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  1.    13 May 2017 #11

    Hi there

    If all the powers of Hollywood, various governments, ISP blocking etc can't shut down a single site like "The Pirate Bay" which is still operating after YEARS of all sorts of people and resources thrown at it to get it closed down - there's absolutely ZERO chance that people will catch "The Mr Bigs" who initiated this scam --maybe they might get some lower level people but I think this type of activity shows that any CLIENT / SERVER system can be broken and the best way to stop this is to have multiple distributed systems - incredibly complex to organise etc .

    Things like Doctors surgeries don't always need 100% realtime online access either so there's no reason why they couldn't hold their data locally and if required transmit it to a remote site by request.

    This is always a "catch up " type game - but it makes it hugely more difficult to hack distributed and often independant systems. Maybe it pays to be less than 100% efficient in this case !!!!!

    If the UK Govt is paying Billions of GBP on failed I.T perhaps people could consider that what they pay (currently) into the EU could be a bargain - at least they get SOME return on their investment !!!!!!

    Let's hope though that for Patients --the whole sorry mess is cleared up quickly --however this type of activity takes hugely longer than people realize -- and ensuring the servers are clean again with better protection in force is a really complex task where I doubt the current staff would have much experience in cleansing such a massive network. What about all the front end work stations too -- without cleaning every single access point 100% there's no guarantee the whole sorry mes won't start all over again -- This saga could take MONTHS to resolve properly. !!!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  2.    13 May 2017 #12
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,829
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    A lot of these people are employed at the lower end of the scale - so it's 100% impossible to be totally secure -- one person slotting in a USB stick to an innocent workstation could cause havoc - or even a Doctor opening up an innocent looking email.
    Just the email, nothing else needed.

    I was talking about the "Untouchables" - Consultants, Professors, Senior Management &c. who believe they are GOD and that rules do not apply to them - the users who break all security measures.

    Junior NHS staff don't have the time, and those on the lower end of the scale don't have access, except perhaps for email, which is probably the biggest point of entry for malware. Should have stuck with text-based mail, with all attachments centrally scanned for malware, and locked down MS Office.

    No end of trouble with Word Macro Viruses in early 2000's, nimda, and believe it or not, those who insisted on using Mac were the worst culprits for spreading malware - since there were no effective AVs for Mac, these Users would forward infected matter like crazy, even filling up linux servers with infected files, which when opened on PCs would spread like Wildfire. When they couldn't transfer the file electronically, they would take out a floppy disk, & transfer the stuff manually.

    I got out of IT in the NHS in 2003, then did some contracting in 2005 for a NHS Trust, and again some data work in 2006, and then retired.
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  3.    13 May 2017 #13
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 10,980
    Win 10 Pro (1703)

    The lack of integration, despite all the efforts to use electronic records, is frightening from a treatment point of view.

    Imagine you have some sort of accident leaving you unconscious- say a car accident, a stroke.... away from home. You're taken to hospital. The hospital doesn't have ready access to your records or your medication if any. At the weekend (don't - just don't- have something bad happen at the weekend) the GP surgery is closed- computer system inaccessible.

    In an ideal world, the hospital would be able to query those records.

    But it can't.

    So greater integration is needed to overcome basic present limitations. But greater integration means greater vulnerability......

    This lack of integration is evident at the lowest level, meaning I, as Power of Attorney for my mother, had to check that the pharmacy, hospital, and doctor's records of medication all tallied. They had no effective way to communicate- no one database from which to work. And there were discrepancies which I had to point out.
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  4.    13 May 2017 #14

    Hi there @Fafhrd

    Even TEXT based email is hackable -- people will want stuff scrambled -- confidential email e.g patients condition etc you certainly don't want to send in plaintext -- and that's where a piece of malware could be sent -- low tech can be even HARDER to fight against than High tech.

    Do you remember way back when when we had things like BBS's (Bulletin Boards) before web browsers became universal. People could transmit binary data by encoding it into ASCII where it would be converted back on the recipients terminal / computer.

    You might remember XMODEM and YMODEM protocols and probably the best known ZMODEM

    ZMODEM - Wikipedia

    I'm afraid the text based solution won't work -- also doctors etc might need photos etc so not a practical alternative.

    @dalchina

    With a DISTRIBUTED system it should be easier to have 24 hr access not LESS -- a central system if it goes down is much more vulnerable. Of course with distributed systems keeping data up to date is not a trivial problem but is "do-able" and if I were a doctor a say 3 hr old record would be 100% better than NO record but there's no reason why data shouldn't be up to date -- Airline companies do this type of thing all the time --thank goodness THEY weren't hacked or that could have caused SERIOUS problems.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  5.    13 May 2017 #15
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,829
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    If your email reader - like PINE - remember? - only shows text, encrypted stuff is gobbledygook. Jim, I said "attachments".

