Knowledgebase
RSS Feed
Latest Updates
Aug
3

http://bgr.com/2015/07/31/windows-10-upgrade-spying-how-to-opt-out/

By
 
Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 is amazing. Windows 10 is fantastic. Windows 10 is glorious. Windows 10 is faster, smoother and more user-friendly than any Windows operating system that has come before it. Windows 10 is everything Windows 8 should have been, addressing nearly all of the major problems users had with Microsoft’s previous-generation platform in one fell swoop.

But there’s something you should know: As you read this article from your newly upgraded PC, Windows 10 is also spying on nearly everything you do.

DON’T MISS: Windows 10: The first 5 things you need to do immediately after you install it

 

It’s your own fault if you don’t know that Windows 10 is spying on you. That’s what people always say when users fail to read through a company’s terms of service document, right?

Well, here is Microsoft’s 12,000-word service agreement. Some of it is probably in English. We’re pretty sure it says you can’t steal Windows or use Windows to send spam, and also that Microsoft retains the right to take possession of your first-born child if it so chooses. And that’s only one of several documents you’ll have to read through.

Actually, here’s one excerpt from Microsoft’s privacy statement that everyone can understand:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3.operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4.protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

If that sentence sent shivers down your spine, don’t worry. As invasive as it is, Microsoft does allow Windows 10 users to opt out of all of the features that might be considered invasions of privacy. Of course, users are opted in by default, which is more than a little disconcerting, but let’s focus on the solution.

Rock Paper Shotgun has broken things down into four main bullet points that will guide you through regaining control of your personal data.

READ MORE: 5 common problems people are having with Windows 10 – and how to fix them

First, you’ll want to open Settings and click on Privacy. There, you’ll find 13 different screens — yes, 13 — to go through, and you’ll want to disable anything that seems worrying. The blog notes that most of the important settings can be found on the General tab, though other tabs are important as well. For example, you’ll definitely want to adjust what types of data each app on your system can access.

Next, users should consider dumping Cortana. Yes, the voice-driven assistant is easily one of the best new features in Windows 10, but it also plays fast and loose with your data. As a result, many users will find that the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

For the third task, you’ll have to venture outside the confines of your pc and hit the web. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to check out Microsoft’s nifty new Edge browser. In it, click on this link and set both “Personalised ads in this browser” and “Personalised ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” to off. This will disable Microsoft’s Google-style ad tracking features.

The last tip is one that most users will likely forgo, as it is a bit excessive. Rock Paper Shotgun recommends removing your Microsoft account from Windows 10 completely and using a newly made local account instead. This way, Microsoft doesn’t grab hold of all your data to sync it across machines. To us that’s a great and useful feature, but if you want to kill it just follow the link below in our source section for complete instructions and plenty more details.

MUST-READ: Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu – here’s how to customize it

Article updated to quote a larger quote from Microsoft’s terms of service.


Read more »



Nov
7
Hackers Can Steal $999,999.99 from Visa Contactless Payment Cards
Posted by Mat Batchelor on 07 November 2014 11:07

Hackers Can Steal $999,999.99 from Visa Contactless Payment Cards

 
 

 

Flaw in Visa Contactless Payment Cards Let Hackers Steal $999,999.99 from Each Card
Security researchers from Newcastle University in the UK have found a way to steal larger amounts of money from people's pockets using just a mobile phone, due to a security glitch Visa’s contactless payment cards.
 
Contactless payment cards use a cryptoprocessor and RFID technology to perform secure transactions without a need to insert the card in a reader, even an NFC-equipped mobile device may also be used as a payment card. But there is a specified limits country-wise.
 
Contactless payment cards are meant to have a limit of £20 per purchase in UK, using which shoppers can buy things by simply tapping their card on a scanner, without having to type in a PIN. But exploiting a flaw in its protocol could allow cyber criminals to manipulate the cards to transfer up to $999,999.99 in foreign currency into a scammer’s account.
 


Researchers on Wednesday at the 21st ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, detailed the attack which rely on a “rogue POS terminal” running on a mobile device that could be pre-set to a large amount of money, a wireless transfer of up to 999,999.99 units in any currency.
"With just a mobile phone we created a POS terminal that could read a card through a wallet," Martin Emms, lead researcher of the project noted in a statement about the findings. "All the checks are carried out on the card rather than the terminal so at the point of transaction, there is nothing to raise suspicions."
"By pre-setting the amount you want to transfer, you can bump your mobile against someone’s pocket or swipe your phone over a wallet left on a table and approve a transaction. In our tests, it took less than a second for the transaction to be approved."
The good news is that the research team haven’t tested how Visa’s system reacted to a rush of foreign currency transfers, and whether it would flag them up as a possible fraud or not.
 
But the experts are worried that the contactless payment cards system is insecure, and that cybercriminals would likely use the flaw to set up hundreds or thousands of fraudulent transactions in smaller amounts to evade detection.
"Our research has identified a real vulnerability in the payment protocol, which could open the door to potential fraud by criminals who are constantly looking for ways to breach the system," Emms said.
In a report on the BBC, Visa Europe said that "we have reviewed Newcastle's findings as part of our continued focus on security and beating payments fraud" and that their research "does not take into account the multiple safeguards put into place throughout the Visa system", adding that it would be "very difficult to complete this type of transaction outside of a laboratory environment."

Visa Europe also said that the company is updating its protection to require more payment card transactions to be authenticated online, making this kind of attack more difficult to carry out.

- See more at: http://thehackernews.com/2014/11/hackers-can-steal-99999999-from-visa.html#sthash.z8jOvlz2.dpuf


Read more »



Apr
10
Windows XP No Longer Supported By Microsoft
Posted by Mat Batchelor on 10 April 2014 17:02

WINDOWS XP IS NO LONGER SUPPORTED BY MICROSOFT

 

What is end of support?

