Microsoft’s collaborative Whiteboard app is coming to Windows 10, iOS, and the web

Microsoft’s collaborative Whiteboard app is coming to Windows 10, iOS, and the web

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Microsoft is launching its collaborative Whiteboard app on Windows 10 today, and promising versions for iOS and the web soon. The app has been in preview for Windows 10 for the past seven months, and it’s now being made widely available on PCs alongside a new version for the web and iOS devices. Whiteboard lets users make notes on a virtual whiteboard that can be shared and edited with others in real time across devices.

DTPHX donates PCs for phx-IT to pass on to other non-profits

 Upgrading these workstations so we can pass them on to non-profits.

Upgrading these workstations so we can pass them on to non-profits.

DTPHX is one of our awesome partners located in the heart of downtown Phoenix (Like us!). After a recent upgrade, DTPHX donated workstations for us to upgrade and roll back out as donations to non-profits around the valley!

We (along with our other non-profit partners) want to take a moment to thank DTPHX for their generous donation to the non-profit community. Click here to learn more about DTPHX: http://dtphx.org

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FBI tells router users to reboot now to kill malware infecting 500k devices

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The FBI is advising users of consumer-grade routers and network-attached storage devices to reboot them as soon as possible to counter Russian-engineered malware that has infected hundreds of thousands devices.

Researchers from Cisco’s Talos security team first disclosed the existence of the malware on Wednesday. The detailed report said the malware infected more than 500,000 devices made by Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, QNAP, and TP-Link. Known as VPNFilter, the malware allowed attackers to collect communications, launch attacks on others, and permanently destroy the devices with a single command. The report said the malware was developed by hackers working for an advanced nation, possibly Russia, and advised users of affected router models to perform a factory reset, or at a minimum to reboot.

Later in the day, The Daily Beast reported that VPNFilter was indeed developed by a Russian hacking group, one known by a variety of names, including Sofacy, Fancy Bear, APT 28, and Pawn Storm. The Daily Beast also said the FBI had seized an Internet domain VPNFilter used as a backup means to deliver later stages of the malware to devices that were already infected with the initial stage 1. The seizure meant that the primary and secondary means to deliver stages 2 and 3 had been dismantled, leaving only a third fallback, which relied on attackers sending special packets to each infected device.

Limited persistence

The redundant mechanisms for delivering the later stages address a fundamental shortcoming in VPNFilter—stages 2 and 3 can’t survive a reboot, meaning they are wiped clean as soon as a device is restarted. Instead, only stage 1 remains. Presumably, once an infected device reboots, stage 1 will cause it to reach out to the recently seized ToKnowAll.com address. The FBI’s advice to reboot small office and home office routers and NAS devices capitalizes on this limitation. In a statement published Friday, FBI officials suggested that users of all consumer-grade routers, not just those known to be vulnerable to VPNFilter, protect themselves. The officials wrote:

The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices. Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware.

In a statment also published Friday, Justice Department officials wrote:

Owners of SOHO and NAS devices that may be infected should reboot their devices as soon as possible, temporarily eliminating the second stage malware and causing the first stage malware on their device to call out for instructions. Although devices will remain vulnerable to reinfection with the second stage malware while connected to the Internet, these efforts maximize opportunities to identify and remediate the infection worldwide in the time available before Sofacy actors learn of the vulnerability in their command-and-control infrastructure.

The US Department of Homeland Security has also issued a statement advising that "all SOHO router owners power cycle (reboot) their devices to temporarily disrupt the malware."

As noted in the statements, rebooting serves the objectives of (1) temporarily preventing infected devices from running the stages that collect data and other advanced attacks and (2) helping FBI officials to track who was infected. Friday’s statement said the FBI is working with the non-profit Shadow Foundation to disseminate the IP addresses of infected devices to ISPs and foreign authorities to notify end users.

Authorities and researchers still don’t know for certain how compromised devices are initially infected. They suspect the attackers exploited known vulnerabilities and default passwords that end users had yet to patch or change. That uncertainty is likely driving the advice in the FBI statement that all router and NAS users reboot, rather than only users of the 14 models known to be affected by VPNFilter, which are:

  • Linksys E1200

  • Linksys E2500

  • Linksys WRVS4400N

  • Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072

  • Netgear DGN2200

  • Netgear R6400

  • Netgear R7000

  • Netgear R8000

  • Netgear WNR1000

  • Netgear WNR2000

  • QNAP TS251

  • QNAP TS439 Pro

  • Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software

  • TP-Link R600VPN

The advice to reboot, update, change default passwords, and disable remote administration is sound and in most cases requires no more than 15 minutes. Of course, a more effective measure is to follow the advice Cisco gave Wednesday to users of affected devices and perform a factory reset, which will permanently remove all of the malware, including stage 1. This generally involves using a paper clip or thumb tack to hold down a button on the back of the device for 5 seconds. The reset will remove any configuration settings stored on the device, so users will have to restore those settings once the device initially reboots. (It's never a bad idea to disable UPnP when practical, but that protection appears to have no effect on VPNFilter.)

