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74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 23:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


The WannaCrypt ransomware worm, aka WanaCrypt or Wcry, today exploded across 74 countries, infecting hospitals, businesses including Fedex, rail stations, universities, at least one national telco, and more organizations.

In response, Microsoft has released emergency security patches to defend against the malware for unsupported versions of Windows, such as XP and Server 2003, as well as modern builds.

To recap, WannaCrypt is installed on vulnerable Windows computers by a worm that spreads across networks by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft’s SMB file-sharing services. It specifically abuses a bug designated MS17-010 that Redmond patched in March for modern versions of Windows, and today for legacy versions – all remaining unpatched systems are therefore vulnerable and can be attacked.

This bug was, once upon a time, exploited by the NSA to hijack and spy on its targets. Its internal tool to do this, codenamed Eternalblue, was stolen from the agency, and leaked online in April – putting this US government cyber-weapon into the hands of any willing miscreant. Almost immediately, it was used to hijack thousands of machines on the internet.

Now someone has taken that tool and strapped it to ransomware: the result is a variant of WannaCrypt, which spreads via SMB and, after landing on a computer, encrypts as many files as it can find. It charges $300 or $600 in Bitcoin to restore the documents. It is adept at bringing offices and homes to a halt by locking away their data.

So. Need another example why it’s a bad idea for three-letter agencies to hoard zero days?

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  1. [Quote:]

    This is what I called short sighted finite thinking on the part of the Intelligence Community managers.

    This is also what I called (for some years now) a swindle of the tax payers. First, they find or create weaknesses then they don’t fix these weaknesses so we are all vulnerable to attack.

    Then, when attacks occur, they say they need more money for cyber security — a total swindle!!! [Indeed.]

    This is only the second swindle of the public. The first was terror efforts by saying we need to collect everything to stop terror — another lie. They said that because to collect everything takes lots and lots of money.

    Then, when the terror attack occurs, they say they need more money, people and data to stop terror. Another swindle from the start. [The war on terror is a “self-licking ice cream cone”, because it creates many more terrorists than it stops.]

    And, finally, the latest swindle “THE RUSSIANS DID IT.” This is an effort to start a new cold war which means another bigger swindle of US tax payers.

    For cyber security, I would suggest the president order NSA, CIA and any others to fix the cyber problems they know about; then, maybe we will start to have some cyber security.

We overanalyze Trump. He is what he appears to be

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 21:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


It’s one thing when that involves a wild Twitter accusation or the firing of a staff member. All Trump’s crises so far have been internal and self-inflicted, more or less.

But what will happen when he gets into a confrontation with North Korea, when Kim Jong Un deliberately provokes him? Will his response be considered and strategic? Will he be able to get information and aid from allies? Will he be able to make and keep commitments during negotiations?

There’s no sign of hope for any of that.

More likely he will prove, as he has in literally every confrontation of the past several years, congenitally unable to back down or deescalate, even if doing so is clearly in everyone’s best interests.

More likely he will be desperate to maintain face and will listen to whatever his security staff whispers in his ear.

More likely he will make rash and fateful decisions with insufficient consultation and no clear plan.

That’s who he is: a disregulated bundle of impulses, being manipulated by a cast of crooks and incompetents, supported by a Republican Party willing to bet the stability of the country against upper-income tax cuts. We need to stop looking for a more complicated story.

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  1. 🆘🆘🆘 if we can’t get him out SOON; then definitely 🔥🔥🔥☠️☠️🤢🤢 and exploding worlds, a pic I don’t have quick access to. He sorely lacks logical problem lsolving skills.

Bob Goodlatte

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 1:28 by John Sinteur in category: News

Here’s Bob Goodlatte talking about Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.

Goodlatte is now chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

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  1. I live in this guy’s district. He got elected on a platform of imposing term limits and a promise to get out himself after two. Needless to say, that was a lie. Most recently he was instrumental in trying to gut the office of ethics, took about $75,000 from Verizon before voting to allow user browsing histories to be a marketable commodity, and voted to repeal the ACA numerous times (while enjoying his luscious little benefits package as a rep). Everybody around here thinks he’s just great, tho. Not sure what it’ll take to get him out his position.

