Archive for May 13, 2017

Roundup: NHS Cyberattack Is Now Global In Scope… Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 13, 2017 by itnerd

What started out about a story about the NHS getting pwned by ransomware has now evolved into the biggest cyberattack in history. The New York Times has a map that illustrates how wide spread the attack is. The Financial Times has an excellent story on the attack itself which utilizes a piece of NSA developed malware to leverage poorly secured or antiquated systems running the Windows OS. In terms of the latter, the NHS in the UK was apparently running Windows XP systems which haven’t had security patches from Microsoft in years. Thus making them great targets for this sort of thing. You can bet that heads will roll over that. Organizations such as Fed Ex, Telefonica, Renault, The Russian Interior Ministry among others have hit by this cyberattack.

All is not lost though. Microsoft has added detection and prevention routines to their antivirus products. Other antivirus vendors are doing the same. And by sheer luck, A British cybersecurity researcher accidentally stopped the attack from spreading more widely.

The only good news is that this may be the event that finally forces companies and governments to take cybersecurity seriously. Not to mention the average consumer. After this calms down, I suspect that a serious rethink about how one protects themselves in the age of the cyberattack.

UPDATE: Microsoft has advice for customers here. This page also includes emergency patches for operating systems as far back as Windows XP.

UPDATE #2: If you are a network admin who wants to protect their network from potentially getting pwned by this, here’s what you need to know. Disabling SMBv1 disables the bug that the NSA sourced ransomware uses. Guidance on how to do that can be found here. This applies to devices like network attached storage boxes that may use SMBv1 as well. You should also firewall off SMB ports 139 and 445 from the outside world and restrict access to the service where possible on internal networks.

UPDATE #3: Another way to protect yourself is to ensure that your computer(s) are fully patched. Thus this is a really good time to run software update to make sure that you are covered. This applies to companies, governments, and individuals.

UPDATE #4: A reader just asked me if this ransomware affects Macs. It does not.

UPDATE #5: Motherboard is reporting that there is a new version of this ransomware. The difference is that this one cannot be stopped accidentally or otherwise. Thus we may about to see round two this cyberattack.


Science Rendezvous is TODAY!

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 13, 2017 by itnerd

Over 300 free events will take place today across Canada for the most ambitious edition of Science Rendezvous.

Science Rendezvous is Canada’s largest nation-wide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) festival. This year’s festival will celebrate 10 years of Science Rendezvousand 150 years of Canadian science.  It will launch Science Odyssey, a ten-day showcase of Canadian innovation that is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Science Rendezvous is taking over the country from St. John’s to Vancouver, Yonge-Dundas Square and five city blocks of downtown Toronto, and opens the doors of research institutions across Canada. The festival specializes in giving the public one-of-kind experiences with STEM including: edible liquid capsule creations, augmented reality, robotics, solar-powered race cars, exploding fruit, and Science Chase – an Amazing Race-style competition.

In addition to the hands on activities, Science Rendezvous will host NSERC’s Innovation Showcase at festival sites across Canada in an effort to bring current Canadian innovation to the public, and demonstrate what can be achieved by collaboration between industry leaders and top Canadian researchers.

NSERC is the largest investor in science and engineering research and innovation in Canada. As a convener, they connect universities and colleges with industry partners to enable innovation-driven activities – allowing scientists and engineers across the country to develop world-leading discoveries and work with companies to turn these discoveries into inventions and products that will benefit Canadians.

The NSERC Innovation Showcase will be presented by the researchers involved and will be at selected Science Rendezvous event sites across the country.  They are free and open to the public, with most taking place between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

For more information about Science Rendezvous events and the NSERC Innovation Showcase in your city visit:‐sites/