NEWS: COMPUTER WORLD SECURITY NEWS
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   NEWS: COMPUTER WORLD SECURITY NEWS
Computer World Security News
Jul 05, 2022

Think twice before deploying Windows' Controlled Folder Access
As ransomware attacks gained steam in the mid-2010s, Microsoft sought to give Windows users and admins tools to protect their PCs from such attacks. With its October 2017 feature update, the company added a feature called Controlled Folder Access to Windows 10.

On paper, Controlled Folder Access sounds like a great protection for consumers, home users, and small businesses with limited resources. As defined by Microsoft, "Controlled folder access helps protect your valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. Controlled folder access protects your data by checking apps against a list of known, trusted apps. Supported on Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022, Windows 10, and Windows 11 clients, controlled folder access can be turned on using the Windows Security App, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, or Intune (for managed devices)."

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Computer World Security News
Jul 05, 2022

Are banks quietly refusing reimbursements to fraud victims?
There are some scary reports popping up that various major financial institutions no longer credit back all fraudulent transactions, even when victims file a police report. If true, it's a disastrous move that will painfully hurt the institutions.

Let's look a recent New York Times report on the problem:

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Computer World Security News
Jun 29, 2022

FCC commissioner wants Apple, Google to remove TikTok from App Stores
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has written to Apple and Google to request that both companies remove the incredibly popular TikTok app from their stores, citing a threat to national security.

Is your data going TikTok? Carr warns the app collects huge quantities of data and cited a recent report that claimed the company has accessed sensitive data collected from Americans. He argues that TikTok's, "pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. data...puts it out of compliance," with App Store security and privacy policies.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 28, 2022

How Apple is improving single sign-on
Among a slew of announcements at WWDC this year were some important changes to Apple's support for single sign-on (SSO). Here's what's coming when new updates ship this fall.

SSO BYOD = iOS 16, iPadOS 16 Apple first introduced SSO support at WWDC 2019 with Sign in with Apple, which also saw the introduction of extensions to enable this kind of authentication. It allowed a user to access a service or website using their Apple ID, and meant support for identity providers, the use of highly secure token-based signatures and the tools service providers required to implement these systems.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 27, 2022

Time for a mid-year browser security check
We've reached the mid-point of 2022 and when it comes to security, I feel like we're not making much headway. I still see people report they're getting scammed, ransomed, and attacked on a regular basis — and for many users the browser is becoming the most important part of whatever platform you use. So now is a good time to review your browsers, and any extensions you've installed to beef up security.

Note, I said browsers —plural. While enterprises might want to standardize on only one browser for better control, for small businesses and individual users, I recommend installing more than one. (I often use three different browsers.)

Why is this important? Because attackers (and trackers) go after browsers. In fact, it's good to think of your browser a separate operating system, and act accordingly to protect it. Though I focus mainly on Windows issues, these guidelines and recommendations apply to Mac OS, Ubunto, Mint, and others.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 24, 2022

The surveillance-as-a-service industry needs to be brought to heel
Here we go again: another example of government surveillance involving smartphones from Apple and Google has emerged, and it shows how sophisticated government-backed attacks can become and why there's justification for keeping mobile platforms utterly locked down.

What has happened? I don't intend to focus too much on the news, but in brief it is as follows:

Google's Threat Analysis Group has published information revealing the hack. Italian surveillance firm RCS Labs created the attack. The attack has been used in Italy and Kazakhstan, and possibly elsewhere. Some generations of the attack are wielded with help from ISPs. On iOS, attackers abused Apple's enterprise certification tools that enable in-house app deployment. Around nine different attacks were used. The attack works like this: The target is sent a unique link that aims to trick them into downloading and installing a malicious app. In some cases, the spooks worked with an ISP to disable data connectivity to trick targets into downloading the app to recover that connection.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 24, 2022

Italian spyware firm is hacking into iOS and Android devices, Google says
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has identified Italian vendor RCS Lab as a spyware offender, developing tools that are being used to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities to effect attacks on iOS and Android mobile users in Italy and Kazakhstan.

According to a Google blog post on Thursday, RCS Lab uses a combination of tactics, including atypical drive-by downloads as initial infection vectors. The company has developed tools to spy on the private data of the targeted devices, the post said.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 23, 2022

Apple says it's time your business ran BIMI
Apple will add another obstacle against successful phishing attacks in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, which will show a company's official logo to help recipients recognize genuine from fake emails.

Brand Indicators for Message Identification Apple's forthcoming operating systems will support Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI). This is a specification to enable the use of brand-controlled logos within emails and will be a way to tell recipients that an email genuinely comes from the company concerned. Google has supported BIMI since 2021.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 21, 2022

Trouble with Windows? You have support options
So, you finally got around to installing a Windows update from Microsoft, and there's a problem. Where do you go for support and assistance?

Short answer: it depends.

If you are an Enterprise customer and have an issue with your work computer — whether in the office or remote — there should be a designated IT administrator or help desk for you. You either call the help desk or open a trouble ticket and someone gets back to you. Often, they have tools to remotely connect to your computer and see what's going on.  If the issue is so serious your machine can't be fixed, they'll deploy a new computer or reimage your PC using tools such as Autopilot to deploy a fresh copy of Windows for you.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 17, 2022

Microsoft delivers solid Windows-focused updates for June's Patch Tuesday
June's Patch Tuesday updates, released on June 14, address 55 vulnerabilities in Windows, SQL Server, Microsoft Office, and Visual Studio (though there are oo Microsoft Exchange Server or Adobe updates this month). And a zero-day vulnerability in a key Windows component, CVE-2022-30190, led to a "Patch Now" recommendation for Windows, while the .NET, Office and SQL Server updates can be included in a standard release schedule.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 17, 2022

Will COVID's legacy be a healthier workplace?
Exit signs and fire extinguishers became mandatory following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. The 1933 Long Beach earthquake triggered an overhaul of building codes for California public schools. Regulations covering the construction and operation of nuclear power plants were fortified after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.

What will the long-term impacts of COVID-19 be on workplace safety?

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Computer World Security News
Jun 17, 2022

Apple offers devs two useful enterprise security tools
Two sessions I attended at last week's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) — the Managed Device Attestation and Secure Endpoint sessions — highlight the company's commitment to delivering increased capabilities for security tools. While both were naturally oriented more to developers of device management and security solutions than to end users or IT admins, some of the additional capabilities developers will be able to build into enterprise tools are noteworthy.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 16, 2022

Jamf CIO: Apple will be the No. 1 enterprise endpoint by 2030
I spoke with Jamf CIO Linh Lam on a recent UK visit to mark the company's 20th anniversary. The 2020 Bay Area CIO of the Year Finalist joined Jamf in 2021 - and thinks Apple will be the top enterprise endpoint by 2030 as its current momentum accelerates.

The changing landscape of enterprise IT "The way the demand is growing and the expectations of younger generations joining the workforce, Apple devices will be the number one endpoint by 2030," she told me.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 13, 2022

Before Patch Tuesday, a to-do list to avoid trouble
You could call today Patch-Tuesday Eve. It's the day before Windows machines get offered updates from Microsoft. What should you be doing to prepare?

