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Various Dutch companies have been hit by advanced hostage software. This appears from a confidential report from the National Cyber ​​Security Center, which is in the hands of the NOS. Which companies are involved is unknown, as is the number of affected Dutch companies. Worldwide there are at least 1800 affected companies and the number of Dutch companies is a relatively small part, writes the NCSC. But the consequences can be huge. The actual number of affected companies is probably much larger than the figures indicate, the NCSC also writes. The attackers focus on large companies, for example in the automotive industry, construction, and chemistry, but also on hospitals, chain stores, and entertainment companies. It usually concerns companies with millions or billions of sales. Dutch branches of multinationals have also been hit, including those of an American chemical company. Moreover, that company is an important supplier of critical infrastructure in the Netherlands. This includes, among other things, drinking water, internet access, and energy. "We conducted this investigation following disruptive ransomware attacks abroad," a spokesperson for the NCSC confirms. The attack campaign probably started in July last year. The NCSC suspects that the attackers had access to so-called zero-day vulnerabilities. These are powerful digital weapons, for which there is not yet a good solution and which are therefore very effective. "That indicates that it is a professional criminal organization," says cybersecurity expert Frank Groenewegen of Fox-IT. "In terms of level, they are comparable to drug criminals who have their own rocket launchers. By the way, they don't need those digital rocket launchers in many cases, because the security of many companies is so poor." The NCSC considers it 'not unlikely' that the government and the critical infrastructure will eventually suffer from the conscious ransomware attack. In other countries, these sectors have already been targeted, but the government and critical infrastructure could also suffer from ransomware at suppliers. The attackers work ingeniously and sometimes have been in the network for months until they are noticed. In some cases, companies failed to track down the attackers, even after they knew they had been hacked. In an unknown number of cases, the NCSC was able to inform an affected organization in time; he could then intervene before the ransomware was activated. In other cases, it was too late and victims were forced to pay. This sometimes involved millions of euros. Such amounts have also been paid in the Netherlands. If companies do not pay, the financial damage can occur. Companies standstill and cannot produce anything while the bills keep coming in. There is a fear that the attackers will focus on more than just the spread of ransomware. At some affected companies, a lot of data was channeled away; this could involve corporate espionage or other forms of espionage. It is also possible to break in to subsequently commit sabotage. Follow this news on OUR Forum.

Microsoft recently shipped Windows 10 November 2019 Update and the company is now preparing the next version for consumers. Microsoft says that they’re gearing up to finalize the next update codenamed ’20H1′, and the company is also preparing 20H2 for testers. Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 20H1 will be known as Windows 10 version 2004 when it is shipped to the mainstream consumers in early 2020. Microsoft has yet to announce the public name of the Windows 10 version 2004. If the current naming scheme is continued, the update could be named after its launch month. For example, it could land as of April/May 2020 Update or something else, but the version will remain 2004. In the case of Windows 10 version 1909, the first two digits represent the year and the last two stand for the month when the development of the update is scheduled to complete. Windows 10 updates released in the first half of the year included ’03’ in the version number, but Microsoft is opting to use ‘version 2004’ for Windows 10 20H1 update to avoid confusion with Windows Server 2003. Windows 10 20H1 ‘version 2004’ update is not yet finished and the firm will continue to ship preview builds in the coming weeks. According to previous leaks, RTM is expected to be signed off in December and the update will begin rolling out to consumers in early 2020, possibly before May. “Eagle-eyed Windows Insiders will notice that as of this build, 20H1 officially shows it is version 2004. We have chosen to use 2004 as the version to eliminate confusion with any past product names (such as Windows Server 2003),” Microsoft noted.  The December 2019 RTM sign off will also allow Microsoft to test Windows 10 version 2004 with Insiders for a longer period. Unlike November 2019 Update, Windows 10 20H1 is a big release with new features for Task Manager and Windows Search. It also promises a whole new Cortana experience, Windows Update’s improved bandwidth controls and more. Microsoft is also working on improvements for optional updates in Windows 10. As part of this change, Windows Update settings will include a new Optional updates page where you can see and manage optional updates such as drivers, non-security updates and other patches. There's more posted on OUR FORUM.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, and scammers have been getting ready to cash in from their fraud campaigns. While some fraudsters target the online landscape fooling shoppers with lookalike domains, others focus on customers of brick and mortar retail stores. The latter take advantage of the flood of legitimate discounts to trick potential victims into giving information that could be used for attacks all year round. Researchers at ZeroFOX combed the internet for holiday-themed fraud campaigns and found more than 60,000 potential scams, most of them aimed at consumers in the market for regular products that do not fit the luxury category. The cybersecurity company noticed that the scammers attracted victims with the promise of gift cards, giveaways, discounts, or coupons. Since user data was the coveted prize, all cybercriminals had to do was create an appealing post directing victims to malicious websites. According to ZeroFOX, this type of post is likely advertised found on social media and digital platforms. The link in the post above leads to a landing page with multiple fake giveaways. The poor design of the page should serve as a warning, and so should the request to input personal information such as phone number, gender, date of birth, and street address. Most of the keywords likely to lead to a retail scam that was noticed by the researchers during their study are related to gift-giving. However, posts from unknown accounts on social media that contain 'holiday,' 'Christmas,' 'Thanksgiving' or Black Friday and Cyber Monday should also be regarded with suspicion. ZeroFOX says that the fraudulent domains they found can be spotted as they typically combine specific keywords ('login,' 'verify,' 'free,' 'deal,' 'verification,' 'coupon') with a call to action like logging in or verifying an account to continue. Some of the words The researchers note that they did not check all the domains that came up during their search but the probability of them serving content is high since they all had a TLS certificate, which requires extra effort. A small sample of the websites was verified, though, and the results were expected: phishing, giveaway/coupon scams, and some dubious Chrome extensions. For more turn to OUR FORUM.

