From my mailbag:

Dear nixCraft,

I run a Debian Linux 8.x on my Desktop and Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS on my Linode cloud server for my personal website. I am concerned that my Linux is affected by the recent Wannacrypt malware. I am reading about a ransomware attack, what do I need to do? Should I be worried?

–Concerned Linux User

Dear Concerned Linux User,

Short answer: Ubuntu or Debian are not vulnerable to the flaw. In fact all other Unix-like operating system such as macOS, FreeBSD and others are not vulnerable to the flaw. However, you must take care if you are using Samba software (e.g. disable SMBv1) on Linux or Unix-like system. Make sure you disable SMB version 1 on Windows clients.

Fig.01: Disable SMB v1.0 on MS-Windows

Long answer: WannaCrypt/WannaCry targets the Microsoft Windows operating system. The attack spreads by phishing emails but also uses the EternalBlue exploit and DoublePulsar backdoor developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). If you are using older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, you will get infected. All of your files will be encrypted. To get back your files, you need to pay ransom payments in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Microsoft has released software updates for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. You must apply those patches ASAP. In short Linux users are not affected by this attack.

How to protect yourself from ransomware attacks

I recommend that everyone should do the following regardless of operating system:

  1. Backup all your files and data regularly. Ideally you should make three copies of your backup data on two different media. One backup copy must be offline all the time.
  2. Patch your system including BIOS and device drivers
  3. Turn on automatic updates
  4. Do not use outdated and unsupported software
  5. Turn on firewall on both your router and computer
  6. You should turn on anti-virus software on Windows
  7. All Windows XP user should upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Windows such as Windows 10. All Windows 2003 server user should upgrade to the latest version of Windows server
  8. Avoid using pirated software
  9. See Decentsecurity website, it has a guide that is reasonable for non-techies to understand and follow

See also

A good backup plan is essential in order to have the ability to recover from

  • Human errors
  • RAID or disk failure
  • File system corruption
  • Data center destruction and more.

In this post I’m going to list amazingly awesome open source Backup software for you.

What to look for when choosing backup software for an enterprise?

Make sure the following features are supported backup software you deploy:
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I usually use GIMP (the “GNU Image Manipulation Program”) for editing photos, changing colors, resizing photos, applying significant effects and more. It is a free software alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It is also quite popular with graphics artists and webmasters who wants to edit digital images. GIMP is not just a Linux specific program. It works on all leading operating systems, i.e., Mac OS X, MS-Windows and Unix variants. However, like many other powerful open source software, GIMP can be difficult to master. There are many options and plugins. So if, you are looking to learn or master the GIMP program, give The Book of GIMP a try.
[continue reading…]

Gabe Newell is the co-founder and managing director of the video game development and online distribution company called Valve Corporation. He want to port 2500 game titles on Linux. But, why? First, Gabe hates Windows 8 and he thinks Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in PC space. He recently made a rare appearance last night at Casual Connect, an annual videogame conference in Seattle. From the allthingsd:

The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior. We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.

It appears that Mr. Gabe is really worried about Microsoft as Windows 8 app store is going to take way business from steam. However, this is a win-win situation for Linux users as it will brings good game titles on the Linux system that haven’t been there. I only use windows so that I can run games and when steam for Linux arrived I will get rid of windows install once in for all.