It depends on what kind of computer user you are.

If your files are stored in the cloud You keep everything in the cloud, you use a Microsoft account, you don't mind reinstalling your OS if need be. Your data is protected by a username and a password, and if you are savvy, your data is protected by two-factor authentication.  

Prior to Patch Tuesday, you might decide you don't need to back up your computer system since you know if something happens to your computer, you can reinstall the operating system and merely reconnect to your various online storage services. You've double-checked that all cloud services you use have Version History." rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank"file versioning enabled, so if you need to roll back to a prior version of a file, you can do so.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 10, 2022

WWDC: Apple, Cloudflare, Fastly plot the end of CAPTCHA
Apple took several steps toward a password-free future at its Worldwide Developer Conference, but another component of its strategy will be to replace CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) with a more private solution.

Introducing: Private Access Tokens Apple is working with Cloudflare (with whom most think it developed the tech behind iCloud Private Relay). It is also working with Google and Fastly to deploy a standardized alternative to CAPTCHA called Private Access Tokens.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 09, 2022

Microsoft commits to ban non-competes and increase pay transparency in the US
Microsoft has launched four new employee workforce initiatives aimed at creating a more transparent workplace culture, including the banning of non-compete clauses in contracts and a commitment to improved pay transparency.

The four commitments have been categorized by Microsoft as:

Empowering employee mobility Fostering a safe space for concerns Increasing pay transparency Conducting a civil rights audit The new policies aim to address concerns raised by employees that current non-compete obligations are being used as a forced retention tactic. Consequently, the company will be removing non-compete clauses from US employee agreements and will not enforce existing clauses for workers outside of Microsoft's senior leadership team.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 06, 2022

WWDC22: Apple brings declarative device management to the Mac?
More opportunities for engineers and developers to implement declarative device management solutions are likely to emerge at WWDC 2022, at least, according to MacAdmins.

Speaking during the pre-event podcast, speakers argue that Apple will eventually require that all mobile device management (MDM)  providers introduce support for declarative management. Might this include bringing declarative device management to the Mac?

What is declarative device management? Apple first introduced declarative device management last year, largely for two reasons: to make devices more proactive, and to reduce the impact on MDM servers that handle large fleets of devices. This should boost performance and scalability.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 06, 2022

After a Windows update, what should you expect?
Let's get this straight: It's not normal for a Windows update to remove software. It's designed to install the update, not change software already in place on your system. 

At least, updates are not supposed to remove software. Since March, however, if you run the RDgateway broker service on Server 2022 (and only that version), the monthly cumulative updates have removed that service. This behavior is not normal; this is a bug.

As Microsoft notes in the Microsoft 365 Admin dashboard: "We have received reports that after installing KB5005575 or later updates on Windows Server 2022 Standard Edition, Remote Desktop Services Connection Broker role and supporting services might be removed unexpectedly. We have expedited investigation and are working on a resolution. Note: Windows Server 2022 Datacenter edition and other versions of Windows Server are not affected by this issue."

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Computer World Security News
Jun 03, 2022

The best privacy and security apps for Android
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: If you're looking for recommendations about Android security suites or other malware-scanning software, you've come to the wrong place.

Why? Because, like most people who closely study Android, I don't recommend using those types of apps at all. Android malware isn't the massive real-world threat it's frequently made out to be, and Google Play Protect and other native Android settings are more than enough to keep most devices safe.

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Computer World Security News
Jun 02, 2022

Apple confirms the scale of App Store fraud
Apple says millions of fraudulent attempts are made against the App Store and its users each year. The company prevented $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2021, it said, in line with similar levels of fraud in 2020.

How people attempt to commit App Store fraud The company explains how fraudsters attempt to commit fraud via the store.

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Computer World Security News
May 31, 2022

Windows 11: Should you bypass the hardware block?
If you're like most PC users, your current computer can't run Windows 11. Microsoft has placed a line in the hardware sand to ensure that only modern machines with certain specifications that harden security can run Windows 11. 

Well, sort of. The company provides a workaround, as I'll discuss in a moment. Whether you should take advantage of this loophole to upgrade PCs (whether yours or your users') to Windows 11 is the question.

First, if you want to know if a computer can run Windows 11, you can use the PC Health Check app, Microsoft's diagnostic tool. But if your PC doesn't support Windows 11, Microsoft's app doesn't do a great job of explaining why. Instead, I recommend using either the Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool from ByteJams.com or WhyNotWin11, available on Github. Both tools provide granular detail about why a machine won't run Windows 11. On my personal laptop at home, for instance, the processor can't support hardware for hypervisor enforced code integrity, nor does Windows 11 like the graphics display.

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Computer World Security News
May 31, 2022

Why Industry 4.0 must think more like Apple
For industrial applications, the Internet of Things risks becoming the Internet of Thieves. Perhaps industries making use of connected solutions should take a leaf out the Apple book and lock down their infrastructure.

What the ethical hackers say As digital processes become deeply embedded across every industry, it makes sense that industrial control systems were tested at this year's Pwn2Own contest. Hackers were asked to seek out vulnerabilities in industrial software and systems.

Contest winners Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade found that once they managed to break into the IT networks used at these companies, it was "relatively easy" to then cause havoc with systems and equipment.

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Computer World Security News
May 31, 2022

Google's open-source security move may be pointless. In a perfect world, it should be.
One of the bigger threats to enterprise cybersecurity involves re-purposed third-party code and open-source code, so you'd

Think again.

Here's Google's pitch: "Assured OSS enables enterprise and public sector users of open source software to easily incorporate the same OSS packages that Google uses into their own developer workflows. Packages curated by the Assured OSS service are regularly scanned, analyzed, and fuzz-tested for vulnerabilities; have corresponding enriched metadata incorporating Container/Artifact Analysis data; are built with Cloud Build including evidence of verifiable SLSA-compliance; are verifiably signed by Google; and are distributed from an Artifact Registry secured and protected by Google."

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Computer World Security News
May 26, 2022

DOJ reverses itself, says good-faith security researchers should be left alone
In a move that could have a major impact on enterprise penetration testing and other cybersecurity tactics, the US Department of Justice last Thursday reversed one of its own policies by telling prosecutors not to prosecute anyone involved in "good-faith security research."

This is one of those common-sense decisions that makes me far more interested in exploring the original DOJ policy (set in 2014, during the Obama era). 

The underlying law at issue is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which made it illegal to access a computer without proper authorization. It was passed in 1986 and has been updated several times since then.

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Computer World Security News
May 26, 2022

IT salaries aren't keeping up with inflation — but that may soon change
Pay for some IT professionals is failing to keep up with inflation, according to a salary survey by IT employment consultancy Janco Associates for calendar year 2021. But preliminary data indicates pay for tech workers could soon change drastically with job market in IT tight, and many companies eyeing major tech projects in the year ahead.

With inflation in the US running at about 8% over the past year, salary increases — even for IT execs — have failed to keep pace.

The mean compensation for all IT pros last year rose only 2.05%, with the median salary at $100,022 for those at large enterprises and at $95,681 for IT workers at mid-sized firms, according to Janco.

