That NHS Ransomware Attack 277


A few important points not featuring in the wall to wall media coverage

This is US government security service technology, developed by the NSA. Edward Snowden has confirmed this and nobody is denying it. You might think that would be a prominent part of the story, but strangely it isn’t.

The arms race between major powers to develop cyber warfare and cyber surveillance capacity is a massive threat to the security of the internet. It is the very governments who most like to claim they need to intervene to protect us, who are in fact creating the dangers they cite. This is NSA software; WikiLeaks “Vault 7” leak has revealed the similar massive effort at the CIA in developing destructive software.

That is not to say the NSA or US government is behind this worldwide attack. But it is to say that western governments are spending billions of pounds on developing malware, which they cannot themselves keep safe. This should be viewed in the same light as chemical weapons programmes. Urgent international action to outlaw weaponised malware development should be a priority for the international community, as the danger to increasingly IT dependent services is extreme. The United States is the biggest aggressor and the biggest danger.

Theresa May as Home Secretary was responsible for UK cyber defences for seven years. So the Tory efforts to blame everybody else today are misplaced. The buck stops with May.

Underfunded NHS Trusts have privatised IT management and outsourced the control and security of their computer systems to contractors, as part of the general rip-up of the NHS to provide private profit. These companies are more interested in maximising profits than safeguarding against contingent attacks. Very few NHS Trusts now employ their own NHS team of dedicated computer specialists maintaining and caring for their systems, including their defences.

This process has been accelerated under the Tories, but it must not be forgotten it was started by New Labour under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. New Labour’s 2002 policy document “Developing 21st Century IT Support for the NHS” concluded that Option 2 was the way forward: “Selectively outsource major components of the NHS IT programme”. That was New Labour. The Tories have accelerated and extended it, and chronically underfunded the NHS. That is why so little money has gone into maintaining NHS IT systems, and what little has gone in has had little effect.

Corporate profits have been great though. Remember that extraordinary numbers of MPs have financial links to private healthcare firms. If the Tories win a landslide, doubtless the numbers of MPs personally profiting from NHS privatisation will increase still further.

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277 thoughts on “That NHS Ransomware Attack

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    • Habbabkuk

      I’m quite surprised Ms Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t made the sane claim already.

    • Republicofscotland

      Habb.

      I’m sorry Habb, you’ve lost me, which claim would that be ?

      • Habbabkuk

        That she ” inadvertently stopped the ransomeware virus from causing more damage”, RoS.

    • glenn_uk

      Yes, that’s all good advice – and would be very familiar to anyone with the most basic knowledge in any enterprises’ IT department.

      It’s useful to provide that to people who generally aren’t familiar with such practices. No shame in that, of course. But was nobody in overall charge of security in the NHS? Or were they lazy, totally incompetent, or had a budget that just ran to putting a few fliers on notice boards?

      That is absolutely shocking.

      • Muscleguy

        The English NHS is Balkanised. Each Trust or whatever they are called now is a business unit in competition with all the others. Add in that now they commission services from private providers as well as NHS ones. So the biggest unit which could do that would be the Trust but then they would have to get agreement from the private providers.

        Scotland does not even have an internal market in our NHS. Our Trusts cooperate with each other. The malware hit here too but latest news is that they expect all computers to function on Monday. The Scottish Health Minister is still responsible for the health service and health delivery. Hunt dropped that responsibility like a hot potato.

        The problem you have if you live in England is who to vote for to fix this. Corbyn MIGHT do it, but the Blairites would still be in the party and even if he wins they will still try to get rid of him. You can’t vote Tory or LibDem as they would both continue the broken system.

        You can only really vote Green, or if you live in Hunt’s constituency that Doctor candidate.

        Here in Scotland the first SNP government in 2007 scrapped all of the Lib/Lab administration’s privatisations. Including buying back facilities like Stracathro Hospital outside Forfar. It does day surgery. It got cherry picked by a private provider, but the SNP told them they would not be commissioning any services from them and they sold up without a whimper.

    • unaszplodrmann

      All good advice, but all just basic good practice for any sysadmin worth his/her salt, armed with the necessary resources. The more proficient the technician, the less commercial resources required. The bit that gets me about all this is that the teams responsible must be acutely aware of how vulnerable the infrastructure is, simply due to having so many Windows XP installations online. The fact that the infection was able to hop between sites indicates a lack of packet filtering and/or heuristic content analysis/filtering on the links between locations.

  • Alistair Granham

    Thank you for this information. You make a very serious and important point.

  • fred

    The NHS in Scotland has been devolved since 1999 and administered separately since 1948. Not Westminster’s fault here.

    Any efficient organisation makes backups at least every day. If there are backups then the encrypted files can be restored without paying a ransom.

    • Rob Royston

      Ah! SNP Baad again, is it? It was probably less than five years ago but I was in the local day hospital’s blood clinic. The nurse went over to the computer to get some information, I can’t remember exactly what it was, but she was complaining that she had to apply to Manchester to get it, so there must be some cross-border connections.

