Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Patch for Security Flaw That Google Revealed

Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Patch for Security Flaw That Google RevealedMicrosoft Issues Windows 10 Patch for Security Flaw That Google Revealed
Patch is part of monthly cumulative update for Windows
Microsoft Edge users on Windows 10 Anniversary Update already covered
Microsoft identified Strontium as group that were targeting users
Microsoft has issued a patch for the critical Windows 10 system vulnerability brought to light by Google last week, it said in its security bulletin announcement on Tuesday. The Redmond-based software giant had expressed its displeasure with the disclosure by the search giant, which had cited the bug’s active targeting as its reasoning for going public.

The fix is available as part of Windows’ monthly updates. Microsoft claimed the vulnerability did not affect anyone using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and any attacks could also be detected using Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. For everyone else, hackers who manage to successfully exploit the vulnerability “could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights”.

(Also see: Microsoft Says Russia-Linked Hackers Exploiting Google-Discovered Windows Flaw)
After Google’s Threat Analysis Group reported their findings, Microsoft traced the activity to a hacker group it calls Strontium, which mostly dabbles in “low-volume spear-phishing”. According to Microsoft, Strontium has been linked with more zero-day exploits to their name than any other group in 2016. The group mostly targets government agencies, diplomatic institutions, and military organisations, along with defence contractors and public policy research institutes.
And owing to the risk involved, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group VP Terry Myerson believes coordinated vulnerability disclosure is better for customers. “Google’s decision to disclose these vulnerabilities before patches are broadly available and tested is disappointing, and puts customers at increased risk,” he added.

Now that Microsoft has a patch out, you should check the updates section to ensure you’re in the clear. And if you’re yet to update Adobe Flash, get on that pronto.

Tags: Google, Microsoft, Windows 10


Microsoft Forces Windows Defender on Users, Disables Third-Party Security Apps: Kaspersky

Microsoft Forces Windows Defender on Users, Disables Third-Party Security Apps: Kaspersky

Microsoft Forces Windows Defender on Users, Disables Third-Party Security Apps: Kaspersky
Kaspersky alleges Microsoft to force its own Windows Defender on users
Russia’s FAS has reportedly opened an investigation into Microsoft
Microsoft is yet to respond to the claims made by Kaspersky
Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has reportedly opened an investigation into Microsoft on receiving a complaint from Internet security company, Kaspersky Lab. Microsoft is alleged to force its own Windows Defender on Windows 10 users while disabling third-party security software.

According to the security company, Microsoft is using its dominating position in the market of operating systems to give an upper hand to its own products over others. “The company is foisting its Defender on the user, which isn’t beneficial from the point of view of protection of a computer against cyber-attacks. The company is also creating obstacles for companies to access the market, and infringes upon the interests of independent developers of security products,” wrote Eugene Kaspersky in a blog post.

ZDNet points out that Microsoft is said to violating Part 1 Article 10 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” which states, “the actions (omission to act) of an economic unit occupying a dominant position which result or can result in barring, restricting or eliminating competition and (or) infringe upon the interests of other persons shall be prohibited.”
Microsoft has been also alleged to “automatically and without any warning deactivate” the already installed security software on the system. “When you upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft automatically and without any warning deactivates all ‘incompatible’ security software and in its place installs… you guessed it – its own Defender antivirus,” added Kaspersky in his post.
Further adding, the blog post gave several examples how Microsoft is pushing its users to use Windows Defender instead of third-party software.

Kaspersky adds that Microsoft has limited the possibility of “independent developers” to warn users about their licenses expiring in the first three days after expiration. “Actually, a warning is there, but it’s buried in a Windows Security Center notification, which hardly ever gets read,” notes the blog. Unfortunately, Microsoft is yet to respond to the claims made by Kaspersky.