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Computer World Security News
May 25, 2022

Microsoft security vulnerabilities drop after five-year rise
While elevated privilege attacks remain a critical security concern when using Microsoft products, a new report says that the raw number of vulnerabilities is dropping.

Computer World Security News
May 16, 2022

Not all patching problems are created equal
It's the third week of the month — the week we find out whether Microsoft acknowledges any side effects it's investigating as part of the monthly patch-release process.

First, a bit of background. Microsoft has released patches for years. But they haven't always been released on a schedule. In the early days, Microsoft would release updates any day of the week. Then in October 2003, Microsoft formalized the release of normal security updates on the second Tuesday of the month. Thus was born Patch Tuesday. (Note: depending on where you are in the world, Patch Tuesday may be a Patch Wednesday.) The following day, or in some cases, over the next week, users and admins report issues with updates — and Microsoft finally acknowledges that, yes, there are issues.

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Computer World Security News
May 14, 2022

May's Patch Tuesday updates make urgent patching a must
This past week's Patch Tuesday started with 73 updates, but ended up (so far) with three revisions and a late addition (CVE-2022-30138) for a total of 77 vulnerabilities addressed this month. Compared with the broad set of updates released in April, we see a greater urgency in patching Windows — especially wiith three zero-days and several very serious flaws in key server and authentication areas. Exchange will require attention, too, due to new server update technology.

To read this article in full, please click here



Computer World Security News
May 12, 2022

Europe puts Apple's CSAM plans back in the spotlight
Apple may have put some of its plans to scan devices for CSAM material on hold, but the European Commission has put them right back in the spotlight with a move to force messaging services to begin monitoring for such material.

CSAM is emerging as a privacy test In terms of child protection, it's a good thing. Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is a far bigger problem than many people realize; victims of this appalling trade end up with shattered lives.

To read this article in full, please click here



Computer World Security News
May 09, 2022

Just what does Windows 11 bring to the table?
The other day, my Dad — my bellwether for technology — mentioned in passing that he'd read online that Windows 11 shouldn't be used and that the operating system wasn't being adopted.

Dad had a point. He's more of an Apple user now — I have him on my phone plan to support his tech needs, he uses an iPhone and has an iPad. As his needs have changed, his reliance on Windows devices has decreased. In fact, his current Windows needs involve applications not on the Apple platform. (And because he's a standalone user, not a domain user, many of the advances in Windows 11 having to do with authentication won't be available to him.)

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Computer World Security News
May 04, 2022

Google responds to EU data rulings with new Workspace controls
Google Cloud has announced a new set of Sovereign Controls for users of its Workspace productivity software, aimed at allowing organizations in both the public and private sector to better control, limit, and monitor data transfers to and from the European Union.

The changes look to have come in response to a range of recent European Union efforts to better protect the personal data of members when using cloud services, following the collapse of Privacy Shield.

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Computer World Security News
May 03, 2022

Enterprise mobility 2022: UEM adds user experience, AI, automation
The past two years have seen mobility management take on a greater importance than ever in the enterprise. As remote and hybrid work models take hold at many organizations, "mobility management" has expanded its meaning from management of mobile devices to management of all devices used by mobile employees, wherever they happen to be working from.

Unified endpoint management (UEM) has become a strategic technology at the center of companies' efforts to control this increasingly complex environment. Essentially combining enterprise mobility management (EMM) tools with PC management tools, UEM platforms help companies manage and protect a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers across multiple operating systems — all from a unified interface.

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Computer World Security News
May 03, 2022

Download: UEM vendor comparison chart 2022
Unified endpoint management (UEM) is a strategic IT approach that consolidates how enterprises secure and manage an array of deployed devices including phones, tablets, PCs, and even IoT devices.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

Computer World Security News
May 02, 2022

Russia is losing the cyberwar against Ukraine, too
When Russia launched its all-out attack against Ukraine in February, the world expected the invaders to roll over the country quickly. That didn't happen, and Ukraine today, though still under assault, has so far thwarted Russia's ambitions to conquer it.

Russia has also been fighting a quieter war against Ukraine, a cyberwar, deploying what had been considered the most feared state-sponsored hackers in the world. And in the same way that Ukraine has fended off Russia's military might, it's been winning the cyberwar as well.

[ Ukrainian IT industry says it's still open for business ] In that cyberwar, as always, the terrain is primarily Windows, because it represents the largest and most vulnerable attack surface in the world. The facts about what exactly is going on have been shadowy. But there's plenty of evidence that Ukraine may keep the upper hand.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 28, 2022

Think the video call mute button keeps you safe? Think again
Have you recently been on a video confefence call, hit the "mute" button and then offered up some nasty comments about a client or a colleague — or even the boss?

Or maybe while in a conference room with colleagues — muted — and pointed out that some proposed action would violate the terms of a secret acquisition in its final stages?

If you were comfortable that the mute button was actively protecting your secret, you shouldn't have been.

Thanks to some impressive experimentation and research from a group of academics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Loyola University Chicago, utterances made while the app is in mute are still captured and saved into RAM.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 26, 2022

Jamf adds network and endpoint security tools for enterprise Macs
Jamf has announced a series of significant updates to Jamf Protect, introducing a unique set of technologies designed to make enterprise devices more secure while also identifying and responding to incoming endpoint threats. The company also introduced, Jamf Trust, which aims to make this kind of security simple to use. (The latter is also available for Android and Windows.)

What's new in Jamf Protect? The big news for Mac security, Jamf Protect, now offers a comprehensive endpoint and network security solution, supplementing its existing protections with new tools for:

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Computer World Security News
Apr 22, 2022

When it comes to data, resist your inner packrat
Human beings are natural pack rats, as evidenced by the 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space that's in use in the U.S. Fear of getting rid of stuff even has a name: disposophobia.

Keeping every pair of shoes your kids have ever worn isn't a problem for anyone except those with whom you share living space.

But the same rules don't apply to data.

All industries have records retention guidelines spelled out in compliance rules. They are usually strictly enforced for regulated companies, and firms that run afoul of them can be punished.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 22, 2022

In a remote-work world, a zero-trust revolution is necessary
Last summer, law enforcement officials contacted both Apple and Meta, demanding customer data in "emergency data requests." The companies complied. Unfortunately, the "officials" turned out to be hackers affiliated with a cyber-gang called "Recursion Team."

Roughly three years ago, the CEO of a UK-based energy company got a call from the CEO of the company's German parent company instructing him to wire a quarter of a million dollars to a Hungarian "supplier." He complied. Sadly, the German "CEO" was in fact a cybercriminal using deepfake audio technology to spoof the other man's voice.

To read this article in full, please click here



Computer World Security News
Apr 22, 2022

12 Android settings that'll strengthen your security
You might not know it from all the panic-inducing headlines out there, but Android is actually packed with practical and powerful security options. Some are activated by default and protecting you whether you realize it or not, while others are more out of the way but equally deserving of your attention.

So stop wasting your time worrying about the Android malware monster du jour and which security company is using it to scare you into an unnecessary subscription, and take a moment instead to look through these far more impactful Android settings — ranging from core system-level elements to some more advanced and easily overlooked options.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 21, 2022

California eyes law to protect workers from digital surveillance
The California State Assembly is considering new rules that would offer workers greater protection from the use of digital monitoring tools by employers.

