How hackers think

This one in the video immediately below was based in Canada. Was working as an IT guy at Canada’s National Research Council (!) when he was already shipping and selling huge amounts of drugs. Got arrested, went to prison, then got himself a job as an IT guy at Public Services and Procurement Canada (!).

He targeted hospitals, medical research institutes and other organizations during the pandemic, at a point when a lot of people were tired and anxious.

Recent ransomware: Netwalker (2020 onward, roughly)
Earlier ransomware: Wannacry (2017)

Yes, it’s true that the NHS still had a lot of Windows XP computers at the time and that that was why it was so vulnerable.

I’ve read that more recently, it still had a considerable number of computers and laptops relying on Windows XP. (See for example this article in Computer Weekly, 2019.) So did the UK’s court system. So did police forces. (See for example this article, 2019.)

Back in 2020, many ATM machines still did too:

Did you know that the checkouts at the Asda in Portsmouth used to run on Windows XP too, until they did that big makeover a few years ago? (Yes, I’ve seen it, and should have taken a photo, but didn’t.) I wonder how many supermarket checkouts currently still rely on Windows XP.

Tesco did too. See below.

Year unknown

While I was looking on the web to see how many store self-checkouts still use Windows XP, this popped up for those who need an explanation of what for example Windows XP is:

The problem is not so much that they’re running XP. The problem is when those systems no longer receive updates. Microsoft used to have special maintenance contracts for organizations that continued to run XP after its “expiry date”, such as the British and Dutch government, but I doubt that it still does that.

Now, to end with, here is a ransomware story that will make you smile:

This attack used EternalBlue.

Want more? Then watch this. About an attack of a very different nature.

24 February 2023: Ouch. Big Dutch data theft involved someone who people did not see this coming from… He worked at the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure, but he didn’t abuse data there as far as people are able to tell at this point. (It’s not that easy to get access to data there other than when you’re really working closely with specific data.) His access was blocked as soon as folks found out. He was seen as a pleasant colleague who gave off no signs whatsoever that he might be doing things that he shouldn’t be doing.

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