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No matter how robust an operating system is, it is difficult for it to be completely free of possible threats. Given that cybercriminals are constantly reinventing themselves, it follows that the same goes for cyberthreats. It is a constant cycle where any delay or slip up can open up new points of entry for unwanted visitors. And if operating systems are vulnerable, the companies using them are also vulnerable. In many cases, companies entrust their corporate cybersecurity to a single piece of default software; but experience shows that this is not enough. We now yet more proof of this. And what’s more, it affects a huge number of companies all over the world.
The vulnerabilities in Windows 10
This is exactly what has happened to Windows 10. Several vulnerabilities were found in this new version of the most widely used operating system in the world almost as soon as it was launched. But it has now set alarm bells ringing once again. In this case, the vulnerability is in ExploitGuard CFA File Creator, a tool provided by Windows in order for users to monitor the changes that certain programs are able to make to files within specific folders. The intention behind this tool was clear: it would allow the user to control possible unwanted access, and to avoid possible attacks from untrusted programs. And, put bluntly, the results couldn’t have been more counterproductive. As cybersecurity expert Soya Aoyama has demonstrated, there is a way to insert a malicious DLL so that, when Internet Explorer (which is on the CFA’s list of trusted programs) is run, ransomware can be inserted into the protected folders. I.e., this cyberattack takes advantage of a piece of software that is apparently harmless (Internet Explorer) in order to get into these folders. The worst thing about this may be the fact that, so far, Windows Defender, which has already had one or two problems itself, hasn’t been able to detect this problem on its system. And it doesn’t stop there: when Aoyama disclosed this vulnerability, the company didn’t feel it necessary to launch a patch, since, in their opinion, in order for the risk to be real, unauthorized access must have taken place before the DLL was launched. If we apply this to a corporate environment, the risks are clear. At the moment when the DLL arrives in an employee’s protected folders, it could set off a chain of attacks in the rest of the company, causing a serious corporate cybersecurity problem.

According to a new report, Microsoft has now overtaken Amazon to become the second most valuable company behind Apple. This has been possible with the company recording a great fiscal quarter. Microsoft has also got some help from Amazon which had a disappointing performance in the first fiscal and is now third behind Apple and Microsoft. Apple currently holds the number spot being the first company to break the $1 trillion thresholds earlier in the year. If the same trend is continued by Microsoft, it would be become the second company worth $1 trillion and snatch the first spot from Apple. But it will not be an easy road for Microsoft since Apple is due to release its earnings report next Thursday and with the release of the new iPhones, there are chances of it retaining the number one spot currently. If the latest quarter reports are anything to go by, then we assume that Microsoft could reach the $1 trillion mark by 2020. Microsoft’s cloud business has seen a massive growth with it contributing $8.6 billion (up by 24 percent) out of the total $29.1 billion revenue for the Q1 which is up by 19 percent this fiscal year. The total net income of Microsoft has reached $8.8 billion which is a growth of 34 percent from the previous fiscal year same quarter. Want to know more visit OUR FORUM.

“FIDO has mounted a longstanding campaign to get third party support for its strong authentication standards and expand the compliant device ecosystem, but bringing FIDO2 support to major web browsers effectively brings FIDO support into the Internet’s core infrastructure.” FIDO2 and WebAuthn support has officially arrived on Windows 10, via the operating system’s October 2018 update. The update brings unprefixed support for WebAuthn to the OS, meaning that Windows Hello, the operating system’s built-in biometric security system, can now be used for authentication in the Microsoft Edge browser. In other words, Windows 10 users can log into compatible websites using facial recognition or a fingerprint scan. Alternatively, a FIDO2-compliant security key can also be used for authentication through the browser. It’s a big victory for the FIDO Alliance and its authentication standards, with the organization’s Executive Director, Brett McDowell, having emphasized the major browsers’ support for FIDO2 and WebAuthn at last week’s Money20/20 event in Las Vegas. FIDO has mounted a longstanding campaign to get third party support for its strong authentication standards and expand the compliant device ecosystem, but bringing FIDO2 support to major web browsers effectively brings FIDO support into the Internet’s core infrastructure. Other new features of Windows 10 include control over media autoplay, an improved Reading Mode, a refreshed menu interface, and a number of smaller updates for developers working with the operating system.
Source: Windows Blogs via

The advent of smartphones, handheld devices, and tablets have changed the way we work but the Microsoft’s Windows is still powering billions of devices. Microsoft’s Windows remains the number one operating system for the PC users, according to reports. According to new data from Microsoft, Windows is being used on 1.5 computers around in the world. Microsoft updated ‘By the Numbers’ website to note that Windows is running on 1.5 billion computers out there. As first spotted by Neowin, Microsoft quietly updated the By the Numbers website to share new facts and news. For example, the website notes that Microsoft’s Cortana has been asked 18 billion question since its launch and Windows is on 1.5 billion computers. Microsoft recently confirmed that Windows 10 is running on 700 million active devices and the new figure suggests that Microsoft’s latest OS is powering almost half of the entire Windows-powered PC base which is great news. According to stats from StatCounter (a third-party firm), Windows 10 is the most popular version of Windows and Windows 7 is the runner-up with close to 40% market share. Microsoft is expected to end support for Windows 7 in early 2020 and this would boost the market share of Windows 10. Full details are posted on OUR FORUM.

As the infosec community talked about potential cyber attacks leveraging vulnerabilities in antivirus products, Microsoft took notes and started to work on a solution. The company announced that its Windows Defender can run in a sandbox. Antivirus software runs with the highest privileges on the operating system, a level of access coveted by any threat actor, so any exploitable vulnerabilities in these products add to the possibilities of taking over the system. By making Windows Defender run in a sandbox, Microsoft makes sure that the security holes its product may have stay contained within the isolated environment; unless the attacker finds a way to escape the sandbox, which is among the toughest things to do, the system remains safe. Windows Defender has seen its share of vulnerability reports. Last year, Google's experts Natalie Silvanovich and Tavis Ormandy announced a remote code execution (RCE) bug severe enough to make Microsoft release an out-of-band update to fix the problem. In April this year, Microsoft patched another RCE in Windows Defender, which could be abused via a specially crafted RAR file. When the antivirus got to scanning it, as part of its protection routine, the would trigger, giving the attacker control over the system in the context of the local user. Microsoft is not aware of any attacks in-the-wild actively targeting or exploiting its antivirus solution but acknowledges the potential risk hence its effort to sandbox Windows Defender. The rest of this story can be found on OUR FORUM.

With Microsoft looking to bring "console quality" streaming to phones and tablets with Project xCloud, how will the company achieve that when touch controls are still pretty bad? It seems the company is looking to bring physical controllers to mobile devices to offset this problem, according to these Microsoft Research papers. The research paper documents some of the popular solutions to gaming via a touch screen while hailing the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Portable (PSP) for circumventing touch-based control limitations with full joysticks and buttons. Microsoft built the prototypes out of foam and then had them 3D printed, based on conceptual renders. The work was carried out quite a while ago, back in 2014, but it seems Microsoft Research has resurfaced their efforts recently, noting the recent success of the Nintendo Switch. While this research may be far away from turning into an actual product, it's pretty imperative that Microsoft takes a serious role in exploring how it can improve the way Xbox games will handle on a mobile device to help take Project xCloud mainstream. Touch-based inputs have always felt like a half-way solution and will feel even more like one when they come up against games designed from the ground-up for responsive, tactile inputs. Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.