The "Workplace Technology Accountability Act" (AB 1651), introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, would create a way to protect workers against the use of technologies that can negatively affect privacy and wellbeing.

The bill would "establish much needed, yet reasonable, limitations on how employers use data-driven technology at work," Kalra told the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on Wednesday. "The time is now to address the increasing use of unregulated data-driven technologies in the workplace and give workers — and the state — the necessary tools to mitigate any insidious impacts caused by them."

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Computer World Security News
Apr 20, 2022

Top 6 e-signature software tools
The COVID-19 pandemic did not just disrupt physical meetings and physical office spaces; workflows that relied on in-person interaction, such as signing documents and contracts, were also highly impacted. Electronic signature (e-signature) software has surged in popularity over the past two years as enterprises looked to modify their signature workflows to support a remote workforce, said Holly Muscolino, group vice president for content strategies and future of work at IDC.

With many companies returning to an in-person office environment or adopting a hybrid workforce approach, where employees work some days in the office and some at home, e-signature vendors are working to convince businesses that they are still relevant. Although the market has slowed down, Muscolino said, "it's still showing healthy growth, because there are still companies who have not adopted this technology. There is still significant room for adoption."

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Computer World Security News
Apr 18, 2022

When humans make tech mistakes
We often think vendors are perfect. They have backups. They have redundancy. They have experts that know exactly how to deploy solutions without fail. And then we see they aren't any better than we are.

Let's look at a few recent examples.

In the small to mid-sized business (SMB) space, StorageCraft has long been a trusted backup software vendor. One of the first to make image backups easy to do, it was used and recommended by many managed service providers. After StorageCraft was acquired by Arcserve in March 2021, there were no immediate major changes in how the company ran.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 15, 2022

April's Patch Tuesday: a lot of large, diverse and urgent updates
This week's Patch Tuesday release was huge, diverse, risky, and urgent, with late update arrivals for Microsoft browsers (CVE-2022-1364) and two zero-day vulnerabilities affecting Windows (CVE-2022-26809 and CVE-2022-24500). Fortunately, Microsoft has not released any patches for Microsoft Exchange, but this month we do have to deal with more Adobe (PDF) printing related vulnerabilities and associated testing efforts. We have added the Windows and Adobe updates to our "Patch Now" schedule, and will be watching closely to see what happens with any further Microsoft Office updates. 

To read this article in full, please click here



Computer World Security News
Apr 13, 2022

Apple has good privacy arguments, but critics aren't listening
Apple CEO Tim Cook this week warned that regulators are on the edge of making poor decisions that will impact our future during a passionate speech in defense of personal privacy and his company's business models at the Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC.

Neither good nor evil The thrust of Cook's argument is that privacy and security are essential building blocks of trust for a technologically advanced society. But that huge potential is being constrained by surveillance and insecurity.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 12, 2022

Duckduckgo launches privacy browser beta for macOS
Privacy-centered search engine DuckDuckGo today launched the beta of its desktop browser for macOS.

The browser is designed from the ground up to maintain privacy, the company said, meaning it will not collect information about users and will not install cookies or tracking codes on devices. DuckDuckGo also said it can block "hidden trackers" before they load.

Duckduckgo first announced plans for a macOS desktop browser in December 2021. (The browser is already available as a download for mobile devices). In 2019, DuckDuckGo added Apple Maps support and has since made  other improvements to how it works on Apple devices.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 06, 2022

Windows 11 — we haven't seen anything, yet
Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.

Microsoft this week had an analyst event about Windows 11 and a variety of productivity, management, and security features the company has planned. Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has aggressively improved both Windows and Office 365, but the big change ahead is the potential blend of Windows with Windows 365. We'll see that start by the end of the year. The end game should be what appears to be a Windows desktop that integrates so well with the cloud that it can, when necessary, seamlessly switch between instances to comply with company policy, assure security, and provide recourse on automatic demand from Azure Cloud. 

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Computer World Security News
Apr 05, 2022

Apple quietly stops meaningful auto-updates in iOS
In the mobile world pitting Apple's iOS devices against Google's Android devices, Apple has historically had one distinct advantage: patches and updates.

Given the fragmented nature of Android (hundreds of handset manufacturers versus just one for iOS), it is simply far easier for Apple to quickly and efficiently push out updates in a way that allows a large percentage of users get updates quickly. That has been true regardless of whether its new functionality or a critical security patch.

So what's the problem? Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, has quietly said that Apple has dramatically slowed down auto updates — by as much as a month.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 05, 2022

Android 12 Upgrade Report Card: What a weird year
In the world of software, six months is an eternity.

Heck, look at how much has happened over the past six months since Android 12 came into the universe. Google started and then finished a hefty 0.1-style update that lays the groundwork for significant large-screen improvements to the Android experience. And it's now well into the public development phase of its next big Android version, Android 13 — which is the rapidly forming release on most folks' minds at this point.

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Computer World Security News
Apr 04, 2022

The Russian cyberattack threat might force a new IT stance
There's a lot of fear of possible Russian cyberattacks stemming from Russia's attempted takeover of Ukraine. Perhaps the biggest worry —and quite possibly the most likely to materialize — is that these cyberattacks will likely be finely tuned as retaliation for US financial moves against the Russian economy. 

The cyberattacks would be designed not to steal money or data per se, but to harm the US economy by strategically hitting major players in key verticals. In other words, the Russian government might say, "You hurt our economy and our people? We'll do the same to you."

Thus far, there's no evidence of any large-scale attack, but one could be launched at any time. 

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Computer World Security News
Apr 01, 2022

When should the data breach clock start?
One of the most difficult issues in enterprise cybersecurity — something the US Securities and Exchange Commission is now openly struggling with — is when should an enterprise report a data breach?

The easy part is, "how long after the enterprise knows of the breach should it disclose?" Different compliance regimes come to different numbers, but they are relatively close, from GDPR's 72 hours to the SEC's initial four days.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 31, 2022

How to stop worrying and love zero trust
Countless articles have been published in the past few years about zero trust, most of them explorations and expositions for security professionals.

But I want to write for remote workers on the other side of the so-called "trust" equation — the people who will deal with the changes and inconveniences as zero-trust strategies are implemented and refined over the next few years.

Welcome to this jargon-free explanation of zero trust.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 30, 2022

How Russia's invasion of Ukraine affected the cyber threat landscape
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month and consequential sanctions against the Kremlin, the threat of cyberattacks in the U.S. and abroad has been looming. While the threat of attacks on critical infrastructure has increased, it hasn't escalated to the all-out cyberwar that some were expecting. CSO Online senior writer Lucian Constantin joins Juliet to discuss how the cyber threat landscape has evolved as a result of the war in Ukraine and what organizations can do to increase their cyber incident defenses. For more on this topic, check out this article from CSO Online: Conti gang says it's ready to hit critical infrastructure in support of Russian government: https://www.csoonline.com/article/3651498/conti-gang-says-its-ready-to-hit-critical-infrastructure-in-support-of-russian-government.html

Computer World Security News
Mar 28, 2022

On browsers and bugs
We're told that one of the best ways to stay secure is to make sure our computers are patched. But we need to always be aware that at any given time, there are several vulnerabilities probably known and in use by attackers. The good news is that the number of days between when a bug is identified and when it's patched is slowly going down, according to the Google Project Zero. It tracks how long it's taking vendors to patch bugs and found that "in 2021, vendors took an average of 52 days to fix security vulnerabilities reported from Project Zero. This is a significant acceleration from an average of about 80 days [three] years ago."

