How to Save Your Life Savings From This Risk
By Lowell Ponte
The cyber-attack began last Friday worldwide, causing computer chaos in at least 150 nations and more than 200,000 computers, hitting banks and other companies. This is only the latest of what could be many doomsday attacks to come.
“In 2017, hackers infected the computers of 140 banks in 40 countries with a program that let the criminals order bank ATMs to spit out untold millions into the paper bags of waiting accomplices,” Craig R. Smith and I reported in our free 2017 White Paper Don’t Bank On It!, which updates and summarizes our book of the same name.
“In 2016, North Korean hackers put a bug into the computers of SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications in Belgium, an electronic clearinghouse for global bank transfers,” we wrote.
“The hackers had SWIFT issue false documents that tricked banks in several nations into giving their agents a combined $81 Million, including $12 Million from Wells Fargo Bank in the U.S.”
The attack last Friday shut down ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in regions of China, leaving citizens without access to their money. Credit cards failed to work at many gas stations. The Bank of China was a target.
The bug also shut down European plants of the French auto manufacturer Renault, one of which remained closed Monday. In Japan, Hitachi and Nissan computers were infected, as was Federal Express in the U.S. and a theater chain in South Korea. So were large telecom companies in Spain, Portugal and Russia. Russian banks were also prime targets.
Germany’s federal railway system was hit, as was Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras and its Social Security system. Two hospitals were infected in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Great Britain’s devastated National Health Service was forced to reschedule surgeries and turn away some Emergency Room patients. Our addiction to computers is becoming hazardous to our health.
The ransomware that did this is called WannaCry (and related names). A single employee can open an unfamiliar website. The malware worm can take over not only his computer but any others linked to it that are vulnerable. It creates an encrypted version of files, destroys the originals, and then demands $300 to $600 per computer in the crypto-currency Bitcoin to restore the data. By Monday morning the attackers reportedly had collected more than $51,000.
The attack could have been much worse had a 22-year-old British nerd who lives with his parents and uses the web name Malware Tech not found the hackers’ “kill switch.” He blunted the assault.
“Criminals” are responsible for this attack, not the government, said President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser Tom Bossert. But others blame the National Security Agency (NSA), from which a contractor reportedly stole its “Eternal Blue” program to hack Microsoft XP computers, still widely used worldwide. This program was released globally in April by a group calling itself “Shadow Brokers” as their “protest” about President Trump. Anyone with such a program can do computer-owner holdups.
The U.S. Government has pressured Microsoft and Apple to provide “back doors” into its programs so that government can hack them. Friday’s attacks show how insecure programs in government hands can be.
Your bank account today is merely electronic blips in a computer that can be stolen, scrambled, or erased by a smart enough individual or government hacker. (China employs 125,000 soldiers to do full-time cyber warfare.) If government prints more trillions to repay lost funds, this will cause dollar-debasing high inflation. And our government is rapidly moving to a “cashless” society in which all dollars will be digital and “virtual,” i.e., unreal. The only way to escape a future computer apocalypse will be to convert dollars to real, hard money such as gold – which cannot be stolen or held for ransom by a few hacker strokes on a computer keyboard.
To schedule a fascinating interview with Lowell Ponte – a veteran think tank futurist and former Roving Science & Technology Editor of Reader’s Digest –
contact: Sandy Frazier at 516-735-5468 or email email@example.com.
For a free copy of the White Paper Don’t Bank On It!, contact: David Bradshaw at 602-918-3296 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org