Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cyber Attack

Yesterday Elisabeth told me about a cyber attack and asked whether there was still money in our bank account. I was busy programming the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft web site and only realized the extent of the attack when I later saw a picture taken at Freiburg's train station.

©BZ/Markus Hoffmann
Die Bahn, our federal railway, had suffered a cyber attack on its display system by the WannaCry virus. How was this possible? Officials immediately assured confused travelers* that the central signal system had not been attacked and the trains were safe but for how long?
*It is not so much the time of departure but the Wagenreihung (wagon order) that is on display. When a train comes in you'd better be near the wagon number for which you bought the seat reservation because stops are brief.

While our federal bureau of investigation took up the matter only a few details are known for the moment. It seems that the Windows software on some computers used even for official purposes had not been updated since March so computer screens worldwide showed the following message.


Red Baron admits that a couple of years ago he did not take the threat of cyber attacks seriously but as time went by he included the anti-virus package in his Internet contract with Deutsche Telekom. The advantage is that their Norton software protecting against cyber attacks is automatically updated although one day it may be too late denn erst, wenn das Kind bereits in den Brunnen gefallen ist, deckt man den Brunnen zu (shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted).

I also try to upgrade my software as early as possible. When I talk to some friends I am shocked that they still using Windows XP when surfing the Internet because it is the most successful Windows operating system? Microsoft no longer supports XP but apparently this time they exceptionally rolled out a patch plugging the WannaCry security hole.

There is no absolute Internet security when you are connected to the world. This time apparently hospitals in the UK could no longer "operate". The cyber war is on, attacking flight security or electricity supply next time? Remember hackers are always one step ahead so experts fear a new blitz.

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