Microsoft OneDrive – New Personal Vault adds more security

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Microsoft has enhanced it’s popular “OneDrive” cloud storage facility, to add a new highly secure Personal Vault option as described below:

You’d hope that any cloud storage option was secure, but Microsoft is going an extra step to offer enhanced security for OneDrive by introducing a new protected area.   OneDrive is Microsoft cloud storage service allowing you to upload all files and photos and access them from any device. It can be used as a standalone product or as part of an Office 365 subscription. Access is by way of secure login, but Microsoft is introducing a new protected area within your OneDrive called Personal Vault.

Accessing the files within Personal Vault will require a “strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification,” which takes the form of a fingerprint, face, PIN, or code sent to your email address or phone via SMS. There’s also the Microsoft Authenticator app to use if you so wish. Microsoft sees Personal Vault as a way to protect your most sensitive files and will use an automatic locking system to ensure after a short period of inactivity your Personal Vault locks itself, requiring re-authentication to access again.

CISA – improved US-CERT website design June 2019

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The Dept. of Homeland Security has launched a revamped & improved US-CERT website.  For years this has been a helpful resource in tracking latest major threats & vulnerabilities.  In late 2018, there was a realignment of national cyber-security agencies as documented below to become Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

On November 16, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018. This landmark legislation elevated the mission of the former National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and established CISA, which includes the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).   Prior to the establishment of CISA, NCCIC realigned its organizational structure in 2017, integrating like functions previously performed independently by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).

Windows 10 – Resolving AUDIO interference issue on older laptop

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After upgrading to WIN10 or installing a new features update, sound issues may occur where DRIVERS on old & even out of support drivers need updating.

RESEARCH APPROACH — For some issues, the solution many not even be related to device settings/drivers — but interference by something completely unrelated … that is most important reason why research is needed.

1. Thoroughly RESEARCH issue with Vendor & Google & U-Tube searches (gather multiple ideas & solutions)

2. DELL or another vendor’s user forum will likely share most popular solutions that work (as that is where I found answer)

3. Look at multiple solutions & capture best links in Word document (in case there is need to reference again)

4. Now try easiest & safest solutions 1st that you can easily UNDO (esp. if no WIN10 drivers exist from vendor – as an older laptop may not be supported for WIN10)

5.  After trying any suggested fix & if it does not work — immediately reset back (so you don’t forget)

6. Keep researching & trying multiple sources when solutions don’t work (be careful of “driver update” sites where some malware authors take advantage & trick folks … or there may be a free solution rather than paying for special drivers)

7.  Document any special solutions in WORD document or other technique in case needed later in future (that’s one reason I’m sharing in blog)

PERSONAL EXAMPLE: A few years a nicely refurbished Dell Latitude e6400 was received as a gift.   Back in May, I updated O/S from WIN7 to WIN10 in preparation for JAN-2020. And while WIN10 runs great there, I just learned that vendor only supports drivers thru WIN7 & that is understandable on old device.  In one of the WIN10 feature updates (v1809) a new issue occurred where a strong signal was being sent strong signal every 5 seconds that buzzes any audio sound output (distracting on music/movies).   Yesterday, using Dell’s Support Assistant I was able to flash to more modern BIOS … and by unchecking eSATA setting in BIOS instantly resolved all issues on SOUND

After finding solution, I wanted to share my thanks on the vendor’s website & that solution also works for v1903 as well (on page 6 of thread as follows):

1. Load DELL Support assistant (automated software at Dell’s main site)
2. Let it recommend any updates
3. Select only the latest available BIOS (as that is specific recommendation for this issue)
4. Let PC re-flash & then power off (full shutdown for a minute or so)
5. Power on & immediately press F2 to invoke BIOS menu
6. Be careful & navigate to disk controllers section
7 Find the eSATA capability & uncheck
8. Save changes & system will boot up to WIN10 (thankfully all sound issues all cleared up)

RAMBleed – New speculative execution side-channel attack

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Based on modern CPU designs, a new speculative execution side-channel attack has been discovered by security researchers.  While these vulnerabilities are very difficult to manipulate, they still need to fixed with improved security safeguards where possible.

