Maybe this is churlish, but I told ya. And told ya, and told ya. I struggle to empathize with this person. Not because she’s suffered a massive loss… who hasn’t? Not because she’s now got to rely on the kindness of strangers… who hasn’t?
But I cannot wrap my head around this mindset about a computer, that allows one to make it such a powerful horcrux of oneself and still not take the very sensible approach Tom Riddle took of making several, redundant copies.
I think that some people, as they notice their computer becoming more and more central to holding the essence of who they are and what they do, imbue it with a magical inviolability. Surely something so powerful can never fail or go astray, they seem to think.
With decent backups, the potentially life-altering injury illustrated in this tweet would instead be a day or two of delays and annoyance while the restores were running.
So yes, it may be churlish to see Lisa’s deep distress as an object lesson for others. If it is, then call me a churl. But do your goddam backups! I’ll take that trade.
As with all ransomware, the defense is simple: Backup, backup, backup. The fresher your backups are, the less work it will be to reconstruct your data and the less temptation you will feel to pay the criminals.
Backup, backup, backup.
Microsoft is blaming the NSA, and the NSA is blaming Microsoft. A pox on both their houses.
Backup, backup, backup.
Anti-virus can’t help you until they catch up, and can’t help you again once it starts to mutate.
Backup, backup, backup.
Someone found a “kill switch”. By accident. Uh-huh.
Trust that, do you?
Rochester B Sides is always fun and enlightening. The keynote was by @dualcore about techniques that malware writers will use to defeat memory forensics so that their hard work developing payloads is not trashed.
His talk was punctuated with those infamous clips of goats emitting disturbingly human-like screams. I have no idea why, and I am not even that curious about it. His talk was still good…
But then he had a slightly longer break while a data harvesting process ran. And he played this.
Between LastPass pooping the bed (again!?) and Congress telling your ISP to spy all they want on you, my recommendations fromback in November are now looking mighty thin without including a VPN service, to try to stick one more finger into the dike.
I will plan to do a roundup of decent and non-evil (as far as we can know) VPN services by this weekend. But you should also start looking for your own.
One thing you can do right away that’s easy and free, is start using OpenDNS for your address lookups. ISP spying on users always begins with DNS, so the first thing I always do is get the heck off the ISP’s DNS and on to OpenDNS or Google’s.
The hovertext for this cartoon is, “The trick to passwords is to just reset them every time you need to log in”. Which is kind of an interesting idea, and one that I would like to consider from a security point of view, because I hear it proposed in less jocular contexts than this one.
The standard model of a password is that it’s the “something you know” among the three factors considered for authentication: something you know, something you have and something you are (i.e., biometrics). Using a second factor greatly improves the overall security, and I recommend it regardless of what else you decide about this.
If instead of recording or remembering your password to every site, you simply use the password reset function, have you improved the safety of your authentication to that site? Before you adopted this strategy, your main points of weakness were the manager providing storage of your very-complex password, or the too-simple password you chose so your would not need a manager. Now, at least, you have a really complex password (right? RIGHT?), and you’re not storing it anywhere.
But now your main point of weakness is your email account. Which is probably also vulnerable to the manager providing storage of your very-complex password, or the too-simple password you chose so your would not need a manager. Not only have you simply shifted the same exact issue, you have concentrated it into the single resource that affords access to all your other resources. It takes an already vulnerable situation and makes it a single point of failure for your entire online life.
Until we can get rid of passwords completely, somehow, I’m afraid there are not many shortcuts available. So: make a strong password you can remember. Use it to secure your password manager. And, enable a second factor for every site that offers the option.
Woke this morning to the news that my password manager of choice, LastPass, had a bug that (for the first time I can recall), put the passwords in the vault at risk.
In the linked article, Tavis Ormandy suggests dumping LastPass and going to another password manager. But to me that’s like when it starts to rain (no lightning) and you run under a tree. Eventually the rain works through the leaves, so now you go run for a different tree. Well, duh! The rain has worked through all the leaves on all the trees.
There’s no reason to think my passwords are more or less safe elsewhere.
And oh by the way as of this writing, LastPass has pushed a fix.
Anyone who thinks that they want to go into Information Security for the excitement has been watching way too many of those dramatic TV shows where they throw around the prefix “cyber-” too much. Then the slick-dressed hero, the pudgy bearded guy and the gothy teen prodigy huddle around a laptop while the giant red LED Countdown Clock of Doom makes its way toward this week’s digital Armageddon, brought to you by Travelocity.
What a big ol’ bucket of Nope! I could never take the stress. Real security work looks boring. Tracking threats, applying mitigation, then watching with satisfaction as… nothing happens.
If I have trained my user community right, every backup is running. Nobody is clicking on dodgy email links or attachments. Every password is unique and strong. It’s stored in a password manager, and fortified by two-factor authentication.
It only looks boring, and it’s much easier on my blood pressure.