There's no easy way to know if a router has been infected by VPNFilter. For more advanced users, Cisco provided detailed indicators of compromise in Wednesday's report, along with firewall rules that can be used to protect devices.

Aero-Zone Europe Project

 Aero-Zone's newest location in Shannon, Ireland.

Aero-Zone's newest location in Shannon, Ireland.

Another successful project at Aero-Zone’s newest location in Shannon, Ireland.

We want to thank everybody at Aero-Zone Europe for the hospitality, showing us around County Clare, and for directing us to the best spots to grab a pint. We are proud to have them as clients and we are looking forward to our next visit!

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CBR and phx-IT

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phx-IT is proud to announce our newest partnership with Creative Business Resources! We’re excited to add them to our growing list of clients, and are thrilled to find them savings on the latest IT solutions while offering stellar personable on-site service. You can learn more about CBR at their website: cbri.com 

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Huge security flaw lets anyone log into a High Sierra Mac

Huge security flaw lets anyone log into a High Sierra Mac

Wow, this is a bad one. On Macs running the latest version of High Sierra — 10.13.1 (17B48) — it appears that anyone can log in just by putting “root” in the user name field. This is a huge, huge problem. Apple will fix it probably within hours, but holy moly. Do not leave your Mac unattended until this is resolved.

How to Switch Browsers Without Losing Everything

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Impressed with the new spit and polish of Firefox Quantum? Or ready to return to the warm embrace of Safari? We now carry so much of our digital lives around with us in our browsers that switching isn’t all that straightforward—here’s how to make sure you take everything with you when you jump from one to the other.

We’re going to arrange this guide by the name of the browser you’re switching to, but to a large extent, you’re restricted by the browser you’re switching from—some applications make more data available for export than others.

Switching to Google Chrome

 Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

Open up the Chrome Settings tab and click the Import bookmarks and settings link that’s prominently displayed, and you can then choose which browser you’re moving from. Hats off to Firefox, which allows you to transfer browsing history, bookmarks, saved passwords, search engines, and even autofill data.

If you’re (finally!) moving over from the creaking Internet Explorer, then you can move browsing history, bookmarks, and passwords. As far as the newer Microsoft Edge goes though, all you can transfer is bookmarks. Safari, like Microsoft Edge, only allows bookmarks to be moved over.

There’s no option for Opera unfortunately—if you want to carry your bookmarks over, and that’s all you can do, you need to choose Menu, Bookmarks, and Export Bookmarks in Opera first, and then select Bookmarks HTML File in the import window in Chrome.


Switching to Opera

 Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

Find the Import bookmarks and settings button under the Basic heading on the Settings tab. Again, you get a choice of browsers, with Chrome and Firefox being the most cooperative. They each allow you to transfer browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, and even stored cookies.

Internet Explorer allows the same four types of data to be moved to your new Opera browser, but Microsoft Edge and Safari restrict you to just bookmarks. Pick your browser from the drop-down menu at the top, then choose your data, then click Import to confirm.


Switching to Microsoft Edge

 Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

If Microsoft’s latest attempt at a web browser has caught your eye, you’ll find the data transfer options by opening the app menu then choosing Settings and Import from another browser. You’ll be met with three options, plus the option to import (or export) bookmarks as an HTML file, if you need to.

Internet Explorer is the friendliest of the other browsers, allowing bookmarks, browsing history, cookies, passwords, form data, and settings to be imported into Edge—just about everything then. Microsoft obviously wants to make the transition as easy as possible.

For Chrome, that selection shrinks to bookmarks, browsing history, cookies, passwords, and settings (no form data), though you can’t pick and choose, and on Firefox you can only move over bookmarks. If you’re switching from Opera, you need to export your bookmarks as an HTML file, then import them into Edge—that’s all you can move over.


Switching to Firefox

 Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

Switching to Firefox

Firefox Quantum has a lot going for it and if you want to move over all your webby possessions to Mozilla’s browser then you need to click the new Library button on the toolbar (it looks like a shelf of books), then Bookmarks and Show All Bookmarks. At the top of the new dialog box, choose Import and Backup, then Import Data from Another Browser.

