security

Thu
28
Jul
John Lister's picture

Smart Devices Could Expose WiFi Passwords, or Worse

Are smart devices a security risk? Security firm Rapid 7 seems to think so. According to the researchers, a range of Internet-connected light bulbs had at least nine security flaws. While the potential consequences are hardly life or death, it could ... be a blow to the concept of smart devices in the home. Osram's Lightify range of light bulbs lets users control lighting via a smartphone or tablet app. The idea is partly to allow more precise controls, such as dimming a bulb or even changing its color, and partly to allow users to remotely access the lights. For example, if a home owner is ... (view more)

Thu
02
Jun
John Lister's picture

Bloatware from 5 Major PC Firms 'A Security Risk'

A security firm says that laptops from five major PC manufacturers have inherent security flaws which make the systems open to attack the very first time they are used. The problem deals with the automatic update tools installed by the manufacturer. ... Duo Labs explored the pre-installed manufacturer software on laptops from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo. In total, they found 12 vulnerabilities which they described as being ridiculously simple to exploit. (Source: duo.com ) The software is what's officially known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) software, but commonly referred to ... (view more)

Tue
26
Apr
John Lister's picture

'Secure' Phone Could Cost $15,000

A new manufacturer plans to sell ultra-secure smartphones for as much as $15,000. They won't be the most expensive ever made, but will be the costliest outside of gimmick "luxury" handsets. Sirin Labs, a company based in the United Kingdom and ... Israel, has raised $72 million in investment funding. It plans to launch its first handset in a dedicated retail store next year. (Source: reuters.com ) The company has released relatively little detail about the handset, but has been working on it for almost three years. It says the big selling point is that it will offer military level ... (view more)

Thu
07
Apr
John Lister's picture

New Bogus Invoice Emails Could Lead to Ransomware Attack

The people behind phishing emails appear to be getting more sophisticated. Reports from both sides of the Atlantic say such emails are including more personal details, something that was previously used only for high value target. Phishing emails ... are a way to try to trick people into either providing confidential information such as bank details or online passwords, or by clicking on links that install malware, usually through security weaknesses in web browsers or office software. More and more phishing attacks now involve trying to install ransomware that locks up a computer until the ... (view more)

Tue
29
Mar
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Alters Windows 10 to Please China

Microsoft has finished work on a special edition of Windows 10 for Chinese users. It appears to be designed to keep the country's authoritarian government happy. The edition is known as Windows 10 Zhuangongban, which translates as Specially Provided ... Edition, and will be aimed mainly at government agencies and government-owned businesses. The new software is described in an article on Chinese website Caixin, though its unclear how free the site was to cover the news without either direct censorship or self-censorship. Software Meets 'Special Needs' Based on an automated Google ... (view more)

Fri
25
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: Do I need a VPN? Are VPNs Safe for Online Banking?

Infopackets Reader Janie T. writes: " Dear Dennis, I wanted to know if I should use a VPN (virtual private network) to connect to my bank website. A service I came across called saferweb.com claims that they will encrypt my connection, but I don't ... know if they can be trusted or not. What do you think? PS: I love your daily infopackets letters - they are very informative. " My response: This is a good question. When visiting saferweb.com I noted the following statements on their site: "Safer Web gives you an extra layer of security against Internet hackers. By hiding your IP, we keep your ... (view more)

Thu
25
Feb
John Lister's picture

FTC Cracks Down on Poor Router Security

ASUS has agreed to government supervision for 20 years after exaggerating the security of its routers. Officials say the company put hundreds of thousands of computers at risk. The company has agreed to a settlement in response to Federal Trade ... Commission (FTC) charges. The alleged breach of rules wasn't in the security flaws themselves, but rather that ASUS continuing to market the routers as "safe" was misleading to customers. Among ASUS's bold claims was that its routers could "protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking, and virus attacks." This ... (view more)

Wed
24
Feb
John Lister's picture

Pentagon to Upgrade 4M Seats to Windows 10

The Department of Defense plans to upgrade four million staff members to Windows 10. It's a major boost for Microsoft given the security needs of the DoD. Historically, government organizations have been slow to update operating systems. That's ... often because of the complexity of doing so across an entire network; for example, having to weigh up the problems of different computers on different systems, plus the hassle of having too many computers out of action even temporarily during an upgrade. Major upgrades such as this have caused concern in the security community - especially when ... (view more)

Tue
23
Feb
John Lister's picture

Apple Refuses Court Order to Unlock Encrypted iPhone

Tech company leaders are backing Apple in its defiance of a court order to make it easier for the FBI to access a murderer's iPhone. However, a poll shows public support for officials despite Apple's claims that the order threatens security. The ... case involves a phone belonging to Syed Farook who, along with his wife, shot dead 14 people in California last December. He was killed in a police shootout, but the FBI wants to examine his phone to see if it contains any details about the planning of the attacks and links to terrorist groups. FBI Needs More Than 10 Password Attempts The ... (view more)

Mon
01
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Script Errors in Firefox, IE, Chrome

Infopackets Reader 'dbrumley' writes: " Dear Dennis, I've had a problem lately with Firefox when visiting Amazon's website. I get a pop-up window saying a 'script on this page is either busy or not responding'. There are 3 buttons that say Stop ... script, Ignore error, and Debug script, along with an option that says 'Don't ask again'. I've tried using the 'Stop script' button, which closes the window, but the browser slows down and the window re-appears. The 'Ignore error' button does the same thing. The 'Debug script' button opens a window with what looks like HTML, but I can't make heads or ... (view more)

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