Category Archives: Microsoft

Many Microsoft vulnerabilities are discovered every day. Our articles try to relay as many as possible in order to warn our dear readers and protect them from hackers!

Iranian hackers reportedly target users of Microsoft's remote collaboration software

The group calls itself Phosphorus.

They are of Iranian origin. According to the German authorities and the American company, Microsoft, they would specifically target participants of two conferences. Lectures that connect political experts and universities in Germany and Saudi Arabia. In other words, high-level international conferences.

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This problem was first anticipated and detected by Microsoft's threat training center. The organization created by Redmond's giant said it had intercepted several attempts from the phosphorus group. It's various attempts were aimed at stealing the login credentials of nearly a hundred "high-sighted individuals" who are supposed to attend the next Munich security conference, and that of the "Think 20 (T20)" summit in Saudi Arabia.

The modus operandi of hackers was to send falsified invitations to people targeted by e-mail the intention was to deceive them to extract certain personal information. A classic phishing case, with emails writing in near-perfect English according to Microsoft Center. Were targeted, academics, civil servants, event organizers, political experts and reasons for government organization.

Redmond's firm has not yet said whether compromising information was obtained by the Iranian hacker group. For its part, Microsoft claims to have already notified the organizers of these events which in turn have carried out a warning of the participants.

"We believe that Phosphorus is carrying out these attacks for intelligence purposes. The attacks have succeeded in compromising several victims, including former ambassadors and other high-level political experts who contribute to the development of global programs and foreign policies in their respective countries," the Redmond giant said. "We recommend that people assess the authenticity of the emails they receive about major conferences by ensuring that the sender's address appears legitimate and that any built-in link redirects to the official conference domain. he adds.

Microsoft has released a table outlining the observed compromise indicators. It has been made available to security teams so that it can finally identify the next campaign that can be initiated based on the previous one.

To protect yourself, basic security measures such as dual-factor authentication where strengthening the rules for transmitting electronic correspondence can help. Especially by phishing that is going on and directed against the participants.

In its recent report, Redmond's digital defense company highlighted the fact that states often use well-organized cybercriminal groups to frequently target other states or organizations and companies in an underlying cyberwarfare fight. The objective is to destabilize and steal confidential information. And unfortunately this is becoming more and more common.

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Microsoft's hosting of health data: a tension that is still relevant in France

In 2019, he created the Health Data Platform, an initiative that aims to facilitate the sharing of health data from different sources to support research.

This initiative was not implemented without controversy. Indeed, it is the identity of the data host that will be at the very heart of this program that is problematic for some. Indeed, it is the American giant Microsoft. One of the world's largest cloud storage service providers through Azure. But the choice of this host is not unanimous.

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A legal battle has been going on for some time for this fact. The question is not very clear. Indeed, it still seems difficult to understand why France has decided to entrust its health data to the American company. First, what is health data and what specificity do they cover? In this regard, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms states that they "are related to the physical or mental health, past, present or future, of a natural person (including the provision of health care services) that reveal information about that person's health. ».

Through this definition of the Commission, we can deduce three categories:

– Data on the medical history of care performed as well as diseases

– Data from some cross-breeding of other data, allowing for inference of medical information

– Data that is intended for health purpose

As a result, hosting this information in the cloud remains sensitive as a topic to be addressed. And since the introduction of the health data platform, also known as the Health Data Hub in late 2019, several French associations have launched legal action. Yet the goal of this platform and to ensure that the data can be stored in a secure space, and be easily accessible when the need arises. This will have the merit of reducing not only access time, but also a set of practices that could endanger the same information.

Organizations and research centres that wish to have access to this information must first hold permissions from the National Commission for Information Technology and Freedoms.

If in a sense this project has been validated by almost all those involved in the health sector and even in the protection of personal data, the problem is the host. This one is not French. Many individuals feel that, given the sensitivity of the information, it should not be hosted by a foreign provider. Behind these protests, many of the complainants refer to considerations of a scientific nature and economic sovereignty. "Ai's advances in health depend on our ability to cross-reference massive amounts of data to reveal correlations, which are then the subject of medical research," writes Cedric Villani, MP and mathematician, one of the initiators of the Health Data Hub program.

In short, the controversy revolves around the fact that the French government has decided to entrust the hosting of its data to Microsoft in one of these Datacenters based in Holland. While the European regulation of personal data will be applicable to this transaction, the question of the confidentiality of the data concerned continues to frighten the French.

It is in this context that the collective of complainants calls for a moratorium, "until it can be assured that no health data will be transferred to the United States, other than any adequate protection or guarantee for French citizens."