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Computer World Security News
Mar 25, 2022

U.S., EU reach preliminary data privacy agreement
U.S. President Biden and EU President von der Leyen say deal underscores shared values over data privacy and security surrounding trans-Atlantic information sharing.

Computer World Security News
Mar 25, 2022

US, EU reach preliminary data privacy agreement
US President Biden and EU President von der Leyen say deal underscores shared values over data privacy and security surrounding transatlantic information sharing.

Computer World Security News
Mar 24, 2022

10 easy steps to make Chrome faster and more secure
Gather 'round, kiddos — 'cause it's time for a story.

Once upon a time, Chrome was a lean, mean browsing machine. It was the scrappy lightweight kid in a block filled with clunky old blobs of blubber. People had never seen a browser so fast, so thoughtfully constructed! It stripped everything down to the essentials and made the act of browsing the web both pleasant and secure — qualities that were anything but standard back in that prehistoric era.

Chrome was "minimalist in the extreme," as The New York Times put it — with "extremely fast" page loads and a "snappy" user interface, in the words of Ars Technica. Its sandbox-centric setup and emphasis on supporting web-based applications made the program "the first true Web 2.0 browser," as some other tech website opined.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 22, 2022

iCloud goes down: Live by the service, die by the service
Each time we experience an Apple iCloud, Spotify, Slack, Verizon, Google, Peloton, or any other form of server-based outage, we're reminded that everyone should have multiple layers of backup to maintain data and work to ensure key services still work when servers go down.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 22, 2022

You can't keep quiet when you're hacked anymore
One of the dirty little secrets of many businesses, perhaps even most, is that far more of them than ever admit to it have been hacked. Still others end up paying ransomware, but they've never revealed this deep, dark secret. After all, who wants to admit to the world — and their customers — that they've been caught with their security pants down.

Well, things are about to change. In the recently signed $1.5 trillion government funding bill were new cybersecurity laws requiring companies to quickly report data breaches and ransomware payments. 

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Computer World Security News
Mar 18, 2022

Do svidaniya, Kaspersky — goodbye
Companies and governments have, shall we say, interesting relations. Just ask any Chinese tech company in recent days.  But, while they're losing billions, companies in war-mongering countries like Russia have an even harder row to hoe. How can Russian companies support Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine?

You may say they can't, but that just shows you haven't studied history. When money and ethics are weighed against each other, money usually wins. For example, such American-as-apple-pie-and-baseball companies as General Motors, Ford, Coca-Cola, and IBM supported Nazi Germany during World War II.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 14, 2022

What are the best VPN services for conflict zones?
There has been a rapid spike in demand for VPN services in Russia and Ukraine since the invasion began almost three weeks ago. People in both nations seek online freedoms as offline misery intensifies, and want to see through the fog of conflict.

VPN services see rapid growth in Russia A VPN (virtual private network) service creates an encrypted tunnel between users and the servers they interact with. This helps secure the traffic to protect people from being identified, tracked, and surveilled.

Simon Migliano, Head of Research at Top10VPN, explained that Russians began seeking out VPN services before the conflict began. But demand has accelerated as it continues and authorities become more repressive there.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 14, 2022

Do you know where your software comes from?
Where does your software come from?

That's one of the questions online users at AskWoody.com have asked in recent weeks. Obviously, this comes up as the world sees what's going on in Ukraine. For many years, one security software vendor in particular was tagged as possibly having Russian ties — and as far back as 2017, the US Government banned the use of Kaspersky antivirus over fears the security software could spy on defense contractors for Russia.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 12, 2022

Microsoft delivers a solid, low-impact Patch Tuesday
March brings us a solid set of updates from Microsoft for Windows, Microsoft Office, Exchange, and Edge (Chromium), but no critical issues requiring a "Patch Now" release schedule (though Microsoft Exchange will require some technical effort this month). We have published some testing guidelines, with a focus on printing, remote desktop over VPN connections, and server-based networking changes. We also recommend testing your Windows installer packages with a specific focus on roll-back and uninstall functionality.

You can find more information about the risk of deploying these Patch Tuesday updates with this useful infographic. And, if you are looking for more information on .NET updates, there is a great post from Microsoft that highlights this month's changes.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 11, 2022

How to boost cybersecurity defenses using your router
COVID-19 has made us all more aware of the need to protect our computers at home from online evil. But when was the last time you pointed your browser at your router? The little box that connects your PC and all the other devices in your home to the internet has an array security features that many people are unaware of.

After speaking to Derek Manky, chief of security insights and global threat alliances at Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs, I logged into my Verizon FIOS router for the first time in years and discovered there were no less than 18 devices connected to it, including TVs, printers, thermostats and a half dozen Amazon Echoes. Each is a potential security vulnerability. "If you look at your home router, you'll be surprised what you find there," Manky said.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 08, 2022

Phishing e-mails are more prevalent (and dangerous) than ever
Phishing, those malicious e-mails that pretend to be legitimate messages, has been a problem since Canter and Siegel launched the first spam campaign in 1994. (Mea culpa — it seems they learned about this thing called the Internet from some of my articles.) Today, spam, while still annoying, is the least of our e-mail troubles. In addition to invading Ukraine, Russian agents are now doing their best to invade our IT systems via phishing e-mails.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 08, 2022

Google buys cybersecurity company Mandiant for $5.4B
In a move to offer an end-to-end security operations suite from its cloud platform, Google has announced it will acquire cyberdefense and response company Mandiant for $5.4 billion, in a deal expected to close later this year.

The acquisition will complement Google Cloud's existing security services and together, the companies will deliver a security operations suite as well as advisory services that help customers address critical security challenges and stay protected at every stage of the security lifecycle, Mandiant said in a press release.

The company recently announced a new Ransomware Defense Validation service for its SaaS-based XDR (extended detection and response) platform, Mandiant Advantage, to help enterprises gauge the ability of their security systems to guard against ransomware attacks. 

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Computer World Security News
Mar 07, 2022

Change my password? AGAIN?
Every year at this time, I have to fill out my firm's cyber insurance application — and every year they ask whether we encourage strong passwords and change them often. This question annoys me tremendously, because we really shouldn't be changing passwords often. We should instead be choosing authentication processes that appropriately match site risks; using a password should be the last thing you want to rely on.