Huawei is the company you can’t write off. Sure, it has problems with the U.S. government and its latest phone, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, is still awaiting a wide release outside China, but it still manages to achieve surprising things. Huawei is the company you can’t write off. Sure, it has problems with the U.S. government and its latest phone, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, is still awaiting a wide release outside China, but it still manages to achieve surprising things. The Huawei Mate 20 X, a huge phone with a whopping 7.2in display, most recently updated to a 5G version, has beaten every other phone tested in this way by DXOMark. The company said that the Huawei phone was released as a multimedia powerhouse, and it praised the phone extensively, comparing it favorably to phones including the latest Apple flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It is also the only Android phone we’ve tested that scored above Apple’s large-screen iPhone XS Max—although only by one point. The Mate 20 X did particularly well when playing back movies and music, achieving a substantially higher score for those use cases than any of the other phones we have tested. Okay, so it’s only just better than the latest iPhone, just one point, but it pretty conclusively beats the Samsung Galaxy S10+. So, what does that mean? Well, for a start, it confirms that Huawei phones are increasingly well-crafted and offer genuine standouts. But perhaps it also shows Huawei to be ahead of the curve. Audio quality is only just becoming a thing, though several phone manufacturers, such as Nokia, for instance, have been boasting of their handsets’ sound capabilities for some time. But with bigger screens, designed to let you watch the video and play games, better audio becomes increasingly important. Huawei’s skill is that as it improves the camera, screen, battery life and innovation levels on its phones, it’s not neglecting any part of the package, recognizing audio as an aspect that needs careful attention, too. Be sure and read more at OUR FORUM.

Huawei is one of China’s biggest consumer electronics companies with a wide range of mobile and laptop products. That company has had to pull out of the U.S. market as a result of the USA’s trade war with China. However, that trade war has been easing in recent months. Now Microsoft has confirmed the U.S. Department of Commerce has accepted the big M’s request to resume exporting mass-market software to Huawei. Earlier in 2019, the Americans placed Huawei on the Entity List. That is a list of companies that the U.S. considers a national security threat. The Americans placed Huawei on that list largely due to concerns that the company was assisting Chinese espionage. As a consequence, the Trump administration effectively blocked Microsoft and other U.S. companies selling products and tech to Huawei. Under such circumstances, Huawei has had to withdraw from the U.S. market and postpone the release of Windows laptops. Furthermore, Huawei has had to look toward alternative non-Microsoft platforms for its laptops, such as Deepin Linux. However, the USA and China have resumed trade talks since August 2019 as the trade war has become increasingly detrimental. The U.S. relies a lot on Chinese manufacturing, and China’s companies need America’s biggest software (primarily Android and Windows). With the trade war easing, Microsoft requested a license to sell mass-market software to Huawei. The big M confirmed the Department of Commerce has accepted the request as follows: On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei. It remains somewhat unclear what mass-market software actually amounts to. However, it might mean that Microsoft can resume Windows OS exports to Huawei. If so, Huawei’s Windows laptops might become broadly available again (especially in the MS Store). Stay updated on Huawei and more by visiting OUR FORUM.

Even in our polarized and right vs. left political paradigm, there is one thing both republicans and democrats can agree on: The federal government should have vast snooping powers and conduct mass surveillance on everyone. They simply disagree over who should be in charge of abusing those excessive powers. The impeachment circus did one thing successfully. It took attention from the government’s mass surveillance programs that are constantly expanded. As Reason proposed: If Democrats really feared Donald Trump’s exercise of the powers of the presidency, why would they propose extending the surveillance powers of the controversial Patriot Act?
House Democrats have successfully slipped an unqualified renewal of the draconian PATRIOT Act into an emergency funding bill – voting near-unanimously for sweeping surveillance carte blanche that was the basis for the notorious NSA program.
Via theduran