back to article The federal bureau of trolling hits LockBit, but the joke's on us

The best cop shows excel at mind games: who's tricking whom, who really wins, and what price they pay. A twist of humor adds to the drama and keeps us hooked. It's rare enough in real life, far less so in the grim meat grinder of cybersecurity, yet sometimes it happens. It's happening right now. It all kicked off on February …

  1. ChoHag Silver badge
    Holmes

    > LockBit's disaster recovery procedures seem to be much better than those of many of its victims.

    If you had disaster recovery procedures, you wouldn't be a victim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > If you had disaster recovery procedures, you wouldn't be a victim.

      It's tempting to think this, but disaster recovery is not without cost.

      It doesn't take zero time or effort to restore a large network of computers. It may be cheaper to pay a ransom than to perform an unscheduled business shut down while re-imaging a thousand computers...

      DR gives you an option: it's not always a good option.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        The downtime is worth the peace of mind that you haven't been trojaned.

        A proper audit of security - fixing the holes, and also validating the backups, and then a full restore from last audited backup is the only way to deal with it. It's a hit, but you really have no choice.

        1. Dimmer Silver badge

          And what about when it is a zero day exploit? Shut down till MS come up with a patch?

          (Yes I know you mitigate, but some net facing can’t be mitigated)

          Time for MS to start taking some responsibility here. Spend a bit less time on telemetry and changing the UI and more on hardening the system.

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            Facepalm

            re: Time for MS to start taking some responsibility here.

            Of course! I fucking KNEW Microsoft would be behind this!

          2. Paul 195

            Isn't telemetry an important part of knowing when someone is trying to hack you?

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              I don't know of any organization that considers Microsoft's telemetry an IDS mechanism, and I'd be extremely leery of any that do. That would be remarkably shortsighted.

          3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            We're talking about what to do when you've been exploited - do you attempt a clean up, or do you purge and restore from before the exploit.

            Whether it's a zero-day or not is irrelevant to that question.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Invoking DR is almost always better than paying. If you pay once you'll just end up being targetted again because they already know you're soft.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      If your backups for the past month are also encrypted because the attackers used "sleeper" ransomware, your DR procedures won't offer much recovery.

  2. itsthemonkey

    Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

    The only "commercial" use of any crypto currency is apparently to hide unlawful activities. Can anyone (except the suckers that bought other crapto currencies or NFTs) actually put their hand on their heart and say honestly they made a real world payment for ANYTHING with this so called "currency"?

    So we have criminals as the only users, criminals running the exchanges, wallets and sometimes even the currencies (ha) themselves. Why do people defend it so strongly?

    "But it's DeFi" shout the supporters....Yup, it defies belief.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

      Exactly, nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Put it on the pile with strong, non-escrow encryption, laws protecting privacy and reasonable grounds. Don't let the terrorists win and, please, think of the children.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

        Not the same, and you know it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

          Stop defending criminals. The only reason an innocent person might need this protection is due to criminals or because they're actually criminal themselves. Make it so easy to secure a conviction that it can be sorted before a criminal even acts and you won't have anything to worry about. It's like saying you need a gun because criminals have guns.

          1. Dostoevsky

            Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

            I think crypto-currency is dumb, personally, but I have to disagree with your post. A private citizen can waste their money however they want – if crypto appeals to them, they shouldn't instantly be suspected of crime.

            Your last sentence is also ridiculous. I *do* have a gun, because criminals have guns. The difference is that *I'm* not going to run around blowing people's brains out. Where I live, the police are 20 minutes away.

            1. very angry man

              Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

              No I don't run around, I wait for them to come to me. I do have a backhoe in the back yard, but I don't leave it idling

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Well thought out article...and loved the punchline at the end

            Either you replied to the wrong post, or there's a huge sarcasm breakdown here.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The full regulation of bitcoin will most likely never happen. If it was used solely by criminals, drug users and just normal people it wouldn't be a problem but we have rich and powerful people using it to squirrel money about and as it isn't just in one country you can move the money to any other country to tip it back into the global banking system. I think they'll make things very difficult for people but they won't eliminate the problem.

    1. Frankly

      "we have rich and powerful people using it to squirrel money about"

      Presumably to launder money or evade tax, both of which are crimes, so they too are criminals.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Bless you. Rich and powerful people can never be criminals. Maybe the the odd fine at most.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      "using it to squirrel money about"

      Why? What are they doing that can't be done by regular means? So they're concealing the movement of money from regulators? It may be legal but it sure doesn't sound like it.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      I think you underestimate the will of governments to eliminate means for bad behavior. Bitcoin has basically no useful functions. It is used for criminal activity including ransomware and funding of terrorism, used by rich people to dodge taxes (also criminal activity) used for moving money across borders (generally because one or both countries seek to prevent or regulate such movements) and used for market speculation no different than if there was an ETF that let you bet on how much it will snow in NYC next winter.

      The cryptobros have been desperate to make bitcoin tradable because they think Wall Street will step in and try to prevent any regulation from the US government, but there are already so many avenues for speculation no one would miss if it was banned and Wall Street had to shutter the ETFs.

      It has been increasing recently because another halving is coming up - it always goes up before that and then tumbles later after all the greater fools have been fleeced. The problem this time is that if it falls to anything like the level it was at a year ago, every miner will go bankrupt.

      1. BartyFartsLast

        Spot on, one of the the main advantages of crypto is the ease with which you can avoid the basic checks and balances of the financial regulators to shift money around, avoid taxes, buy or sell dodgy stuff and fund/receive funds as a dodgy organisation.

        I don't think there's any net benefit to crypto that's not underpinned by the ease with which it can be used for illegal means.

    4. BartyFartsLast

      "but we have rich and powerful people using it to squirrel money about and as it isn't just in one country you can move the money to any other country to tip it back into the global banking system"

      Tax evasion, avoiding sanctions and moving money under the radar between countries isn't a crime because it's done by rich people using crypto?

      If it weren't then why not just use the traditional banking system?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If it weren't then why not just use the traditional banking system?

        Because then they couldn’t flog their kleptocurrency to suckers willing to pay them real $ for it.

      2. Blogitus Maximus

        If there's one thing the Paradise papers (et al) taught me it's this. The financial systems of the world serve the richest in society and those in power and always will.

        Crypto currency isn't needed for these really quite breathtakingly wealthy people to hide/move/manipulate money around the planet. If the folk in charge are really bemoaning the tax avoidance opportunities from crypto they'd have banned banks from doing business in the Cayman Islands years ago.

        In the end, what this is really about is *control*. If you have a parallel financial system that can threaten central banking and scrutiny, those at the top of society will want to stop it or regulate it. The threat and actual criminality of crypto transactions have been overstated by those interests.

        Also, hands up anyone here who thinks that fiat currency with all its oversight, checks and balances hasn't been used for illicit purposes.

        Further reading.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/haileylennon/2021/01/19/the-false-narrative-of-bitcoins-role-in-illicit-activity/

        https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/ws/files/42792707/Accepted_Manuscript.pdf [PDF]

  4. druck Silver badge

    The most sensible thing I've ever read on crypto currencies

    You can't trade cocaine futures on commodity exchanges because it is a destructive drug that enables crime. Why tolerate Bitcoin?

    This ^^^^

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