In a statement, Deputy Head of FAS Anatoly Golomolzin (via SoftPedia) said, “Since Microsoft itself develops antivirus software – Windows Defender that switches on automatically if third-party software fails to adapt to Windows 10 in due time, such actions lead to unreasonable advantages for Microsoft on the software market. Our task is to ensure equal conditions for all participants on this market.”

Tags: Microsoft, Kaspersky, Security, Windows, Windows 10


Nokia Unveils Long Awaited Windows Tablet

nokia lumia 25200

Nokia’s bigger-screen-is-better mentality isn’t limited to just its new Lumia smartphone/phablets. Oh no. In fact, the long awaited Nokia Lumia 2520 boasts a 10.1-inch full HD screen.

It also runs Windows 8.1 RT, is loaded with Microsoft Office and has a price tag of $499. So it may be another viable alternative to the 9.7-inch iPhone Air for small business owners who prefer a Windows operating system and Microsoft tools on their mobile device.

A hands on overview from The Verge shows more of the device’s features:

The video shows a keyboard cover that, when opened up and magnetically slid into place, gives the Lumia 2520 a quasi-laptop look. (An optional power keyboard and stand are available for an additional $149 and add a potential five extra hours of battery life.) When closed, the cover wraps around the device protectively like a book.

A unibody design and Corning’s Gorilla Glass on the screen further protect the device, making it look like a rugged travel companion.

Nokia Lumia 2520: Other Features

Other features mentioned by Nokia when unveiling the Lumia 2520 at Nokia World last week in Abu Dhabi included a 6.7MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera for video calls. Photos taken with the front facing camera are stored directly to Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

The company also says the new device differs from 85 percent of 10-inch tablets on the market in offering 4G LTE connectivity instead of being a WiFi-exclusive device.

As with its latest phablet offerings, Nokia recommends registering on its website to be notified when the new devices become available.

Image: Nokia


Nokia Device Could Be Largest Windows Phablet

new nokia tablet phablet

The phablet, a hybrid between the smartphone and tablet, seems to be coming of age. And a soon to be introduced model from Nokia may be the largest Windows device of its kind.

For budget conscious small business owners and entrepreneurs on the go, the phablet offers phone capabilities and a larger screen size closer to a tablet without the cost of owning two devices.

New Nokia Features 6-inch Screen

Leaked images (shown above) of the new Nokia 1520 via @EvLeaks show a device sources say features a 6-inch full 1080p HD display.

The new Nokia device may also feature a 20 megapixel front camera and a polycarbonite body, CNET reports. Though the photo shows a yellow device, there is no confirmed information on the color selections available.

October Announcement Anticipated

An expected announcement of the new Nokia 1520 in late September has been put off at least until October, Reuters reports. Some sources believe the device will be unveiled at the recently announced Nokia Innovation Reinvented event scheduled for Oct. 22

That delay may be due to announcement of Microsoft’s plans to acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion earlier this month.

Once announced, the new Nokia 1520 will join the ranks of phablets already on the market like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. However, depending on the price, yet to be announced, the device may have an edge over competitors with small business owners seeking another Windows device for their already Windows-based office environments.

Image: EvLeaks


Nokia to Introduce a New Lumia Windows Phone With a Metal Case

lumia 925 windows phone

Nokia will release a new Lumia 925 Windows phone in June.  This phone will have a metal case and upgrades to its camera technology.

The Lumia 925 features the same software and technical specifications as its predecessor from Nokia, the Lumia 720. The most notable changes are how the phone looks and feels, and the quality of image it produces. The’s Tom Warren writes that the Lumia 925 is made from aluminum on a polycarbonate base rather than the traditional  polycarbonate case common among Nokia phones.

The addition of aluminum on the frame and on the sides makes it lightweight.  But metal also makes this Windows Phone sturdy — an advantage if employees will use a phone outdoors or in rugged conditions.

Nokia has been focused lately on upgrading its photo and video capture capabilities (Nokia recently invested in a camera technologies company).   The Lumia 925 makes improvements on the previous model of Windows phone from the company.  An 8.7-megapixel camera accentuated by two LED flash lights adorns the rear of the phone. The camera is mounted inside a small hump on the rear of the phone.

