How to keep your apps up to date in Windows 10 and 11

Credit to Author: Ed Tittel| Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2022 03:00:00 -0800

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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UK government ignites debate over privacy vs. safety

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 09:28:00 -0800

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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20 years after Gates’ call for trustworthy computing, we’re still not there

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 03:42:00 -0800

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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Patch Tuesday gets off to a busy start for January

Credit to Author: Greg Lambert| Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 12:10:00 -0800

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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Cellular networks revolt against Apple privacy moves

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 09:43:00 -0800

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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Microsoft touts first PCs to ship natively with secure Pluton chip

Credit to Author: Lucas Mearian| Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 03:00:00 -0800

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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Google finds a nation-state level of attacks on iPhone

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2022 03:31:00 -0800

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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Windows security in ’22 — you need more than just antivirus software

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2022 06:10:00 -0800

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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