However, it is necessary to entrust the health data to a subcontractor for safety. "It is this subcontractor who supports data security, which is thus placed under its responsibility. Being HDS certified, our structure covers all the activities for which a host can be certified, ranging from the provision and operational maintenance of physical sites to host the physical infrastructure of the information system used for the processing of health data, to the safeguarding of health data," said Bertrand Servary, Managing Director of NetExplorer. , a French company that has been specializing in cloud since 2007.

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Windows XP: Microsoft's operating system source code available online

A data leak whose impact is measurable at a very high level.

Indeed, the source code of Windows XP is available to anyone interested online. No one knows where it came from and who could have been the initiator. However, on several websites, it is possible to find links that lead directly to the download of this important script. "All these files have been there for ages especially the WR[Windows Research Kernel]K, which anyone with a .edu [compte email]could already download. served a user on the HakerNews platform.

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Why does this make so much news? This is simply because thousands of computers continue to run on this old Microsoft operating system. However, the sources to be able to access this source code increases by the hour. At this point, it will be complicated, let's say it impossible for Microsoft to own its lines of code to be able to intervene.

As we know, the American giant had always kept the code on its operating system secret. Although it has often shared these lines of code with governments in some projects, and even though the American company is much more focused today on its Windows 10 system, the fact remains that the leakage of this information can be detrimental to it in some way.

Microsoft has not yet made any statement regarding this matter. According to some people, the original Xbox's source code would also be available through the same links. But this latest information has not yet been confirmed.

An immediate consequence will be visible after this data leak. This is of course the full analysis and speed up scripts making up the operating system. Seen at the pace at which download links are increasing

In addition, let us look at this case in a slightly broader way. As we know since 2014, the American giant has decided literally to abandon its operating system. No more follow-up, no support. The security vulnerabilities were no longer fixed. It should be noted that many people in the IT industry had hoped to see the announcement that Microsoft would decide to make Open Source Windows XP for the happiness of researchers. But it's slow to come, before this data leak changes the game. It could have been said that if the American giant had been hesitant all this time to make its operating system available to the community of programmers and computer security researchers, it was surely due to the fact that several million terminals around the world continue to run with the system. And even in 2017, Microsoft had provided a security patch to counter the famous WannaCry malware, the ransomware that was beginning to do a lot of damage.

According to figures provided by NetMarketShare, more than 1% of computers in circulation and in use worldwide run Windows XP. So we can consider that Windows XP is installed on nearly 18 million computers. An operating system that is still used in some terminals within some government organizations and even private companies. Indeed, it should be noted that it is not easy to change the operating system of its computer fleet as changes for example a terminal overnight. This is true of the compatibility of the software used and the cost generated. In most cases, organizations will be forced to change, for example, for computers.

But it is held that for American society, security must be beyond all considerations. That's why it published its clear recommendations about Windows XP.

"If you continue to use Windows XP, your computer will still work, but it may become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Internet Explorer 8 is no longer supported, so if your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you may be exposing your PC to additional threats. In addition, as more and more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for newer versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more and more apps and devices that don't work on Windows XP. ».

In practical terms, this data leak could endanger the millions of computers equipped with Windows XP. Some even that this may be somehow dangerous to the security of windows 8 or Windows 10 users. Because Windows hasn't really changed, apart from a few features and design. There is therefore a good chance that bits of code in Windows XP could have been reused for the design of the two recent models.

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Administrators find Windows updates useless

When asked about the issue several IT infrastructure administrators mentioned the fact that the updates provided by the American giant Microsoft for Windows 10 are not for the majority of useful cases.

And the majority of IT administrators according to a survey have confirmed it. Out of 500 professionals surveyed, 58% of those responsible for managing Windows maintenance in the workplace confirmed that Microsoft's new features to its system are unnecessary.

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It should be noted that only 20% of the professionals surveyed felt that some updates were useful in practice. 22% remained neutral. For them, these updates are neither useful a useful one.

This was discovered following a questionnaire published last month by a computer security and network consultant named Susan Bradley, she runs an online platform, for IT infrastructure administrators where they can discuss several topics related to their work.

It should also be noted that this is not the first time the computer security specialist has introduced this kind of survey to her colleagues. For example, in 2018, a similar survey showed that 70% of professionals surveyed found that feature updates provided by Microsoft on Windows were not really useful. 35% rarely found them useful. Only 12% felt that these updates with their usefulness and 18% had decided to remain neutral.

