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Security: Blockchains, Disabling Intel ME, Windows, and Mac OS

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Security
  • Blockchains Are Poised to End the Password Era

    The massive password heists keeping coming, and one thing is certain: the way we prove our identities online is in need of a major upgrade. A growing chorus of technologists and entrepreneurs is convinced that the key to revolutionizing digital identity can be found in the same technology that runs cryptocurrencies.

  • Three Laptop Makers Are Disabling Intel ME

    For years now, security experts warned that Intel’s Management Engine (ME) is at risk of being exploited; ME allows administrators to remotely access a computer and is present within every Intel processor since 2008. Finally – after staying quiet during the period of concern – Intel last month admitted that ME is vulnerable to exploitation. As a result, PC makers are making moves to protect users from said vulnerability. Indeed, Dell, Purism, and Linux PC vendor System76 are all disabling Intel ME on their laptops.

  • Microsoft Breaks Down Windows Update on Windows 7, PCs Hit with Error 80248015

    A number of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 systems are experiencing a Windows Update error that prevents them from checking for updates for an unclear reason.

    Posts on the company’s Community forums seem to indicate that the bug first appeared on December 3 and it’s a server-side issue, which means that users might not have anything to do to have this fixed. Instead, Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on the actual cause of the bug, despite the growing number of posts on the said Community thread.

    Checking for updates on the impacted systems fails with error “Windows could not search for new updates,” with some saying that an additional message reading “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer,” when they click the “Get help with this error” option in Windows Update.

  • Apple’s macOS 10.13.1 Update Brings Back Critical Root Vulnerability

And a couple more

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Security: Voting Machines With Windows and Back Doors in Windows Help Crypto-jacking

  • Election Security a High Priority — Until It Comes to Paying for New Voting Machines [Ed: Sadly, the US has outsourced its voting machines to a private company whose systems are managed by Microsoft]
    When poll workers arrived at 6 a.m. to open the voting location in Allentown, New Jersey, for last November’s gubernatorial election, they found that none of the borough’s four voting machines were working. Their replacements, which were delivered about four hours later, also failed. Voters had to cast their ballots on paper, which then were counted by hand. Machine malfunctions are a regular feature of American elections. Even as worries over cybersecurity and election interference loom, many local jurisdictions depend on aging voting equipment based on frequently obsolete and sometimes insecure technology. And the counties and states that fund elections have dragged their heels on providing the money to buy new equipment.
  • Congress Can Act Right Now to Prevent Interference in the 2018 Elections [Ed: "confidence" is not security]

    To create that confidence the SAFE Act would: [...]

  • America’s Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind
    There is still no clear proof that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 U.S. election in any meaningful way. Which is weird, because Russia and every other country on earth would be perfectly justified in doing so.
  • NSA Exploit Now Powering Cryptocurrency Mining Malware [Ed: Microsoft Windows back door]
    You may have been asked if you'd like to try your hand at mining cryptocurrency. You may have demurred, citing the shortage in graphics cards or perhaps wary you were being coaxed into an elaborate Ponzi scheme. So much for opting out. Thanks to the NSA, you may be involved in mining cryptocurrency, but you're likely not seeing any of the benefits.
  • Cryptocurrency-mining criminals that netted $3 million gear up for more
    Separately, researchers from security firm FireEye said attackers, presumably with no relation to the one reported by Check Point, are exploiting unpatched systems running Oracle's WebLogic Server to install cryptocurrency-mining malware. Oracle patched the vulnerability, indexed as CVE-2017-10271, in October.

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