Computer News & Safety – Harry Waldron Rotating Header Image

February 25th, 2016:

Ransomware – California Hospital network impacted

While a California hospital could have potentially went to backups to recover, they negotiated a $17,000 payment to decrypt key computers.  It was seen as the least expensive renemdy to bring systems back online without rebuilding systems and network controls. These encryption based attacks are increasing and data backups are critical along with strong malware detection and prevention controls.

https://threatpost.com/hollywood-hospital-pays-17k-ransom-to-decrypt-files/116325/

After being knocked offline for nearly two weeks, officials at a California hospital that was hit with ransomware elected on Wednesday to pay attackers.  The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) shut down computers on its network on Feb. 5, after attackers allegedly asked for 9,000 Bitcoin, or just over $3 million USD, to unlock medical files stored on its system.

While the hospital didn’t pay anything close to that figure, they did pay 40 Bitcoin, or roughly $17,000 USD on Monday this week, according to a notice published last night by the center. HPMC president and CEO Allen Stefanek defended the hospital’s actions, saying it was the quickest way to solve their problem.“The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key,” Stefanek wrote, “In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”

While surprising, the move actually echoes sentiments made by Joseph Bonavolonta, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the CYBER and Counterintelligence Program in the FBI’s Boston office, during a conference last fall.“To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom,” Bonavolonta told a crowd at the Cyber Security Summit in October.

Leadership – Success requires good relationships within the team

As reflected in John Maxwell’s excellent blog, our human relationships are an important ingredient for success 

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/how-do-you-define-success

If you want to truly succeed in this life, you need to ask yourself a question: Is your pursuit of success drawing you closer to – or farther from – the most important people in your life? If you want to redefine success the way I did, here are some ways to put your decision into practice:

Determine your priorities — How much of your calendar is devoted to your family and/or close friends? On your budget and to-do list, where do you write in your loved ones? No relationship can survive for long on leftovers. Early in my career, I focused so much on work that I neglected Margaret. After I realized this, I changed. I carved out time for her. I protected my day off. And we dedicated money in our budget to facilitate special times together. It’s been said that a lot can be learned about what a person values by examining two things: their calendar and their bank statement. They show where people spend their time and money. What do those things say about what you value?

Develop your problem-solving strategy — I think a lot of people go into marriage expecting it to be easy. Maybe they’ve seen too many movies. Marriage isn’t easy. Family isn’t easy. Close friendships aren’t easy. The best plan is to expect problems, stay committed, and develop a strategy for getting through the rough times. Talk to your loved ones about how you could improve your problem solving together. (NOTE: Do this during a calm time, not in the middle of a conflict!) Many problem-solving strategies exist, from family meetings to fair fighting rules. Use the ones that work for you. Just be sure that they foster and promote three things: 1) Better understanding, 2) Positive change, and 3) Growing relationships.

Social Media – Five Techniques to clean up Embarrassing Posts

As it is always important to be careful in online media postings, there are some beneficial techniques are noted at the Learnvest site, that can help clean-up prior history: 

http://www.learnvest.com/2016/02/surviving-a-social-media-disaster-at-work/

Whether it’s a celebrity Twitter feud or a corporate social media disaster, we’ve all seen how online posts can flare up into huge news. But you don’t need to have started an international career-ending media storm to have your online presence wreak havoc on your professional life.

In fact, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled in recent years that employers can justifiably fire you for comments you make on social media, even if they had nothing to do with work. Meanwhile, a 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that 48% of hiring managers have found something on a potential hire’s social media account (such as inappropriate photos or discriminatory comments) that caused them to pass on that candidate.

So what do you do if you’re feeling a bad case of social-media remorse? We asked a few experts to outline the steps to take if you find you need to do some damage control and reclaim control of your online brand

Step 1: Figure Out ASAP Who’s Likely to See and Take Issue With Your Social Media posting
Step 2: Get Rid of the Evidence – Deleting
Step 3: Apologize, As Needed
Step 4: Scrub Your Social Media
Step 5: Reinvent Your Online Self

So here’s a quick cheat sheet on how to do that across some of the most common social media platforms:

Facebook: Go to your Activity Log. From there, you can delete a post, hide it from your timeline or untag yourself from any questionable photos. (Better yet, ask your best buds if they’re willing to delete any photos of you that they posted.) For further control, you can enable your privacy settings to review posts or photos your friends tag you in before they hit your public timeline.

Twitter: Go to your tweets, open the offending tweet, choose the ellipsis symbol and hit “Delete Tweet.”

Instagram: Go to the incriminating photo, tap the ellipsis shown beneath it and hit “delete.”

LinkedIn: Go to the regrettable update and hover your cursor over the time stamp on your update. You’ll see the option to delete in the drop down menu.

Google+: Click on the post you wish never existed, click on the menu icon (the three vertical dots) and select “delete” from the drop-down menu.

Mobile technology – Samsung 256GB Flash memory chips

Mobile technology – Samsung 256GB Flash memory chips

Samsung is currently mass producing 256GB embedded flash memory chips for future phone systems and devices, as noted in article below

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3038034/mobile/samsungs-256gb-flash-chips-point-to-super-sized-storage-for-future-phones.html

Samsung’s 256GB flash chips point to super-sized storage for future phones.  Samsung’s latest embedded storage chip for mobile devices puts 256GB within reach of smartphones.

Your next phone might pack a whopping 256GB of onboard storage thanks to Samsung. The Korea-based electronics maker announced on Thursday that it’s now mass producing 256GB embedded flash memory chips for smartphones and other devices. The new memory chips are smaller than a microSD card and can pack up to 256GB thanks to Samsung’s cutting-edge V-Nand technology.

Based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 specification, the new memory is almost twice as fast as SATA-based solid state storage drives on PCS, Samsung says. The new memory uses two lanes of data transfer to reach speeds of up to 850 megabytes per second (MB/s).

Samsung says you’ll be able to transfer a full HD movie in about 12 seconds over a USB 3.0 cable at those speeds—assuming a 90-minute movie with an average file size around 5 gigabytes. The new memory also supports what Samsung calls “seamless ultra HD playback and multitasking functionality” on tablets and other large screen devices.