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Blake Dowling: A new (politically incorrect) cyber threat, linked to Big Macs

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For better or worse, we live in a politically correct world. On one hand, efforts in that area have created increased awareness of sexism and other social injustices.

On the other, some PC speak is patently ridiculous.

I read somewhere that is politically incorrect to the word “fat.” I’m told we should say EWI — Enhanced Weight Individual (or stout, overweight, etc.).

So, you cannot say “fat-free?” If that’s the case, there’d be a lot of rebranding in the packaged food industry.

Where do we draw the line? Don’t get me wrong, society is obsessed with size. There are issues, indeed. But is this really the solution?

Isn’t the real issue being kind (or, more accurately, a lack of kindness)?

Are these PC people those who changed the name of the world’s largest cocktail party to something silly?

Where does the PC Council of What-You-And-I-Should-Say-Or-Not-Say hold their meetings, anyway? Is it in a clandestine annual retreat (like the Skull and Bones society?) If so, I would bet there are some non-fierce debates, since they really don’t do name-calling. Think British cops, who are not allowed to carry guns: “Stop, or I’ll say stop again!”

Rant concluded.

Well, guess who couldn’t care less about soft-bellied American PC nonsense?

Vodka-guzzling Russian hackers, that’s who. The latest cyberthreat has the (decidedly non-PC) name “Fatboy.”

Are they making fun of non-motherland swine who might be a little “big boned?” Nope.

It’s actually ransomware that charges different amounts, in different locations, depending on the Economist’s Big Mac Index.

At this point, you may be intrigued … or think I am blatantly creating fake news. No, It’s a real thing.

The Big Mac Index is now 30 years old, and shows how poor or wealthy a nation is based on the price of a Big Mac.

In 2017, you are looking at $5.06 for a Big Mac in Florida, and about $2.83 in China.

So, there you have it. Hackers of the world continue to innovate and surprise.

So, while they might charge $500 in the U.S., the charge would be closer to $250 in China?

That makes sense, right?

First, it was a Ugandan Prince with $10,000,000 U.S. just for you. Next were fake emails from UPS, followed by ransomware that gives you encryption keys if you infected two friends.

Then comes RAAS (ransomware as a service sold on the dark web), allowing anyone with basic computer skills to become a hacker. Now there’s Fatboy.

I can definitely see the PC crowd getting upset — not only do they say “fat,” but it’s gender specific.

Look out Russkies, the American Civil Liberties Union is gonna get ‘ya.

To them, it should be called “Fat-person” or “Fat-one” (referring to one who is fat; no medical marijuana jokes, please).

So, you get infected from an email, your IP address is confirmed and the price of the Big Mac is reviewed and you receive a notice of how much you have to pay to get the encryption keys to get your data back. And they usually ask for the money in iTunes gift cards or bitcoins.

As an information technology professional, I always give the same advice to anyone infected with ransomware — never pay cybercriminals. Payment only encourages them.

As a fan of good manners, I don’t call people fat, either, and always avoid being tacky. We have plenty of that in the world.

Be safe out there, and lay off the Big Macs, unless you wish to be classified EWI, that is.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

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Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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