At the time of the 925 release, Nokia announced an update to all Lumia phones, with the addition of Nokia Smart Camera. This camera software captures up to ten images at one time of a moving subject.

The camera upgrades should be welcome news to small business personnel who use smartphone images in their operations or post frequently to social networks. Nokia claims that its low-light images are betterthan similar ones taken using an iPhone 5.

Windows 8 An Advantage for Business Users

The Lumia 925 is a Windows 8 based smartphone. Warren calls this a weakness, but that depends on how you plan to use a phone.  Business owners may find the Windows 8 phone system to be an advantage.  The applications and overall look/feel will be familiar to those who use Windows 8 on their desktops. The IT department can provide enterprise-wide support.  And there’s integration with desktop Windows.

“We keep innovating,” Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, said in a statement announcing the details of the Lumia 925. “We’re advancing experiences on the Nokia Lumia portfolio whether that means great new benefits for an existing Lumia owner, or bringing new showcase devices like the Nokia Lumia 925.”

The Lumia 925 Windows phone will be introduced in the U.S. through T-Mobile. A retail cost has not yet been established.

Lumia 925 Photo via Nokia


Forza Horizon 3 Demo Now Available on Windows 10; HDR Support for Xbox One Demo Added

Forza Horizon 3 Demo Now Available on Windows 10; HDR Support for Xbox One Demo Added

Forza Horizon 3 Demo Now Available on Windows 10; HDR Support for Xbox One Demo Added
Demo requires 21GB of disk space to install
HDR support for demo on Xbox One S added
Game can be downloaded from Windows Store
Beta and demo versions of most games are released well ahead of their full release in order to build the hype around the launch of the game and let the players test their machines with the game’s requirements. The latter reason has become increasingly important as the games have become more demanding than ever. Disregarding the usual trend, Microsoft has now released a demo version of its racing game Forza Horizon 3 on Windows, more than a month after its official release.
Forza Horizon 3 has been received extremely well by the critics since its release and in our review of the game, we specifically pointed out the brilliant visuals and the wide range of the car roster available in the game. The demo version of the game on Xbox One was made available ahead of its official release but for some reason, Microsoft decided to hold back the PC version up until now.

(Also Read: Forza Horizon 3 Review)
The demo for the off-road racing game by Microsoft Studios can be downloaded from Windows Store here. The demo version of the game requires disk space of around 21GB.
It should be noted that even the minimum requirements necessary to play the game are demanding than some of the other titles on PC. As per the game’s listing, your setup requires at least 8GB of RAM and an equally or more capable processor than 3.4GHz i5 3570. In terms of graphic cards, your setup should have a graphic card equally or more capable than NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti or AMD R7 250X.

Apart from releasing the demo version of the Forza Horizon 3 for PC, the company has also introduced HDR support – which has been present on the full game from day one – to the Xbox One demo version of the game, meant for players on the Xbox One S and those using an HDR display.

Forza Horizon 3 received 9 out of a possible 10 rating in our review and we termed it as “vastly improved and polished instalment in the Forza Horizon series.” Given that the PC version also supports resolutions up to 4K, it might be the best time to check if your system is ready for this monster of a game before spending your hard earned money on it.

Tags: Forza Horizon 3, Gaming, Forza Horizon 3 PC Demo, Forza, Windows Store, Microsoft


Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Now Available Worldwide for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Now Available Worldwide for Windows, PS4, and Xbox OneCall of Duty: Infinite Warfare Now Available Worldwide for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One
Game available in retail stores as well as for digital download
Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One
Gameplay trailer received flak on YouTube
Call of Duty is one of those game franchises that churns out annual editions of its game but still captivates the interest of video-game enthusiasts around the world with its releases. Now, the series has come up with its latest entry – Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which is now available for retail worldwide in stores as well as digitally.