  • Peter N

    Craig, you might be interested to know of the following:

    I am a fairly regular use of TOR Browser have used it for years – not up to nefarious deeds, just hopping around some paywalls, and being able to get new free views for some online news outlets that limit how many pages you can view for free in month, week, whatever.

    Just towards the end of March my TOR Browser stopped being able to connect directly connect into the TOR network – it just wouldn’t work and it was very frustrating. Then after a lot of research to try and find out what was happening I discovered the following.

    (1) Direct connections into the TOR network were being blocked by my ISP, Virgin Media – I doubt very much they would do that off their own bat so I assume that is something that is being enforced by the UK government.

    (2) TOR Browser has some built in functionality to try to get around regimes that block direct connections into the TOR network. The optional methods that users can use to connect by another means are (currently) “fte”, “obfs3” and/or “obfs4”. When I tried them I found they were also blocked. This means that whoever was responsible for blocking direct connections into the TOR network had also arranged for “obfuscating” methods to connect into the network to also to be blocked.

    (3) There is a third method to try, using what is known as a “meek bridge”. I tried that and then found that I could get back into the TOR network using such a bridge as intermediary. So why should this method work, while other methods fail?

    (4) Answer (at least so far). The meek bridge relies on the user being able to connect to some very large company’s servers (e.g. Amazon and/or (Microsoft’s) Azure). So whoever had arranged for this block on direct TOR connections in the UK, and for blocks on “obfuscated” connections from the UK, seems (for now) to have stopped short of blocking/hitting traffic to some very large business servers – get the picture? All in the name of so-called “national security”?

    It’s interesting that the media condemn China for blocking free internet traffic. But now it would seem the UK government has now joined China in this endeavour and not one bit of comment on the issue anywhere in the UK press. I did contact the Guardian, via their recommended “secure” means, and mentioned the above to them but not a single word on it appeared anywhere in the Guardian, nor did they respond directly to me. Kind of bizarre that because in the Guardian’s advise to whistle-blowers they recommend that such blowers should contact the Guardian (among other possibilities) via TOR. Wild stuff.

    The UK is turning into China. In some ways it’s even worse at the least the Chinese know what their government is doing in this respect. Here it is just silently creeping forward with not a word in the press.

    How to get your TOR Browser to work again:

    https://blog.torproject.org/blog/how-use-%E2%80%9Cmeek%E2%80%9D-pluggable-transport
    https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/meek

    • Darth

      Peter N –

      Where did you read that Virgin were blocking tor connections as that does not see to be the normal case? It would appear that something is blocking your connections other than standard Virgin Media policy.

  • Laguerre

    Bad news for May mounts day by day – I do not speak of the Tories, as they seem to have disappeared from the campaign. The ransomeware disaster affects everybody, not merely commenters on the Craig Murray blog. Is it really going to be a landslide, or is that merely an artefact of the Tory poll owners?

    • Anon1

      Well it’s going to be a heavy defeat for the Corbynistas. Whether it’s a landslip or a landslide is open for debate

      • glenn_uk

        I notice you crowed at length about Brexit – fair enough, that’s what you had wanted from the outset.

        Plenty of glee in the re-election of the Tories, and the appointment of Trump. Fair enough, Trump in particular is an idiotic right-winger. Identity politics, hence the appeal, I understand completely.

        But you had absolutely nothing to say one way or the other when your heroine Le Pen got a drubbing. How odd!

        • Anon1

          Probably because she wasn’t my heroine, Glenn, as has been explained to you on numerous occasions. Far too far to the left for me.

          Don’t forget the glee over the Scotch referendum, but the way. That was some serious gloating. 😉

          • Anon1

            And don’t forget all my future crowing over the forthcoming annihilation of Labour. You got the leader you wanted, you got the manifesto you wanted. You are going to own this one. 🙂

          • JOML

            Yes, Anon1, you told us about your celebratory sleepover with your mates last night.

          • glenn_uk

            From someone as thoroughly dishonest, not to say duplicitous as yourself, I take that as your crushing disappointment at Le Pen’s drubbing, that you went into a three-day mourning. So sorry!

      • Laguerre

        Oh yeah, heavy defeat for the Corbynistas, and heavy defeat for May at the same time could be difficult. You obviously didn’t look at the local election results. They didn’t indicate a landslide at all.

        • D_Majestic

          Indeed, Laguerre, It could be-how should one say- ‘Interesting’ if that should happen. And a landslide for May might throw reflected light on both the .polls and the election results. Both of which seem to have become rather dysfunctional since the nineties.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Most of it is total bollocks. The NHS cannot be that totally incompetent…and the latest story – on this nonsense…give me a break…”British 22-year-old jumped around in excitement after finding way to stop global cyber attack ”

    The real world doesn’t work like that.

    If I get run over by a bus tonight, I am certain that someone will do the best to save my life.

    It is a messy job and I have the ultimate respect for the police and the ambulance crews.

