Microsoft Defender ATP now scans Windows 10 PC firmware for hardware rootkit attacks

Microsoft has been building firmware-level defenses into Windows 10 Secured-Core PCs for the enterprise, and now it’s bringing similar capabilities to its enterprise antivirus software, Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

Secured-core PCs include a handful of Windows 10 PCs, including the Surface Pro X, HP Elite Dragonfly, Dell Latitude 7400, and fourth-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. 

One of the key hardware-level protections these offer is kernel Direct Memory Access (DMA) protection, which can mitigate hands-on attacks that exploit, for example, the Thunderbolt interface to steal data from memory.   

Others include Trusted Platform Module (TPM), virtualization-based security, Windows Defender System guard, hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and tools to block unverified code execution. 

This breed of PCs are aimed at organizations in the sights of state-backed hackers, such as the Russian group, Fancy Bear, and some recent strains of ransomware.  

The new Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) scanner in

Read More

Online shopping fraud hits £16m during lockdown

Online shopping fraud has resulted in about 16,000 people in the UK losing a total of more than £16m to criminals during the coronavirus lockdown, with younger people most affected.

According to national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre Action Fraud, reports of online shopping fraud increased during the lockdown, when physical retail outlets were forced to close.

Consumers reported that purchases of mobile phones, electronics and vehicles on websites such as eBay, Facebook, Gumtree and Depop were made, but the products were never delivered. About a quarter of victims were aged between 18 and 26.

“The global outbreak of coronavirus has seen all our lives turn upside down,” said Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud. “With the lockdown being introduced, so many more people are now shopping online, including those who have never done so before. It is therefore unsurprising that there has been an increase in fraud

Read More

Was Microsoft in the 1990s really better than Apple in the 2020s?

In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, Microsoft president Brad Smith announced his support for an antitrust investigation into Apple’s iPhone app store model. OK. So far, so good. Apple claims up to 30% from its app store vendors for every program they sell. It may not be extortion, but if you talk to iPhone independent software vendors (ISVs), they might use stronger language. Smith went on, “You’re seeing app stores that have created higher walls and far more formidable gates to access to other applications than anything that existed in the industry [Windows] 20 years ago.”

Excuse me? 

Apple makes it harder on vendors today than Microsoft did in the 1990s and early 2000s? I don’t think so! Microsoft had 90% of the PC market, compared to Apple’s 13.7% of the smartphone market

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley and I were both around then and

Read More

Home workers increase digital activity but raise broadband performance issues

A study from EY has found that while the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown has prompted a positive shift in households’ digital activity, concerns around data privacy and security breaches, alongside broadband reliability issues, have created underlying levels of anxiety.

The survey of 2,500 UK consumers, conducted between 27 May and 1 June, highlights the top 10 challenges and opportunities facing providers in the wake of the coronavirus. While the crisis has spurred greater engagement with technology – EY found that 21% of consumers were more engaged with the latest technology and gadgets for the home – less than half of households (44%) felt in control of their online personal data, and a quarter were concerned about a reduction in broadband performance.

Looking at the increased adoption of digital products and services, EY’s study also revealed that one-third of all households (32%) – and 43% of under-55-year-olds – have increased the amount

Read More