Windows 10 comes with a ransomware protection feature called Controlled Folder Access that can be used to prevent modifications to files in protected folders by unknown programs. At the DerbyCon security conference, a security researcher showed how DLL injection can be used by ransomware to bypass the Controlled Folder Access ransomware protection feature.
Controlled Folder Access is a feature that allows you to protect folders and files so they can only be modified by whitelisted applications. Knowing that explorer.exe is whitelisted in Controlled Folder Access, Soya Aoyama, a security researcher at Fujitsu System Integration Laboratories Ltd., figured out a way to inject a malicious DLL into Explorer when it is started.
Researchers have revealed how Microsoft’s Cortana could be used to bypass the security protection of Windows 10. Speaking at Black Hat in Las Vegas this week, security researchers said a vulnerability existed in the voice assistant which allowed the bypass of the Windows 10 lock screen.
As reported by Threat Post, the vulnerability, dubbed “Open Sesame,” opens the door, bypassing the lock screen, and allows threat actors to locally perform “dangerous functions.”
Read more about the newly discovered exploit of Microsoft’s Cortana, which did not require any external code, on ZDNet.
When is a bug not a bug? That’s the question in play with a proof of concept (PoC) published by researcher Marius Tivadar, which can crash several versions of Windows, even if they’re locked, all within seconds of launching the code.
This PoC requires a USB key with a faulty NTFS image on it to be physically inserted into a Windows PC that also has autoplay enabled. Regardless of the privilege level currently active (from user to administrator), seconds after the target PC tries to read data on the USB stick, the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD) occurs, crashing the computer.
Read why Microsoft feels that a Windows 10 crashing bug is not patch worthy on Sophos Blog.
With Windows 10 emerging as the operating system of choice for millions of users, it has become the apparent hot seller for Microsoft. Compared to Windows 7, Windows 10 is bulkier and slower which many have experienced. Windows 7 with its simple UI was way faster than Windows 10. Add to that, the invisible downloading of updates makes your computer as well as your Internet connection slow.
If you are among the people who have updated their PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and not bought a Windows 10 run PC/laptop, you may be facing an issue of reduced performance. In this article, I share 4 basic tips which will not only make your Windows 10 run PC faster but also more smooth.
1. Prevent programs from loading on startup
Unlike Windows 7, Windows 10 has like 20 Apps launching at startup as default. If you open the Task Manager, you will find many of many of the Apps which you don’t require, loading at the startup. You need to disable these and keep the load at startup apps to a bare minimum.
You have to visit the Startup tab of the Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) or use Microsoft’s official (and free) “Autoruns for Windows” tool to see what’s launching alongside the OS. From there, you can disable anything you don’t want. You can check on the Internet for the services that are necessary to be run at startup. Other than those services, disable all Apps from running at startup. If there’s a particular entry you’re not sure about, and leave it to be. This will decrease your boot time to nearly under a minute.
2. Uninstall unnecessary apps
Also, unlike Windows 7, Microsoft has followed the path of smartphone manufacturers by installing a lot of bloatware – Apps that you don’t necessarily need or use. Such bloatware doesn’t do any direct harm, but they do take up valuable hard disk space and use memory resources like your smartphone. You can use the scarce memory resources for the more meaningful purpose by disabling such bloatware. Also, they can also cause unexpected bugs and incompatibility issues with other devices and apps.
Type “uninstall” in the taskbar search box then pick Change or remove a program to see all the applications currently stored on your machine. For any that have been gathering dust for a few months, click the relevant icon and select Uninstall and follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.
3. Disable background apps
As opposed to loading at startup, Windows 10 also has some apps run in background by default, and luckily you can change this setting. To modify software running in the background, go to Settings from the Start menu then click Privacy and Background apps. Turn off the toggle switches next to the apps you don’t want to have running all the time. If you need these Apps, you can re-enable them manually using the same method.
4. Clean up the disks
This issue is similar to Windows 7. Microsoft operating systems create more junk than Linux and MacOS run PC/laptops. This junk eats up your valuable space and may use your memory resources. A good habit is to periodically clean your hard disk using Microsoft’s own Disk Cleaner utility or third-party tools.
The Disk Cleaner utility is a great way to sweep out some of the temporary data and unnecessary files taking up room on your hard drive. Microsoft has made it mostly automatic and easy to navigate in Windows 10. Right-click on any drive in File Explorer, then choose Properties and Disk Cleanup (under the General tab) to find the program. It targets files including system memory dump files and temporary internet files, and you can review its findings before clicking on the OK button to confirm.
If you are not comfortable with using Microsoft’s program, you can use third-party Apps like CCleaner which does pretty much everything that Disk Cleaner does and gives you better features.
One of the quickest ways to troll IT security professionals is to proclaim that either Microsoft Windows computers or Apple Macs have better security. In reality, both OSes are adequately secure when operated with their default security settings along with their vendor’s best practice recommendations, but after decades of intense competition for passionate consumers, the subject borders on a technical religious war. You won’t gain many friends by claiming both are secure.
Read about the security features comparison between the two dominant PC/laptop operating systems on CSO Online.
Google disclosed a flaw in Microsoft Edge earlier this week, after Microsoft failed to patch the bug in time. Now Google’s Project Zero team of security researchers are disclosing yet another Windows 10 security flaw that Microsoft has again failed to patch before Google’s imposed 90-day period. Neowin spotted that Google reported two bugs to Microsoft in November, but the company only addressed one of them with its recent Patch Tuesday fixes.
Read more about the critical flaw in Windows 10 on The Verge.
Every new Microsoft operating system release is both a cause for celebration among IT folks and a cause for serious consternation and concern. New features tend to resolve persistent problems and make things a little easier for end-users. We already know the new Start menu is going to make workers more productive, and there will be a clearer divide between desktop and touch users (the OS will know which one you are using).
Thankfully, in terms of security, there’s always a few new features to protect not only employees from would-be hackers but to protect the company from a data breach. Still, there’s always a possibility that the new OS will provide new attack vectors, especially related to phishing and viruses, that are as yet unknown.
Read more about the enhanced security Windows 10 will offer you on Tech Radar