Tech Friday

  • Atlanta ransomware recovery may top $11 million:
    • Atlanta was hit with the SamSam ransomware in March of this year
    • Attackers demanded a ransom of $51,000 in Bitcoin
    • At the time of the attack, it was thought that no critical services had been affected
    • The ransom was not paid
    • Unfortunately, the SamSam ransomware is typically a targeted attack
    • Hancock Health was hit with SamSam in January 2018. They paid the ransom, but CEO Steve Long later said "Though the electronic medical record backup files had not been touched, the core components of the backup files from all other systems had been purposefully and permanently corrupted by the hackers"
    • As little as a month after the attack Atlanta had spent a staggering $3 million 
    • Daphne Rackley, head of Atlanta information management reported to City Council that the attack was far more devastating than originally thought, nearly 30% of their mission critical applications are still offline
    • Information lost includes police dash cam footage and legal documents
    • Rackley has indicated that her department may need an additional $9.5 million in this year's budget because of the ransomware
    • This incident shows that for those not prepared, it may be better pay the ransom
    • Paying the ransom is no guarantee that you will be able to recover encrypted data
    • It's critical to have a good backup and disaster recovery strategy in the event of an attack, because as this incident shows, recovery costs could be extreme
    •  "Being able to easily and quickly recover data, like the dash-cam footage, from mere seconds before it was lost or disrupted can save an organization time, money and many other types of damage," says Gijsbert Janssen Van Doorn, Zerro technology evangelist
  • WHO says video game addiction is a disease:
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) will include "gaming disorder" in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases which is used by health professionals around the world to diagnose and classify conditions 
    • They describe the disorder as "impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences" 
    • The WHO's "gaming disorder" diagnosis applies to people addicted to gaming for least 12 months 
    • This creates a basis for mental health professionals to begin treatment
    • Some mental health professionals questioned this condition. "There was a fairly widespread concern that this is a diagnosis that doesn’t really have a very solid research foundation" said Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist and media researcher at Stetson University in DeLand Florida
    • The American Psychiatric Association has said there is not "sufficient evidence" to consider gaming addiction as a "unique mental disorder"
    • According to the WHO, only a small percentage of people have this disorder, 
    • From 0.3 percent to 1 percent of the general population might qualify for a potential acute diagnosis of “internet gaming disorder," according to a study published in the November 2016 American Journal of Psychiatry
    • Signs to look for include bypassing friends or other hobbies for games, loss of sleep and health issues
    •  "Sometimes gaming overuse can be a symptom that something is going wrong for the child" said Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist at Stetson University "The likelihood is the problem is bigger than gaming and gaming didn’t cause it" 
    • There are several documented cases of deaths after marathon gaming sessions
  • Facebook bug made 14 million user's privacy settings temporarily "Public":
    • Facebook allows users to select the audience for their posts and once selected, that setting is the default until the user changes it
    • Facebook recently revealed a bug that caused the default audience for 14 million users' posts to be "Public" regardless of the settings used
    • Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said the bug was live for a period of 4 days between May 18 and May 22, and was the result of the company was testing a new feature
    • A recent alert sent to affected users said "We recently discovered a technical error between May 18 and 27 that automatically suggested a public audience when you were creating posts"
    • Egan said the bug was corrected and the default audience was changed back to what it previously was
    • Posts you shared May 22 or later should not be affected
    • Content posted during the affected period of May 18 to May 22 supposedly was corrected by May 27, and Facebook has notified affected users
    • "We have fixed this issue and starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time" Egan said 
    • This is the latest in a series of privacy missteps by Facebook
    • Never assume that anything you post online is private
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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