security

Fri
09
Jun
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: How to Know if Windows Updates are Working (and What to Do if They Aren't)

Infopackets Reader Howard N. writes: " Dear Dennis, In regard to the WannaCry Internet worm which can infect all Windows PCs that have not yet been patched using Windows Updates - how can I make sure that my Windows Update is operating properly, and ... that I am receiving my updates automatically? I enjoy your newsletter - please keep it up and have a nice day! " My response: Generally speaking: you should be able to go to the "Windows Update" service within Windows, and it should tell you when updates were last received. If you haven't received any updates for a while - or if you have your ... (view more)

Thu
25
May
John Lister's picture

Eye and Voice Logins Compromised

Two biometric security measures have come into question after reporters and researchers claimed to have overcome them. A phone's iris recognition and a bank's voice log-in both appear to be less than perfectly secure. The Samsung Galaxy S8 - ... arguably the most high-profile and hyped phone currently running the Android system - includes an option to unlock the phone by simply looking at the camera. In a similar way to fingerprint recognition, it works on the idea that the patterns in the eye's iris are unique. Samsung described these patterns as "virtually impossible to ... (view more)

Tue
16
May
John Lister's picture

WannaCry Ransomware Worm: What You Need to Know

Beginning Friday, May 12, 2017, reports surfaced of a new Internet worm capable of infecting Windows machines instantaneously. The worm has been dubbed "WCRY" or "WannaCry" because of its malicious intent to install ransomware on the target machine. ... The Internet worm was made possible because of a leaked NSA (national security agency) document which essentially explained how to carry out the exploit. In this case, the malicious software locks computers such that their files are encrypted and cannot be accessed unless the victim pays a ransom (and the culprits then stand by ... (view more)

Wed
10
May
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Patches Major Security Bug

Microsoft has suffered a hugely embarrassing security flaw that takes advantage of a bug in Windows' built-in security software. But, security experts have praised its extremely rapid response. The bug, spotted by Google's Tavis Ormandy, was in ... Microsoft's own malware protection tools (including Windows Defender), which is built directly into Windows. Such tools have been so successful that for many users, third-party security tools are no longer necessary. The problem was specifically with a tool known as MsMpEng, (short for Microsoft Malware Protection Engine) that is enabled by ... (view more)

Tue
18
Apr
John Lister's picture

NSA Used Windows Bugs as Spy Tools

Microsoft says it's patched most of the recently revealed security flaws said to have been used by the National Security Agency (NSA) for spying. But the incident is a reminder not to rely on unsupported editions of Windows such as Windows XP and ... Vista. Windows Vista officially reached its end of extended support April 11, 2017 . A group calling itself "Shadow Brokers" is trying to auction what it says is a set of tools that the NSA were using for surveillance by taking advantage of security failings in widely used software. While that's a bold claim - particularly as it means ... (view more)

Fri
31
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: Top 15 Ways to Keep Your PC Secure in 2017 (and Beyond)

Infopackets Reader 'Rebecca' writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently purchased a tablet with Windows 10 and I have Windows Defender running. My question is whether I need to install any other protection to stop people (hackers) from being able to steal my ... bank details, etc. My dad was recently a victim of this but I don't know how to protect myself. How can I keep my PC secure in 2017? Thank you in advance! " My response: I have been asked this question no less than 100 times in the last 16 years I've been writing articles online - but the truth of the matter is that the answer changes slightly as ... (view more)

Mon
20
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: Do I need a Third Party Firewall?

Continuing on with last week's article, David L. writes: " Thanks for your help in identifying the culprit that was causing random Blue Screens of Death ( BAD_POOL_CALLER ) on both mine and my wife's system. Question: I have been using ZoneAlarm for ... many years and it has been good to me. If I decide to stick with the Windows Firewall per your recommendation - what happens if hackers find an exploit in the Windows Firewall that allows them into my system? Yes, ZoneAlarm has caused my Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) and it costs money upfront (versus the Windows Firewall which is free) - but why ... (view more)

Tue
14
Mar
John Lister's picture

Malware Preinstalled on Many Android Phones

Android phones from a variety of companies have reached business employees with malware already installed according to researchers. How and why it got there is not yet confirmed. The report comes from Checkpoint, a security company. It says it was ... examining devices used by staff at two businesses: one a "large telecommunications company" and the other a "multinational technology company." (Source: checkpoint.com ) While it's not unusual to find malware on employee phones during some checks -- that's partly the purpose of hiring services such as Checkpoint. ... (view more)

Wed
01
Mar
John Lister's picture

'Smart' Toy Database Exposes Child Voice Recordings

Voice messages from parents to children through a 'smart' cuddly toy could be compromised. The security risk is a combination of a flaw by the designers and poor security practices by users. The issue involves CloudPets, a range of $40 toys designed ... to help working parents stay in touch with their kids. The parent can leave a voice message via a phone app at any time and it will then be sent over the Internet and Bluetooth and played back through a speaker in the toy. The child can then press the toy's paw to record and send a reply. The problem is that while delivering messages ... (view more)

Thu
16
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Report: You can be Tracked Online, even without IP or Cookies

Researchers have found a way to track web users even if they switch web browsers. It could improve security but also weaken online privacy. The researchers at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania were trying to find ways of improving fingerprinting. ... That's a way to attempt to identify an individual user (or at least their computer) without relying on single identifiers such as login details, browser cookies, or an IP address. Instead, fingerprinting involves taking multiple pieces of information provided by a user's browser such as the browser name, it's version, whether they have an ad blocker ... (view more)

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