First, think about the information and data a website is keeping on you. The sites we want to offer the most protections often have the weakest. Where you can, always add two-factor authentication to a site's access. (Not all multi-factor authentication is created equally, but some sort of multi-factor is better than none. If it encourages attackers to go elsewhere, it's done its job.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 04, 2022

Employee monitoring risks ‘spiraling out of control,' union group warns
An increase in workplace surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to widespread discrimination, work intensification, and unfair treatment of workers unless regulatory safeguards are put in place, according to a prominent UK union group.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), which represents most unions in the UK, published survey results this week  highlighting the use of surveillance technologies to monitor workers in a variety of job roles.

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Computer World Security News
Mar 03, 2022

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it's time to hunker down
Chances are you don't live in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, so you don't need to worry about a missile landing on your office. But even if you're 6,000 miles away, you could still get smacked by Russia's or its Anonymous enemies' cyberwar fallout.

As the war grinds on, chances will only increase that everyone will be affected by the resulting and growing cyberattacks. So, what can you do to protect yourself?

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Computer World Security News
Mar 03, 2022

It's time to secure the Apple enterprise
It's not unreasonable to assume that war in Ukraine will generate a wave of cyberattacks. That means every business or personal computer user should audit their existing security protections, particularly for companies that have embraced the hybrid workplace.

While larger enterprises usually employ Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and security consultants to manage such tasks, what follows is useful advice for Mac, iPad, and iPhone users seeking to start such an audit.  

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Computer World Security News
Mar 03, 2022

Splunk appoints Gary Steele as new CEO
Splunk has named Gary Steele as its new CEO, three months after the surprise resignation of longtime CEO Doug Merritt.

"The board is focused on identifying a leader with a proven track record of scaling operations and growing multi-billion-dollar enterprises," Merritt said in a statement at the time.

We now know that leader is Gary Steele, who was the founding CEO of software-as-a-service (SaaS) security vendor Proofpoint, a company he led for nearly 20 years. During that time, Steele navigated both an IPO in 2012 and a private equity buyout from Thoma Bravo last year. He will start on April 11, when he will also take a seat on Splunk's board.

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Computer World Security News
Feb 28, 2022

In a time of war, it's important to stay secure
As Russia invaded Ukraine, seeing the disruption in the world occur in near real time on social media brought poignancy to what was happening. While I don't know anyone in Ukraine, I know many people who have friends or family members that have been impacted by the war. Ukraine has many technology ties around the world. It's also been a source of cyberattacks, which is why there's extra concern about what we can do to protect ourselves in case of attack. (Eastern Europe has often been the source of many of the ransomware attacks that occur around the world.)

So what can tech users do to ensure you protect yourself from possible cyberattacks arising from the conflict?

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Computer World Security News
Feb 28, 2022

Behavioral Analytics is getting trickier
Behavioral analytics is one of the best authentication methods around — especially when it's part of continuous authentication. Authentication as a "one-and-done" is something that simply shouldn't happen anymore. Then again, I've argued the same thing about using unencrypted SMS as a form of multi-factor authentication and I sadly still see that being used by lots of Fortune 1000 firms.

Oh well.

Although most enterprise CISOs are fine with behavioral analytics on paper (on a whiteboard? As a message within Microsoft Teams/GoogleMeet/Zoom?), they're resistant to rapid widespread deployment because it requires creating a profile for every user — including partners, distributors, suppliers, large customers and anyone else who needs system access. Those profiles can take more than a month to create to get an accurate, consistent picture of each person.

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Computer World Security News
Feb 25, 2022

Windows is in Moscow's crosshairs, too
Russia telegraphed its intentions to invade Ukraine well ahead of this week's attack by massing nearly 200,000 soldiers along Ukraine's borders, and by Vladimir Putin's increasingly belligerent threats.

Behind the scenes, Russia was doing more than that, including dangerous cyberattacks launched against Ukraine. And as is typically the case in such attacks, Windows was the attack vector.

"We've observed destructive malware in systems belonging to several Ukrainian government agencies and organizations that work closely with the Ukrainian government, Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post in mid-January. "The malware is disguised as ransomware but, if activated by the attacker, would render the infected computer system inoperable." In a related technical post detailing how the malware works, Microsoft added: "These systems [under cyberattack] span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine."

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Computer World Security News
Feb 11, 2022

Take your time testing these February Patch Tuesday updates
There are (as of now) 51 patches to the Windows ecosystem for February, but no critical updates and no "Patch Now" recommendations from the Readiness team. I'm hoping that with this month's list of Patch Tuesday updates, we can enjoy the quiet after the storm. January was tough for a lot of folks. And, with this month's very light release from Microsoft, corporate security and systems administrators can take the time needed to test their applications and desktop/server builds. It's also important to invest in their testing methodologies, release practices, and how their applications may be affected by OS-level updates and patches.

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Computer World Security News
Feb 07, 2022

Addigy talks up Apple-in-the-enterprise tech show
Apple's continuing enterprise momentum means it's grabbing a growing slice of the business ecosystem, and the expansion is driving growth across the Apple device management ecosystem.

Addigy Innovate 2022 Reflecting this, Addigy recently announced plans to hold its annual Innovate 2022 conference later this month. I spoke with Jason Dettbarn, founder and CEO, who says the event will include keynotes and product presentations, including one hosted by The Ethical Hacker author Ralph Echemendia.

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Computer World Security News
Feb 04, 2022

Q&A: CISO sees 'enterprise' browser as easier way to monitor employee web use
Over the past several years, Ashland Specialty Chemicals, a global specialty materials and chemical company with about 4,200 employees, has been downsizing. It shuttered its physical datacenter and adopted more of a software-as-a-service strategy for business apps such as Salesforce and Workday. With the shift to the cloud, the company also had to address keeping web traffic secure as its hybrid workforce accessed sensitive data online.

While the company continues to use more traditional, and costly, firewalls such as Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to secure web gateways, it has also been testing an enterprise-specific browser from a start-up company named Island. 

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Computer World Security News
Feb 03, 2022

Second Israeli firm accused of undermining iPhones, like NSO Group
As if recent revelations about NSO Group weren't bad enough, yet another Israeli firm — QuaDream — has now been accused of using the same hack to undermine iPhone security.

QuaDream also used the hack, Reuters claims A Reuters report has the details:

QuaDream made use of the same flaw to commit similar attacks against iPhones. The company is smaller than NSO Group, but also sells smartphone hacking tools to governments. Both companies used the same highly sophisticated "zero-click" ForcedEntry attack, which enabled them to remotely break into iPhones without an owner needing to click a malicious link. Once deployed, attackers using the software could access messages, intercept calls, and use the device as a remote listening device. They also gained access to the camera and more. Apple closed this vulnerability in September 2021. It is believed NSO Group software was used to target the family of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The news follows the revelation that the FBI also obtained NSO's Pegasus spyware, b

Computer World Security News
Feb 02, 2022

Start-up emerges with an ‘enterprise browser'
A start-up has emerged from stealth mode to announce what it describes as one of the world's first enterprise-specific browsers, capable of governing how users interact with all SaaS and web applications.

The new Island web browser is based on the widely used Chromium open-source platform. Launched by a company with the same name, Island offers users a familiar online experience while governing what sites they can visit, the data they can view, and what files they can download or upload. Restrictions can be dialed up or down and can be specific to a user's role in an organization.