After 12 years, support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014. There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. It is very important that customers and partners migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 8.1. Customers moving to a modern operating system will benefit from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice for a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership through improved management capabilities.

Support for Office 2003 also ended on April 8, 2014.          

 

What does this mean?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP. Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that you migrate to a current supported operating system – such as Windows 8.1 – so you can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks.

Read the Windows lifecycle fact sheet to learn more.          

 

Potential risks of staying with Windows XP

Running Windows XP SP3 in your environment after April 8, 2014 may expose you to potential risks, such as:

Security:

Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported.

Compliance:

Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. More information on HHS’s view on the security requirements for information systems that contain electronic protected health information (e-PHI) can be found here (HHS HIPAA FAQ - Security Rule).

Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Support:

Many software vendors will no longer support their products running on Windows XP as they are unable to receive Windows XP updates. For example, the new Office takes advantage of the modern Windows and will not run on Windows XP.

Hardware Manufacturer support:

Most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on existing and new hardware. This will also mean that drivers required to run Windows XP on new hardware may not be available.           

 

How do I migrate off Windows XP?

Enterprise Customers:

Microsoft offers large organizations (500+ employees) in-depth technical resources, tools, and expert guidance to ease the deployment and management of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer products and technologies. Learn more about migration and deployment programs by contacting your Microsoft sales representative, Microsoft Services or your Certified Microsoft Partner. Learn how to pilot and deploy a modern desktop yourself by visiting the Springboard Series for Windows 8.1.

Small to Medium Business:

There are many options for small and medium businesses considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. Small to mid-size organizations (<500 employees) should locate a Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet their business needs. If your current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you can buy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro from a local retailer or Microsoft Certified Partner. If your PC does not meet system requirements, consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 8.1 Pro.

Home PC Users:

To stay protected after support ends, you have some options. The first option is to upgrade your current PC. Very few older computers will be able to run Windows 8.1, which is the latest version of Windows. We recommend that you download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8.1 and then follow the steps in the tutorial to upgrade if your PC is able. For more detailed information, read the FAQ. You can also purchase a new PC. If your current PC can't run Windows 8.1, it might be time to consider shopping for a new one. Be sure to explore our great selection of new PCs. They're more powerful, light weight, and stylish than ever before—and with an average price that's considerably less expensive than the average PC was 10 years ago.  

 

Frequently Asked Questions

   

Can Windows XP still be activated after April 8, 2014?

Windows XP can still be installed and activated after end of support. Computers running Windows XP will still work but they won’t receive any Microsoft Updates or be able to leverage technical support. Activations will still be required for retail installations of Windows XP after this date as well.

Can Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 still be used in Windows XP?

Windows XP Mode follows the same support lifecycle as Windows XP, extended support will end April 8, 2014.

Will MED-V be supported after April 8, 2014?

Windows XP used with MED-V follows the same support cycle as Windows XP, support ends April 8th, 2014.

Will Microsoft Security Essentials be supported after April 8, 2014?

Microsoft Security Essentials will not be available for download on Windows XP after April 8, 2014. If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates through July 14, 2015. However, please note that PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected.

Will Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool be supported after April 8, 2014?

Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool is aligned with the company's anti-malware engines and signatures, and as such the removal tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015. However, any PC running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates for the Windows XP operating system.

Will System Center, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit still support Windows XP?

While customers may continue to use System Center, Windows Intune, and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to manage and deploy Windows XP past April 8, 2014, those products will no longer support Windows XP, and any technical issues which may arise will not be addressed.

What about Windows XP Embedded?

See the Windows Embedded product lifecycle page and Microsoft Support for more information on Windows XP Embedded lifecycles.

Will existing updates still be available via Windows Update after April 8, 2014?

Yes, all existing Windows XP updates and fixes will still be available via Windows Update and WSUS.

Will Internet Explorer 8 still be supported on Windows XP?

As a component of Windows, Internet Explorer follows the support lifecycle of the Windows operating system on which it is installed on. More information is available at Microsoft Support.

Which machines will receive the Windows XP End of Support notification?

The notification will be sent to users of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update. Users in organizations using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager, or Windows Intune will not receive the Windows XP end of support notification.    

 

All information provided by Micorosoft (See link below)   

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/end-of-support.aspx


Read more »



Jan
13
Internet Security Awareness
Posted by Mat Batchelor on 13 January 2014 19:02

Internet and Email Security!

Please be aware of the increasing number of scams currently out on the internet and email systems.

Below is a link to the FBI internet safety site to make you better prepared should you encounter one.

Please read as falling foul of just one scam could cost you dearly!

http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams

Thank you for your time.


Security Advisory Service
Network UK Consultancy Ltd 


Read more »



Oct
28

Please be aware we have received the following alert from AVOSEC, please feel free to forward on this notice to friends and family...

We are writing to you regarding the recent CryproLocker ransomware virus.

We have had many requests from our partners and clients experiencing the problem.

We have found a temporarily solution to prevent the CryptoLocker ransomware which has been causing data loss and concern to home users and business owners.

Avosec would like to help all our users who could be potentially being in need, by sending this important information to all our customers, in the hope that this information helps you avoid any business disruption or data loss.


Please follow the link for ways to protect your computers from this threat and find out additional information to assist.

 


Avosec / AV-Outsource Ltd. | Unit 2, 2 Thayers Farm Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 4LZ

Website: http://www.avosec.com/
Email: info@avosec.com
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 100 4509
Fax: +44 (0) 870 836 2339

Read more »