    It’s about communication and care – not computers – and if the NHS Managements have turned them all off (just in case they get a virus) then they should all be fired.

    (They were all working fine – until some idiot turned them off)

    Tony

    • Laguerre

      A great many NHS systems were paralysed for a good number of hours. We’ll be lucky if nobody died. If nobody does, it will only be due to the noble efforts of our emergency people. That’s not automatic.

        • Laguerre

          Whataboutery, I think. The point is why it affected the NHS particularly.

          But to reply, from what I’ve seen, only Renault has suffered. I take that to be a sign that their financial position is not good, if they haven’t been able to renew their IT systems. No sign from French hospitals. As you know, French public health is a reimbursement system. Some hospitals are public, some private. In principle, some poorly performing medical enterprises who’ve been forced to retain Windows XP could suffer. But we haven’t heard about it.

          • Habbabkuk

            Not whataboutery, Laguerre, just genuine interest. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Hmmm

      It can be that incompetent. Remember the email fiasco a couple of months ago…

    • RobG

      I still maintain that all this hacking nonsense (which hasn’t been widely reported in North America) is all about burying the speech that Corbyn gave yesterday, in which he absolutely steamed into the USA and its foreign policy.

      You have to go back more than 30 years before a major British politician spoke so openly and honestly.

      • Habbabkuk

        You must be right – 75000 infections in 99 countries just to bury a speech by Mr Jeremy Corbyn. Stands to reason.

        • RobG

          Yes, that’s how terrified the likes of you are by Corbyn.

          This hacking stuff is almost total nonsense that will be forgotten about in a day or so.

          Some key things that Corbyn said:

          1) Britain will no longer be America’s poodle

          2) America must be held to account under international law (which includes prosecution of America for constantly breaking international law)

          3) nuclear weapons are totally insane, as is anyone who would use them – the British defence secretary recently said on public record that he would be prepared to carry out a first strike with nuclear weapons.

          4) Russia is not any kind of a threat. The threat is all pumped-up by the military-industrial complex, sucking on the teat of the tax payer’s dollar.

          Oh how refreshing to hear to hear a high profile politician telling the truth for a change; but it all gets buried in the news cycle by this hacking rollocks.

          Habba & Co are absolutely terrified of Corbyn, because they know it won’t be so easy to pull off a ‘Macron job’* in the forthcoming UK general election.

          (*with the election of French MPs next month, the blatant Macron con won’t last very long)

        • St. Theresas EU pawn

          just because it happens elsewhere does not mean it can’t originate here, shows how much you understand of IT. And don’t worry about it, JC will give more speeches, so when you next think of some diversion, you poor sucker, don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

          ITC was underfunded for years, all under the PM’s watch as home secretary, now Amber Rudd is pedalling backwards.
          I’d like to know of her’ which Norwich Cllr she talked to about homelessness and how to alleviate it in the City’ as she claimed in today’s EDP, imho is, that she made this up, that she never had in depth discussion with Norwich City council on how to help and alleviate homelessness and or the issues leading into it. I’m not sure she would have liked to discuss those who served this country and were left relying on charity, or those who broke up their relationships due to PTSD and are now struggling many of them homeless.

          Amber Rudd does not live in the real world, not on cyber security, the quaking prison regime, rib cage staffed, the bare minimum. her previous portfolio of Environment secretary showed a ruthless ignorance of facts to play the line to conform to the fossil fuel agenda, she is a self serving stooge and will end up in a high position with a private company

  • Brianfujisan

    Great Post

    And Good work from the Tekkies Here Clark, n Co.

    I shall highlight some from the Herald Link that Ian @ 17;21 posted –

    ” In recent months the curious case of Glasgow City Council, a Canadian global IT conglomerate and a contract worth £800 million has tested the outer limits of what it means to fail to stand up for Scotland. Just before the council broke for the local authority elections virtually the last act of the leader of Glasgow City Council, Frank McAveety, occurred. This was to award this massive contract – to deliver all of Glasgow’s digital and ICT services over the next seven years – to CGI, an outfit with a patchy trading history of delivering big-ticket projects on time and to budget….

    ” The reason why Labour is in retreat is epitomised by the CGI deal. It betrays an absence of anything resembling an original thought. There is also contempt for Scotland’s SME community which provides the backbone of the economy. The sleight of hand deployed by the council to ensure the Canadian super-company was taken by the hand and walked into the contract unopposed undermines the SNP Government’s policy on public sector procurement, which has several principles designed to obtain results that are good for the economy.

  • John Goss

    Ransomware is being ‘improved’ all the time according to this article.

    “Kaspersky Internet Security offers another option that we refer to as ‘real-time backup when you need it’. The core idea is straightforward: if Kaspersky Internet Security detects some strange modification of your files, it immediately creates fresh copies of these files to prevent them from being ‘stolen’. Then it examines the software that attempted to modify your files. If it is really suspicious, then our product blocks it.”

    https://blog.kaspersky.com/ransomware-protection-video/8765/

  • Habbabkuk

    The expression “the NHS is being privatised!!” is thrown about with gay abandon by the more excitable and/or politically engaged sections of the blogosphere.

