The Department of Homeland Security and a top cybersecurity firm have
advised Windows PC users to uninstall Apple's Quicktime video player
immediately after two new bugs were found in the software.
In a blog post published Thursday, the Trend Micro
security firm said that Apple was no longer issuing security updates for
Quicktime for Windows, despite the presence of the bugs. Trend Micro
said the bugs could be used to launch attacks on PCs if users visit a
compromised web page or open a tained file.
Trend Micro said it was not aware of any cases where
the bugs had been exploited by hackers. The warning does not apply to
Quicktime on Mac operating systems.
DHS's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) put
out a similar alert Thursday warning that Windows PC users were
vulnerable to viruses and other threats due to the security flaws.
"The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows," US-CERT's alert said.
"Warfare is a constant back and forth between offense and defense, and
the same rules hold true for cyberwarfare. A hacker finds a weakness in
a program, the developer patches the weakness, the hacker finds another
weakness, the developer patches the weakness, and so on.
that formula got flipped in the case of the TeslaCrypt ransomware. It
was a major problem last year, but then security companies figured out
its weakness and were able to decrypt and recover people's files without
paying hackers. Unfortunately, the hackers behind TeslaCrypt learned
their lesson and it's back and stronger than before.
original version of TeslaCrypt, the ransomware stored the key for
decrypting the files on the victim's computer. That let security
companies find it and use it to unlock the files. The new version of
TeslaCrypt, version 3.01, moves the key to the hacker's server and
deletes it off the victim's computer. That means there's no way for the
victim to get around the encryption.
If you get TeslaCrypt on your
computer, you'll either have to pay to get your file back or wipe the
computer and start over. You better hope you backed up your files.
Although, the FBI is warning that new versions of ransomware are
starting to seek out and destroy local backups, so make sure you have an
off-site backup as well.
We recommend our sponsor Kaspersky Lab.
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A fun article for those of us who remember Windows 95
The majority of teenagers alive today weren't alive in the 90s,
meaning the oldest version of Windows they're likely to be familiar with
is Windows XP.
If that tidbit makes you feel old, you might not want to watch the latest React video from Fine Brothers Entertainment, in which a bunch of teenagers are exposed to the wonders of mid-90s computing and Windows 95 for the first time in their lives. They're not impressed.
It is good to see this neat tool that scans your system for bad guys is still around, free, and downloaded to your system automatically by Microsoft.
It is a very easy to use tool and I use it every month to do a FULL SCAN of my systems. Note that if you do nothing with the tool, it will run a QUICK SCAN automatically and you will never know this unless it finds problems.
I just ran a Full Scan today. Note that the version of the product is indicated at the top of the first screen you will see. In this case, it is February 2016.
It took about one hour and 45 minutes to run the full scan. It will not slow you down, so go ahead and do it. An ounce of prevention.......
Since the tool is installed every month along with the other Windows updates, it is already on your machines.
Simply click START then RUN then key in MRT and then OK to get it going. If you don't see Run, click on Start and then search for Run.
Above are two free programs I recommend to all Windows users.
Questions, use the Comments feature of this blog. At the end of this post, click on Comments. Then sign in using your Google account or sign in as Anonymous. If you use Anonymous, please add your name at the end of your comment.
"It became official again this week: We are awful at passwords.
after year, studies show that many people still rely on passwords that
are so weak that even a 5-year-old could crack them. According to a
study released this week by SplashData, a developer of password
management software, consumers continue making the riskiest choices with
passwords by consistently using overly simple ones.
The highly unimaginative “123456” and “starwars,” for instance, were among the most commonly used passwords of 2015, SplashData said.
for a confession: I am no better than the rest of you. The password
management app Dashlane recently ran a security audit of all my
passwords — and what it found was ugly. It revealed that out of my 70
passwords, I had reused the same one 46 times. Twenty-five of the
passwords were flagged as being particularly weak, or easy for a hacker
In my shame and embarrassment, I put together a guide of best practices
for passwords and tested some tools that would help manage them. Here’s
what it boils down to: To have the safest passwords protecting your
digital life, each password should be unique and complex. But since
memorizing 70 unique and complex passwords is nearly impossible, we also
need password manager programs to keep track of them all.