    Anything confidential should be sent as safe attachments.

    Scanned at source, verified as clean, signed and the credentials checked on receipt. If not found to be bonafide, then anything except the plain text in the message body, is rejected with an automatic reply to sender, and message of action taken to recipient.

    If all attachments received are centrally scanned for malware - doublecheck! - usually Word documents, zipfiles, & images, and opened in sandboxed environments for the user then the system should be unaffected.
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  6.    13 May 2017 #16
    Join Date : Jul 2016
    Crewe Cheshire
    Posts : 1,451
    windows 10

    The attack has been stop the kill switch has been triggered which abort its 'Accidental Hero' Finds Kill Switch To Stop Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware - Slashdot
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  7.    14 May 2017 #17
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 10,980
    Win 10 Pro (1703)

    The NHS claims that the number of systems based on XP has been much reduced over the last few years, down to less than 1 in 20. The spokesman denied the effect of the attack was due to using older systems. (Truth? Spin?)

    Many NHS trusts are back up and running again.

    Note the Nissan factory in the UK was also affected. Doubt that was using XP.
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  8.    14 May 2017 #18
    Join Date : Apr 2015
    Posts : 12,826
    W10Prox64

    Quote Originally Posted by dalchina View Post
    The NHS claims that the number of systems based on XP has been much reduced over the last few years, down to less than 1 in 20. The spokesman denied the effect of the attack was due to using older systems. (Truth? Spin?)

    Many NHS trusts are back up and running again.

    Note the Nissan factory in the UK was also affected. Doubt that was using XP.
    Probably just unpatched.
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  9.    14 May 2017 #19

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    If your email reader - like PINE - remember? - only shows text, encrypted stuff is gobbledygook. Jim, I said "attachments".

    Anything confidential should be sent as safe attachments.

    Scanned at source, verified as clean, signed and the credentials checked on receipt. If not found to be bonafide, then anything except the plain text in the message body, is rejected with an automatic reply to sender, and message of action taken to recipient.

    If all attachments received are centrally scanned for malware - doublecheck! - usually Word documents, zipfiles, & images, and opened in sandboxed environments for the user then the system should be unaffected.
    Hi there

    @Fafhrd


    I remember using Pine -- and also probably the worst Office type of system I've ever encountered --Old IBM system running on a mainframe called PROFS !!. Fortunately that was back in the annals of time !!!

    Problem with "Scanned at source" -- is By WHOM and By WHAT. If documents are confidential you don't really want ANY 3rd party stuff to even LOOK at them.

    It's still relatively easy for some scumbag if he / she (or more likely an it) knows what to do with a datascope in a server farm which can easily pick up plaintext so leaks are almost impossible to stop unless the whole datacentre (servers etc) are 100% Dark -- and that's not so possible these days with Cloud and 24 / 7 operations.

    Humans will always commit "pecaddillos" -- it's virtually impossible to guarantee the honesty of 100% of a huge workforce -- especially when big money is involved.

    Perhaps we should get back to SNAIL MAIL or these days DRONES can deliver objects within hours. Carrier Pigeons are also only hackable by Farmers with Shotguns !!!!

    Low tech is actually very difficult to Break --this might be surprising to some of the younger generation bought up on mobile phones etc etc. My best teachers years ago were often people who had worked in "certain professions" in some small countries in sensitive areas of the planet -- even years later on that training is still valuable and just as valid today as it was when I was a keen young thing just leaving Imperial College London as an enthousiastic Engineer. !!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  10.    14 May 2017 #20
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,829
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    Hi Jimbo,

    I think mail is scanned anyway by antimalware - looking for known code signatures and heuristically for segments that may indicate that the code could call home, and send data or download further malware executable code using certain ports.

    The acid test is the speed of throughput - there should be a limited mean period between receipt and delivery of any quantity of data for any item, if the data is delayed between these points then alarms should ring, and flag the point of delay. Delay means other unwanted processes taking place, like copying or decrypting.

    But yes, there are always leaks and dishonest staff, and you are right that any security measures are likely to be circumvented, and the less security in place, the less likely folk will try to purloin stuff - if you put a fence round it it becomes more attractive to a thief.


    I was based at Imperial College for periods between 1977 and 1983, some of the time in the Inorganic Chemistry labs of the Nobel Laureate, the late Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, trying to develop variant homogeneous catalysts for in-vitro cell membrane lipid modulation for my work at Chelsea College just down the road. Brilliant, down-to-earth guy to work with.
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