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Microsoft Bribery Again

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  • Microsoft's cunning plan to make Bing the leading search engine: Bribery

    The uptake for Microsoft's long-suffering search engine, Bing, continues to be so dismal that Redmond has resorted to paying people to use it.

    The "loyalty scheme" offers points that can be exchanged for charity donations or music, games, devices and other stuff on the Microsoft Store. Users are awarded three points per search, up to 30 a day at Level 1.

    To get an idea of what they're worth, 5,300 gets you a £5 Xbox digital gift card, which equates to 10 per cent off a current-gen game. That's quite a grind – 176 days of furious Binging for pennies. But hit Level 2, by bashing Bing for 500 points per month, and you can reap 150 points a day.

  • Microsoft is paying users to search with Bing over Google

    Under this scheme, the company will reward users for using Bing with points, which can later be exchanged for charity donations or freebies available on the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft's Latest Stunts

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Security News: “Pandemic” for Windows, WannaCry, and Linux 'Flaw'

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  • WikiLeaks says CIA’s “Pandemic” turns servers into infectious Patient Zero

    "Pandemic," as the implant is codenamed, turns file servers into a secret carrier of whatever malware CIA operatives want to install, according to documents published Thursday by WikiLeaks. When targeted computers attempt to access a file on the compromised server, Pandemic uses a clever bait-and-switch tactic to surreptitiously deliver malicious version of the requested file. The Trojan is then executed by the targeted computers. A user manual said Pandemic takes only 15 seconds to be installed. The documents didn't describe precisely how Pandemic would get installed on a file server.

  • WannaCry: Can Linux save us?

    The idea is simple if you don’t have the money to upgrade to the latest Windows operating system, move to Linux, because, piracy and price issues are antithetical to the world of Linux. Linux based operating systems are mostly free to use. Even the enterprise solutions, like Ubuntu Server, OpenSuse Linux Enterprise, and Red Hat Enterprise, come at a fraction of what Microsoft charges. So, the inability to update/upgrade arising out of piracy/price issues is ruled out.

  • Opsec for a world where the laptop ban goes global

    If the Trump administration makes good on its promise to pack all potentially explosive laptops together in a blast-multiplying steel case in the plane's hold, it will be good news for would-be bombers -- and bad news for your data security.

  • How to protect Samba from the SambaCry exploit
  • The Linux Virus: how it can be

    Downloaded the virus for Linux.

    Unzipped it.

    Installed it under root.

    It didn't start. Spent 2 hours googling. Realised that the virus instead of /usr/local/bin installed itself into /usr/bin where user malware does not have the write permissions. That's why the virus could not create a process file.

White House Tech Policy Brought by Microsoft

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  • 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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Windows Intruded by CIA

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  • 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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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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Security News, Notably Microsoft/NSA Catastrophe

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  • 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.

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Security: Updates, Synopsys/Black Duck FUD, and Software Security Over Convenience

  • Security updates for Tuesday
  • With Much of the Data Center Stack Open Source, Security is a Special Challenge [Ed: Black attacking FOSS again in order to sell its proprietary products; does proprietary software have no security issues? Which cannot be fixed, either?]
  • Synopsys reveals its open-source rookies of the year [Ed: Anti-FOSS company Black Duck, which markets its proprietary software by attacking FOSS (it admitted being anti-GPL since inception, created by Microsoft employee), wants the public to think of it as a FOSS authority]
  • Software security over convenience
    Recently I got inspired (paranoid ?) by my boss who cares a lot about software security. Previously, I had almost the same password on all the websites I used, I had them synced to google servers (Chrome user previously), but once I started taking software security seriously, I knew the biggest mistake I was making was to have a single password everywhere, so I went one step forward and set randomly generated passwords on all online accounts and stored them in a keystore.

MIPI-CSI camera kit runs Linux on Apollo Lake

Congatec’s rugged, Linux-driven “Conga-CAM-KIT/MIPI” camera kit combines its Intel Apollo Lake based Conga-PA5 SBC with a MIPI-CSI 2 camera from Leopard Imaging and other components. Congatec announced a Conga-CAM-KIT/MIPI camera kit, also referred to as the MIPI-CSI 2 Smart Camera Kit. The kit runs a Yocto Project based Linux distribution on Congatec’s Conga-PA5, a Pico-ITX SBC with Intel’s Apollo Lake Atom, Pentium, and Celeron SoCs. Also included is a MIPI-CSI 2 camera (LI-AR023Z-YUV-MIP) from Leopard Imaging based on ON Semiconductor’s AR0237 HD sensor. Extended temperature ranges are supported. Read more

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