The Microsoft Tax: Rapidly replicating Windows PC worm spreads as experts try to limit damage; Macintosh unaffected

“Employees booting up computers at work Monday could see red as they discover they’re victims of a global ‘ransomware’ cyberattack that has created chaos in 150 countries and could wreak even greater havoc as more malicious variations appear,” Sylvia Hui and Christopher S. Rugaber report for The Associated Press. “As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, officials and experts on Sunday urged organizations and companies to update older Microsoft operating systems immediately to ensure they aren’t vulnerable to a second, more powerful version of the software – or to future versions that can’t be stopped.”

“The initial attack, known as ‘WannaCry,’ paralyzed computers that run Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies worldwide in what was believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever recorded,” Hui and Rugaber report. “The hackers exploited software code from the National Security Agency that leaked online.”

“New variants of the rapidly replicating worm were discovered Sunday and one did not include the so-called kill switch that allowed researchers to interrupt its spread Friday by diverting it to a dead end on the internet,” Hui and Rugaber report. “The attack held users hostage by freezing their computers, popping up a red screen with the words, ‘Oops, your files have been encrypted!’ and demanding money through online bitcoin payment – $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.”

“The ransomware attack was particularly malicious, because if just one person in an organization clicked on an infected attachment or bad link, all the [Windows PC] computers in a network would be infected, said Vikram Thakur, technical director of Symantec Security Response,” Hui and Rugaber report. ” The ransomware exploits older versions of Microsoft’s operating system software, such as Windows XP.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Karmic payback never ends for cheapskates still using staring slack-jawed at remotely disabled, crappy, old Windows PCs.

Life’s too short. Stop wasting your time. Stop stressing out. Get a Mac. — MacDailyNews, May 11, 2010

Microsoft. Your frustration. Our fault.

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The Microsoft Tax: Windows zero-day flaw exposes users to code execution attack; Mac unaffected – August 09, 2010
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The Microsoft Tax: McAfee correctly identifies Windows as malware; Macintosh unaffected – April 21, 2010
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The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 zero-day flaw enables attackers to cripple PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 16, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 flaw allows attackers to remotely crash PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 12, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows virus delivers child porn to PCs, users go to jail; Mac users unaffected – November 09, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Worms infest Windows PCs worldwide; Mac users unaffected – November 02, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Banking Trojan horse steals money from Windows sufferers; Mac users unaffected – September 30, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Serious Windows security flaw lets hackers to take over PCs; Macintosh unaffected – July 07, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows Conficker worm hits hospital devices; Macintosh unaffected – April 29, 2009
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    1. I have agreed with Apple’s stance for over 20 years. They make their systems for the benefit of end users, not data scraping giant companies.

      That doesn’t make me a fanboy, just a prudent computer user who easily sees which platform has more weaknesses.

      Apple is not perfect, but they are head and shoulders above Google and Microsoft.

  1. What is interesting is the ransomers offer to have free events for those that are too poor to pay in 6 months. What’s this? Free Barbra Streisand concerts? Workshops on artsy things you can do with a bricked computer?

  2. How is MicroSUCK not culpable? Baffling. What a Shite Show of global proportions. Ponder the TIME WASTED & Millions $$$$$$$$ LOST all because of the almighty IT self absorbed PC DickHeads…. Good Grief.

    1. I’ve often said too Microshits should be held liable and accountable for all the misery their ill-gotten and written Windows OS has caused. It has never ceased being a steaming code POS OS since November 20, 1985; 31 years ago, as Windows 1.0.

      Hmmm, just when I was considering a PC Workstation too…

      Hurry up with them new pro desktops Apple!!

      1. No one has the cash to fight Microsoft & the vulnerable code is not in Win10, so it won’t happen.

        What is hidden and not spoken of, except on the likes of Slashdot today, is the “secret OS” that runs underneath all Intel processor chips for Windows (don’t know about Mac).

        That Intel secret OS which bypasses all of Win10, for those with the secret access is a potential worldwide bombshell. What happens to MS installations when the secret to accessing that hidden OS leaks to hackers?

  3. If you’re going to use a PC (IBM Clone), run Linux. Just be aware that there are many Linux distributions and a handful of desktop environments. It’s not a quick and easy transition from Mac to Linux, but the switch can be worth the time and effort.

      1. You’re right about that! Another one is iTunes. A lot of folks (myself included) have put a lot of money into iTunes movies and TV shows. It would be nice to be able to watch that content on Linux. But then there’s the issue of HTPCs, at which point, DRM-free content would be nice, but I doubt iTunes would oblige, since it’s very doubtful that the content owners (i.e. Comcast) would be willing to sell DRM-free content.

  4. Well, anybody still using XP deserves what they got. A fully patched W10 or W7 machine, with updated AV and malware protection has little to fear from this. It is gullible people clicking on or opening stuff they shouldn’t that is the weakest link here. Can’t cure stupidity.

    1. Yes and since you can’t fix stupid then stupid people need to be accounted for and this problem negated so they can’t invite in cyber-terrorists, try as they daftly may.

  5. Unfortunately the war for the business computer was lost a long time ago. As a Mac user, I feel protected in my computing to a degree but this has nothing to do with what is happening at your bank, your hospital, your government agency. We are all subject to problems when these folks are hit. Somebody better be working overtime to get a handle on this latest fiasco.

  6. We know what nefarious organization that wrote the software in the first place and through their so expected incompetence let the software in the wild. We know what sort of lack of security microsoftie extols but we don’t know who is using the software to ransom folks. One could make an educated guess but it could be anybody.

    At any rate, it’s a wonderful demonstration of a crumbling empire.

    Macs unaffected of course, they are on the side of humanity.

  7. Corporations should migrate to Mac OS. Why Take a chance at all. Anyways it must be more expensive to keep Windows Machine Virus free for years and years when the parent company keeps letting out pretty insecure OS year after year.

    1. Not really,
      If the companies business software only runs on windows, it would cost a crapload more to convert to OSX, even if that could be done. Not to mention the disruption it would cause. Although a noble idea, most companies wouldn’t even consider it.

      1. They also have the problem that they can’t update all of their computers and software at the same time within reasonable budget constraints. That’s why they have so many users still running XP—newer software does not run acceptably on the legacy hardware, while some legacy software may not run on a newer OS.

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