This Week In Security Roundups

There’s a lot going on in the world of tech security this week, from tricking Teslas (again) to hackable firmware to Russia’s Sandworm hackers at it again.

First of all, did you know how easy it could be to trick the Tesla?  McAfee researchers caused a Tesla to speed up over 50 mph by simply affixing black tape to a speed limit sign.  The Mobileye EyeQ3 system seems to be easily tricked, which is a hurdle for automated AI systems in self driving cars.  The self driving capacity of the Tesla is already a controversy anyway, with people ignoring the instruction to stay alert and taking naps or browsing their phones while driving at highway speeds.  The maker of the Mobileye EyeQ3 says its an adversarial “attack” since the tape could also fool human drivers – however most human drivers will have the sense to slow down when the speed seems strangely high for the surroundings – AI cars though?  Perhaps not.

In Russia the Sandworm hacking team is at it again, attacking and defacing over 15,000 websites and two broadcasting companies in neighboring Georgia.

Ransomware loves to target those with the most to technically lose – such as hospitals and government facilities.  This week ransomware disrupted a natural gas compression facility for two days while they struggled with ransomware.  This is another sign that attackers are going after critical infrastructure more and more in the attempt to extort money.

PC sales are up, and that means more people are going to need software to help them maintain their systems.  The new Advanced System Repair Pro is a great software tool capable of making it easy for consumers to keep their computers running well.  We reviewed the software and found it quite capable of helping people out in terms of renovating a flagging system and helping it run faster.

One thing we always implore people to do in the wake of all of these security breaches is to back up their systems!  Nobody backs up their data anymore even though it’s the easiest darn thing to do.  We highly suggest trying out something such as Backblaze which will back up important files in the background without you even noticing.  It’s been the greatest help to me personally when my hard disk broke, destroying all my video files.  It was MUCH cheaper to get my backblaze data back than spring tons of money for a forensic file recovery from the broken disk. is going to be up for sale soon, and in a strange twist of programming whoever owns this domain could have the power of an enormous botnet instantly.  It’s a bit hard in layman’s terms, but due to some programming gaffes there are many systems that connect to as a default setting.  However, since is dormant at the moment, nothing bad is happening.  However in one experiment they set it up to receive credentials and it turned into a bloodbath – the experiment was turned off after 15 minutes and the data destroyed.

Is Ransomware Really a Threat?

Cyber criminals continue to invent new methods to victimize computer users, and the use of ransomware is one of the more inventive techniques identified to do so. Ransomware originated in eastern Europe, but has since spread to virtually all parts of the world. While there has been some progress in finding and prosecuting those responsible, it’s difficult to track and isolate offenders when they are located in uncooperative countries. That suggests the best defense against ransomware is a strong offense.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is software inadvertently downloaded onto a computer from a remote site. The ransomware variants may act differently, but the net result is a freezing of access to data on an infected computer. The computer owner is then instructed to deliver a ransom in exchange for a key to unlock the data being held. Once the required funds are delivered, the key may or may not be delivered.

How can users protect themselves from ransomware threats?

Because the ransomware in the wild is not all the same, it can be difficult to be fully protected from an infection. However, there are basic steps computer users can take to minimize the likelihood of infection. First, install virus software and update it frequently. Ideally, the virus software should run automatically to provide maximum protection. Many of the ransomware variants can be detected by virus protection software. Next, make sure all data is frequently backed up to a cloud-based service or a remote hard drive that is not kept connected to the computer being backed up.

What can owners do if ransomware still finds its way onto a computer?

No matter how careful a computer owner is, ransomware is insidious and may infect a computer from seemingly innocuous sources. Security experts do not recommend paying a ransom, as doing so can lead to additional security issues. However, some individuals find themselves paying because the data being held may be difficult or impossible to replace, and it can be exceedingly difficult to get rid of ransomware. Before paying anything, contact local law enforcement personnel and a data restoration expert for advice.

The simple truth is that ransomware removal is difficult, and most individuals simply do not have the skills needed to recover infected data and restore the computer. That is what the cyber criminals are counting on. They make it tempting to simply pay the ransom and get on with life.