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Windows

Windows 10 Gets Core Console Host Enhancements (nivot.org) 240

x0n writes: As of Windows 10 TH2 (10.0.1058), the core console subsystem has support for a large number of ANSI and VT100 escape sequences. This is likely to prepare for full Open SSH server/client integration, which is already underway over on github. It looks like xterm is finally coming to Windows. OpenSSH was previously announced (last year) by the very forward-looking PowerShell team. The linked article provides some context, and explains that the console host isn't the same as either cmd.exe or powershell.exe, but there is a lot of overlap in functionality.
Microsoft

Even With Telemetry Disabled, Windows 10 Talks To Dozens of Microsoft Servers (voat.co) 552

An esteemed reader writes: Curious about the various telemetry and personal information being collected by Windows 10, one user installed Windows 10 Enterprise and disabled all of the telemetry and reporting options. Then he configured his router to log all the connections that happened anyway. Even after opting out wherever possible, his firewall captured Windows making around 4,000 connection attempts to 93 different IP addresses during an 8 hour period, with most of those IPs controlled by Microsoft. Even the enterprise version of Windows 10 is checking in with Redmond when you tell it not to — and it's doing so frequently.
Security

Avast SafeZone Browser Lets Attackers Access Your Filesystem (softpedia.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: Just two days after Comodo's Chromodo browser was publicly shamed by Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy, it's now Avast's turn to be publicly scorned for failing to provide a "secure" browser for its users. Called SafeZone, and also known as Avastium, Avast's custom browser is offered as a bundled download for all who purchase or upgrade to a paid version of Avast Antivirus 2016. This poor excuse of a browser was allowing attackers to access files on the user's filesystem just by clicking on malicious links. The browser wouldn't even have to be opened, and the malicious link could be clicked in "any" browser.
Bug

Ask Slashdot: Fixing UVC Camera Issues Under Windows? 148

Khyber writes: I bought some cheap Chinese camera glasses with built-in microphones. These are (supposedly) UVC cameras manufactured in 2015. Under Windows XP, these cameras are seen perfectly fine and work as web cameras; even the microphones work. Under Windows 7, the camera appears to install just fine, however I get the 'This device can perform faster if you connect to USB 2.0' (which it is connected to) and when I try to load it up with any camera viewer such as manycam or any chat program's built-in previewer, I cannot receive any video from the camera. I can get audio from the camera microphones under Windows 7, so I am wondering if the camera device is having problems enumerating as a USB 2.0 device due to some change in Windows 7 (which it doesn't seem to have issues doing under XP,) or if the UVC driver for Windows 7 is missing something in comparison to the one used for Windows XP. Anybody else had issues getting newer UVC cameras to work in newer operating systems?
Microsoft

Microsoft To Acquire SwiftKey Predictive Keyboard Technology Company For $250M (hothardware.com) 118

MojoKid writes: SwiftKey has been one of the more popular predictive keyboard offerings in the mobile space since it was first released in beta form on the Android market back in 2010. What made SwiftKey so appealing was its intelligent predictive texting technology. SwiftKey isn't a simple keyboard replacement. Rather, the software uses a combination of artificial intelligence technologies that give it the ability to learn usage patterns and predict the next word the user most likely intends to type. SwiftKey refines its predictions, learning over time by analyzing data from SMS, Facebook, and Twitter messages, then offering predictions based on the text being entered at the time. It is estimated that SwiftKey is installed on upwards of 500 million mobile devices. According to reports, Microsoft is apparently buying the UK-based company for a cool $250 Million. What Microsoft intends to do with SwiftKey is not clear just yet, but the company has been purchasing mobile apps at a good clip as of late.
Windows

Windows 10 Passes Windows XP In Market Share 311

An anonymous reader writes: Six months after its release, Windows 10 has finally passed 10 percent market share. Not only that, but the latest and greatest version from Microsoft has also overtaken Windows 8.1 and Windows XP, according to the latest figures from Net Applications. Windows 10 had 9.96 percent market share in December, and gained 1.89 percentage points to hit 11.85 percent in January. Maybe it will jump even faster soon, but not necessarily for the best of reasons.
Windows

Windows 10 Now a 'Recommended Update' For Windows 7 and 8.1 Users (betanews.com) 581

Mark Wilson writes: Microsoft has been accused of pushing Windows 10 rather aggressively, and the company's latest move is going to do nothing to silence these accusations. For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, Windows 10 just became a 'recommended update' in Windows Update.

This is a change from the previous categorization of the upgrade as an 'optional update' and it means that there is renewed potential for unwanted installations. After the launch of Windows 10, there were numerous reports of not only the automatic download of OS installation files, but also unrequested upgrades. The changed status of the update means that, on some machines, the installation of Windows 10 could start automatically.

Windows

Microsoft's Windows Phone Platform Is Dead (windows10update.com) 456

Ammalgam writes: Tom Warren at the Verge today gave voice to what a lot of other technology analysts and today definitively declared that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is dead. This largely based on the abysmal adoption numbers released in Microsoft's most recent earnings report. Mr. Warren articulates the obvious by stating: "With Lumia sales on the decline and Microsoft's plan to not produce a large amount of handsets, it's clear we're witnessing the end of Windows Phone. Rumors suggest Microsoft is developing a Surface Phone, but it has to make it to the market first. Windows Phone has long been in decline and its app situation is only getting worse. With a lack of hardware, lack of sales, and less than 2 percent market share, it's time to call it: Windows Phone is dead. "

Now this news should not be surprising to anyone who has watched the slow decline of Windows Phone. Last December, in an article on Windows10update.com, Onuora Amobi also wrote off the platform. In this case, his analysis was based on the nonconformity of the Microsoft user interface to Apple and Android's widely adopted aesthetic appeal. He wrote "I believe Windows Phone is dead. Kaput. Finished. Over. Done. ... Windows 10 is successful in part because it's a return to Windows 7 in many ways and that's what made the consumers happy. One of the definitions of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result". This is exactly what Microsoft is doing and it's insane. Over 90% of Microsoft's desired audience like the look and feel of iPhones and Android devices. They do – it's not good or bad – it just is what it is. They spend their money on those two user interfaces."