(Also See: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Review)

The game has been released on Windows PC, PS4, and Xbox One. In terms of storage size, users will need between 44.6GB to 53.6GB of free on the PS4 to install the game while on the Xbox One, they’ll need 52.1GB of free space to install Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. A day one patch to fix stability issues is out as well, weighing in at roughly 6GB. Though there were no perceptible changes on the PS4 version we played.
In our review of the game, we found the single-player campaign to be “entertaining enough to keep well worn gameplay mechanics from getting stale,” while we found that the multiplayer component of the game and its monetisation model to be glaring points of concern.

If you purchase the Legacy, Legacy Pro or Digital Deluxe Edition you will also receive a copy of remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
“We began three years ago with the goal to push ourselves in an all-new direction and take players to places they’ve never been before. In Infinite Warfare, we’re telling a classic war story of good vs. evil, and adding an epic backdrop that lets us introduce a ton of innovative gameplay,” Studio Head of game’s developer Infinity Ward Dave Stohl was quoted as saying in company’s release.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare might prove to be one of the most crucial entries for the game series in recent times, as the Activision franchise has been facing serious competition from Battlefield One, the latest instalment of the rival game franchise from EA. The war, in figurative terms, between the latest entries from both franchises started right from the time when gameplay trailers for both games came out. The Infinite Warfare trailer received highly negative feedback from fans as it was downvoted in huge numbers on YouTube.

Contrastingly, Battlefield One created a positive buzz for its gameplay and was upvoted in large numbers. As the two franchises have been facing-off against each other for a long time, comparisons were drawn almost immediately. However, the game should not be discarded as we have earlier pointed out that single-player campaign shows promise with space combat, elements of exploration, and some interesting set-pieces.

“Infinite Warfare is hands-down the best story campaign we’ve had in years and is a leap forward in the fluid, fast-paced action that Call of Duty fans know and love,” CEO of Activision Eric Hirshberg was quoted as saying in company’s release.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare game has been available for pre-order in India since September and can be bought from websites like Amazon and Flipkart as well.

You can check out the PC system requirements for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare over here.

Tags: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty, Gaming, Microsoft, Sony, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Release, Xbox One, PS4, PC


Feds Urge You Uninstall QuickTime from Windows Computers Immediately


As much as we all love the digital world we currently live in, the issue of security is an annoyance we could all do without.

One of the latest security risks was announced by the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) with an alert urging customers to uninstall QuickTime from Windows.

QuickTime is a video player that can no longer compete with all the new players in the marketplace for Windows, which explains why Apple has stopped updating it. And in the digital world, not updating one’s application means it will quickly become vulnerable to security breaches.

Why You Should Uninstall QuickTime from Windows

As first reported by Trend Micro, Apple deprecated QuickTime for Microsoft Windows, which in computer lingo means it will still be available, but will no longer be developed or supported. The report also said the Trend Micro Zero Day Initiative released advisories detailing two new serious vulnerabilities affecting QuickTime for Windows.

The two vulnerabilities are:

  • ZDI-16-241 – Which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Apple QuickTime. In order for this vulnerability to be exploited, the user has to interact by visiting a malicious page or open a malicious file. The flaw specifically resides within the moov atom, which can be leveraged by an attacker to execute the codes under the context of the QuickTime player.
  • ZDI-16-242 – This vulnerability has the same flaws, but it exists within the atom processing. An attacker can write data outside of an allocated heap buffer by providing an invalid index.

Apple will no longer be providing security updates, so these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched.

According to Trend Micro, there are no active attacks against these vulnerabilities (as of April 14, 2016). But since it was made public, there are probably many exploits being introduced in the ecosystem that will eventually take advantage of these flaws.

All software products have a lifecycle. Since Apple will no longer be providing security updates for QuickTime for Windows, US-CERT said computer systems running unsupported software will be exposed to increased risks of malicious attacks or electronic data loss. According to the organization, the only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.

