Another “End of Life” extension

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, pressure has mounted in the tech industry to extend support for various products and services.  One major announcement having to do with email using Exchange Online is that basic authentication will be phased out in late 2021 instead of its originally scheduled October 2020 date.

Although basic authentication is much less secure than other methods available, it is obvious IT departments around the world are dealing with much more important items (including yours truly) at this time and most likely welcome this news.

Check out the full post from Microsoft here for the full scoop!

Windows 10 bug affects remote work

According to ZDNet.com, Microsoft has acknowledged that a bug within their Windows 10 operating system is affecting Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook…three major aspects necessary in order to be effective working from home.

They hope to have a fix in place by the beginning of next month if not sooner; hopefully this doesn’t have too much of an effect on remote users which is pretty much everyone at this point!

Check out the full post here for more!

PC Mag: Tech companies exploiting users

I have to say that for a story like this, a picture truly does say 1,000 words.  And in the case of companies like Avast that have historically offered a good free antivirus program, just know that there’s no such thing as free and that there is always a price to pay.  In this case, your browsing freedom is being spied on.

As the article’s summary states:

Avast is harvesting users’ browser histories on the pretext that the data has been ‘de-identified,’ thus protecting your privacy. But the data, which is being sold to third parties, can be linked back to people’s real identities, exposing every click and search they’ve made.

Check out the full article written by Michael Kan here for the full scoop!

NSA exposes critical flaw in Windows 10!

According to Microsoft’s security update guide, a spoofing vulnerability that utilizes the Crypt32.dll file can be used to control a machine at will.

As stated within the emergency bulletin:

A spoofing vulnerability exists in the way Windows CryptoAPI (Crypt32.dll) validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source. The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.

A successful exploit could also allow the attacker to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information on user connections to the affected software.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by ensuring that Windows CryptoAPI completely validates ECC certificates.

Good news is that Microsoft has already released a patch to close the loophole so make sure you take care of this ASAP!

Whistleblower alert results in security fixes

 

I have to admit that this is a rare occurrence…a whistleblower complaint that was brought to the attention of the company’s Board of Directors which actually resulted in significant change to address the issue.  It definitely should not have to come down this and management should get its fair share of blame and be held accountable.  IMHO, this may actually have more to do with the health provider not wanting to lose customers more than anything else.  Funny how when the financial health of a company is on the line, they more often than not take immediate action to address the problem at hand!

Check out the article here for more info and let me know what you think…

HP Enterprise hard drives failing!

 

An alarming bulletin courtesy of HP detailing the almost certain guarantee of SAS hard drive failure right as it approaches the four year mark…

Bulletin: HPE SAS Solid State Drives – Critical Firmware Upgrade Required for Certain HPE SAS Solid State Drive Models to Prevent Drive Failure at 32,768 Hours of Operation

https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-a00092491en_us

HPE was notified by a Solid State Drive (SSD) manufacturer of a firmware defect affecting certain SAS SSD models (see article) used in a number of HPE server and storage products (i.e., HPE ProLiant, Synergy, Apollo, JBOD D3xxx, D6xxx, D8xxx, MSA, StoreVirtual 4335 and StoreVirtual 3200 are affected. 3PAR, Nimble, Simplivity, XP and Primera are not affected.)

The issue affects SSDs with an HPE firmware version prior to HPD8 that results in SSD failure at 32,768 hours of operation (i.e., 3 years, 270 days 8 hours). After the SSD failure occurs, neither the SSD nor the data can be recovered. In addition, SSDs which were put into service at the same time will likely fail nearly simultaneously.

So I guess this means I’m going with Dell…haha!

Two excellent posts by “The Patch Lady”

Kudos to Susan Bradley aka “The Patch Lady” who gave us some interesting insight here as to how Microsoft plans to handle extended updates for Windows 7 (apparently the service plans are not available! Yuck!) and also sheds some light here on an FBI precinct’s recommendation to place all IOT (Internet Of Things) devices on a different network segment for security purposes.

Chrome 0 Day Halloween Exploit

For the second time this year, Google has released information urging everyone to update to the latest version of Google Chrome to combat a 0 Day vulnerability found in previous versions.

Most configurations of Chrome should be auto updating but it is suggested to push out the updated version which is 78.0.3904.87

As stated in the ZDNet.com article here

Per Kaspersky, the zero-day was found being deployed on user devices via a Korean-language news portal. The Russian antivirus company said it couldn’t link the zero-day’s use to a specific hacking group, although there are some code similarities with past North Korean malware. The company is tracking the current attacks using this zero-day under a codename of “Operation WizardOpium.”

Bottom line, the odds of being affected by this are very slim but nevertheless its worth the due diligence and ensuring you are all patched up!

 

Big update release out of nowhere

So AskWoody.com is reporting that Microsoft has released over 50 security updates out of the blue aimed that fixing the numerous issues stemming from the previous update cycles.  Needless to say that the last couple of months has been disastrous from a patching perspective.

Check out the details here and let us know what you have been experiencing in the environments you’re managing.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is here!

The theme for this year as stated on the official website

NCSAM 2019 emphasizes personal accountability and stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

A bonus for this year includes a custom “toolkit” aimed at making things easier for users to properly lockdown their PC.  Check it out here and let us know what you think!