… I recently found this advertisement from around 1978 while sorting through the contents of my filing cabinet. It may have been the first PC related scam. This flyer was sent to every PC retailer in the country. Not one diskette drive was ever shipped. If you could find one, a single sided TRS-80 drive was more than double this price, required the purchase of the expansion interface, and was somewhat unreliable. The data capacity of a double sided 5.25 in diskette was 256,000 characters.
“Never trust a company with the word ‘World’ in it’s name” is one of the Rules For Life I developed from that long ago episode in my past.
I have no idea how I managed to hold on to this scrap of paper for so long!
The latest ransomware attack, referred to as WannaCry was accidentally stopped in its tracks some days ago by an amateur researcher that tripped a kill switch by registering a domain name hard-coded in the hacker’s routines that was essentially a GUID. The safeties have now been taken off and the latest and greatest instantiation of this malware has already gobsmacked the Ukraine. Here’s the D&D:
The bad guy(s) search the Internet for machines with the TCP port 445 open. Server Message Blocks (SMB), a file sharing protocol used by printers, routers, scanners, and such use this port. SMBv1.0 is the original protocol in Windows, that has used the port, at least since the W2K days, has been deprecated since W7, but the code is still in all the OS’s, as well as v2.0 and v3.0. The v1.0 code contains THE buffer overflow vulnerability, whereas a specifically formed packet rammed up port 445 trips the onerr routine, crashes the system stack, and gives the perp the ability to remotely execute code outside of the UAC(User Account Control); you know– that system modal box that asks if its OK for Windows to make changes to the system YES? or NO?. The code then seeks out any workstations on the LAN and infects them as it encrypts all data files it can find. BTW this general vulnerability has been around since before forever and if anyone is stupid enough to believe that Windows has been completely re-written since NT…well here’s exhibit Z. I have lost count of the number of exploits known to use the onerr goto system stack crash vulnerability.
So stop what you are doing– Go to Control Panel -> Programs -> Windows Features —
uncheck the bloody SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support checkbox
bow your head
wait for the ricochet
think about LINUX
cause it ain’t gonna end here
My W7 machines didn’t have this feature but my W10s did.
It’s the W7 machines that caught most of the hell.
Most XP machines just crashed.
Special thanks to the NSA for not telling anyone about this.
M$ found out about it from a stolen NSA data dump to WikiLeaks
and issued a security patch in March. Europe is getting hit hard
probably because no-one’s got good validation codes. bad code – no update.
M$ has even issued a WannaCry security update for XP and W2003 servers.
Allow me to walk you down the garden path to the briar patch called Freeware; a segment of the software industry that just needs to go away. Now I am not referring to such organizations like Open Source Foundation, Open Office, Open Libre, The Apache Foundation, or the authors of Squirrel, Firefox, MySQL, Notepad++, Filezilla and many others. Continue reading →
I am always on the lookout for new tech items with low user ratings. No doubt- the device is quickly discounted to get it out of the retail stream while the manufacturer corrects the issue. These devices will also show up in the re-manufactured market at a significant discount owing to the many user returns. Often, the bad reviews have nothing to do with quality, capability, fit or finish. Continue reading →
If you follow the PC industry as I, you have no doubt heard many reasons why Microsoft named their latest OS release as Windows 10 instead of 9. One explanation noted that the number 9 in Japanese has bad karma. In actuality most all of the single digits have some form of evil superstitious connotation in the Orient. Ya, I know. I also like the name Redskins. The explanations from Microsoft itself sounded phony and appeared to be overt spins from their marketing department. The real reason is actually quite simple and cogent. For more than 20 years, Continue reading →
You are probably hooked up to the Internet like me. You have cable or twisted pair coming into your house. A MODEM separates the digital service from others, providing the input to a WI-Fi router for your laptop, smartphone, e readers or other mobile devices. You might have a desktop PC plugged into the router with an Ethernet cable. Most big flat screens, DVD players, or Apple TV are designed to be connected to the Internet through an RJ-45 connector, i.e. an Ethernet cable. Chances are your router is not located at your TV center. Netgear offers a solution to the problem with their Universal Dual Band Wireless Adapter – WNCE3001. Continue reading →
My Encounter with storage structures while investigating Linux
You will most likely encounter an ISO file for installing Linux on your old XP machine. After I downloaded this file, I dragged and dropped the file on my DVD drive icon in Windows Explorer and then burned the contents to a DVD. I wasn’t all that surprised when I found the ISO file nicely burned on what is now a festive window ornament. Continue reading →
The theme of our next DCTUG meeting will be “What to do with your old XP machine”. As one of the presenters, I will demonstrate the conversion of older Wintel boxes to Linux. As I gaze at my accumulation of digital relics, I can’t help but reminisce about how I, and the PC industry got to this point.