If you have QuickTime on Windows systems, uninstall it right away. Go to the Control Panel and click on Programs. Once you are there find QuickTime and right click and uninstall. You can also visit this Apple page for information on how to uninstall the player.  It is important to note, this only affects Windows, Apple still supports QuickTime on Mac OS X.


Microsoft to Detail Its Windows 10 VR Headset Plans in December

Microsoft to Detail Its Windows 10 VR Headset Plans in December

US tech giant Microsoft is planning to hold two WinHEC events in December that will reveal its virtual reality (VR) headset plans for Windows 10.

The Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) is a series of technical conferences and workshops, where Microsoft elaborates on its hardware plans for Windows devices. The first event will be held between December 8 and December 9, while the second event will be held between December 14 and December 15.

Microsoft at its Surface event last week announced it had partnered with HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Asus to produce VR headsets for Windows 10 PCs, are are especially optimised for mixed reality experiences, using the Windows Holographic shell and experience.

Both the events are designed for hardware manufacturers to better understand the software plans for Windows Holographic, a mixed reality platform built around the API of Windows 10. Speaking with Polygon, Microsoft’s HoloLens chief Alex Kipman said more details about the VR headsets would be provided at the WinHEC events in December.Kipman said the first wave of VR headsets will be opaque, so users will not be able to see through them directly without the aid of cameras. He also revealed that the headsets will feature a wide field of view, will be tethered to the computer via a long wire, allow six degrees of freedom, and support inside-out tracking.

The initial devices will start shipping after the Windows 10 Creators Update is made available to download in March 2017 and will function like VR headsets that connect to a PC, and will support six degrees of freedom and inside-out tracking.

(Also see: Windows 10 Creators Update Coming Early 2017; Free for All Users)

Written with inputs from IANS

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft VR, Windows 10 VR, Virtual Reality, VR, Windows 10, WinHEC, Wearables, Home Entertainment,Gaming

Dell, Lenovo, HP to Launch ‘Affordable’ VR Headsets Alongside Windows 10 Creators Update

Dell, Lenovo, HP to Launch 'Affordable' VR Headsets Alongside Windows 10 Creators Update


  • Headsets to come with support for ‘Creators Update’
  • Company showcased its Holographic UI during its Surface event
  • Update to roll out in early 2017

Microsoft showcased its Holographic UI in its full glory during its Surface event on Wednesday and from the looks of it, the company might have given us a glimpse of our ‘mixed reality’ computing future. The demonstrations given by the company were quite impressive but more importantly, the Redmond-based company announced that it has partnered with companies like Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and HP to make affordable VR headsets that are capable of mixed reality and will launch alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update in Spring 2017.

The Redmond giant says the new VR headsets will have a starting price of around $300 (roughly Rs. 20,100). In a blog post, the company added, “And these accessories will be the first and only with inside-out, six-degrees of freedom. Unlike every other virtual reality headset in the market today, there will be zero need for a separate room and complicated setup.” The company says the headsets, apart from being affordable compared to the $500 headsets in the market today, will be designed to work with affordable laptops and PCs.

In order to produce content for these VR headsets, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Creators Update, which will include a 3D framework designed around Microsoft’s HoloLens and other VR experiences. The Creators Update will allow developers to create content for VR with ease, and will be available in early 2017.The company also showcased its Microsoft new, revamped Paint 3D app, which was leaked recently. The revamped app includes tools for importing and handling 3D artwork, as well as integration with a new online community–Remix3D that allows users to share their creations or search other people’s creations. As reported by us earlier, the community is integrated with the massive 3D Warehouse, a repository for Trimble’s popular SketchUp software, and already contains millions of 3D objects.

Holographic UI was first unveiled by Microsoft last year in January and was presented as a device that allows users to enter a virtual world, through a headgear, and interact with the virtual objects present in it.

Tags: Windows VR Headsets, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Wearables, Microsoft