per unit area, but on a large, multi-story building, the energy obtained can be substantial.
This is useful for both on-grid use (to help lower power bills), as well as off-grid use (power to be stored in batteries and used with PSW inverters for very clean power in the structure.)
Stuff like this isn't revolutionary, but with energy use, any step helps.
If the data is stored on SSD, it even is easier... just encrypt the files and force a TRIM on empty space.
Previous to this, ransomware was in the wings, but it was relatively amateurish. It used relatively small keys, or spread via a vector that was already plugged by most AV stuff. Now, with zero-days used to get the software onto machines, this is not just a threat, but a big money-maker for the bad guys.
I just wonder if kill switches will help the matter, or if iPhones will just be parted out. Just the screen is $175, and that is on eBay because Apple doesn't have replacements yet. The other components will also be useful, be it the rest of the case, speaker, battery, etc.
Even if the device is completely and utterly bricked, either by a remote erase command (and not able to be activated due to needing the AppleID), or via the GSM/LTE network, the fence who gets the phone will be able to make at least $200 from each stolen device, perhaps far more. There are a lot of iPhone screen repair shops, and one can never know for sure if the screen was purchased from an honest source, or if the screen came from a request reinforced with a knife at the throat. At the right price, the customer wouldn't care. Plus, there are no serial numbers on screens either.
I really do not think blocking iPhones will make a dent in theft. It sure didn't lower the amount of thefts when Apple put in the iOS 7 feature where part of activation was entering in the old AppleID.
You hit the nail on the head. With CDMA providers, unless you buy the device from them, AFAIK, they won't allow it on the network. With GSM providers, if you had an unlocked device with the proper antenna bands, it would work without issue, and just swapping the SIM did the job. No calling up and pleading for permission to use the device, just a card swap and perhaps a power cycle.
A simless device gets us back to the bad old days. With those, I have to beg/plead with the telco in order to have a device allowed on their network, and they can easily just give me the middle finger.
Thumbs down on simless devices.
The only non-enterprise backup utility that can do this client-server motif these days is Retrospect. However, the licensing fees for the server version are atrocious. It works OK with disks, but apparently with optical media like Blu-Rays, it has a very limited hardware list, and anything not on the list will not be allowed to even read backups.
Of course, there is always NetBackup, but the ticket for entry into that ballgame will be six digits.
This may be archaic, but this is one application where tape backups can come in handy. Once data is stashed on a tape and the tape dismounted, it is out of reach to malware looking for anything online to disrupt. WORM tapes even more so, since once the session is closed, it is there for good, so malware can't erase the data that is previously written.
Maybe one idea that might help with this is an external hard drive with a large UDF filesystem. Files can be easily copied to it, but once written, they cannot be deleted. Of course, the malware can fill up the drive with garbage or files similar to the relevant ones making it useless for backups, but the data already written would still be accessible.
Depends on the OS. Server operating systems will have a SmartScreen filter that requests to be set up once the machine is running, and will immediately prompt if it encounters unsigned applications and disallow them to run.
This capability is present in Windows 7 and newer (AppLocker), but it isn't turned on unless someone has the "pro" version and access to gpedit.
I've been hacking together a system on a Windows Server 2012 box, where the clients copy their documents to a directory in their own individual shares, then when done, the directories get moved to another directory not accessible to the clients. Then, later in the night, the deduplication process fires off, so for the most part, only changed in the stored documents are stored. Of course, this may not help if the malware is smart enough to do its dirty work slowly over a period of time where old backups are cycled out.
As the parent stated, probably the best way to deal with this is what the parent stated -- something like the Qubes OS project where every application not just has its own memory space, but has its own filesystem completely separate from the other programs. Add to this a backup program that pulls data from a machine (where the client can only start backups, but cannot access backed up info unless it is directly pushed from the server), and this would provide some answer to ransomware.
The scary thing: Ransomware has been around, but CryptoLocker is really the first shot across the bow that uses browser (or browser add-on) holes, Trojans, and other weaknesses to actively do its dirty work. It also is extremely well engineered where the keys are not findable once the software does its nasty deeds.
Depends on OS. Windows uses snapshot functionality, and in theory, it wouldn't be hard for malware to not bother intercepting the files opened under a backup context so they get backed up encrypted compared to files opened directly by the user.
EFS on NTFS works in a similar fashion. If I back up a directory full of EFS protected files, they are stored encrypted. If I fire up a utility like WinRAR which opens files as an application does, Windows will decrypt the files automatically.
There are levels of civilization and currencies that match those levels.
At the absolute lowest level, the currency and the useful items in question will be one and the same. Food, water, and ammo will be foremost. Since ammo (for the most part) can be considered fungible, it probably will end up the currency at this level of civilization (or lack of) because it has a definite use.
Once things calm down, and there is some security, gold and silver are good for trade because they provide a lot of value in a relatively small package.
Things start stabilizing and financial institutions pop up which get a good reputation, and the precious metals can be replaced by paper redeemable for those metals. This makes trade even easier, and here, there can be more paper out there than precious metals (assuming no complete run on the institution.)
After that, comes fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies (since it takes a lot of infrastructure to validate BitCoin blockchains, as this can't be done offline unless one wants to risk being scammed by double-spenders.)
Using a fiat currency when people are in survival mode will get one laughed at. Even using precious metals when people are trying to survive might even be pointless. The more stable society gets, the more complex the currencies can become and still be accepted.
David Chaum had a pretty good cryptocurrency going that was truly anonymous (blinding factors and everything.)
I remember this from the toad.com Cypherpunks days. However, even though it was a usable currency, it never caught on.
What I can see happening is some "trusted" site (use that word as you may) offering a steady "X" amount of their credits for BitCoins. Then, when people use the Chaumian currency, the transactions are truly anonymous, and when the currency is changed back into BitCoins, no matter how good the blockchain auditing is, the coins are pretty much laundered.
IMHO, CryptoLocker is just the first shot across the bow.
Long term, maybe it will be a good thing, similar to the old PC days where BIOS killing viruses finally got people to actually care about average security or else keep buying new computers.
Of course, malware like this pretty much trashes almost every single backup system known to man. The enterprise is less affected because of programs like NetBackup that pull data, so malicious software is unable to touch previous backups. However, the main form of backups people do (if they bother to do anything) is copying to a secondary hard disk, which allows the backups to be accessed by malware and destroyed. Services like Mozy sort of help, but they might not keep a previous version of a file that hasn't been corrupted by ransomware, especially if the software is relatively slow and encrypts files over a long period of time to escape detection.
What I am waiting to see is Cryptolocker's descendant. This software will install itself through a hole in a Web browser or add-ons. It will install a low level Windows driver. It will then generate a private key and keep it local to the machine, sending a backup to the ransomware's servers. The software will gradually encrypt files over time. However, when an encrypted file is accessed, it will decrypt it on the fly... for a time.
Then, once it completes encrypting files, it will stop decrypting on the fly, purges the private keys it used, then demand ransom. Since this was done over a period of weeks to months, even backups stored on Mozy or other places will be locked out.
Don't forget highly reliable, dependable software coupled with (as per previous postings) top tier customer support.
The Surface Pro is a pretty decent piece of hardware. If MS had a decent dock for it that supported Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 so it could be used with a decent monitor, keyboard, and mouse, it would come close to a desktop replacement, although it may not run the latest Crysis iterations at max settings.
Plus, the Secure UEFI Boot can be switched off to use it as a Linux tablet, should the want/need arise.