You can then make your pick of browsers. Chrome allows cookies, browsing history, saved passwords, and bookmarks to be moved across, as do Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. We couldn’t actually get passwords and browsing history to move across from Edge, despite the option being there, so it’s possibly still a work in progress...

Again, Safari only allows bookmarks to be moved across, and in the case of Opera you you can only move over bookmarks: you need to manually export them as we described above, before choosing Import Bookmarks from HTML in the Import and Backup menu in Firefox.


Switching to Safari

 Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

If you’re heading back to Safari on macOS for whatever reason, you’ll find the browser data import option by going to File, Import From, and choosing Chrome or Firefox from the list. Both options let you move over bookmarks and browsing history, but with Firefox you can transfer saved passwords too.

On the same Import From submenu there’s a Bookmarks HTML File option, which you can use to import bookmarks from Opera or any other browser (like Microsoft Edge on Windows). These imported favorites appear in their own “Imported” folder in your Safari bookmarks.


Plugging the Gaps

If your new browser of choice can’t natively transfer all the data from your old browser, then your options are very much on the limited side. You may well just have to bite the bullet and leave your browsing history or your saved passwords behind, if they’re not covered in the options we’ve mentioned above.

You can’t get any browser extensions to plug the gaps, for example—even when export tools are available, like this history exporter for Chrome, you’re not outputting data in a way that other browsers can then import.

However, there are tools that can help you next time you bail from one browser to another: If you want to future-proof your passwords against any browser switching you might want to do in the years ahead, install a dedicated password manager like 1Password, Keeper Security, Dashlane, or LastPass.

These apps work across multiple browsers and multiple platforms, so your passwords are saved independently of your browser, and can move with you. The likes of Dashlane and LastPass can store other form data too, like addresses and payment information.

Finally, if you go all-in with Google, you can take your passwords and browsing history with you from browser to browser, to a certain extent: Your saved passwords are always available at https://passwords.google.com, and your browsing history is at https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity, as long as you were signed into Google when doing the searching.

These web apps of Google’s won’t integrate seamlessly into your new browser, but they can act as a stopgap until your new software is completing your URLs and filling out your login details like you need it to.

Bill Gates buys chunk of land in West Phoenix to build 'Smart City'

PHOENIX - One of Bill Gates' investment firms has spent $80 million to kickstart the development of a brand-new community in the far West Valley.

The large plot of land is about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix off I-10 near Tonopah.

The proposed community, made up of close to 25,000 acres of land, is called Belmont. According to Belmont Partners, a real estate investment group based in Arizona, the goal is to turn the land into its own "smart city." 

"Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs," Belmont Partners said in a news release.

Ronald Schott, executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, says the land Gates' company purchased is in a good spot, in part due to the proposed I-11 freeway, which would run right through Belmont and connect to Las Vegas.

 Philanthropist and inventor Bill Gates paid $80 million to kick start a a smart city.

Philanthropist and inventor Bill Gates paid $80 million to kick start a a smart city.

"Bill Gates is known for innovation and those kind of things and I think he picked the right place. He's coming to Arizona," Schott said.

According to Belmont Partners, 3,800 acres will go towards office, commercial and retail space. Then, 470 acres will be used for public schools. Plus, there's room for 80,000 residential units.

"Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model," said Belmont Properties.

"Finally Arizona's getting recognized for being a place for innovation," added Schott.

So far, there's no word on when construction will start.

Boeing Just Took a Major Step Toward Autonomous Electric Flights

 XV-24A LightningStrike Vertical Take-Off/Landing Experimental Plane

XV-24A LightningStrike Vertical Take-Off/Landing Experimental Plane

Aeronautics giant Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a company focused on the development of autonomous electric aircraft. The move confirms Boeing’s commitment to bringing their first self-flying commercial passenger vehicle to reality.

Aurora won a significant amount of acclaim in 2016 when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded them a contract to help build the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) X-Plane. Uber also enlisted Aurora Flight Sciences’ help on their Uber Elevate flying taxi project.

 

 

The acquisition will bring together the expertise of a proven autonomous electric aircraft maker that has built and operated more than 30 pilot-free vehicles in their 20 years of existence and the financial muscle of Boeing, which has been invested in aeronautics for more than a century. This melding could very well lead to the first fully autonomous electric aircraft.