Academic researchers this week published information about another side-channel attack method, called “RAMBleed,” that can expose information from memory chips, including encryption key information.  The vulnerability, listed as CVE-2019-0174, got the RAMBleed name because random access memory “bleeds its contents, which we then recover through a side channel,” the researchers explained at their RAMBleed page. The side-channel aspect perhaps may refer to speculative execution side-channel attack methods, which are ways to coax information from microprocessors. The hardware and software industry first publicized those attack methods in January of last year with the publication of the “Meltdown” and “Spectre” attack methods.

Exchange Server 2019 – Disabling old protocols recommended

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With the recent CU2 update for Exchange Server 2019, Microsoft offers a new “hybrid modern authentication” to replace more suseptible older protocols which may be less secure

The Exchange team, in a Friday announcement, explained how Exchange Server 2019 with Cumulative Update 2 (CU2) can help organizations rid themselves of old authentication protocols, which constitute a potential security risk.    CU2, released this week, notably brings the ability to disable old authentication protocols organizationwide, which is a new capability. The idea is to switch to using so-called “hybrid modern authentication” instead, which is deemed as being more secure.

Dell – Security update needed for Support Assist agent June 2019

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Dell’s SupportAssist has remote access capabilities to work with Dell home & corporate owners in an automated way.  US CERT warns of a critical security update to better protect this group of users

Dell has released a security advisory to address a vulnerability in Dell SupportAssist software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to access sensitive information.  The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review Dell Security Advisory DSA-2019-084 and apply the necessary update.

Microsoft Edge – Chromium beta version ported to WIN7 and WIN8

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While important to move to WIN10 in coming months, a new EDGE Chromium version ported to WIN7 and WIN8 users as part of preview (beta) programs.  This can help users get used to a much improved EDGE in WIN10 v1903 for WIN7 users being converted later in 2019 as the JAN-2020 EOL target approaches.

Microsoft announced this week that it has released previews of its Chromium-based Microsoft Edge Web browsers for use on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems.    This week’s announcement is notable for bringing the Edge browser to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 for the very first time. Previously, those older OSes had just supported Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11 browser, which is a “deprecated” product (not being developed), plus the Firefox and Chrome browsers.

Microsoft Excel – Advanced Filtering techniques JUNE-2019

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The JUNE 2019 IIL blog features several techniques for advanced filtering Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. As an example, some special calculations between multiple cells can be defined in filtering, so that a special new column does not need to be added, in order to find targeted results

Advanced Filtering in Excel

In this blog I’ll continue the discussion from my last blog on basic filtering.  You can use advanced filtering for any of the features you use basic filtering. The advanced feature enables you to do things that can’t be done with basic filtering. For example, how would you filter this data for items in which the Sales times the Units is over 30,000,000?

Cybersecurity professionals – Travel list for incident responses

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For off-site travel needs, it is important to develop a travel list for packing all needed items in advance.  As often there is a need for quick responses & formulating a list in advance is excellent planning as shared by the ISC below:

QUOTE:    Let’s take the incident handling list as an example. You must be sure to bring everything with you to work in an efficient way. From a technical point of view: have the right tools, enough storage, licenses. But also from an administrative point of view: on-site contacts, authorizations, documents, etc. Here is an example of a list of stuff to bring with you:

Contact information for people inside and outside the organizations.
Mobile phone and spare batteries
SIMM cards with data subscription
Powerful laptop(s) with enough CPU/RAM/storage
External performant storage (SSD/USB-3)
Portable hypervisor (like an Intel Nuc)
Raspberry Pi
Software (on CD/DVD, USB)
Network tap
HD Write blocker
Blank media (USB, DVD/CD
Notebooks / pens
Tools (screwdrivers, cutters, tape)
Console cable (USB2Serial)
Forms (for evidence list and chain of custody)
Plastic bags
Live CDs

Windows Virtual Desktop — Setup guidelines for future capability

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WVD is anticipated later this year & some “how to” details were recently shared as follows:

The setup details were part of an “All You Need To Know About Windows Virtual Desktop” Web presentation for IT pros  by Microsoft.  The presentation is currently available on demand here (with sign-up). Microsoft also published a resource guide page with links pertaining to the talk.    WVD is a new virtual desktop infrastructure service from Microsoft that lets organizations access Windows 7 or Windows 10 desktops hosted on remote servers, namely via Microsoft’s Azure datacenters. The WVD service is expected to get commercially released (“general availability”) sometime in the second half of this year.

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