John Lister

Thu
23
Jan
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Experts: Windows Feature Can Be Used as Ransomware

Ransomware attackers could turn a key Windows security tool against the system, according to new research. The tactic could also evade leading security tools. The research from SafeBreach Labs covered "EFS", otherwise known as Encrypting File ... System. EFS was released as far back as Windows 2000 (in the year 2000), and is somewhat similar to Bitlocker. The main difference between the two is that Bitlocker can encrypt an entire volume, while EFS can encrypt individual files and folders. In either case, the reason for encrypting files / folders or an entire volume is that if an ... (view more)

Wed
22
Jan
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Apple Drops Plan to Tighten iCloud Encryption

Reports suggest that Apple has been pressured by the FBI to drop plans to improve the security of its customer backups. The plan was to better encrypt backups on the iCloud service. iCloud serves two purposes: it's a way for Apple users to store ... data and documents online and access them from anywhere (from any Apple device) with a password; it's also a way to automatically backup the contents of iPads and iPhones. Data from the iCloud is stored on Apple servers in an encrypted format, which means that if somebody gained access to the files (either through a remote hack, or a physical breach ... (view more)

Tue
21
Jan
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Microsoft Could Improve Google Chrome

The Chrome browser may soon put less drain on processors and battery life in Windows 10. Perhaps surprisingly, that's because of changes made by Microsoft rather than Google. The relevant tweaks were discovered by Microsoft as part of its work to ... rebuild the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10. Originally it ran on Microsoft code, but the new version of Edge is now based on Chromium. For those unaware, Chromium is an open source project, which is the basis of Google's Chrome browser. Microsoft found one cause of battery drain was disk caching during online video playback. In simple terms ... (view more)

Thu
16
Jan
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Chrome to Block Third-Party Cookies

Google says it will block third-party cookies, which can track Internet users in ways they don't expect. But it could be up to two years before the block is fully in place. A cookie is a small text file placed on a user's computer by a website. The ... idea is the site can check for the cookie later on and customize the users' web experience. Examples of 'legitimate' cookie use would be an online store that holds items in a virtual 'shopping basket', and a movie theater chain's site 'remembering' a user's location to automatically show them local listings. The more controversial variant is third- ... (view more)

Wed
15
Jan
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Critical Windows 10 Bug Needs Immediate Fix

The National Security Agency (NSA) has told Microsoft about a major Windows 10 bug which also affects Windows Server 2016 and 2019. A patch is already available and is a must install. For the NSA to tell Microsoft about a Windows vulnerability and ... then discuss it publicly is relatively rare. In the past, the NSA has used such security flaws to take advantage of potential suspects, as part of its surveillance program. In this case, the bug was so serious the NSA seems to have concluded any benefits it could gain itself would be more than wiped out by the threat to the general public (and US ... (view more)

Tue
14
Jan
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Google Slammed Over Android 'Bloatware'

50 privacy groups have urged Google to crack down on pre-installed "bloatware" on Android devices. They say the apps haven't been properly vetted and could threaten privacy. Bloatware refers to software that is already installed on a device when a ... user first starts it up. With Android phones it's particularly significant as it's difficult or even impossible to uninstall. Sometimes manufacturers consider such apps to be genuinely useful for phone owners and even part of the appeal of getting a handset. In other cases it seems more likely the manufacturers have struck deals with developers to ... (view more)

Fri
10
Jan
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'Police Web Browser Scam' Dupes Users into Paying Thousands

An old Internet scam has got a new twist. The new scam makes it appear as if local police have taken over the web browser in order to "fine" the user for "illegal activities". The "police browser locker" scam is an example of what's dubbed scareware ... by preying on a user's paranoia (or guilt). It involves popup window from within the web browser, or an unexpected web page appearing and giving a bogus message demanding payment. A common form of this scam is the infamous Microsoft tech support scam stating that the computer has been infected with malware and the user needs to ... (view more)

Thu
09
Jan
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Cyber Attack Fears Rise Over Iran Conflict

Cyber analysts warn Iran may further target the US with cyber attacks as tensions rise in the Middle East. While one federal website has already been compromised for propaganda purposes, the real danger may be to infrastructure, with businesses and ... home users caught in the crossfire. The most eye-catching attack this week involved the website of the Federal Depository Library Program, which was altered to show and Iranian flag and an unflattering picture of the President. However, this doesn't appear to be a particularly sophisticated breach and may well have been the work of amateur hackers ... (view more)

Wed
08
Jan
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New Clop Ransomware Encrypts Windows Processes

Researchers have spotted new ransomware with a nasty new twist. "Clop," as it's called, doesn't just encrypt files, but deliberately attempts to screw up applications as well. The move is most likely intended to reduce the chances of the ransomware ... being blocked, but also means an attack could be even more disruptive and make it more likely a complete rebuild of the affected PC is necessary. Normally ransomware's main task is to encrypt as many files as possible on a computer. The idea here is to extort the user by forcing them to pay a ransom to regain access to the locked files. ... (view more)

Fri
03
Jan
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North Korea Accused of Attacking Windows Users

Microsoft has warned users to pay particularly close attention to emails that appear to come from "microsoft.com". A simple trick involving spelling was the key to a security attack that Microsoft believes was instigated by North Korea. A US court ... has given Microsoft legal control of 50 web domains it says were used to carry out cyber attacks on Windows users. It's said to be the work of a group dubbed Thallium operating out of North Korea. Microsoft says the attacks were targeted at "government employees, think tanks, university staff members, members of organizations ... (view more)

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