Grossman, the founder of WhiteHat Security, a web security firm, says
he memorizes only a few passwords, including one to unlock his computer,
and another to unlock an encrypted USB drive containing a file with a
list of all his passwords for dozens of services. None of his passwords
are memorable because they are random.
select them quite literally by banging on the keyboard a few times like
a monkey,” Mr. Grossman said in an interview, adding, “My setup is a
bit more paranoid than the average person.”
rest of us need password managers, a type of app that locks passwords
in a vault and allows access to them with one master password. I tested
three popular password management services — LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password
— for several days. All were similar, with 1Password standing out as
the most cleanly designed (and least annoying) password management tool.
put the password managers to the test, I began by cleaning up my
password hygiene. I spent two and a half hours logging in to all 70 of
my Internet accounts and changing each password, one at a time.
Following the advice of security experts, I created long, complex
passwords consisting of nonsensical phrases, lines from movies or
one-sentence summaries of strange life events, and added numbers and
special characters. (Samples: My favorite number is Green4782# or The
cat ate the CoTTon candy 224%.)
I turned to the password managers, which store your passwords and make
them accessible with a master password. Naturally, your master password
should be rock solid. So for each of the three apps, I created a complex
master password and jotted those down on a piece of paper. After a few
days I memorized those passwords and threw away the paper.
recommend 1Password for several reasons. The app consistently and
automatically detected whenever I logged in to websites or created new
passwords to ask if I wanted to add a password to the vault.
logging in to a site, I clicked on the 1Password icon in a computer
browser or opened the app on a phone, entered my master password and
selected the service I wanted to log in to in order to plug in the
password. (1Password can be set up to require the master password after a
certain amount of time, say five minutes, if you don’t want to keep
entering it; on iPhones it can be configured to unlock the vault with
your fingerprint instead of the master password.)
the password managers I tested, Dashlane was the most frustrating
because it nagged me with too many questions. After I used Dashlane to
log in to TicketWeb to order
movie tickets, the app asked if I wanted to save a copy of the receipt
inside its vault. In the process of doing that, it froze the browser and
I lost access to the web tickets for a moment. Also, whenever I created
a new password, Dashlane sent notifications asking if I wanted the app
to automatically generate passwords for me — which was not my
said the app was proactive about notifications partly because it was
designed for users who may not be technically savvy.
password management becoming something that mainstream consumers care
about, the simplicity of the product needs to be completely different,”
Emmanuel Schalit, Dashlane’s chief executive, said in an interview. “We
tried to build a solution that a not sophisticated user could use.”
third app, LastPass, was less annoying than Dashlane, but in multiple
instances it did not detect when I was logging in to a website to add
the password into its vault. That required me to manually create a new
password entry to add to the vault.
of the apps offers the ability to share password vaults across multiple
devices, like smartphones, tablets and computers. Wireless
synchronization for passwords is a necessity: You don’t want to be
locked out of a service on your smartphone because you left your laptop
containing all your passwords at work, for instance.
distinguishes the password management apps is how they share your
passwords among different devices, and how much they charge. Dashlane is
initially free and hosts its own cloud server to share passwords across
your devices, but it costs $40 a year to use the cloud service.
LastPass is also free up front; it offers the ability to share passwords
across devices for $12 a year.
app 1Password came out on top because it offered the most value for the
money. For a one-time payment of $50, you get a license to use
1Password on a computer. You can use the core features of 1Password on
iPhones or Android devices free — if you want to unlock extra features,
like the ability to store serial numbers for software licenses, it costs
downside is that AgileBits, the developer of 1Password, requires users
to set up their own cloud syncing with third-party services like Dropbox
or Apple’s iCloud, which are free to use. Fortunately it’s not difficult
to set up password synchronization over the cloud. There is also an
option to synchronize your password database over a Wi-Fi network, but
that’s not as seamless.
Grossman of WhiteHat Security, who does not use a password management
app, said he preferred LastPass for its security features. LastPass
supports multi-factor authentication,
meaning that when you log in with your master password, you will
receive a newly generated code on another device, like a smartphone,
that you have to enter to unlock the vault. It’s an extra layer of
“We’ve been very popular among security professionals and I.T. folks,” said Amber Gott, a marketing manager for LastPass.
There is always a risk that password management companies themselves will get hacked. LastPass reported last year that its network was breached and that hackers gained access to user email addresses and password reminders.
avoid that, you may want to skip password managers. If that’s your
preference, Mr. Grossman said there’s always a low-tech way to keep
track of passwords: Jot them down on a piece of paper and keep the list
in a safe place. The best part about that approach? It’s free.