Microsoft Boosts Ransomware Defenses for Windows 10

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Also known as WannaCrypt, the WannaCry ransomware attack hit computer systems around the world that are still using outdated software like Windows XP and Windows 7.

Microsoft made the unorthodox decision to offer security updates to users with older versions of Windows after identifying some vulnerabilities that “post elevated risk of cyber attacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors or other copycat organizations,” Adrienne Hall, general manager for the company’s Cyber Defense Operations Center, said in a blog post.

Following the WannaCry attack, some researchers said North Korea was likely to blame, although officials in that country denied the allegation. The WannaCry malware took advantage of a Windows vulnerability that had been used for surveillance by the National Security Agency before the exploit was stolen and released by the Shadow Brokers hacking group in April.

“Due to the elevated risk for destructive cyber attacks at this time, we made the decision to take this action because applying these updates provides further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt,” Hall said in her blog post. However, the best defense against such malware is to update to a new platform that’s supported with regular security updates, she added.

“It is important to note that if you’re running a supported version of Windows, such as Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, and you have Windows Update enabled, you don’t need to take any action,” Hall said. “Older systems, even if fully up-to-date, lack the latest security features and advancements.”

The decision to offer updates for unsupported software “should not be viewed as a departure from our standard services policies,” Eric Doerr, general manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center, said in a separate post on Microsoft’s TechNet site.

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HP recall battery – How to find out if YOUR HP laptop battery is at risk of catching fire

Technology firm HP, have a release a major warning to customers about a potential fire hazard from some of their laptops.

It’s thought the issue, which appears to be a problem with the battery, is affecting over 100,000 machines.

HP is now advising customers to cease use of affected laptops immediately.

The laptops hit by the problem include HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016.

In a statement, HP said: “These batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers. HP urges customers to recheck their batteries, even if they did so previously, and were told they were not affected.

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What HP Said

HP has said its primary concern is for the safety of its customers and it is proactively notifying users and will provide a replacement battery for each verified, eligible battery, at no cost

Speaking about the problems HP added: “On January 24, in cooperation with various government regulatory agencies, HP is announcing the expansion of a June 2016 worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for certain notebook computer batteries.

“This recall involves HP lithium-ion battery packs for notebook computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016.

“Less than 1% of all HP notebook computers sold during this timeframe contained an affected battery.”

This latest problem for HP comes after similar issues hit the firm last year.

Thousands of laptops across the UK were recalled in July due to a fire risk caused by unsafe batteries.

Some HP and Compaq laptops were found to pose a danger to consumers due to overheating batteries which could potentially cause a fire.

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Cyber attack: Latest evidence indicates ‘phishing’ emails not to blame for global hack

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/05/15/nhs-cyber-attack-latest-authorities-warn-day-chaos-ransomware/

Latest evidence suggests “phishing” emails are unlikely to have caused the global cyber attack that wreaked havoc at dozens of NHS trusts and hit hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries.

Security experts have disputed claims that the virus was spread through suspicious emails, saying that computers were vulnerable to the bug regardless of how vigilant users were. Experts said that unless IT departments patched the virus and backed up their files they could be hit by the attacks.

Affected NHS trusts were criticised for not adding the patch despite warnings from NHS Digital a month ago that they were vulnerable to a possible attack.

Vladimir Putin has blamed the US for the global cyber attack that has crippled computer systems around the world since Friday.

Putin said Russia had “nothing to do” with the attack and blamed the US for creating the hacking software that affects Microsoft computers.

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“Malware created by intelligence agencies can backfire on its creators,” said Putin, speaking to media in Beijing. He added that global leaders needed to discuss cyber security at a “serious political level” and said the US has backed away from signing a cyber security agreement with Russia.

Authorities fear a second wave of the “WannaCry” ransomware could hit systems as people return to work and switch on their computers on Monday morning.

Japanese computer experts said around 2,000 PCs had been affected while the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that almost 30,000 had been hit.

Authorities had warned of a day of chaos ahead of Monday, with the National Cyber Security Centre saying that existing infections could spread through computer systems.

NHS systems appeared to be largely up and running on Monday, although seven out of the 47 trusts hit by last week’s attack are still seeking emergency support, according to NHS Digital.

Patients are being warned of slow service at surgeries, but patient data does not appear to have been compromised. The Home Secretary Amber Rudd will hold a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee later today.

The WannaCry ransomware, which locks computer systems and demands $300 (£230) in Bitcoin, hit over 200,000 computers on Friday and the impact continued to be felt across the weekend. Around £33,000 in ransoms have been paid to date, according to the analysis of Bitcoin wallets.

On Sunday night, Microsoft slammed the US spy agency that had originally developed software that allowed the ransomware attack to infect computers. The “Eternal Blue” tool developed by the National Security Agency had been dumped onto the public internet by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.

It was then used by the still-anonymous cyber criminals to infect PCs with Friday’s ransomware.

“The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call,” In a statement, Microsoft president Brad Smith said. “Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”

Microsoft released a patch over the weekend for the Eternal Blue vulnerability that defends against it even with older versions of Windows.

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Staples dropped the price of this HP 15-inch Notebook to $500

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Staples has a decent deal on a strong everyday driver for those in the market for another portable workstation. The HP Notebook 15-AY163NR is at a bargain this week for $500, $150 off the recommended cost and about $60 to $100 less expensive than what you can discover somewhere else at this moment.

The scratch pad includes a 15.6-inch show with 1366-by-768 determination. That is as a matter of fact not extraordinary when 1080p presentations are so typical, but rather whatever remains of the specs compensate for it.

At the heart of this PC is the double centre 2.7GHz Intel “Kaby Lake” Core i7-7500U. It additionally has 8GB of RAM and a solid 1 terabyte hard drive turning at 5,400 RPM. There’s a DVD drive (some portion of the reason this tablet pushes to the overwhelming side), and Intel HD 620 coordinated design. HP says you can anticipate that in regards will 6 hours and change for battery life.

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