    Which raises the question of what all thse excitable people mean by “privatised”.

    Do people have a common definition of what they mean or does “privatisation” mean something different to each individual?

    To take one example: the GP orders a blood test. I suppose that in the UK you have it done in a NHS hospital. In many continental countries you go to a private lab of your choice and have it done there (their fee is reimbursable up to a certain percentage as for any other medical service).

    Were the system in the UK to change so that it it is no longer a department of the NHS hospital that does the analysis but a private firm working for the NHS, would that be an example of privatisation?

    • Republicofscotland

      “To take one example: the GP orders a blood test. I suppose that in the UK you have it done in a NHS hospital.”

      _________

      Habb.

      Habb, a rather strange sentence from you above, one could quite easily interpret from it that you do not reside in the UK, by your lack of knowledge on the above subject.

      Of course I cannot not add to it by claiming I know the exact process myself, except I’ve had blood taken at my doctors surgery and at a NHS hospital. However, one such as yourself who often boasts of a well develpoed intellect, well we, the mere mortals really expected more from you.

      Of course you could quell our curiosity by revealing to us which country you reside in, if not the UK. ?

      • glenn_uk

        Well spotted, RoS.

        In any case, if routine risk-free and no doubt highly profitable work is being done by private companies, than that does indeed count as a partial privitisation of the NHS. Why should some profiteers make money out of the NHS, when it could – and does – do the work perfectly competently itself?

        Partial privitisation is what everyone is complaining about, of course, not the straw man Habbabkuk presented of it being totally privitised.

        • Habbabkuk

          Well, Glenn, I think that quite a few commenters seem to claim that the NHS is well on the way to privatisation – by which they mean, I suppose, total privatisation. Now, if they really mean “some parts of the NHS are being privatised” perhaps that’s what they should write rather than issuing doom-laden statements? Just a question of intellectual honesty, I’d say.

          To stay with my example/question: if blood analyses were to continue to be done by the NHS (no one has contradicted me that they are at present done by the NHS), that would also involve a cost, would it not (cost of the machines, staff, etc…)? On what basis would you claim that that cost would be less than the cost of the work being carried out by private firms competing with one another which would then receive reimbursement from the NHS?

          If there would be no cost difference in the end, what is your problem?

          • Hmmm

            Talent, skill development. Management. Communication. Working conditions.
            And then you have an extra layer of staff managing contracts.
            These are just some of the problems. Other than that blood tests could quite easily be analysed by private contractors.

          • Hmmm

            I think costs would be cut in precisely the areas I mentioned. A private company has to make a profit, so something has got to give. Labs are a vital part of a hospital system. The phrase ” act like a cheap arse hole and you get the shittiest portion” springs to mind.
            And then you’d get inefficiencies where you had none before. I wouldn’t want to be arguing about SLA’s whilst waiting for a vital test result.
            Quite simply if the NHS already does something brilliantly why change? You wouldn’t want the NHS to start doing things private companies do.

      • glenn_uk

        You’re projecting, Anon1. I’m not the one with the problem with foreigners 😉

      • Habbabkuk

        RoS

        “Of course I cannot not add to it by claiming I know the exact process myself”
        _____________________

        If that is the case – and I’ll take your word for it – what was the point of you “replying” to my comment?

    • Laguerre

      Oh, another attack on the NHS. You either have a free system, as the NHS is, or you have a partial reimbursement system as the French do. I don’t think you’ll find many Brits who are ready to abandon what they’ve got.

        • Sharp Ears

          Free? Yes based on NI contributions plus state funding from OUR coffers.

          £124 billion NHS expenditure for 65.5 million citizens (latest UN estimated figure) equates to £1,839 pa each. Not bad for care from cradle to grave?including dentistry and free prescriptions for certain categories and medical conditions. Social care too and sheltered housing where it still exists.

          Admission to a private hospital in a private hospital for an uncomplicated delivery of a baby costs circa £7,000 or + £9,000 if you use the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s (favoured by the royal parasites). I looked up those prices last year. Probably higher now!
          +costx

        • Habbabkuk

          Anon1 of course hits the nail on the head when he comments – sarcastically – “free”.

          The NHS is only free in the sense that it is free at the point of use. It is of course not “free” in the normal sense of the word – it is paid for (insufficiently) out of NICs , topped up heavily by general taxation.

        • glenn_uk

          Anyone using the American system (which Anon1, Habbakuk and all the other far-right stooges promote) will find it’s a hell of a lot worse than that.

          Getting health insurance at all is a living nightmare for everyone but the most fortunate.

          Discovering the concept of a “pre-existing condition” is a horror not known to those lucky enough to exist outside such systems.

          Reaching a “lifetime limit” of care is a death sentence. That’s the real “death panel” the reicht-wing lied about.

