Whenever Microsoft releases updates for Windows, the company is always keen for as many people as possible to get the patch installed. But with this month's Patch Tuesday bug fixes, the company is encouraging Windows users even more than usual.
Referring to two Critical security issues and one Important one, all affecting TCP/IP, Microsoft says that "it is essential that customers apply Windows updates to address these vulnerabilities as soon as possible". The CVE-2021-24074, CVE-2021-24086 and CVE-2021-24094 vulnerabilities affect Windows 7 upwards.
Waiting for Microsoft to issue patches for bugs that have been discovered in its software can mean having to be very patient -- some updates just seem to take forever to appear. More than this, the bug fixes can introduce new problems of their own, so it's little wonder that third-party patching services such as 0patch have grown in popularity.
And once again, 0patch has managed to beat Microsoft in releasing a patch for a serious vulnerability. The company's latest patch addresses a local privilege escalation 0day in Windows Installer, and it's available well ahead of Microsoft's official fix.
In order to keep our wireless networks safe from intruders we are encouraged to change our default passwords, replacing them with long, impossible to guess choices. That’s great from a security point of view, but it can be nightmare if you forget or mislay them.
Thankfully, your devices will store the logins for all of the wireless networks you connect to -- including those for hotels, airports and coffee shops -- but it’s not obvious how to view this information.
Windows 7 may be rather long in the tooth, but there are still millions of people using it globally. And just because the operating system has been around for years, that does not mean all of the bugs and security issues have been ironed out; far from it, in fact.
Earlier this month a security researcher discovered a local privilege escalation vulnerability in both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. There's no indication that Microsoft will issue a patch even for organizations the paid for extended support, but the vast majority of Windows 7 users will be left vulnerable. Or at least that would be case if it wasn't for 0patch stepping up to the plate and making a micropatch available for free.
Windows 10 was not a surprise, nor was the fact that support was ending for Windows 7. Both home and Enterprise users were well informed of Windows 7's impending doom and given ample time to upgrade or buy new machines. Guess what happened? Smart people left Windows 7 before support ended while stupid people did not.
Look, I hate name-calling, but anyone still on Windows 7 is, in fact, stupid. OK, I suppose they could instead be lazy or indifferent, but ultimately, it is stupid behavior to run an unsupported operating system -- especially for a business. And that's why it is very disappointing to learn Google is extending Chrome support for Windows 7.
The Start menu has evolved hugely since it was first introduced in Windows 95. While many of the changes that have been introduced over the years have been welcomed, this is not the case for everyone.
You might well be using Windows 10, but you may yearn for the Start menu that was to be found in Windows 7. There's no need to hack your system or resort to using virtualization software to run an ancient operating system, you can get a Windows 7-style Start menu in Windows 10 -- you can even customize the Start button. Here's how.
First introduced in Windows 7, and still working just fine in Windows 10, God Mode is a hidden feature that displays all of the admin tools and control options in Microsoft's operating system, on a single screen. There are actually a number of different God Modes available which offer extra functionality. We explained how to unlock them all here.
If God Mode isn’t powerful enough for you, and you want even more options, then Extended GodMode is the answer.
Windows 10 is a good operating system, for the most part, but it’s not without its problems -- I covered just some of these here on the eve of its 5th birthday at the end of July. It seems every new update Microsoft rolls out these days introduces fresh annoyances. No wonder millions of people are still sticking with Windows 7, even though that OS is no longer supported.
For many people, Windows 10 is the operating system they have to use, but not the one they want to. With that in mind, it's not hard to see the appeal of this remastered Windows 7 2020 Edition.
Having already started to push the Chromium-based version of Edge to Windows 10 users, Microsoft is now doing the same for older versions of Windows.
With the KB4567409 update, Microsoft is bringing the new version of Edge not only to people who are still using Windows 8.1, but also those who are still on Windows 7 -- which is interesting because Windows 7 is no longer supported.
Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows 7 five months ago, giving users a pretty stark choice -- switch to Windows 10, or stick with an aging operating system that the software giant is no longer supporting.
While the more sensible choice would be to upgrade to Windows 10, there are plenty of people who have avoided doing so for various reasons, not least that they just prefer how Windows 7 does things -- no Cortana, no forced Bing integration, no invasive telemetry…
Last week, security researchers Alex Ionescu and Yarden Shafir published an analysis of a new Windows vulnerability that they named PrintDemon. The analysis included a proof-of-concept demonstration that worked on Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows.
PrintDemon, in a nutshell, is an elevation of privilege vulnerability that "allows arbitrary writing to the file system" upon successful exploitation.
Windows 7 and Windows 10 aren't bad operating systems. In fact, they are both quite good. Unfortunately, since Windows 7 is no longer supported, some of its users are stuck in a conundrum. They have to decide whether to use an unsupported Windows 7 or upgrade to Windows 10 that is full of telemetry and other "spying" that passes their information to Microsoft's servers.
Well, I am happy to say there is another option -- switch to Linux. Yes, modern Linux-based operating systems will be supported (unlike Windows 7) and most will run great on aging hardware (unlike Windows 10). Linux Lite is one of the best Linux distributions for Windows-switchers, as it is lightweight, modern, and familiar. Today, the first release candidate of Linux Lite 5.0 becomes available, and it is based on the bleeding-edge Ubuntu 20.04. It even comes with modern software, such as Linux kernel 5.4.0, Gimp 2.10.18, Thunderbird 68.7.0, Firefox 75.0, and VLC 3.0.9.
Microsoft has warned that all versions of Windows feature critical unpatched RCE vulnerabilities. The security problems stem from the Windows Adobe Type Manager Library, and relates to the parsing of fonts.
The company is working on a fix which will be released when the next Patch Tuesday rolls around -- but for Windows 7 users, despite the critical nature of the bugs, it is only those who have paid for an ESU licence that will get the security update. There is a bit of good news, however. While the vulnerability is yet to be patched, there is a workaround available that will do the job for the time being.
Microsoft's Windows 10 is hardly a new operating system anymore. In fact, it has been available to the public for damn near five years now. And yet, despite existing half a decade, it still feels very incomplete. The Control Panel still hasn't been merged with Settings, for instance, and the user interface still feels like a work in progress. Hey, at least those terrible Live Tiles are seemingly on their way out. Ultimately, using Windows 10 feels like you are in a constant state of beta. It shouldn't be this way -- Microsoft's operating system should be much better than it is. After all, the company essentially has unlimited resources.
Thankfully, Linux is here to save the day. Yes, thanks to Linux distributions, computer users can experience a sane operating system -- one that actually makes sense. There are countless great Linux-based operating systems, such as MX Linux 19.1, Netrunner 20.01, elementary OS 5.1.2, and Manjaro 19.0. One of my favorite Linux distros -- particularly for those switching from Windows -- is the excellent Zorin OS. Why? Well, it is very secure, looks great, offers a familiar user experience, and comes with some great free software. Today, a new version of that operating system -- Zorin OS 15.2 -- becomes available for download, and it looks awesome.
With Windows 7 now at its end-of-life, the need to update outdated systems is of the utmost importance. This is especially true for Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Control System (ICS) environments, as vulnerabilities in these older systems can lead to attacks that result in costly downtime, catastrophic safety and environmental incidents, and theft of sensitive intellectual property.
We spoke to Phil Neray, vice president of industrial cybersecurity at CyberX, to find out more about why updating these systems is so imperative and to hear some recommendations about how organizations can go about doing so.