For example, a user could be surfing the web with the standard Chrome, Edge, or Safari browsers, but if they try to access a site that's off-limits based on the Island settings, they'd be blocked and told to use their secure browser. The Island browser can even stop an employee from taking screenshots of sensitive data, depending on the settings IT admins choose to implement.

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Computer World Security News
Feb 01, 2022

Why Apple's improved 2FA protection matters to business
Apple has introduced a new layer of protection to its existing two-factor authentication (2FA) system, making it a little harder for phishing attacks to successfully steal valuable authentication credentials.

Given that Apple, PayPal, and Amazon were the top three brands used for successful phishing attacks last year, according to a recent Jamf report, this matters.

Phishing costs billions and is bad for business Phishing is a huge problem. The scale of these attacks shot up during the pandemic. The FBI Internet Crime Report 2020 revealed that phishing attacks affected 241,342 victims in 2020, up from 114,702 in 2019, with adjusted losses of more than $54 billion. Verizon's 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report confirmed that 36% of data breaches that year involved phishing.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 27, 2022

Jamf CEO weighs in on Apple deployments and enterprise security
"Apple will become the number one device ecosystem in the enterprise by the end of this decade," Jamf CEO Dean Hager told me while introducing an in-depth enterprise security trends report that enterprises should look at.

Apple continues to see incredible growth The nature of enterprise IT is rapidly becoming multiplatform. Jamf recently shared some details concerning the rapid growth in Apple device deployments it is seeing in business. For example, it now has 60,000 active customers, up from 36,000 two years before that - and believes new services such as Apple Business Essentials will help maintain this growth.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 27, 2022

Test your outrage over Google's new Topics advertising system
Google sure has taken an awful lot of heat over its advertising practices lately.

But why, exactly? Today, I'd like to explore that. I've concocted a four-question quiz that'll gauge your rage and help determine whether it's aimed at the right source or perhaps misplaced. But first, we need to catch up on what exactly is happening right now and how we reached this point.

The whole recent Google advertising debacle started with the crumbling state of the digital cookie, y'see — the pressure for Google to move away from its age-old practice of using tiny (and rather tasty-sounding) tidbits of data provided by websites to see what sort of stuff you're interested in and then show you ads that match those subjects.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 25, 2022

Will World War III begin in cyberspace?
People die because of cyber wars, even if no bullets are ever fired. Instead, they die in emergency rooms that no longer have power, from broken medical communication networks, and from riots. All of this has happened before. It will happen again. And now, with Russia poised to invade Ukraine and Russian cyberattacks already in motion, we can only hope and pray that what promises to be the first major European war since World War II doesn't spark the next World War.

If it does, I fear the proximate cause won't be Russian T-90 main battle tanks trying to smash their way into Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. It will be the Russian GRU Sandworm hacking group launching a cyberattack that perhaps wrecks the European Union power grid; or knocks out major US internet sites such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft; or stops 4G and 5G cellular services in their tracks.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 24, 2022

VPNs and browsers — staying secure while online
In business, we've used Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for years. But I'm now seeing recommendations  that consumers VPN software to make your Internet connections more private so sites can't snoop on your surfing and other communications. As someone who runs a website that uses IP address reputation as a guide to know who is and is not reputable on my site, using a VPN often assigns you an IP address that's less than stellar. As a result, if you attempt to access sites that check for reputation, such as your bank, you may find yourself blocked.

I'm not against the concept of consumer-based VPN software, but I'm not convinced it's the security panacea many think it is. Users think it's keeping sites from tracking them, or keeping them safe when surfing on coffee shop Wi-Fi. They think it keeps prying eyes from reviewing our web traffic. But all VPN software is not created equal. I recently read new research from Consumer Reports that tested various VPN platforms; I was surprised to find that the top VPN providers included vendors I've not even heard of.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 20, 2022

Microsoft beefs up Edge's security against zero-day attacks
In the latest release of its Edge beta, Microsoft introduced a new way for IT admins to better secure the Chromium-based browser against web-based attacks.

The release notes for Microsoft Edge Beta Channel describe the new security features as employing several techniques to guard against so-called zero-day exploits; Zero-day exploits are software or network vulnerabilities developers are unaware of, and so they've not been patched.

Imagine if the keylock mechanism on your home's backdoor was faulty and jiggling the doorknob released the latch. Burglars could walk door to door looking for that particular vulnerability and jiggle doorknobs until one opened. Zero days are the same concept, but in cyberspace.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 19, 2022

How to keep your apps up to date in Windows 10 and 11
Look around a typical Windows desktop. Whether it's running Windows 10 or 11, chances are that it's running at least a couple of dozen Windows applications (.exe files), and at least four dozen Microsoft Store apps. On my local fleet of 10 PCs, the range for applications is from a low of 24 to a high of 120; for Store apps, it ranges from 49 to 81. Such numbers are quite typical, if my online research is at all accurate.

In general, it's considered good security practice to keep apps and applications up-to-date. Why? Because many updates involve security patches and fixes that block potential attacks and prevent unauthorized and unwanted access to applications and their data (and sometimes, the host OS and the PCs they run on). In this story, I will offer some tools to help you streamline this process, along with some instructions on how to put them to work to help you keep your apps and applications current and safe.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 17, 2022

UK government ignites debate over privacy vs. safety
Most technologists understand that end-to-end encryption in messaging keeps people safe and empowers commerce. But the UK government is launching a publicity blitz to have that layer of protection removed.

The decision will affect every nation the UK does business with, including those that still value the right to privacy and free speech.

Privacy versus safety Rolling Stone reports the UK has developed an emotive ad campaign around child safety to build support for its argument. Of course, this campaign comes nowhere near addressing the threat to free speech, commerce, or privacy in such a move. Naturally, the reaction across most of the tech industry has been a series of shared oaths as people who know about this stuff ask: "Do we have to explain this again?"

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Computer World Security News
Jan 17, 2022

20 years after Gates' call for trustworthy computing, we're still not there
Do you feel more secure? Is your computing experience more trustworthy these days?

Seriously — you're reading this article on a computer or phone, connecting to this site on an internet shared with your Grandma as well as Russian hackers, North Korean attackers, and lots of teenagers  looking at TikTok videos. It's been 20 years since then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates wrote his Trustworthy Computing memo where he emphasized security in the company's products.

So are we actually more secure now?

I'm going to keep in mind the side effects from last week's Patch Tuesday security updates and consider them in my answer. First, the good news: I don't see major side effects occurring on PCs not connected to active directory domains (and I haven't seen any showstoppers in testing my hardware at home). I can still print to my local HP and Brother printers. I can surf and access files. So, while I'm not ready yet to give an all-clear to install the January updates, when I do, I doubt you'll see side effects.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 14, 2022

Patch Tuesday gets off to a busy start for January
For this week's Patch Tuesday, the first of the year, Microsoft addressed 97 security issues, six of them rated critical. Though six vulnerabilities have been publicly reported, I do not classify them as zero-days. Microsoft has fixed a lot of security related issues and is aware of several known issues that may have inadvertently caused significant server issues including:

Hyper-V, which no longer starts with the message, "Virtual machine xxx could not be started because the hypervisor is not running." ReFS (Resilient) file systems that are no longer accessible (which is kind of ironic). And Windows domain controller boot loops. There are a variety of known issues this month, and I'm not sure whether we'll see more issues reported with the January server patches. You can find more information on the risk of deploying these latest updates with our helpful infographic.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 12, 2022

Cellular networks revolt against Apple privacy moves
Every time Apple attempts to inject a little more privacy into the digital world, it faces pushback - but the evidence suggests opponents would be better off going along for the ride.