The development of flying vehicles is likely to continue trending upward, especially now that Boeing has been announced as the sponsorship of a $2 million contest to deliver the next generation of flying machines. Airbus, another aviation giant, is also working on VTOL taxis, which could be flying high as soon as next year, so we shouldn’t have long to wait before personal transportation gets a major lift skyward.

MEET THE RUSSIAN STARTUP THAT’S LAUNCHING A GIANT ‘SPACE BILLBOARD’ INTO ORBIT

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There’s a saying among Russian advertisers: “the best idea is to rent the Moon.” Fortunately, the Moon isn’t for sale, but space itself is up for grabs, so companies and amateurs are now launching dozens of small satellites (smallsats) into orbit at a time.

You can’t see most of these satellites from Earth, but for the next month a smallsat developed by students at the Moscow Polytechnic University may be visible to the naked eye. In fact, if all goes well for the team behind the project, it will be the second brightest object in the night sky, second only to the Moon.

It’s an ambitious, largely crowdfunded endeavor led by a Russian advertising agency 12.digital that says its goals are to inspire interest in space, test science instruments, and perform a bit of advertising for its biggest investor.

“The pyramid is like a parachute for satellites,” Panov said. “It’s a small system and if a satellite finishes working, you can press the button on Earth and the parachute will open and cause the satellite to go down to the atmosphere much faster.”

Mayak received a free ride aboard the Soyuz rocket, thanks to support from Russia’s Roscosmos space program. Roughly 60 percent of the project was supported through crowdfunding, with the rest coming from a sponsorship with a banking startup appropriately named RocketBank. For its sponsorship, RocketBank will brand Mayak as the “Cash Back Star” for its 200,000 users. However, 12.digital insists it’s not just about the advertising.

“The pyramid is like a parachute for satellites”

“We’re an ad agency but we realized we’re interested in some technologies and we met some young engineers and decided to work on this project together,” says 12.digital partner, Nik Ershov. 

“We don’t want to move advertisement to space,” he added. “We understand that in the future some companies will use space as an area that people can’t avoid. But we’re scared about that. We don’t want to think in that context.”

Nonetheless, it’s tough to deny the potential for space advertising and the Mayak stands as an example of how companies may capitalize on the open space above us.

The satellite will orbit Earth about sixteen times every day, Ershov estimated, and should be visible from regions around the globe. The team has also released an app to help users track the Mayak in real time.

ATARI’S LATEST RELEASE ISN’T A CONSOLE OR A GAME — IT’S A RIDICULOUSLY HIGH-TECH HAT

Atari is on a roll lately. The company made a splash at E3 last month with the announcement of its new Ataribox connected console, and now the classic brand is entering the wearables market with perhaps its oddest product yet: Atari Speakerhats, powered by Audiowear technology.

The first three baseball cap styles will debut at San Diego Comic Con this week, and special edition Blade Runner 2049 Atari Speakerhats will be available in conjunction with the much-anticipated sequel’s release this fall, along with other wearables.

Michael Arzt, COO of the new Atari Connect division of the iconic brand, told Digital Trends that a variety of these hats will launch later this year. The ones debuting at Comic Con include a New Era-style baseball cap with the name “Atari” on the front, available in blue and black, as well as a black-on-black verision featuring the company’s “Mt. Fuji” symbol.

“…a cool and badass hat that will look like it belongs in the 2049 world”

“In addition to the Blade Runner limited edition we’re doing, which is a cool and badass hat that will look like it belongs in the 2049 world, we have a bunch of others we’re involved with,” Arzt said. “We’ll have hats based on some classic Atari franchises.”

The Audiowear Speakerhat is designed to be ultra-thin and lightweight, with all the fancy tech seamlessly integrated into the form factor of a cap, an Audiowear representative told Digital Trends. Under the hood you’ll find a set of proprietary high-fidelity stereo speakers, a microphone, and a rechargeable lithium ion battery to keep it all running.

The hat can also connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device (smartphone, tablet, personal computer, etc.) to play music or other audio, initiate or accept phone calls, receive voice commands, and more. Audiowear’s Social Synchronous Broadcast technology will allow multiple Speakerhat users to simultaneously listen to a single audio stream in perfect sync, which Arzt said provides a fundamentally new social audio experience. “Gamers can hear the same thing at the same time and also communicate and hear each other through the hats,” Arzt added.

But of course, there’s still some work to be done. Audiowear says the hats are a work-in-progress, and the company plans to continuously improve the design and engineering until the technology is completely invisible.

While no official release date has been revealed yet, Atari is offering fans a chance to win one of the hats (link) and participate in the beta testing phase.

