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Malware – Zipped attachments containing ISO file extensions

The SANS Internet Storm Center & Microsoft MVP Didier Stevens share an awareness of Zipped attachments containing ISO file extensions circulating in the wild.  As the ISO file extension is unusual and AV protection was initially spotty at Virus Total, users should exercise best practices in email safety — as ZIP files are often permitted corporately

Quickpost: Analyzing .ISO Files Containing Malware

.ISO Files With Zone.Identifier

We’ve been informed of recent malware campaigns that deliver .iso attachments (.iso files are CD/DVD images). These .iso files contain a malicious executable. Since Windows 8, Windows will automatically mount .iso files when they are opened. Like this, these .iso files are like .zip files with malware. Here is an example of an email with .iso attachment …

Microsoft Office Online – New cloud service offers free basic capabilities

The new Microsoft Office Online service offers free basic capabilities for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  This new service and all data reside in the cloud and works interactively with a web browser as described below:

Do you want to use Microsoft Office without paying for it?   Try the free Office Online edition.

As the name indicates, Office Online is an online version of Microsoft’s popular software suite. Instead of installing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your computer, you tap into cloud-based varieties of the different programs; all you need is a web browser.  Instead of residing on your computer, files are saved to Microsoft OneDrive, the company’s cloud-based storage service. The only catch is that Office Online isn’t as feature-packed as the desktop edition. You’ll find all the basic editing commands but not much more. If that satisfies your needs, however, it’s an option worth trying.

Office Online includes four core programs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You can also tap into other apps, including Mail, People, and Calendar. Another application called Sway allows you to create interactive reports and presentations.   First, you’ll need a Microsoft account. If you don’t already have one, set it up at Microsoft’s Account website. Then navigate to the Office Online website.

Click on the icon for the application you wish to use, such as Word or Excel. choose the option to sign in with a Microsoft account and enter your account username and password.   You’re then taken to a page where you can select a template to create your document or file.

Google – Personalized NEWS application for iOS and Android

Google has introduced a personalized streaming news feed service on iOS and Android that learns user preferences from interactices with the new service.

Google today is rolling out its take on the news feed, a personalized stream of articles, videos, and other content. The feed will appear in its flagship app for Android and iOS, simply called Google. The feed, which includes items drawn from your search history and topics you choose to follow, is designed to turn Google’s app into a destination for browsing as well as search. Google is hoping you’ll begin opening its app the way you do Facebook or Twitter, checking it reflexively throughout the day for quick hits of news and information.

Google previewed its new feed in December, when it introduced the feature to its Android app. Previously, the space below the search bar was reserved for Google Now, the company’s predictive search feature, which displayed personalized weather, traffic, sports scores, and other information.

The most surprising thing about the Google feed, is how little video it contains. At a time when its peers are racing to cram as much video in their feeds as possible, Google’s is still mostly a text-based affair. When YouTube cards appear, videos won’t play within the feed — tapping kicks you out to the app or to a mobile-web version of the video. The cards are formatted in such a way that it’s easy to miss that they’re even videos.   For now, Google says there won’t be ads in the feed, although I imagine it would love to put them there eventually. Google is an ad business, after all, and it’s running out of places to put new ads on mobile devices

Apple iPhone 8 – Preview of 10th anniversary model JULY-2017

While the Apple iPhone 8 is still in development for a release during Fall 2017 timeframe, the following shares a preview of the 10th anniversary model based on some of the announced or “leaked” features. Additional news will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead, as final designs firm up.

Apple’s tenth-anniversary iPhone 8 will finally be unveiled around mid-September. There are indeed still a number of question marks surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 unveiling and release schedule. The reality of the situation is that it will likely still be some time before we know exactly what Apple has planning in terms of timing.

Apple’s iPhone 8 is the hottest upcoming new device on the planet right now. After three years with the same old iPhone design, Apple is finally preparing to unleash a completely redesigned iPhone with exciting new features like an all-screen front side, a new OLED display panel, an upgraded dual-lens rear camera, and a glass case back to enable wireless charging.

Apple iOS – Parental Controls for iPhone and other devices

This informative article from PC magazine shares how to set parental controls for the Apple iPhone and other iOS devices

Apple’s built-in parental controls aren’t as robust as some third-party apps, but there are plenty of tools to help you safeguard and snoop on young iOS fans. Parental controls are a real boon for those looking to protect kids from online scariness—or to take control over how kids use the internet and their devices, from the home PC to tablets and smartphones.

However, if you’re an Apple family, you may find there are ways to make thing safer without any add-ons. Apple built a lot of tools and features into iOS that can help a beleaguered parental unit get through the day with fewer worries. Nothing beats a frank, face-to-face talk with kids about what is good for them online and what isn’t. But when that doesn’t help, here’s how you can lock down their iPhones for your piece of mind.

