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  • A few smallish gremlins still infest Win10 20H2 and 2004

    Posted on November 8th, 2020 at 21:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Susan Bradley

    With the release of Windows 10 20H2, May’s Version 2004 has moved into an elder-sibling role.

    But that doesn’t mean that the spring update no longer has growing pains. Currently in the process of upgrading my systems to Version 2004, I’ve not run into any significant problems. But that’s not the case for everyone.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.44.0 (2020-11-09).

  • Warning: If you pay ransomware, the US Dept of Treasury may fine you

    Posted on October 3rd, 2020 at 09:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Dan Goodin at Ars Technica has a great review of the latest US Treasury Department advisory:

    Businesses, governments, and organizations that are hit by crippling ransomware attacks now have a new worry to contend with—big fines from the US Department of Treasury in the event that they pay to recover their data… payments made to specific entities or to any entity in certain countries—specifically, those with a designated “sanctions nexus”—could subject the payer to financial penalties levied by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.

    The prohibition applies not only to the group that is infected but also to any companies or contractors the hacked group’s security or insurance engages with, including those who provide insurance, digital forensics, and incident response, as well as all financial services that help facilitate or process ransom payments

    It’s an important new angle on an increasingly difficult subject.

    UPDATE: Brian Krebs has a more-detailed look on Krebs on Security.

  • Patch Lady – want to know what is in those URLs?

    Posted on August 14th, 2020 at 12:03 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Came across this in my forensic reading the other day.

    Unfurl takes a URL and expands (“unfurls”) it into a directed graph, extracting every bit of information from the URL and exposing the obscured. It does this by breaking up a URL up into components, extracting as much information as it can from each piece, and presenting it all visually. This “show your work” approach (along with embedded references and documentation) makes the analysis transparent to the user and helps them learn about (and discover) semantic and syntactical URL structures.

    If you’ve ever seen a URL and seen all that tracking stuff on the back end, this parses all that info out and lets you see how all of these browsers and vendors can track us.  Next time you have a link with unusual info on the back side, stick it in there and see what it says it’s parsed out from the link.

  • SANS Institute security breach

    Posted on August 11th, 2020 at 14:50 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Wow. If SANS can’t keep their systems secure, what hope do the rest of us have?

    Looks like somebody sent a malicious Office 365 add-in to a SANS employee, who installed it. The program started forwarding emails, including some with personally identifiable information on 28,000 accounts.

    Details here.

  • Technology in a pandemic

    Posted on July 27th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Susan Bradley

    We all have good years and bad, but 2020 has been rough on everyone.

    The pandemic has damaged world economies, caused untold disruptions to our education systems, put millions in financial peril, and tested our ability to socialize responsibly — and it’s not over yet.

    In the face of those difficulties, I’ve been impressed and encouraged by how people have adjusted their personal lives, their work, and their businesses. And much of that adaptation involves technology. Interestingly, quite a bit of that tech is not based on Windows.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.29.0 (2020-07-27).

  • Krebs: Here’s how all of those Twitter accounts got hacked

    Posted on July 17th, 2020 at 09:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Talk about a sobering experience. Yesterday, as I (and about a million others) reported, somebody got hold of the Twitter accounts belonging to Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple, Kanye West, Mike Bloomberg, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Uber, Warren Buffet, and many others. The miscreant started sending out messages asking folks to send them $1,000 in Bitcoin – promising that the luminary would return $2,000.

    Brian Krebs tracked down the perp — more accurately, perps — and it makes a fascinating story:

    “The way the attack worked was that within Twitter’s admin tools, apparently you can update the email address of any Twitter user, and it does this without sending any kind of notification to the user,” Lucky told KrebsOnSecurity. “So [the attackers] could avoid detection by updating the email address on the account first, and then turning off 2FA.”

    This Twitter hack could have let the attackers view the direct messages of anyone on Twitter, information that is difficult to put a price on but which nevertheless would be of great interest to a variety of parties, from nation states to corporate spies and blackmailers.

    There were multiple people involved in the Twitter heist.

    In short, if you use mobile phone SMS to verify a log on to an account, you could get slammed. Normal people don’t have to worry about it yet. But high-profile accounts are definitely in the crosshairs, and it’s probably just a matter of time before SMS-based hijacking becomes more pedestrian.

  • Patching printers

    Posted on July 13th, 2020 at 01:30 Jamie Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Patching printers

    The June bugs in Windows 10 that caused all of my PCL 5 printers to not print reminded me that there are several ways that printers need updating. The days when we could install a printer and never worry about it again are over.

    Susan BradleyBy Susan Bradley

    If you haven’t updated your printer lately, the first thing to review its printer driver. The older the printer, the more likely you will need something like a universal PCL 6 driver in order to have it work with Windows 10.

    Last and certainly not least, even in a home setting, I often have very good luck by setting up the printer on the wireless or wired network to determine the IP address assigned to the printer.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.27.0 (2020-07-013).

  • What’s the best way to lock your Android phone?

    Posted on July 5th, 2020 at 02:30 Jamie Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Android security

    Security vs. convenience: What’s the best way to lock your Android phone?

    Lincoln SpectorBy Lincoln Spector

    You want your smartphone to be locked down so that no one but you can find your secrets. But you want to unlock your phone quickly and easily.

    You can’t have the best of both worlds. You must choose between the best security and the easiest entry. But with the right precautions, you can have reasonable security without constant annoyance.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.26.0 (2020-07-06).