Arzt said Comic Con was chosen for the global debut of these Speakerhats because the Atari brand is loved by so many creators of pop culture, including TV producers, filmmakers, and musicians.

“We’re constantly getting approached to have our brand and games involved in projects,” Arzt said. “The Atari brand has a great nostalgic value for people who’ve grown up with it. Everyone has a favorite Atari story of opening a console under the Christmas tree or friends getting together to play games in the family room. Today we have the hipsters in SoHo wearing the faded Atari t-shirt. We’ve transcended the gaming-only positioning and aim to be a friendlier digital lifestyle brand.”

This is all just part of the company’s larger comeback plan.

This is all just part of the company’s larger comeback plan. In addition to the Speakerhats, there’s the At Games collection of Atari Flashback plug-and-play consoles with up-rezzed versions of Atari 2600 and 5200 games packed in. A new collection featuring Activision classics is heading to retail this fall. Atari classic games from Centipede to the more recent Rollercoaster Tycoon are making their mark on mobile devices.

“And then spinning off that is a very robust licensing campaign with everything from t-shirts and hats to plastic centipedes and classic posters,” Arzt explained. “That carries a tremendous chunk of the business forward because there’s a lot of love for the franchises and the brand.”

There’s also movement in Hollywood for Atari’s library of over 200 games. Media Fusion is developing “Game On,” a reality game show challenging contestants to navigate life-sized sets based on classic Atari Games in South Africa. They’re also turning “Codebreakers” into a TV series with Discovery in Europe.

“We have a number of projects in development with producers looking to turn Missile Command or Centipede into movies or TV shows,” Arzt said. “We’re also talking to a number of different partners about new games and new things we can do in that space, where we might do a co-branded iteration of our classic games. Some of those deals are not announced yet.”

And the last piece of the business is the hardware.

“Going back 45 years, Atari was not just a game and software developer but also a hardware manufacturer with arcade games, consoles and computers,” Arzt explained. “That’s been left behind for a long time. The decision was made to reinvigorate that and get back into hardware. The Ataribox project we teased prior to E3 got a tremendous amount of attention, and when people start seeing more of that they’ll be very excited.”

Arzt also said that Atari isn’t going to compete directly with the established giants of the video game business like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

“The hardware philosophy I’m building is this ‘connected lifestyle’ concept,” he explained. “We don’t need to be the bleeding-edge hardware guys. With the Ataribox, we’ll play a bit more casual in keeping with the types of franchises we have. It’s more about being accessible and presenting products that have that fun element to them.”

Atari is also developing additional wearables, as well as some connected home products that will link to the upcoming Ataribox and other entertainment devices. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing a lot more stuff from Atari rolling out over the next year, as the once-giant video game company reinvents itself with new IOT devices and wearables alongside connected consoles, fashion, and merchandise.

Sony and IBM stuffed 330TB into a palm-sized cartridge

While you weren’t looking, the storage industry has been working on some pretty crazy stuff. Sony announced that it teamed up with IBM Research in Zurich to create a new magnetic tape that can fit 330TB of files in a single palm-sized cartridge that typically could hold only about 15TB.

For reference, that’s enough to store 3,379 compressed copies of all of Wikipedia on a single cartridge. You’ve probably guessed that this isn’t designed for home users; it’ll be deployed in servers and data centers when it becomes available.

The new tape features a recording density of 201 Gb per square inch – that’s about 20 times greater than the current crop. To achieve this, the team figured out a new way to reduce the gap between the magnetic tape and magnetic head, and also developed a lubricant to help things move smoothly and improve read/write speeds.

The data is stored in a sputtered manner across multiple layers of nano particles to extend tape length. IBM Research notes that this breakthrough means that it’ll be possible to double tape storage capacity every two years for a decade to come. With our storage needs always on the rise, we could certainly use more innovations like this.

 

'CopyCat’ Malware in its Peak Contaminated 14m Android Devices

An Android malware infected and proliferated so effectively that when its attacks were the maximum during April-May 2016, it contaminated 14m devices as well as rooted 8m of them.

According to security researchers, the malware sample called 'CopyCat' aided in earning $1.5m to its creators, chiefly via ad fraud in April-May 2016.

Security Investigators from the Mobile Research Team of Check Point, after detecting the malware during March 2017, assert that CopyCat primarily contaminated Android owners within the countries of Southeast Asia; however, Android owners numbering 280,000-and-more in USA too were contaminated. As per research, Asia was attributed with 55% of CopyCat contaminations, while Africa with 18% ranked No.2 on the list of countries with most contaminated Android gadgets.

