“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.” –Genesis 8:20
Hi all. Happy Thursday. Oh, how fast time flies! And, I must add as a tech professional, oh technology change flies too! Example: “(Radio Station) WWJ first went on the air on August 20, 1920 with the call sign 8MK. It is believed to be the first station to broadcast news reports regularly as well as the first regularly scheduled religious broadcast and play-by-play sports broadcast.” Today radio is slowly fading away, replaced by podcasts, Tik Tok, and the rest of the digital world. Such is the topic of today’s Digital Cornbread serving. 🙂
Last Friday in my tech training, I got another reminder of the maddening frustration of Ransomware. If you are unfamiliar with ransomware, it is a relatively new type of cyber attack, often on a business, that infects the storehouse of information (typically a server or a cloud service) and encrypts the data in a way that blocks the user’s access to it. In order to get past encryption on this scale, you need a “key”…a hyper-long series of numbers, letters, etc…in the right order. Your three options are to try to break the key (nearly statistically impossible), pay the ransom to the scoundrel, or wave bye-bye at your data… forever.
Amazingly, this encryption-based attack is super easy to create and inflict on someone. In fact, there are ransomware-as-a-service companies with call centers to answer your customer service questions all over…and you can buy in for less than the cost of a year of Amazon Prime. You merely provide a mailing list and a payment and they create links you can then share with the person or business to hijack their system and ultimately their data. Sometimes they are in the system for quite a while…weeks and years…before locking you out. That way they know who to target and how best to guarantee a payment. Is it illegal? Yes…very. However, there seems to be only mild interest in ridding the world of these scoundrels based on the limited effort/fines/jail times involved in arriving at this end. Here are a couple of hacking resources (in addition to the one above from Sophos) that I really enjoy: Link Link (This second one is really fun too….) Summary: This is a huge, multi-billion dollar problem that is hard to fix.
Dementia is a lot like ransomware. The disease sneaks in, under the cover of night, and starts to work. It seems to have a life of its own as it meanders through your gray matter every which way until it ultimately destroys connections from the person and the storehouse of their data: their brain. It isn’t as simple as flipping a digital switch, but the result, given enough time, is the same. The data is lost…because we haven’t enough bitcoin to pay the ransom.
What’s the big deal? I mean, memories stink to lose, but we can go on without many of them, right? Nope… The encryption is so thorough, it damages the data that shows how to run your brain computer. Your complete operating system is devastated, and all processes within begin to fail. In the end, the system is so broken and with no way to retrieve data to fix the problem, it…we…die. This ransomware is sinister and it is fatal…100% of the time.
So, conference boy passing on the bad news…what can we do? We fight. First, we do our best to prevent this from happening. Nothing in computing or in life is a guarantee (death, taxes, judgement aside), but we can take steps to prevent this from happening. On our computer, we buy an antivirus software that scans for malware and quarantines or deletes it (imperfectly). We also change our behaviors. We don’t surf to “that kind” of site (porn, online gambling, file sharing/stealing)! We don’t click Willy Nilly on every link sent to us via email or Messenger…if it looks suspicious, we verify first. We update our computer as it asks to.
Such are our prevention efforts in brain ransomware too. We eat well…a heart-healthy diet. We sleep enough. We don’t smoke. We are physically careful with our brain and avoid activities that can hurt it. We keep our other systems (blood pressure/blood sugar) in good shape knowing what is good for them is good for the brain. We read, study a new language, play music, do art, and exercise our mind with activities with other folks (distanced and masked if necessary) of course, to avoid isolation. However, in the end, we have to find a way to end this menace…these menaces. It will be hard. There are money concerns everywhere. Lots at stake…but failure isn’t an option here. There is no stinking ransom price available, even if we weren’t already broke. So what do we do? We serve. We advocate. We pray. We walk and/or donate to a team at a Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We fight the disease while loving each other..and, in the end, we defeat it. Sure there will be other malware out there to watch for…but this huge and nefarious one will be gone. Are you in? Boot up your brain computer and log on…time is a wastin’.
Update: Not much to report on the mom front. Still under the Shawshank lockdown and there wasn’t anything new yesterday. Stinkin’ virus…I miss Andy Griffith time with mom. 🙁
Dad joke of the day:
My friend keeps saying “cheer up man it could be worse, you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.
Last note: Meme week will begin Monday. If you have a favorite meme, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and it may make its way into the blog. 🙂 Thanks all!
2 thoughts on “Shawshank Re:Dementia Day 161: RansomWhere?”
Thank you 🙂
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