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Microsoft

White House Tech Policy Brought by Microsoft

Filed under
Microsoft
  • The White House will meet with tech execs for advice on giving the government a digital upgrade

    Announced in April, the American Technology Council is comprised of federal officials who oversee technology-focused agencies, and it's officially led by Chris Liddell, a White House aide who previously served as the chief financial officer at Microsoft. The initiative itself lives under the umbrella of Kushner's Office of American Innovation, which aspires to cure longtime, unresolved government ills, such as the poor, aging technology in use at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Sharing America's code

    Since Salehi joined the CIO team in 2015, the government has made great strides toward open sourcing its code. The Federal Source Code Policy, released in August 2016, was the first U.S. government policy to support open source across the government.

Windows Security Cannot be Blamed on "XP"

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Microsoft
Security

Windows Intruded by CIA

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Microsoft
Security
  • Athena

    Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the "Athena" project of the CIA. "Athena" - like the related "Hera" system - provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.

    According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies, a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company "... focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets.". On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.

  • WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

    WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, detailing a spyware framework – which "provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers" – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft's Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.

    Dubbed Athena/Hera, the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server.

  • Microsoft held back free patch that could have slowed WannaCry

Why Europe’s dependency on Microsoft is a huge security risk

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Microsoft

On May 12, hackers hit more than a hundred countries, exploiting a stolen N.S.A. tool that targeted vulnerabilities of Microsoft software. The attacks infected only machines running on Windows operative system. Among the victims are public administrative bodies such as NHS hospitals in the UK. Investigate Europe spent months to investigate the dire dependency of European countries on Microsoft – and the security risks this entails

Read more

NHS mulling Ubuntu switch after Windows XP fail?

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Security

Security News, Notably Microsoft/NSA Catastrophe

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Microsoft
Security
  • Major cyber attack hits companies, hospitals, schools worldwide

    Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of "WannaCry" that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

  • Massive cyberattack hits several hospitals across England
  • Rejection Letter

    We start with a shadowy US government agency, the NSA, systematically analyzing the software of the biggest American computer companies in search of vulnerabilities. So far, so plausible: this is one of the jobs of an intelligence and counter-espionage agency focussed on information technology. However, instead of helping Microsoft fix them, we are supposed to believe that the NSA hoard their knowledge of weaknesses in Microsoft Windows, a vitally important piece of their own nation's infrastructure, in case they'll come in handy againt some hypothetical future enemy. (I'm sorry, but this just won't wash; surely the good guys would prioritize protecting their own corporate infrastructure? But this is just the first of the many logical inconsistencies which riddle the back story and plot of "Zero Day".)

  • Microsoft issues ‘highly unusual’ Windows XP patch to prevent massive ransomware attack
  • Is it prudent to ask if Britain’s nuke subs, which also run Windows XP, have also been hit by ransomware?

    Let’s reword this to drive the point home. How likely is it that the United States NSA, through its persistent interest in keeping us unsafe, has managed to hand control of Britain’s nuclear weapons platforms to unknown ransomware authors, perhaps in Russia or Uzbekistan?

  • Current wave of ransomware not written by ordinary criminals, but by the NSA

    The lesson here is that the NSA’s mission, keeping a country safe, is in direct conflict with its methods of collecting a catalog of vulnerabilities in critical systems and constructing weapons to use against those systems, weapons that will always leak, instead of fixing the discovered weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make us unsafe.

  • Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware Outbreak Temporarily Stopped By "Accidental Hero"

    A security researcher that goes online by the nickname of MalwareTech is the hero of the day, albeit an accidental one, after having saved countless of computers worldwide from a virulent form of ransomware called Wana Decrypt0r (also referenced as WCry, WannaCry, WannaCrypt, and WanaCrypt0r).

  • DDOS attacks in Q1 2017

    In Q1 2017, the geography of DDoS attacks narrowed to 72 countries, with China accounting for 55.11% (21.9 p.p. less than the previous quarter). South Korea (22.41% vs. 7.04% in Q4 2016) and the US (11.37% vs. 7.30%) were second and third respectively.

    The Top 10 most targeted countries accounted for 95.5% of all attacks. The UK (0.8%) appeared in the ranking, replacing Japan. Vietnam (0.8%, + 0.2 p.p.) moved up from seventh to sixth, while Canada (0.7%) dropped to eighth.

  • Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting

    This week, I had the opportunity to take Joe Fitzpatrick’s class “Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting”. This was a preview of the course he’s offering at Black Hat this summer, and so it was in a bit of an unpolished state, but I actually enjoyed the fact that it was that way. I’ve taken a class with Joe before, back when he and Stephen Ridley of Xipiter taught “Software Exploitation via Hardware Exploitation”, and I’ve watched a number of his talks at various conferences, so I had high expectations of the course, and he didn’t disappoint.

  • SambaXP 2017: John Hixson’s Reflection

    The next talk was given by Jeremy Allison on the recent symlink CVE. Jeremy explained how it was discovered and the measures that were taken to fix it.

NHS Cautionary Tale About Windows

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Microsoft
Security

Windows Chaos

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • ‘CIA malware plants Gremlins’ on Microsoft machines – WikiLeaks

    WikiLeaks has released the latest instalment in the #Vault7 series, detailing two apparent CIA malware frameworks dubbed ‘AfterMidnight’ and ‘Assassin’ which it says target the Microsoft Windows platform.

  • WannaCry ransomware used in widespread attacks all over the world

    Earlier today, our products detected and successfully blocked a large number of ransomware attacks around the world. In these attacks, data is encrypted with the extension “.WCRY” added to the filenames.

    Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed “WannaCry”, is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows. This exploit (codenamed “EternalBlue”) has been made available on the internet through the Shadowbrokers dump on April 14th, 2017 and patched by Microsoft on March 14.

  • NHS left reeling by cyber-attack: ‘We are literally unable to do any x-rays’

    Thousands of patients across England and Scotland have been in limbo after an international cyber-attack hit the NHS, with many having operations cancelled at the last minute.

    Senior medics sought to reassure patients that they could be seen in the normal way in emergencies, but others were asked to stay away if possible.

    According to one junior doctor who works in a London hospital, the attack left hospitals struggling to care for people. “However much they pretend patient safety is unaffected, it’s not true. At my hospital we are literally unable to do any x-rays, which are an essential component of emergency medicine,” the doctor told the Guardian.

  • "Worst-Ever Recorded" Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools

    Update 4: According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware," and "the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over nine million computers in nearly 200 countries.

Microsoft Windows and Ransom

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • Massive ransomware attack hits UK hospitals, Spanish banks [Ed: Microsoft shows its real cost]

    A large number of hospitals, GPs, and walk-in clinics across England have been locked down by a ransomware attack, reports suggest. There are also some reports of a ransomware attack hitting institutions in Portugal and Spain, with telecoms provider Telefonica apparently hit hard. Further attacks have been reported in Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan. Batten down the hatches: we might be in the middle of a global ransomware attack.

    Multiple sources point to this ransomware attack being based on the EternalBlue vulnerability, which was discovered by the NSA but was leaked by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers last month.

    NHS Digital has confirmed the attack and issued a brief statement, stating that there's no evidence that patient data had been accessed and that the attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS. At this point it isn't clear whether a central NHS network has been knocked offline by the ransomware or whether individual computers connected to the network are being locked out. In any case, a number of hospitals and clinics are reporting that their computer systems are inaccessible, and some telephone services are down too.

  • New ransomware Jaff demands $3,700 payments
  • Updates on CyberSecurity, WordPress and what we're cooking in the lab today.

    This is a Wordfence public service security announcement for all users of computers running any version of Windows.

    We have confirmed that a serious virulent ransomware threat known as WannaCrypt0r/WannaCry has affected Windows computers on shared networks in at least 74 countries worldwide, with 57,000 reported individual cases being affected. And according to the analysis team at Kaspersky Lab, that number is growing fast.

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More in Tux Machines

Debian and Derivatives

  • Glad to be a Mentor of Google Summer Code again!
    While, why I proposed this idea? Plinth is developed by Freedombox which is a Debian based project. The Freedombox is aiming for building a 100% free software self-hosting web server to deploy social applications on small machines. It provides online communication tools respecting user privacy and data ownership, replacing services provided by third-parties that under surveillance. Plinth is the front-end of Freedombox, written in Python.
  • The #newinstretch game: new forensic packages in Debian/stretch
    Debian/stretch AKA Debian 9.0 will include a bunch of packages for people interested in digital forensics. The packages maintained within the Debian Forensics team which are new in the Debian/stretch release as compared to Debian/jessie (and ignoring jessie-backports):
  • Getting ready for Stretch
    I run about 17 servers. Of those about six are very personal and the rest are a small cluster which are used for a single website. (Partly because the code is old and in some ways a bit badly designed, partly because "clustering!", "high availability!", "learning!", "fun!" - seriously I had a lot of fun putting together a fault-tolerant deployment with haproxy, ucarp, etc, etc. If I were paying for it the site would be both retired and static!)
  • Devuan Jessie 1.0.0 stable release (LTS)
    Once again the Veteran Unix Admins salute you! Many of you might remember November 2014 when we announced that we were going to fork Debian. Well, we have done exactly that. It has been a long process, but now over two years later, we proudly present Devuan Jessie 1.0.0 Stable.
  • Parsix GNU/Linux Is Closing Its Doors, All Users Will Be Migrated to Debian 9
    You know we hate to give you guys bad news, but it looks like the Parsix GNU/Linux project is closing its doors in about six months after the release of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system.

OSS Leftovers

Ubuntu-Based Alternatives and Snapcraft 2.30

  • ​How to install Linux Mint on your Windows PC
    I think Linux Mint isn't just a great desktop, it's a great replacement for Windows. With Windows security problems such as WannaCry, people are starting to explore alternatives to Windows. I got a number of requests about switching out from Windows to the latest and best Linux. For me and many other experienced Linux users that's Linux Mint 18.1. You don't need to be a Linux expert to install Mint on a Windows PC. Here's how to do it.
  • Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land
    With the death of Unity, Canonical will focus more attention on Ubuntu servers, Ubuntu in the cloud and Ubuntu in the so-called Internet of Things. Even if you give Canonical the benefit of the doubt - that it will continue working on desktop Ubuntu - at the very least, desktop Ubuntu's future looks uncertain. Post Unity, how will the transition to GNOME work? Will existing Unity users be "upgraded" to GNOME with 17.10? Canonical is reportedly plotting out solutions to much of this uncertainty right now, but for users, the uncertainty rules the day.
  • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.30 Snappy Packaging Tool for Ubuntu Linux OSes
    Canonical's Sergio Schvezov was proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Snapcraft 2.30, a major milestone of the open-source Snappy packaging tool used to package apps in the Snap universal binary format.

An introduction to Linux's EXT4 filesystem

Although written for Linux, the EXT filesystem has its roots in the Minix operating system and the Minix filesystem, which predate Linux by about five years, being first released in 1987. Understanding the EXT4 filesystem is much easier if we look at the history and technical evolution of the EXT filesystem family from its Minix roots. Read more