          For some reason, these 5th columnists like Anon1 and Hababkuk don’t want to tell us about these horrors, they just want to bash the NHS.

          • Habbabkuk

            Glenn

            Can you tell readers where I’ve ever advocated a US-style health service? You either have a very bad memory or are simply being dishonest. I suspect the latter but feel free to prove me wrong.

    • Anon1

      It’s a cult you’re dealing with, Habbabkuk. There’s no point even trying to reason with them.

      • Habbabkuk

        I fear you are right, Anon1. Or perhaps one is simply dealing with the intellectually lazy, who wish to stick with a model essentially unchanged since 1948 and are unwilling to cast their regard beyond the shores of the UK to see if something might not be learnt from other models (eg some from the Continent). Perhaps not a “cult” but rather a matter of shibboleths?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Whilst, I’ve never been one of them, in my experience, most of the contractors I recruited, interviewed and employed – were very hard working and honest individuals and well worth the money they were paid. If they were rubbish – or taking the p1ss, they were fired. They may have been earning twice as much money than me, but some of the stuff they did was brilliant…and they do no get a company pension.

    Tony

    • glenn_uk

      Tony – I don’t think CM was talking about individuals who are contractors, but rather these massive, clunky and grossly incompetent contrators such as Crapita and so on.

  • Ross

    Interesting bit of misdirection going on at the usual MSM outlets. The focus of the story isn’t as it should be that Tory mismanagement and underfunding has created a crisis which could easily become a catastrophe. Instead, the fact that the actions of a young cyber security professional to some extent mitigated the impact of the attach is being spun as the main event; it’s all very much ‘plucky young Brit foils in their attempts to harm or beloved NHS’. At no point is May’s culpability even mooted, which given her lengthy tenure as home secretary seems like it should be a major part of the story.

  • Sharp Ears

    Trust in me! Not.

    HP laptops secretly recording user keystrokes
    Security researchers have discovered that a feature installed in a number of HP laptops is recording all of the keystrokes that the laptop users make.
    12 May 2017
    ’28 models of HP laptops running either Windows 7 or Windows 10 are affected, the full list of which is available on Modzero’s **advisory notice. HP declined to inform Sky News of how many customers it believes may be affected by the issue.’

    ** https://www.modzero.ch/advisories/MZ-17-01-Conexant-Keylogger.txt

    http://news.sky.com/story/hp-laptops-secretly-recording-user-keystrokes-10873634

    • Laguerre

      Laptops have been capable of filming you for some time, if the agencies want. Keystrokes are no surprise. The rule is: don’t put on the internet what you don’t want revealed.

      • glenn_uk

        Entirely true – paste a post-it note over the camera, except for when you actually want it for Skype et cetera.

        • Habbabkuk

          @ Laguerre / Glenn

          D’ye think the filming is infra-red so as to work even in the dark? 🙂

    • glenn_uk

      The amount of secret information being passed back to HQ in win-10 is quite incredible. HP pushes Tanium on its employees, and spies on them like you wouldn’t believe. There’s reason to suspect it’s embedded in firmware too.

      You should assume anything that happens on your corporate-supplied machine or OS is entirely visible to the authorities, not to mention competent hackers.

    • bevin

      You should read the post that you are commenting on. The point is that the vulnerability of computer systems to attacks of this nature is a function of US government insistence on backdoors in commercial products and of their patronage and development of malware, including the notorious stuxnet virus which was developed to facilitate breakdowns in nuclear power plants.
      As to the Tories they are willing accomplices in any crime the US state proposes.

  • RobG

    Everyone is fully aware of what a crap operating system we’re talking about here, and an operating system that has back doors built in for the security services and all and sundry.

    I will say again that this is a total non-story designed to deflect from the speech Corbyn gave yesterday, which amongst other things touched on Britain’s relationship with America.

    Again, you can find the speech here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMCVV4xyNJA

    No high profile British politician in the last 30 years has had the balls to say what Corbyn said yesterday.

    Let’s stop being servile poodles, and start being proud again.

    • bevin

      Thanks for the links Rob. The points that you make, in general, I agree with. I disagree that the ‘attack’ was a diversion from the speech-the MSM don’t need diversions to ignore or misrepresent speeches.
      As ti the significance of Corbyn’s statements he is making an argument, long overdue in my opinion, for nationalism in the UK. It stands in striking contrast to the sort of positions that the SNP are putting forward-they appeal to the same basic sense of taking control of our own destiny but in a much less radical and promising way. Hence their desire to remain under the rule of the EU and the very real suspicion that the day after Independence the SNP would be found to be very open to a special relationship with the USA.
      The difference between SNP policies and Corbyn’s is that the latter is 70 proof whereas the former is mixed with warm milk.

      • glenn_uk

        Entirely true. The corporate & Establishment media would have found an amateur football kick-about in Scunthorpe going into extra time more compelling as that day’s news than Corbyn’s speech.

      • RobG

        bevin, what Corbyn said is the most ‘radical’ position that a future prime minister of the UK has taken in more than 30 years.