‘What is wrong with you?’ Michelle Obama savages Trump’s gutting of her legacy

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 1:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


One of the former first lady’s signature legacies was an effort to reduce childhood obesity. Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s administration froze regulations that would cut sodium and increase whole grains served in school meals.


The 53-year-old demanded: “And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on? You know, now that’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation. Like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be OK with that?

“Because here’s the secret: if somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid, and we need to demand everyone to care deeply about kids. That’s all we have. So we should be driving this and every elected official on this planet should understand: don’t play with our children. Don’t do it.”

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  1. You go, girl.

  2. And here’s an “Obama plus kids twitter for you to follow and get you through all this

  3. But does anyone really eat the meals? There wasn’t any regulation of meals until recently and kids did just fine. How did the meals become an issue at all? If kids sit at video games and TV all day, there isn’t a chance in Hell that they will be healthy, irregardless of what they eat.

    I’m sure the meals are better in Europe, but so is the lifestyle (they seem to ride bikes everywhere).

    We try to cure society’s ills with regulations that don’t achieve much of anything. Regulate the banks and industry. I’m all for it, but the regulations in the schools hasn’t achieved anything. And can someone please get the horny teachers away from the kids?

  4. @will – I don’t think the kids did do just fine tho’. Obesity rates have skyrocketed in the last years and something really does need to be done. Since my tax dollars are paying for those meals I would like some thought given to the content and source of the food. More importantly, my kids and nieces and nephews should be fed better food at school. Seems like the driver here is 1) anything Obama did has to be bad, and even more 2) the food giants make more $$ by “crap” school menus.

  5. No offense, but I don’t think a minority of people should decide what everyone’s kids are eating. I just want them to eat. If a majority of the healthy meals are being thrown away, it ain’t working. More data is needed. Has anyone asked the kids?

  6. @will: Free education is about the only social program that can reliably lift people out of poverty. Giving poor kids decent food can’t be a waste.

Anybody care to guess…

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 1:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

Is there ANY other phrase more likely to make the “most used in news reports” list other than “Further undermining Trump’s credibility…”

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  1. *throws aside popcorn and switches to nachos*

Vice President Mike Pence Met Privately With Top Russian Cleric

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 1:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


A top cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately with Vice President Mike Pence Thursday morning and urged the U.S. to cooperate with Russia to combat terrorism in the Middle East.

I can’t help not believing a word of that. Looking at their shared religious views I suspect burning all the gays was a more likely subject of conversation, but with all the recent shit going on about the administration and contacts with Russia even that’s not likely…

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  1. Oh, c’mon. Gay Islamist terrorist abortionists are rampantly at large in the Middle East. Or so RT tells us.

Meanwhile on Fox

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 0:52 by John Sinteur in category: News

(check the ticker if you want to know when this was broadcast)

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Today in Apple history: Bill Gates predicts doom for Apple’s biggest product

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 0:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[May 12, 2005:]

“As good as Apple may be, I don’t believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run,” Gates told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “You can make parallels with computers: Apple was very strong in this field before, with its Macintosh and its graphics user interface — like the iPod today — and then lost its position.”

Gates went on to describe how the rise of cellphones, capable of doing much of what an iPod can do, would destroy the market for MP3 players.

Bill was TOTALLY right with this prediction.

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  1. Microsoft was way ahead at the time. Windows CE debuted in 1996; Windows Mobile debuted in April 2000.

    And more generally, Microsoft had been working to adapt Windows to smaller-form-factor devices for a decade – its support for stylus. handwriting, and voice interfaces date predate Windows XP. And shortly after this interview, Microsoft embarked on a major venture into palmtop computing, known as “ultra-mobile PCs,” or Project Origami – which was supposed to revolutionize the mobile space.

    The problem was that the end products sucked. All of them.

Definition: Trump’s Razor

Posted on May 13th, 2017 at 0:38 by John Sinteur in category: News

“The dumbest possible reason for why Trump did something is the reason Trump did something.”

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