Microsoft has done its best to improve its Windows 10 updates and features. However, the majority of administrators are still not convinced of the usefulness of its new features. Because in 2020 only 4 people found these developments so useful.

For Susan Bradley, "It's clear that Microsoft needs to reconsider its upgrade process… and clarify its objectives." Apparently: "There is a mismatch between Microsoft's efforts and expectations – months of development and testing to produce features and features that customers are supposed to demand – and the responses of an overwhelming majority of customers. It administrators often simply shrug in response to Microsoft's announcements. ». An IT administrator interviewed noted: "I understand the concept of WaaS, and the ability to update the operating system without having to clean or reinstall it is a good concept. But it would be better to focus on useful features, such as improving the file explorer, having a Start menu that still works and having contextual (and useful) help, than proclaiming that the time has come to release a new update, with new useful features, or not." In the same vein, several other professionals interviewed took a rather harsh attitude for the deployment of new features on the part of Microsoft. "I don't know why Microsoft thinks some of these new features deserve time, including on its side," said another professional. Some see this as a waste of opportunity. "It's mostly about gadgets and eye powder," says an IT manager interviewed at the panel. He added: "There is a sense that no fundamental problems are being solved. While updates always lead here and there to new problems in the fundamental features. It seems at least that the editor scratches the subject a little – but without explanation." For her part, Susan Bradley will note: "Microsoft devotes most of its development to the delivery of these semi-annual versions of features… companies are not deploying them quickly enough to take advantage of them."

Obviously agree with the specialist, Greg Keizer, IDG NS will note: "Because companies that use Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education get 30 months of support for each fall update (the spring update only has 18 months of support), the most agile IT services can afford to skip multiple updates and refresh their PCs only once every two years. Ultimately, this means that businesses and their employees are exposed to all the new features of Windows 10. But not to the rhythm of Microsoft. Again, do these updates deserve the time Microsoft spends on them? Ms. Bradley's poll, as unsur scientific as it was, suggests that "no, they really don't deserve it."

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Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 computers are vulnerable since critical security flaws were discovered

The information was given by Microsoft earlier this week.

Apparently on Windows 10 versions, Windows 8. 1 and 7, there would be a fairly serious security flaw endangering the terminals. According to the American giant, there are possibilities that this security breach has already been exploited, by hackers at the time of talking. At the moment, no security patch has yet developed to fill the vulnerability.

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in Redmond's firm noted on its official page: "Microsoft aware of limited targeted attacks that can exploit vulnerabilities uncorrected in the Adobe Type Manager library and provides following instructions to reduce the risk to customers up to the top of the release of the security update, "

According to Microsoft's various explanations, the security breach would be due to an anomaly that would come from "a bug in the Adobe Type Manager library and a bug in the Windows Explorer's visualization pane. ». however the effects do not seem to be fully expandable. On the other hand, it could be that thanks to this security flaw, a hacker can run to remote malware from the moment the viewing tab is open. Some of the clues collected by Microsoft allowed it to deduce that some hackers have already taken advantage of the vulnerability. And that this may be the case now.

the Windows versions affected by the flaw are Windows 10 and all the others microsoft's operating system. It has also been noticed that the most impacted versions are:

– Windows 10

– Windows 8.1

– Windows RT 8.1

– Windows 7

– Windows Server 2012

– Windows Server 2016

– Windows Server 2019…

However all versions are affected by the security flaw. So many people wondered if Microsoft would produce a security patch for Windows 7 when we know that the American giant had decided to abandon its old system. We don't know anything about it, but what's for sure, Redmond's firm will soon be providing a security patch by April through the famous Patch Tuesday. "Microsoft is aware of this vulnerability and is trying to find a fix. Updates that fix security flaws in Microsoft software are usually released on the Update Tuesday, the second Tuesday of each month.

This fixed schedule allows our partners to plan their quality assurance and IT operations, as well as ensure the reliability and security of the Windows ecosystem for our customers. Versions of the operating system affected by this vulnerability are mentioned below. Check mitigation and workarounds for risk reduction instructions. ». Redmond's firm said on its page.

To protect itself while waiting for the security fix to come, Redmond's firm advises its users to disable certain features that affect the problem file explorer display.

On the Windows 10 version, here's how to disable these features:

1. Open Explorer

2. Click "Show"

3. Turn off the "Visualization Stream" and "Details" options

4. Return to file explorer

5. On the "Show" tab, go to "Options" and click "Change The Search and File Options"

6. Click "Show," "Advanced Settings," check the "Show" feature Always display icons" never use "miniatures"

7. Save your settings once the set is changed.

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