This article assumes that you—as the parent or guardian—have full access to your kids’ iOS devices, enough so that you can physically access them and set up limations on what the phone can or cannot do. Instructions are for iOS 10+.

1. SETUP APPLE ID — The first action you generally should perform when your kid gets their own iOS-based device is create an Apple ID (aka an iTunes account) just for them. It’s easier than sharing yours; the trick is to restrict them from doing too much

2. SETUP PASSWORD LOCK WITH 6 DIGITS — Secure the iOS devices at the most basic level, give the device a passcode. Older iOS devices used 4-digit passcodes, like the personal identification number (PIN) you use at the ATM machine. As of iOS 9, the default changed to a six-digit passcode, which is literally 100 times harder to crack

3. SET SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS PASSWORD — On the kid’s iPhone, go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions. Set up a Restrictions passcode (it’s different from the sign-in passcode—it can only be 4 digits) so that only you can bypass the restrictions you’re about to set.

4. RESTRICT SPECIFIC APPS — Parents may wish to block Safari, Camera, Siri, FaceTime, iTunes Store, making in-app purchases, and more).  They can set content type restrictions (for movies, TV shows, books, apps, passwords, even by rating)

5. USER FAMILY SHARING APPROACH FOR SECURITY — If you do have a family of macOS and iOS users (and even iCloud users on Windows), the Family Sharing option makes it easy to share things between up to six users—each user gets their own account, but all the books, music, TV shows, and apps purchased on one account get shared with all the rest, as do things like calendar entries and family photos.

6. SET PRIVACY SAFEGUARDS — if you’re really, truly worried about your kids’ privacy, you probably wouldn’t let your kids online at all. Location awareness, however, is one of those things that gets a little overdone by the various apps you use (and should be set OFF as applicable)

7. TURN OFF SIRI ACTIVE LISTENING — Turn off Siri’s active listening—the feature that makes it more like Amazon’s Echo devices, always eavesdropping for activation words so it can audibly interact.

8. BROWSER HISTORY AS A CONTROL — This is the classic privacy issue all users of any age should know: clear your browser history to prevent snoops from knowing where you went. For the built-in Safari browser, go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. Then again, don’t share that with your kids if you want to check it yourself to see what they’ve surfed

9. DEFAULT INTERNET SEARCH — While you’re in the Safari settings for your kid’s iPhone, go in and change the search engine to DuckDuckGo (the only one that doesn’t track them),

10. TURN OFF WIDGETS — These little info dumps offered by select apps can throw all sorts of information up on the screen; info that other people can access without even unlocking the phone

11. TURN OFF OR REDUCE APP NOTIFICATIONS — Looking at notifications on an iPhone lock screen is second nature—not only for you and your brood, but also the people looking over your shoulder. Go into Settings & Notifications on your kid’s phone and on an app-by-app basis, you can specify whether any notifications are displayed on the lock screen, in the Notification center, or at all

12. VPN SOFTWARE ADDS PRIVACY — If you don’t know about virtual private networks yet, read Privacy 101: Why You Need a VPN. Realize that you and your kids need a VPN service not only on your PCs, but also on your smartphones, to stay secure. Yes, this is third-party software that will cost you money—but this is important. Every single one of our Best VPN Services supports iOS.

13. FINGERPRINT READER SETTINGS — The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is super convenient, for sure—and if you’ve set up fingerprint access on a kid’s phone, make sure you, the parent or guardian, also have a print or two stored on the device to unlock it.

14. SET AUTOMATIC ERASE DATA FOR LOST PHONE — The final nuke is if the kid’s iPhone is lost or stolen. It happens. A lot. Assuming you’ve implemented the bare minimum of security—a good passcode—you can set up the Erase Data feature

Windows Server 2016 – Preview test build 16237 release JULY-2017

Microsoft has released preview test build 16237 for beta testing of new features that will be available later in the future.

Microsoft is making available its first Insider preview of the  On July 13, 2017, Microsoft delivered its first Insider preview test build to Windows Server 2016 users.  Build 16237 offers an early preview of the feature release to Windows Server 2016, which will be known as 1709, that’s expected to begin rolling out this September.

In today’s first Server test build are new base container images for Nano Server and Server Core, according to Microsoft’s July 13 post announcing the new test build, which is available to those in the Windows Insiders for Business program or Windows Insider Program. The Nano Server image includes a preview image of Nano Server with .NET Core 2.0 and a preview image based on PowerShell 6.0.

Today’s Insider preview includes support for SMB volume mounting and some changes around Cloud Guest. Windows Server Insider build 16237 also includes support for shielded Linux VMs; data deplucation for ReFS; and support for cluster sets. Persistent memory can now be exposed to Hyper-V virtual machines in this build, and improvements to container networking for improved Kubernetes support is included.

