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Also known as WannaCrypt, the WannaCry ransomware attack hit computer systems around the world that are still using outdated software like Windows XP and Windows 7.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