Ransomware Hits Georgia Courts as Municipal Attacks Spread

Ransomware has no shortage of cautionary tales and wakeup calls from the past decade. But for local governments, this past year has been a particularly brutal reminder of the threat. Following a 2018 attack that paralyzed the City of Atlanta for weeks, more than half a dozen cities and public services across the country have fallen to ransomware so far in 2019, on a near-monthly basis; the Administrative Office of the Georgia Courts became the latest victim on Saturday, when an attack knocked its systems offline. The string of attacks on municipalities may seem like a new pattern. But it’s unclear how many of them, if any, were perpetrated by the same actors. And law enforcement officials emphasize that the …

Microsofts First Windows XP Patch in Years Is a Very Bad Sign

This week, Microsoft issued patches for 79 flaws across its platforms and products. One of them merits particular attention: a bug so bad that Microsoft released a fix for it on Windows XP, an operating system it officially abandoned five years ago. There’s maybe no better sign of a vulnerability’s severity; the last time Microsoft bothered to make a Windows XP fix publicly available was a little over two years ago, in the months before the WannaCry ransomware attack swept the globe. This week’s vulnerability has similarly devastating implications. In fact, Microsoft itself has drawn a direct parallel. “Any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry …