Patch Tuesday: The rules of updating Windows (and Microsoft apps)

Credit to Author: Susan Bradley| Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2021 08:24:00 -0700

Patch Tuesday week is that time of the month when I get verklempt, — excited,and in a tizzy over the release of this month’s raft of security updates. Will we get fixes for remote code execution attacks? Fixes for privilege escalations? Will we get…? Oh, you don’t get verklempt, excited, and in a tizzy? You actually dread Patch Tuesday?

Let me help you out. When you install updates from Microsoft there are some fundamental rules to keep in mind.

First, when patching you should never ever lose data. Several years ago, when Microsoft rolled out the feature release version of Windows 10 1809, some users reported losing files and folders during the process. The problem caused Microsoft to pause the feature update to investigate what was triggering the issue. As it turned out, the root cause was not the update — it was the timing and rollout of a feature in One Drive. As Microsoft noted in a blog post at the time, the culprits involved three different scenarios with Onedrive — in particular, a setting called known-folder redirection. Although the issues were not widespread, the damage and loss of trust in the Windows update process was immense; even now, users remember that issue when updates arrive. Microsoft revised the 1809 release to deal with the problem and loss of data did not recur afterwards.

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Note to IT: Google really wants its privacy settings left alone

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2021 11:14:00 -0700

The biggest difference in business models between mobile giants Google and Apple is that Google sells hardware and software whereas Google sells information. So when Apple makes a big play out of protecting privacy—such as pushing back against encryption backdoors and government subpoenas—it’s relatively easy for them. That’s not primarily how they make money.

Google, though, has a business model that truly hates privacy. To Google, enterprise data privacy, along with consumer data privacy, is just something that deprives them of raw material that they can sell. In short, Google has to publicly say that it protects its customers’ privacy while privately doing whatever it can to keep leveraging that data.

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The missing context around Google's Android privacy fallout

Credit to Author: JR Raphael| Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2021 07:10:00 -0700

If you’ve read much tech news lately, you might be feeling a slight sense of shock right now.

A series of newly publicized documents related to an Arizona lawsuit reveals that Google’s had some complicated systems for collecting location data across Android over the years — and that, according to the info, the company at one point tried putting a catch-all location toggle into the software’s Quick Settings panel but saw a substantial increase in the number of users who took advantage of it with that more prominent positioning in place.

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When is a cybersecurity hole not a hole? Never

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 11:41:00 -0700

In cybersecurity, one of the more challenging issues is deciding when a security hole is a big deal, requiring an immediate fix or workaround, and when it’s trivial enough to ignore or at least deprioritize. The tricky part is that much of this involves the dreaded security by obscurity, where a vulnerability is left in place and those in the know hope no one finds it. (Classic example: leaving a sensitive web page unprotected, but hoping that its very long and non-intuitive URL isn’t accidentally found.)

And then there’s the real problem: in the hands of a creative and well-resourced bad guy, almost any hole can be leveraged in non-traditional ways. But — there is always a but in cybersecurity — IT and security pros can’t pragmatically fix every single hole anywhere in the environment.

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To secure your remote workforce, lock down ‘your’ computers

Credit to Author: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols| Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0700

I know some of you are still convinced you’ll soon shepherd your flock of workers back into the comfortable cubicles of the corporate office. Not going to happen. I’ve been following the working from home revolution closely, and, trust me, your people like working from home. A lot.

According to a FlexJobs survey, 58% of workers currently working remotely said they’d “absolutely look for a new job” if they’re not allowed to continue remote work. 

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Android 12's quietly important privacy progress

Credit to Author: JR Raphael| Date: Tue, 25 May 2021 07:21:00 -0700

This year, for the first time in a long time, it’s easy to glance at Google’s latest Android effort and focus mostly on the surface.

Android 12’s most striking element is without a doubt the overhauled look and feel it brings to the operating system (even if realistically, Pixel owners are the only ones who’ll reap the full benefits of that change). We haven’t seen such a dramatic reimagining of the Android interface in many a moon — since 2014’s Android 5.0 (a.k.a. Lollipop) release — and this progression stretches past the core software itself, even, with effects set to reach the experience of using apps within Android and eventually also Google apps on the web. The same principles will apply to Chromebooks, Smart Displays, and Wear-based wearables before long as well, making this a true Google ecosystem evolution.

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5 free ways to get better business security

Credit to Author: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols| Date: Tue, 25 May 2021 04:00:00 -0700

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Apple's Mac security warning shows that closed beats open

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Fri, 21 May 2021 09:04:00 -0700

Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi recently told us that Macs aren’t yet as secure as iOS devices, but does this mean Mac users need to worry?

What Federighi said

Apple’s software lead was appearing as part of the interminable Epic v Apple trial (which today involves Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand). Federighi was arguing that by maintaining a highly controlled third-party app environment on iOS, Apple has been able to build an extremely secure platform.

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