        I don’t see how you don’t link this to the ‘massive hack’ that happened immediately afterwards.

        But if you want a real train crash, here’s *Treeza – I would gleefully incinerate millions of people* – on LBC the day before Corbyn made his speech. This is so embarrassing that I can barely watch it…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCDOBVE5wiI

        Who, apart from the brain dead, would vote for this creature?

  • geoff

    Should we not also be asking why all large organisations are using such an insecure (and expensive) operating system.

  • J Galt

    Labour are saying they want to have an ethical foreign policy along the lines of the late New Labour Foreign Secretary..

    But perhaps they should be wary and ask – who killed Cook Robin?

    Habbs et al – the floor is yours

    • Habbabkuk

      I believe the late Robin Cook died of a heart attack so i guess the answer to your question “who killed Cock Robin” is “his heart”.

      Hope that helps.

  • Anon1

    I’m Anon but I’m not anon really as the mods know my identity and regularly fuck around with the device which I comment from, or at least used to. I don’t say that lightly. The stasi left don’t deal with opposing views very well.

    You have to deal with arseholes like this in life. Back in the old days the blog kommandants Jon and Suhayl used to post not very subtle allusions to my Picasa Web albums. Worth bearing in mind when you get all worked up about surveillance. It’s just a small step from calling them racist, bigots etc…

    • Darth

      What?

      I can believe the mods might moderate your IP at times but “fuck around with your devices” NO. If you have any evidence suggesting otherwise please send it directly to Craig.

      Suhayl has never had anything other than normal user access to the blog and I doubt Jon would have any interest in your web albums. If there is anything you genuinely find suspicious (rather than annoying) please let us know.

      • Anon1

        Jon and Suhayl were like two peas in a pod. You know exactly what used to go on on this blog, “Darth” it was all about exposing the identity of those who opposed the prevailing leftist orthodoxy. See CanSpeccy for details.

        • glenn_uk

          No idea what you’re talking about.

          But the idea that mods here are actually interfering with your devices (phnarrr, phnarr!) is as whacked out as any of the more paranoid suggestions here, that the government makes text vanish before their eyes and so on. I thought you liked to consider yourself to be a bit more serious than that.

  • FranzB

    “Very few NHS Trusts now employ their own NHS team of dedicated computer specialists maintaining and caring for their systems, including their defences.”

    You’d think the Labour Party would be onto this like a ferret down a rabbit hole. The leaked manifesto promised to bring all privatised services back into the NHS.

    One of the problems may be that hospitals (say) can’t migrate systems they’ve written themselves (e.g. patient management) to newer technologies because of the prohibitive costs likely to be charged by outsourcing companies for carrying out that migration. Because they can’t afford the migration they remain locked in to old technology. An in-house IT function would perhaps take a more wholistic and long term view of any costs involved.

    • Anon1

      “Very few NHS Trusts now employ their own NHS team of dedicated computer specialists maintaining and caring for their systems, including their defences.”

      Because £124 billion is not enough. Because NHS trusts don’t have enough control over their finances already.

      It’s the Toreeez and Jeremy (C)Hunt wotdunnit

      • Anon1

        “Very few NHS Trusts now employ their own NHS team of dedicated computer specialists maintaining and caring for their systems, including their defences.”

        Because £124 billion is not enough. Because NHS trusts don’t have enough control over their finances already.

        It’s the Toreeez and Jeremy ‘unt wotdunnit

    • giyane

      It’s not the ‘old’ technology that’s the problem, it’s the loophole which allows us to be spied on through which someone has inserted some malware. The fact that this has happened during an election campaign and that governments control the loophole leads one to believe that it is governments that have inflicted malware on themselves. Motive might be to suggest that a privatised NHS would function better and be more up-to-date.

      Craig has asserted that the leak about Clinton’s emails came from within the then ruling Democratic Party, not Russia. During the news item about NHS computers US experts repeated the tripe about Russian hacking on the BBC. Like Mrs May’s mantra they think if they repeat their lies often enough we’ll eventually believe them.
      Politics = Lies.

      I really don’t know how Jeremy Corbyn is going to deal with the fact that Blair’s invasion of Iraq has created Islamic State’s pumping of oil at bargain prices out of Iraqi soil. Forget Anon 1’s porn files he wants kept secret, how can Corbyn keep the elephant in the room secret any longer. He’s asking us to vote for MPs who are blatant, colonial war-criminals in his own party. He attacked the despicable criminals who stopped the NHS from functioning, but the Blair legacy’s elephant bumcheeks are obscuring our view of the TV.

      The truth of the matter is that the New Labour party is seen by the public as the more war-criminal party , because most people have failed to make the connection between Cameron and Hague and the appalling destruction of Libya, and the civil war in Syria. I don’t think ” strong and stable ” is a good description of a government that bullies the leaders that it itself used for ‘ extraordinary rendition torture ‘ and then destroys their countries and peoples in the name of liberation. Sounds more like classroom bullies to me.