Windows 10 – Creators update 1703 blocked on early Intel Atom CPU models

Microsoft is working on a special fix that will allow the Creators update (1703) to be installed on early INTEL Atom processors (aka “Clover Trail”) that were used about 3 years ago for tablet and other low-power entry level laptops.  The graphical changes in the latest update require some special graphical tuning changes so these low power implementation can handle features would in the latest WIN10 update

Owners of some Windows 10 laptops and tablets are crashing into a worrying roadblock when they try to install the Windows 10 Creators Update. Windows Update initially says the notebooks are compatible with the upgrade, but fails to install it after downloading the setup files, instead displaying the following message: “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC. Uninstall this app now because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10.”

This error message means your PC’s hardware isn’t compatible with the Creators Update—which could wind up being trouble in the future. Here’s what you need to know about the error, which affects early 2-in-1 PCs powered by Intel’s Clover Trail processors. Clover Trail processors powered the earliest Windows 8 2-in-1 hybrid devices, such as the HP Envy X2 and the Asus VivoTab.

What processors and PCs are affected? — Devices with these Intel “Clover Trail” processors are impacted:

*** Intel Atom Z2760
*** Intel Atom Z2520
*** Intel Atom Z2560
*** Intel Atom Z2580

Windows 10 – File Explorer One Drive tuning options

Tuning tips for the Windows 10 OneDrive availability settings in File Explorer, are shared in this ZDNET article

Windows 10 and OneDrive are sewn together tightly. So tightly, in fact, that OneDrive gets its own node in File Explorer, and the OneDrive sync client runs automatically at startup. You don’t have to use OneDrive’s cloud storage. Maybe you prefer a cloud service from another provider, or perhaps you’re philosophically opposed to storing files in the cloud. Regardless of the reason, if you don’t want to use OneDrive, you are free to ignore it.

When the sync client pops up asking you to sign in, just click Cancel. You can then change the OneDrive settings so that it doesn’t run automatically at startup.

That option does, however, leave the OneDrive icon in the navigation pane of File Explorer. To make it disappear, you need to make a simple registry edit. In Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use Group Policy to make this change. Open Local Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc) and go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive. Double-click the policy Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage and set it to Enabled.

Microsoft XBOX – New Model X available NOV 7 2017

The new Microsoft XBOX model “X” will debut on November 7, 2017, technical specifications and comparisons with the current “S” model are noted in this detailed review by Value Walk:

The Xbox One X was introduced to the world at E3 in June. Finally, the Xbox One X showed its face. This is Microsoft’s answer to the PS4 Pro. However, the launch date is not until November 7th. While holiday shoppers will be happy to see that they can pick one up for their friends or family; some gamers may be wondering if the wait is worth it when the Xbox One S is already available. Let’s go head to head and see if we can help Xbox fans decide what to do. Here it is: Xbox One X vs Xbox One S.

First, let’s talk design. The Xbox One X is smaller than the Xbox One S while offering more power. In addition, the One X has an internal power supply. Current Xbox One owners will be excited to know that the ugly power brick is no more in the Xbox One X. If you’re looking for a powerful console that will look great as well then you can’t ignore the Xbox One X.

If your console just sits in an entertainment center then you probably don’t care much how it looks. You just want to play games! Both consoles will be able to play the same titles. With that said, there will be some very noticeable performance differences.  While the Xbox One S does offer UHD support, it upscales from full HD. It’s not known how much upscaling is done by the Xbox One X but, with the more powerful hardware, it will do a much better job of presenting UHD content.

What about enjoying non-gaming content? Both consoles excel in this area. With 4K support on both the Xbox One X and Xbox One S, movies and streaming content will look great no matter what console sits beside your television. Of course, you will have to own a 4K television to make use of the growing library of 4K content on Xbox One. Even just as a dedicated 4K Bluray player, the Xbox One S is a great buy.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper – High-end chipsets being developed

Pricing for the highest end AMD Ryzen Threadripper microprocessors which is anticipated for release in the next month or two as shared below:

AMD has revealed the prices for some of its Threadripper CPUs, using the same effective strategy that it executed for its mainstream Ryzen chips: set eye-popping discounts compared to Intel’s own Core i9 family, and probably earlier release dates, too.  On Thursday, AMD disclosed the model numbers, price, and rough availability of both the 12- and 16-core AMD Threadripper chips, designed for the upper echelons of gaming and content-creation PCs:

* The $999 16-core, 32-thread 3.4-GHz Threadripper 1950X
* The $799 12-core, 24-thread 3.5-GHz Threadripper 1920X

AMD seems to have its finger on two key triggers that help drive sales: price, and availability.  In a video showing how the Threadripper chips compare against Intel’s most powerful currently available CPU, the $999 10-core Core i9-7900X, AMD tested the multi-threaded Cinebench R15 benchmark on all three. The $799 Threadripper 1920X turned in a score of 2431 compared to the Core i9-7900X’s 2167, while the flagship $999 Threadripper 1950X blew past both of those at 3062.