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Security: Updates, Microsoft, Google, and Telegram

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Security
  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Winter Olympics was hit by cyber-attack, officials confirm [Ed: This is a Microsoft Windows issue, but Bill Fates is paying The Guardian, so...]
  • Google Patches Chromebooks Against Meltdown/Spectre, Adds New Chrome OS Features

    Earlier this month, Google updated its Chrome OS computer operating system to stable version 64.0.3282.134 and platform version 10176.65.0, an update that's now available for most Chromebook devices.

    Besides the usual security improvements and bug fixes, the latest Chrome OS 64 release includes several new features that are worth mentioning, such as the ability to take screenshots by simultaneously pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons on your Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge.

  • Skype can't fix a nasty security bug without a massive code rewrite
  • Perfect Computer Security Is a Myth. But It’s Still Important [Ed: The "everything is broken" defeatism overlooks the coordinated vandalism done to put back doors in most things]

    Maybe you’ve heard it before: “Security is a myth.” It’s become a common refrain after a never-ending string of high-profile security breaches. If Fortune 500 companies with million dollar security budgets can’t lock things down, how can you?

    And there’s truth to this: perfect security is a myth. No matter what you do, no matter how careful you are, you will never be 100 percent safe from hackers, malware, and cybercrime. That’s the reality we all live in, and it’s important to keep this in mind, if only so that we can all feel more sympathy for victims.

  • Microsoft Fixes 50 Vulnerabilities In February’s Patch Tuesday Update

    Microsoft has released February’s cumulative updates for Windows 10, better known as Patch Tuesday. The reason why the update is worth getting is it comes with fixes for 50 vulnerabilities in various versions of Windows 10.

    As per the release notes, the software addressed as a part of the Patch Tuesday update are Windows OS, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Services and Web Apps, and the JavaScript engine ChakraCore. In addition to security fixes, Microsoft has also made improvements to address minor glitches in Windows 10.

  • Telegram Zero-Day Vulnerability Lets Hackers Pwn Your PC to Mine Cryptocurrency

    A zero-day vulnerability was discovered by Kaspersky Lab in the Telegram Desktop app that could let hackers pwn your computer to mine for cryptocurrencies like Zcash, Monero, Fantomcoin, and others.

    Kaspersky Lab's security researchers say the zero-day vulnerability can be used to deliver multi-purpose malware to computer users using the Telegram Desktop app, including backdoors and crypto-cash mining software.

    The security company also discovered that hackers had actively exploited the vulnerability in the Telegram Desktop app, which is based on the right-to-left override Unicode method, since March last year, but only to mine cryptocurrencies like Fantomcoin, Monero, and Zcash.

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Android Leftovers

The Spectre/Meltdown Performance Impact On Linux 4.20, Decimating Benchmarks With New STIBP Overhead

As outlined yesterday, significant slowdowns with the Linux 4.20 kernel turned out to be due to the addition of the kernel-side bits for STIBP (Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors) for cross-HyperThread Spectre Variant Two mitigation. This has incurred significant performance penalties with the STIBP support in its current state with Linux 4.20 Git and is enabled by default at least for Intel systems with up-to-date microcode. Here are some follow-up benchmarks looking at the performance hit with the Linux 4.20 development kernel as well as the overall Spectre and Meltdown mitigation impact on this latest version of the Linux kernel. Some users have said AMD also needs STIBP, but at least with Linux 4.20 Git and the AMD systems I have tested with their up-to-date BIOS/microcode, that hasn't appeared to be the case. Most of the AMD STIBP references date back to January when Spectre/Meltdown first came to light. We'll see in the week ahead if there is any comment from AMD but at this time seems to be affecting up-to-date Intel systems with the Linux 4.20 kernel. Read more

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