Published by Randall Hand on June 18th, 2014
For the last several years, "ransomware" has been one of the bigger problems on the internet. Half computer virus, half phishing attempt, it's the frustrating encryption or theft or personal data that can only be recovered by paying the attacker some nominal sum to get things restored.. It's incredibly annoying, but good antivirus and security measures can generally protect people. Personally, I've never dealt with it but it seems to pop up in the news every few months.
However, now it seems hackers have taken Ransomware to a whole new level. Earlier today, SVN hosting webservice "Code Spaces" was shut down when an attacker demanded money for return of their Amazon EC2 control panel, and when they tried to stop him (by doing exactly what I would have done: Changing passwords and removing access) he irreversibly erased all of their custom data and repos! Similarly the same thing almost happened to Feedly but they were more successful in averting disaster. Evernote got hit with a DDOS as well, but (as far as they are reporting) there was no extortion attempt.
Whether or not these incidents are related, it's a scary time.. For the last several years, lots of people have migrated data to the cloud. Documents and communications exist in Google services, backups exist in Carbonite & Crashplan, personal memories exist in Flickr and Instagram, bits of data exist in services like GitHub and Evernote. When suddenly the cloud is no safer than your personal computer, maybe it's time to start moving more towards "personal clouds" ?