A bigger business with more privacy Take Do Not Track for ads and the move to quash IDFA tracking in iOS 14. When Apple first announced its plan, critics across the ad industry complained it would damage their business.

Apple counter-argued that it would simply inspire advertisers to think more creatively about how to reach customers — while also providing more privacy to those customers.  

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Computer World Security News
Jan 12, 2022

Microsoft touts first PCs to ship natively with secure Pluton chip
As organizations continue to wrestle with how to manage a hybrid workforce, security outside the corporate firewall continues to play a huge role in day-to-day IT operations.

Following the October release of Windows 11, which boasted features aimed at enabling hybrid work, Microsoft last week announced the first PCs with its Pluton chip-to-cloud security technology. The technology is aimed at securing the computers of remote workers and others.

At CES, Microsoft announced that Lenovo and chipmaker AMD have launched the first laptops — the ThinkPad Z13 and ThankPad Z16 — that come natively with the Pluton security chips. Pricing for the ThinkPad Z13 starts at $1,549, pricing for the ThinkPad Z16 starts at $2,099. Both laptops will be available in May and Lenovo said there is no additional cost associated with the Pluton chip inside.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 11, 2022

Google finds a nation-state level of attacks on iPhone
When it comes to mobile security, users are routinely warned to be extremely careful, avoid suspicious links, emails, and attachments. But the growth of no-click attacks sidesteps these soft defenses.

Google recently drilled into one such attack, which happened to have hit an iPhone. "We assess this to be one of the most technically sophisticated exploits we've ever seen, further demonstrating that the capabilities (one vendor) provides rival those previously thought to be accessible to only a handful of nation states," said the Google advisory.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 10, 2022

Windows security in '22 — you need more than just antivirus software
Do you need antivirus in 2022 — especially when some options now come with a cryptominers built in?

Several antivirus vendors — some options free, others, paid — have begun bundling their antivirus products with software that generates virtual currency. Of all of the requirements for antivirus, using excess cycles on your computer to generate crypto-coins is not on my list of must-haves.

Recently, Krebs on Security noted that both Norton Antivirus and Avira have told users that versions of their respective software now include a cryptominer. While it's not enabled by default, it still gives me pause; antivirus is supposed to protect us from such potentially unwanted software, and these two vendors are now including it in their wares.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 10, 2022

How to choose a SaaS management platform
The flood of remote workers at the start of the global pandemic in early 2020 had companies scrambling to find new software for communicating and collaborating with remote workers. Many turned to software-as-a-service (SaaS) options.

Tech Spotlight:

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Computer World Security News
Jan 07, 2022

Apple is sneaking around its own privacy policy — and will regret it
Apple has a rather complicated relationship with privacy, which it always points to as a differentiator with Google. But delivering on it is a different tale. 

Much of this involves the definition of privacy. Fortunately for Apple's marketing people, "privacy" is the ultimate undefinable term because every user views it differently. If you ask a 60-year-old man in Chicago what he considers to be private, you'll get a very different answer than if you asked a 19-year-old woman in Los Angeles. Outside the US, privacy definitions vary even more. Germans and Canadians truly value privacy, but even they don't agree on what they personally consider private.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 06, 2022

Microsoft Defender for Endpoint brings remote deployment to iOS
With the latest Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) preview for iOS, Microsoft has taken another step that should make life easier for IT administrators who need to secure remote iOS devices at the endpoint.

Endpoint protection without the user friction The MDE preview includes a new capability to install Defender for Endpoint remotely and automatically on any devices enrolled in the service. The company first announced its intention to deliver the feature last month.

In practice, this seems relatively friction-free.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 05, 2022

7 smart steps to get your Android phone in tip-top shape for 2022
Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but I find the start of a fresh voyage around this shiny ol' sun of ours to be a fine time for tidying up, optimizing, and getting good and organized for the months ahead. And while I'd love to pretend I'm the type of person who has one of those disgustingly pristine, clutter-free desks you see on the internet, let me be brutally honest: The physical space around me tends to resemble a half-abandoned hog parlor.

But my Android phone? My Android phone is as orderly as can be, gosh darn it. And if you ask me, that makes far more of a difference than the state of the physical space around me.

Our mobile devices are where we do so much of our actual work and contemplation these days, after all — and yet it's all too easy to overlook the importance of maintaining an optimal arrangement for both productivity and security within 'em. So now, as we gaze ahead at the promise-filled 2022 calendar, join me in taking 10 minutes to get your own trusty Android phone fine-tuned and fully ready for the coming year.

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Computer World Security News
Jan 04, 2022

How to manually update Microsoft Defender
Microsoft Defender is the built-in anti-malware package that's included with modern Windows operating systems. It's alternatively known as Windows Security (it shows up under Settings as Windows Security) or Windows Defender (sometimes with Antivirus at the end of the name, as in this Microsoft Docs page). But whatever you want to call it, for many Windows users, this tool is the go-to default for handling security on their PCs.To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

Computer World Security News
Jan 03, 2022

When biometrics can be outsmarted this way, we need to talk
It's one of the sad facts of mobile authentication that the industry tends to initially support the least effective security options. Hence, phones initially supported authentication based on fingerprints (which can be impacted by prescriptions, cleaning products, hand injuries, and dozens of other factors) and then moved on to facial recognition. 

In theory, facial recognition is supposed to be more accurate. Mathematically, that's fair, as it is examining far more data points than scanning a fingerprint. But the reality in the real world is much more problematic. It requires a precise distance from the phone and yet offers no pre-scan markers for the user to know when they hit it correctly. That's one reason I see facial recognition reject a scan roughly 40% of the time — even though it will approve a positive scan two seconds later.

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Computer World Security News
Dec 29, 2021

Why are your IT people so miserable? Log4j2itis
Instead of holiday toasts, do you hear screams and moans from your server room? Are your IT people sobbing inconsolably even when Amazon Web Services (AWS) is running? Do you walk over sleeping system administrators and developers when you get to the office?

If that's happening to you, let me explain what's happening. Your IT people — a lot of IT people — are suffering from Log4j2itis.

You may have seen some general news about it over the last couple of weeks, as even general news sources are picking up that it's bad news. As Jen Easterly, director of the the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said: "The Log4j vulnerability is the most serious vulnerability I have seen in my decades-long career."

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Computer World Security News
Dec 23, 2021

How Apple's iCloud Private Relay supports enterprise VPN
Apple's iCloud Private Relay service gives users privacy, security, and convenience. It is best seen as a limited form of virtual private network (VPN) that protects a user's Safari browsing activity from prying eyes. But, is it compatible with your enterprise's existing VPN systems?

(TL;DR: Yes).

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