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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ransomville


Toddler Commercial | Allstate Mayhem

Some slimeballs have taken to ransoming iPhones. The attacks are similar to the ransomware schemes used on computers. On computers, the contents of the hard drive has been encrypted and the malefactors want money in exchange for the passcode that will decrypt the hard drive.
The attacks on the iPhone are different in that there is no encryption involved, the scumbags have simply gotten the phone locked, similar to what happens when you enter the wrong passcode X number of times in a row (X might be 6).
There is a way out of this without paying the ransom, but I'm not sure the cure is not more painful than the disease. The official Apple cure for this problem is to ERASE your phone, which means all your data, contacts, pictures, what-not, will be erased. For someone who uses their phone for anything besides chasing Pokemon, this could be devastating.
Best to have a backup. Making backups is annoying, time consuming, and will look like a complete waste of time because, more than likely, you will never need it. On the other hand, not making a backup copy of your data is surely inviting Mr. Mayhem (video) into your life.
This is the flip side of having these magical little boxes that can do so much. People who understand how these magic boxes work can easily (for some value of easily) take control of your magic box and erase your entire virtual existence. It's kind of like the Wild West. Guns made it possible to easily acquire meat and hides (to keep you fed and warm), but it also made it possible for people to unlease havoc on their neighbors.
So if you have invested any time in building up your collection of data, you might want to take steps to secure it. On the other hand, sometimes all that data is just like a big ball and chain that you drag around with you but never does you any good. Would you really miss any of the information on your computer or phone if it suddenly disappeared?
Data is funny. We spend untold years collecting and arranging it, yet most of it is ephemeral, only good for the moment. Once the moment has passed we are on to something newer, bigger, faster, shinier. Yes, we save it and make copies but how much of that carefully archived data every gets used? Not much. But if some essential piece of information is lost or stolen, we will spend untold time and money to recover it, which kind of tells you how much that particular bit of information is worth.

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