WikiLeaks is at it again with their "Vault 7" releases. This time part of the dump features a nice little took kit for continued exploitation of some Linux systems. The tool kit is called OutlawCountry and is, to be perfectly honest, not much more than a remote management, monitoring and exfiltration tool. It is intended to run in the background on a system after a vulnerability has been exploited to allow the payload to be pushed. It looks very similar to a tool that the NSA used for years and has now become the commercial product Kaseya.
These days it is not unheard of for something as simple as a printer to have all sorts of bells and whistles. You can find wireless, remote file access, remote (web) printing and more. These devices also have very advanced controls that are often accessible through a web interface. All of this technology can be had for very little money making advanced printers a common thing in the market. The downside? Well there is also very little security in these products. Walking through a business the other day with my WiFi sniffer on I found multiple, unprotected wireless networks screaming at me to join. Without exception these were all printers connected to the company’s network. All easy prey if I was up to no good.
All good things must come to an end. In April of 2013 we published an article that Apple and their iOS based devices would begin to slide in 2016. It was in response to a survey/analysis claiming that Apple would reclaim the crown from Google by 2016 and dominate through 2018. For some reason the technical and financial press were jumping at the announcement for Windows phone 8.x. The fact that Windows phone held a single digit market share at the time did not seem to matter to them.
Over the course of its development there has been a lot to like about Windows 10. There seems to be a good blend of the traditional Windows desktop with some of the touch-centric features that Microsoft tried to force in Windows 8. You are also getting more than a few performance improvements including DX12. If you have not heard about all of the goodness in DX12 you are in for quite a pleasant surprise. However, despite all of the good there is in Windows 10 there seems to be a group at Microsoft that have still not learned lessons from the past.
Over the weekend there was a lot of talk about how Windows in particular is vulnerable to a flaw that is linked to SMB. This flaw could allow someone to grab user information by forcing a redirect to a malicious server using the SMB protocol. The way it works is pretty simple; if you give someone a URL that begins with the work “file” then Windows (and some other systems) will think that you want to use SMB to connect to a file share. If the server that the link (URL) points to uses even basic authentication then you can try and tempt a user to put in their own credentials and grab them during the exchange.
So, remember that comment Microsoft made about upgrading non-genuine version of Windows 7 and 8.x to Windows 10? Well we finally have some more information on that. Sadly the new information causes more confusion than it clears up. According to Microsoft the non-genuine upgrades will “not be supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner”. This is interesting as we do not know of any pirate that has ever gone to Microsoft or a trusted partner for help with their illegal copy of Windows.
Microsoft is making a bold move with Windows 10 and we are not just talking about a redesign of the OS here. It seems that they would really like people to move from Windows 7 and 8.x to Windows 10. To entice you they are offering free upgrades to anyone with a qualifying system. What makes things even more interesting is that there is talk that the upgrade will even be available to non-genuine versions of Windows. This last bit is very much out of pattern for Microsoft, but we have a pretty good idea of why they are doing it.
Despite a valiant attempt to label P2P transfers and BitTorrent as the devil Microsoft and others are looking to move this direction for updates and other services. In the latest build of Windows 10 the new P2P updating mechanism was found hiding out as an option in the code. Fortunately Microsoft does give you a few options when it comes to this new feature.
As the world gets all excited about some of the new “features” in Windows 10 there are some in the press (and consumers) that are less than thrilled about them. We are talking about Cortana and some of the predictive typing tools and features that Microsoft has embedded and how they really work. On the surface the concept of predictive text and searches is a pretty neat idea. After you type something in, or search for a topic your system will build a small database of information to help you find those things again.
I do not know if it just me or if there is something else happening, but there seems to be a lot of “long awaited” games getting the axe because they are just not good enough. The latest in the recent string of titles is Prey 2. Although this one will come as no surprise considering the history of problems with the game and comments made from publishers and developers, it is still interesting considering some of the other projects that have been cut suddenly.