      I could go on but hey I guess it’s going to be a Corbyn landslide anyway without any contribution from me.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There’s another aspect the MSM don’t seem to be too interested in. The boxes affected appear to have been running Windows XP, for which Microsoft have withdrawn support. The (awful) successors to XP are not fully backwards-compatible with it – undoubtedly intentionally – and hardware which runs happily on XP doesn’t on Windows 7 onwards. Quite apart from cost and inconvenience, then, there are excellent reasons for not having upgraded from XP, even for large organisations, and especially those running specialist software.

    The co-culprit of this crime (with whoever’s bright idea it was to improve on the Tories’ record for destroying the NHS) is undoubtedly Microsoft’s symbiotic policies of built-in redundancy and innovation for innovation’s sake.

    This probably wouldn’t have happened with a UNIX- descended system. Such as Linux. Which is open-source.

    • Darth

      A mod had added “Toreeez” to the auto moderation list. I am not getting why that is a term that is so extreme it must not appear so I have removed it and restored your comment.

      • Anon1

        Well done, chap. Tell your colleagues to stop censoring comments they disagree with.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      Just read through J.C’s Chatham House speech(on spectator site) , but certainly did not find it remarkable.To blame the’Tories” for the Middle East wars while ignoring the role of Blair, Straw and much of the parliamentary Labour party strikes me as a fudge.Similarly to aim tjhe attack at Trump while ignoring the Obama/ Clinton years is mere sophistry and name-calling… Corbyn also seems willing to go along with a European Defence Force with alll that it may entail.Then he talks of theattack on an ‘elected ‘Spanish government in 1936, but wants a settlement imposed on an elected Syrian government in favour of a divided country.This leaves open the door for’humanitarian intervention to secure”democracy”‘.

      Jeremy tries hard and is well-meaning but must follow through with his arguments.Suggest he model his style on Ron Paul or Sarah Wagenknecht rather than Bernard Henry -Levy
      .

  • Anon1

    Cyber attacks on Nissan now. Damn those evil Tories for underfunding the Nissan IT budget.

    • Brianfujisan

      Rob
      thanks for the Corbyn Speech Link, I shall have listen to it another time though, Cos I rely on headphones.. And they went out of action over night 🙁

      And Quote for our times –

      “ One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

      Carl Sagan

      • glenn_uk

        Brian – that is a powerful quote, thanks for that.

        I’m an admirer of Sagan, but hadn’t come across that one before.

        Stay well, best wishes to you.

        • Brianfujisan

          Cheers Glen

          Are you familiar with the Pale Blue dot quote then.

          Hope you are Well

  • J

    Beginning to think Microsoft released the virus to get the worlds governments to upgrade past XP. What do they know that we don’t?

  • Sharp Ears

    It was concluded on the Sky News press review last night that Hunt wasn’t allowed to comment on the cyber hack. The Tories did not want attention drawn to NHS underfunding in any way and it would be left to Rudd to comment.

    Will he come out of his purdah to let us have his thoughts on this and tell us about his plans to deal with the crisis?

    ‘NHS ‘dangerously short of nurses’
    The NHS in England is drastically short of the nurses it needs, with 40,000 posts unfilled, figures suggest.

    The total is double what it was in 2013 – and means one in nine positions is now vacant, according to the analysis by the Royal College of Nursing.

    The union said the situation was dangerous, blaming the stress of working in the NHS and the cap on pay rises for the problem.’

    A strike is being voted on. They have been subjected to the 1% pay cap for the last six years.

    ‘The RCN said the cap on pay rises, which is continuing until 2019, was a major factor. Results of a poll on strike action over this is due on Sunday.

    RCN general secretary Janet Davies said the shortages were “dangerous” as they were now risking patient care.

    “A lethal cocktail of factors in the NHS has resulted in too few registered nurses and patient care is suffering.”‘

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39890235

  • Sharp Ears

    Latest from The May Party.

    More social housing. Whoopee! Just like all the thousands of council houses the Tories have built in the last seven years. (Is it only seven years? It feels like centuries.)

    No names. No pack drill. No numbers.

    Theresa May has announced an overhaul in council homes by promising measures to encourage the building of new social housing to help thousands of families
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/13/theresa-may-unveils-plan-build-new-council-houses/

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      Just another soundbite, back of the envelopes stuff., Has she run it past the lage building firms contributing to party funds?At least all ‘Bharat starter homes’ are RSPCA approved.
      (no room to swing a cat).
      Smaller firms are to be encouraged to build pre-fabs( eased building regs?),with all the problems they pose inclding reduced eligibility for mortgages.)

      • Sharp Ears

        Have you heard the latest racket?