CopyCat transmits monetary earnings to hackers, the income acquired from pop-up ads of applications rather than to app developers. In a computation by Check Point, a maximum of 4.9m fake applications got planted onto infected devices, generating a maximum of 100m advertisements. Within sixty days, CopyCat accounted an income of $1.5m-and-more that it transmitted to cyber-criminals.

Check Point associates the assault with MobiSummer, an app developer and tech startup in China. Now, it isn't clear whether the company had a direct involvement else had been victimized itself. Wvtm13.com posted this, July 6, 2017.

Check Point further states that CopyCat understandably proliferated via phishing scams as well as repackaged widely-used applications with malicious software when end-users took them down from intermediate application repositories. Once CopyCat contaminates an Android gadget, the malware roots the gadget for acquiring complete hold over it. It subsequently, thrusts Zygote an app that aids the process of launching using code for starting loading of illegitimate applications onto the gadget.

For gaining insights, Check Point's researchers retrieved data via accessing CopyCat's command-and-control servers. Reportedly, malevolent advertisements got exhibited on 3.8 million contaminated devices, whilst 4.4 million contaminated devices got utilized for "stealing credit" in connection with Google's Play Store referrals.

After its peak in 2016, CopyCat attacks slowed pace when Google blacklisted the malicious program on Play Project; however, according to Check Point, contaminated gadgets are likely yet under the program's impact.

Source: Spamfighter


With malware attacks becoming increasingly prevalent, phx-IT has your back. We will keep your business and your business data safe, without breaking the bank. Let us show you why our service is the best in the Valley, Contact Us for more information.  Josh Bowe, Brand Champion at phx-IT

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London Met Police’s 18,000 Windows XP PCs is a disaster waiting to happen

According to MSPoweruser, the London Metropolitan Police are still using around 18,000 PCs powered by Windows XP, an operating system Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014. What's more is that the police force is upgrading its PCs from Windows XP to Windows 8.1, instead of Windows 10. Only 8 PCs at the police force are reportedly powered by the "most secure version of Windows right now." From the report:

From the looks of things, the London Metropolitan Police will continue to upgrade their systems to Windows 8.1 at the moment. Windows 8.1 is still being supported by Microsoft, although the mainstream support for the OS is set to end on the 9 January 2018. Microsoft will offer extended support for the OS until 2023, which means Windows 8.1 is still a much more secure alternative for the Metropolitan Police than Windows XP. Windows 10 still would have been the best option in terms of security, however. Microsoft is releasing security updates for the OS every month, and the new advanced security features like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection makes PCs running Windows a whole lot more secure.

The spokesman of the Conservative London Assembly said in a statement: "The Met is working towards upgrading its software, but in its current state it's like a fish swimming in a pool of sharks. It is vital the Met is given the resources to step up its upgrade timeline before we see another cyber-attack with nationwide security implications."

Source: https://mspoweruser.com/london-metropolitan-polices-18000-windows-xp-pcs-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

If you're still running Windows xp or 7 in your workplace, please contact us. We can help you work on a plan within your budget to upgrade.  (phx-IT)

Microsoft is using AI to combat Malware:

Windows Fall Creators Update will come with a hefty serving of security upgrades, made timely by the increasingly rampant cyberattacks targeting the platform these days. In a blog post, Microsoft has revealed how the upcoming major update will level up Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a Win 10 enterprise service that flags early signs of infection. According to CNET, Windows enterprise director Rob Lefferts said the upgrade will use data from Redmond's cloud-based services to create an AI anti-virus that will make ATP much better at preventing cyberattacks.

One of the AI's features is the ability to instantly pick up the presence of a previously unknown malware on a computer. Microsoft can then quickly quarantine the malware in the cloud and create a signature for its identity that can be used to protect other computers from it. Lefferts says about 96 percent of cyberattacks use new malware, so this feature sounds especially helpful. It could certainly change the way Microsoft rolls out defense measures, since it currently takes researchers hours to conjure one up. By the time they're done, the malware might have already made its way to more computers.

While ATP's new security features will initially only be available to enterprise customers, CNET says Microsoft has plans to roll them out to ordinary users. In addition, the company wants ATP to support "more platforms beyond Windows" and has begun working to make that happen. Microsoft will release Fall Creators' preview between September and October, so these features (and more) will start hitting some businesses' and companies' PCs around that time.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/microsoft-windows-fall-creators-update-security/