John Lister

Thu
12
Mar
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New Ransomware Exploits Excel Format

A new ransomware variant takes advantage of a Microsoft Excel feature. It's a good reminder to keep security software up-to-date. The variant has been reported by security company Lastline. It involves a known ransomware called Paradise that ... operates in the familiar fashion: the attackers find a way to get remote access to a computer then encrypt files and demand a fee to restore access - sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars, or much higher. In this case, the attackers try to trick victims into opening a file attachment that creates the opening for accessing the machine. The ... (view more)

Wed
11
Mar
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Official: COVID-19 a Pandemic; Tips to Clean Devices

Apple has issued new guidance on how to clean iPhones, iPods and laptops. Though it doesn't mention the reason for the update, it's almost certainly a reaction to concerns about COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Most of the medical ... advice for people to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus has centered on regular hand washing with hot water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching the face. However, portable devices are certainly an area of concern, given how often many owners touch them during a day. Apple already offers official advice for keeping ... (view more)

Tue
10
Mar
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Microsoft Revamps Win10 Data Collection Options

Microsoft is changing the options for how Windows 10 computers share data for diagnostic purposes. It's ditching one option and renaming the others, though no PC will start reporting data without the user's permission. The diagnostic data program is ... where computers send information to Microsoft about their activity and any problems. The idea is to help Microsoft spot any bugs as well as assess how widely features are used and thus which are most worthy of further maintenance and development. Some User Control Because there's an obvious tension between improving Windows 10 and addressing ... (view more)

Thu
05
Mar
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Malware-Free Cyber Attacks on the Rise

Most online attacks don't involve malware, according to newly published figures. It's the first time "fileless techniques" have been in the majority. The figures come from an annual report by security company CrowdStrike. It says it analyzed its own ... customer data along with that from investigations into known attackers and data from reported incidents. According to the report, malware-free attacks made up 51 percent of the total during 2019, up from 40 percent the previous year. The tactics were particularly prevalent in North America, making up 74 percent of attacks. (Source: zdnet.com ) As ... (view more)

Wed
04
Mar
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Apple to Pay Price for Purposely Slowing iPhones

Apple is to compensate customers after claims it intentionally slowed down old iPhones to make people more likely to upgrade. Each person eligible in the class action lawsuit will get around $25, but Apple isn't formally admitting any wrongdoing. ... Back in 2017 Apple admitted it had intentionally slowed down the performance of old iPhones through a software update. However, it denied this was a marketing move and instead said it was a necessary step to extend the lifespan of ageing batteries of older iPhones . Specifically it said sudden spikes in processor demand could cause older batteries to ... (view more)

Tue
03
Mar
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Unsafe VPN Android Apps Threaten Privacy

Some of the most popular VPN apps for Android are dangerous to use, according to a leading review site. The VPN apps, which are supposed to protect privacy, actually expose users to attacks according to VPN Pro. A VPN, or virtual private network, is ... meant to be a way to boost privacy online. It works by re-routing traffic through a middle-man server to make it appear that your IP is in another location. When configured properly, the VPN effectively creates a secure online connection that means even though data is going through the Internet, it can't be read by anyone other than the sender and ... (view more)

Wed
26
Feb
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Chrome Users: Update Now to Patch Critical Bug

Google has issued a critically important update to its Chrome browser due to a nasty zero day bug. The browser should update automatically for most users, but the bug is serious enough that it's a case of checking to ensure that the update has been ... successfully applied. The update fixes three security problems, one of which is a critical. It means hackers were actively exploiting the problem before Google fixed it - meaning the update process gave users a zero day head start on the bad guys (hence the term, ' zero day exploit '). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google isn't saying much at all about ... (view more)

Tue
25
Feb
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Windows 10 Start Menu to be Redesigned

Microsoft is reportedly set to ditch "live tiles" from Windows 10. It's part of a planned revamp of the system's Start Menu. Live tiles originally debuted in Windows Phone 7 and there's a strong argument it's a feature that should have been left to ... mobile devices. The tile is a square display that shows a specific piece of information such as current weather or a stock price, updated in real time rather than the user having to click on it. Live Tiles Driven By Mobile The feature debuted on the PC desktop with Windows 8, which was widely criticized for being designed ... (view more)

Mon
24
Feb
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Gas Pipeline Shut Down After Ransomware Attack

Ransomware forced an unplanned shutdown of a US gas pipeline for two days. It's not yet clear if the attackers intended to have that effect. The full details, including the identity of the pipeline and its operators, have been kept under wraps. The ... only official information that's been made public comes from a security alert bulletin by the Department of Homeland Security (DoHS). (Source: us-cert.gov ) The attack started as an all-too-familiar "spear phishing" attack. That's a deliberately targeted email that tries to fool somebody (that typically works for a corporation) into clicking on a ... (view more)

Thu
20
Feb
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Google: OEM Mods Make Android OS Less Safe

Google says phone and tablet makers who alter Android's code to add security measures may actually be undermining security. It says device manufacturers should stick to Android's own measures. Jann Horn of Google's Project Zero security team ... specifically pointed to an alteration made by Samsung for the Galaxy A50 phone, which he says contained a bug that made the device vulnerable to attack. He says he discovered and reported the bug to Samsung in September 2018 but it wasn't patched until Samsung's security updates released this month. (Source: blogspot.com ) Ironically Horn believes the ... (view more)

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