        Purchasers on these large estates of ticky tacky houses have to pay ground rent. Many are discovering that ‘mistakes’ have been made by solicitors in the conveyances. Instead of paying ground rent for 10 years, which was their understanding when they went ahead with their purchases, they find they are lumbered for 25 years. Probably longer than some of the ‘stunning’ (as the estate agents like to describe them) residences will stay standing. A difference of £35k for one family we were told. I forget the name of the programme.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Apologies if this has been mentioned already, but I recall Sharp Ears posting a link a while ago about government plans after the election to introduce ‘extreme surveillance’ on the populace, and force ISPs to break encryption. I wonder how the ‘break encryption’ idea is doing now in the wake of this cyber attack. I guess it is too much to hope that this might be a wake-up call to the swivel-eyed loons proposing this.

    The link is here:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/04/uk_bulk_surveillance_powers_draft/?mt=1493930968180

    It’s worth reading in conjunction with another story which many will have seen in the Observer claiming that military grade data mining tech and micro targeting of FaceBook ads was allegedly used to swing both the Trump campaign and Brexit.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

    If the data mining story is true it suggests another reason the government might have for the surveillance : unlimited opportunities for data harvesting. All in order to keep us safe of course. I would be interested to hear what those with better understanding of the tech than me think of this.

    • fred

      ISPs can’t break encryption any more than anyone else can, not without a bank of super computers anyway. Data they keep encrypted on their servers and hold the key to they can decode, data passing through their server which they don’t have the key to they can’t.

      Keep your emails encrypted on a foreign server and your ISP can’t decode them.

      • KingofWelshNoir

        Did you read the article? What does this mean? :

        “That includes encrypted content – which means that UK organizations will not be allowed to introduce true end-to-end encryption of their users’ data but will be legally required to introduce a backdoor to their systems so the authorities can read any and all communications.”

        • fred

          That could only be encryption between the ISPs servers and the user, or encryption between the ISPs server and another server they have provided with a key.

          If the ISP doesn’t have a key they can’t decrypt it. Only encryption they have arranged can be covered, encrypted data between a user and a third party can’t be read.

          • KingofWelshNoir

            What does this mean, then?

            “UK organizations will be legally required to introduce a backdoor to their systems so the authorities can read any and all communications”

            Doesn’t that by-pass encryption? If it doesn’t, why would organisations be legally obliged to do something that doesn’t do anything?

          • fred

            The back door is just a way for the authorities to access the servers.

            When you log onto your bank’s web site it sends your browser a key, it is a public key, it can be used to encrypt data but not decrypt it again so even if someone is monitoring your connection and knows the key they can not read what you send to your bank, no one can except the holder of the private key, the bank, the private key doesn’t need to be sent so it can’t be intercepted.

    • fred

      We discussed that poll at length here on this blog when it was published back at the beginning of April.

      • Republicofscotland

        Another lovely remark from a unionist MP, but then again no one should be surprised by Torkip anymore.

        “A Tory MP blasted a Scots schoolgirl who said she would vote for independence in a repeat referendum , telling her: “Why don’t you f*** off back to Scotland.”

        “James Heappey, ­prospective MP for Wells, Somerset, was forced to apologise.”

        Apologies for linking to the Daily Rectum.

        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/why-dont-you-f-back-10418760

        • fred

          Why you telling me?

          In the local elections I ranked the Tory candidate second from last.

          • Republicofscotland

            Torkip are the die-hard unionist opposition in Scotland, you’re a die-hard unionist.

        • reel guid

          Ros

          The Record has the story that Angus Robertson is predicted to lose Moray to the Tories.

          Scrolling down it turns out the Record are basing it on the predictions of Electoral Calculus no less. Doesn’t the DR know that Electoral Calculus is just a Tory front? Or perhaps they do know it .

          • Republicofscotland

            reel guid.

            Indeed the editor Murray Foote, David Clegg, political editor and Torchuil Crichton, unionist bragger extraordiniare, will be over the moon if Angus Robertson loses his seat.

        • reel guid

          Ros

          Mr Heappey Creepy looks and sounds your average male Tory English shires backbencher. Expensive haircut. Expensive suit. Well fed boat race. Total lack of empathy.

          His Lib Dem opponent is Tessa Munt.

          So in Wells it’s Munt versus the C__t.

      • Republicofscotland

        “The Sunday Herald’s New Ferret Fact Checker Service Ruth Davidson’s claim that ‘one in five children leave school functionally illiterate’ is … FALSE”

        http://archive.is/TT0nz

        I suppose if the head of Torkip, Theresa May can prevaricate about the SNP, (Electoral commission fines). Then her Scottish branch manager “Rape Clause Ruth-less Davidson” can do the same.

        • D_Majestic

          Marr has just been on. Giving the Labour party a hard ride, giving Ruth Sturgeon a real grilling over supposed deficiences in Scottish Education. Laughingly he suggested that teachers should be paid more! No real attempt on his or his team’s part to ask why teacher recruitment is now such a problem. Fallon and Torkip, of course, escaped totally unchallenged in any way, shape, or form. Biased beyond belief.

          • Republicofscotland

            D_Majestic.

            Yes good observations there, I guess we’ve come to expect that from the Marr-inator, hard on everbody but Torkip.

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