Security

Attackers Use Microsoft Office To Push BlackEnergy Malware (csoonline.com) 51

itwbennett writes: Researchers at SentinelOne reverse engineered the latest variant of the BlackEnergy 3 rootkit (the same malware used in recent attacks against Ukraine's critical infrastructure) and found indicators that suggest it is being used by insiders and that it is the byproduct of a nation-sponsored campaign. 'BlackEnergy 3 exploits an Office 2013 vulnerability that was patched some time ago, so it only works if the target machine isn't patched or an employee (either deliberately or after being tricked into it) executes the malicious Excel document,' writes CSO's Steve Ragan.
Security

Hot Potato Exploit Gives Attackers the Upper Hand On Multiple Windows Versions 127

An anonymous reader writes: By chaining together a series of known Windows security flaws, researchers from Foxglove Security have discovered a way to break into almost all of Microsoft's recent versions of Windows. The exploit, named Hot Potato, relies on three different types of attacks, some of which were discovered back at the start of the new millennium, in 2000. Going through these exploits one by one may take attackers from minutes to days, but if successful, the attacker can elevate an application's permissions from the lowest rank to system-level privileges. All of these security flaws have been left unpatched by Microsoft, with the explanation that by patching them, the company would effectively break compatibility between the different versions of their operating system.
Intel

Intel Skylake Bug Causes PCs To Freeze During Complex Workloads (arstechnica.com) 122

chalsall writes: Intel has confirmed an in-the-wild bug that can freeze its Skylake processors. The company is pushing out a BIOS fix. Ars reports: "No reason has been given as to why the bug occurs, but it's confirmed to affect both Linux and Windows-based systems. Prime95, which has historically been used to benchmark and stress-test computers, uses Fast Fourier Transforms to multiply extremely large numbers. A particular exponent size, 14,942,209, has been found to cause the system crashes. While the bug was discovered using Prime95, it could affect other industries that rely on complex computational workloads, such as scientific and financial institutions. GIMPS noted that its Prime95 software "works perfectly normal" on all other Intel processors of past generations."
Microsoft

Microsoft Has Your Encryption Key If You Use Windows 10 (theintercept.com) 314

An anonymous reader writes with this bit of news from the Intercept. If you login to Windows 10 using your Microsoft account, your computer automatically uploads a copy of your recovery key to a Microsoft servers. From the article: "The fact that new Windows devices require users to backup their recovery key on Microsoft's servers is remarkably similar to a key escrow system, but with an important difference. Users can choose to delete recovery keys from their Microsoft accounts – something that people never had the option to do with the Clipper chip system. But they can only delete it after they've already uploaded it to the cloud.....As soon as your recovery key leaves your computer, you have no way of knowing its fate. A hacker could have already hacked your Microsoft account and can make a copy of your recovery key before you have time to delete it. Or Microsoft itself could get hacked, or could have hired a rogue employee with access to user data. Or a law enforcement or spy agency could send Microsoft a request for all data in your account, which would legally compel them to hand over your recovery key, which they could do even if the first thing you do after setting up your computer is delete it. As Matthew Green, professor of cryptography at Johns Hopkins University puts it, 'Your computer is now only as secure as that database of keys held by Microsoft, which means it may be vulnerable to hackers, foreign governments, and people who can extort Microsoft employees.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft CMO Confirms Development of 'Spiritual Equivalent' of Surface Phone (hothardware.com) 165

MojoKid writes: We all know what Microsoft wants to do with Windows 10. It's supposedly the last monolithic release of Windows and the ultimate plan is to unite hardware from different device categories under a single, universal ecosystem. That includes smartphones, which is an area where Microsoft has historically struggled hard to compete. The release of a premium "Surface Phone" of some sort, however, could prove to be a game changer. Microsoft is aggressively pushing Windows 10 upgrades, and makes no bones about it, all in an effort to get developers on board to build universal Windows 10 cross-platform apps and spur mobile development. In that respect, Microsoft needs to finally make an impact in the handset space and Windows 10 Mobile is the company's one shot to do just that. And it appears that Microsoft is working on what could be essentially a true Surface Phone, or at least something very similar. In a recent interview, Mary Jo Foley pushed Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela on the prospect of a Surface Phone and he confirmed the company is working on a "breakthrough" phone that is the "spiritual equivalent" of their very successful line of Surface branded products. Capossela has been with Microsoft for over two decades. He used to write speeches for Bill Gates and is intimately familiar with Microsoft's many products and strategies.
Wine

Wine 1.8 Released (winehq.org) 119

An anonymous reader writes: Wine 1.8.0 is now the latest stable release of Wine Is Not An Emulator and available from WineHQ.org. Wine 1.8 features include support for DirectWrite, Direct2D support, very limited Direct3D 11 support, simple application support of DIrect3D 10, support for process jobs, 64-bit architecture support on OS X, networking updates, and over 13,000 other individual changes.
Bug

New Outlook Bug Doesn't Require Users To Interact With Emails To Be Compromised (softpedia.com) 102

An anonymous reader writes: A new bug in Outlook allows attackers only to send you an email, and without clicking or downloading attachments, a user's computer can be compromised. The bug [PDF] is because Outlook allows Flash objects to be previewed without a sandbox. Flash files are demon spawns and attackers can put exploits in malicious files, which when previewed or viewed inside an Outlook application will automatically execute their payload.

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