Ransomware - Hold On To You Butts

With apologies to Samuel L Jackson's character in 1993's Jurassic Park, be prepared to hold on as the WannaCry/Wanna Crypt ransomware scourge is likely just the first in a series of things to come.

The main reasons are that there is more money to be made, and there are still exploits and tools waiting in the wings from the recent NSA "dump". So we can logically expect a continuation of this sort of thing, making a lot of IT department's lives miserable in the coming months.
“The ransomware payload wasn’t all that novel,” said Jack Danahy, CTO of Barkly Protects, a company that provides enterprise anti-malware defenses. “What they did used a new technique to spread itself using an exploit called Eternal Blue which was revealed by ShadowBrokers.”

The Nuts And Bolts Of WannaCry Ransomware

Cisco's Talos Intelligence Group has a technical write-up of the WannaCry-type ransomware that is causing so much churn this week. Some of the workings of the malware are interesting, if not unique, such as deleting any existing shadow copies on the victim's system.
The file tasksche.exe checks for disk drives, including network shares and removable storage devices mapped to a letter, such as 'C:/', 'D:/' etc. The malware then checks for files with a file extension as listed in the appendix and encrypts these using 2048-bit RSA encryption. While the files are being encrypted, the malware creates a new file directory 'Tor/' into which it drops tor.exe and nine dll files used by tor.exe. Additionally, it drops two further files: taskdl.exe & taskse.exe. The former deletes temporary files while the latter launches @wanadecryptor@.exe to display the ransom note on the desktop to the end user.


More Than Half Of US Homes Only Have Wireless Phone Service

The "plain old telephone service" (or POTS, as it is also known) is a thing of the past for over half of us in the USA. Home that only use a traditional landline for their telephone calls account for less than 7% these days.

Most of us, particularly younger people, use cellular service or a combination, with just over 50% now only using cell phones. The data comes from a survey by the CDC - yes, the Centers for Disease Control - and was a survey of almost 20,000 US households.


The UK Is Awash In Surveillance

I was born in the UK and lived there till my mid-twenties, so it really pains me to see how they have chosen to "go all 1984" with some really draconian surveillance laws. New proposals bring new levels of snooping to bear, and one wonders if the public there will actually balk at all this or just grumble a bit and get on with it. 

Unfortunately, I suspect the latter, as that seems to be the way of things over the last 10 years or so. I'm sure the "war on terrorism" will be used as a club to persuade the folks to get with the program. I resent that, as when something bad goes down we often seem to hear "Oh yes, person X was 'on the radar' or 'under surveillance'", but then went ahead and caused death or destruction anyway.
Under the proposals, all communications companies—including internet providers, messaging apps and phone networks—would be forced to provide police with real-time access to a person’s web browsing with one day’s notice.
“These powers could be directed at companies like WhatsApp to limit their encryption… but if the powers are exercised, this will be done in secret,” Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, said in an emailed statement to Newsweek .


SpaceX Re-using Rockets

SpaceX is quietly getting the hang of safely landing its rocket boosters after a launch. They just recovered a 4th rocket, which landed at their Florida facility - making a total of 10 successful such events (4 on land).
SpaceX used a brand-new Falcon 9 for today’s launch, but just last month the company finally demonstrated that it was capable of reflying rockets that have flown to space before.
Even though this is an impressive technical advancement, I can't help but think how the Falcon 9 below reminds me of those rockets from 1950's Sci-Fi movies and TV shows,


Falcon 9 Landing