Intel Clover Trail Processors cannot support new versions of Windows 10

Posted by on 10:16 pm in News, Technology, Windows 10 | 0 comments

Intel Clover Trail Processors cannot support new versions of Windows 10

Microsoft just blocked close to 100 different mobile models from upgrading to the Fall Creators Edition.

 

Microsoft has blocked the ability to upgrade past the Anniversary Update for the Intel Clover Trail processor, used for tablets, netbooks, and phones and touted for their low battery consumption. Originally running Window 8, this processor was popular for convertible or transformer-style tablets which gave a 2-in-1 functionality of being a netbook with a detachable tablet and accounted for one half of the technology that is now blocked.  The rest of the devices are slate tablets, phones that ran Android are of course not affected by this issue.

Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, and Dell are major companies that used the Clover Trail processors Z2760, Z2580, Z2560, and Z2520. The CPU was created with the tablet technology in mind. When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 as a Software as a service and promised ongoing support, there was no indication that there would be an end of the line for these devices that are less than years old and started with Windows 8.

At least one of the companies is fighting for their products.  Acer has struck up the lead with talks with Microsoft to allow devices with Clover Trail processors to update to the Fall Creators Update.  If they can move forward with this big release that has made major improvements on security, but still has a critical malware intervention broken, they can wrap up 2017 as a win.

What does this mean for you?

If you have one of these devices, you will receive support and security updates for the Anniversary Update until 2023.  If Acer and any other manufacturers that may be working alongside them are successful, Microsoft may agree to allow these devices to update to the Fall Creators Update.

If you decide to purchase a new computer, call us at 2350-382-0424 and ask about our Data Transfer services to see if we can help you move your information to your new computer.

Intel Management Engine has major flaw – new patch released

Posted by on 7:01 pm in News, Technology, Vista, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows XP | 0 comments

Intel Management Engine has major flaw – new patch released

12 Intel processors are vulnerable to 10 flaws that have recently been patched

  • 6th, 7th & 8th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1200 v5 & v6 Product Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor Scalable Family
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor W Family
  • Intel® Atom® C3000 Processor Family
  • Apollo Lake Intel® Atom Processor E3900 series
  • Apollo Lake Intel® Pentium™
  • Celeron™ N and J series Processors

Intel continues to dominate the market as the leading processor installed in most computers and laptops, and Apple recently switched to Intel technology. Microsoft has recently blocked updates for Windows 7 for Kaby Lake 7th and 8th generation processors forcing users to switch to Windows 10. Despite the version of windows on your computer, unless this flaw is patched, attackers could impersonate the Intel Management Engine, Server Platform Services, and/or the Trusted Execution Engine, load and execute arbitrary code without the user or Windows being aware of it. This gives the attacker the ability to destabilize completely crash the computer.

The Intel Management Engine cannot be turned off, so each of the processors is vulnerable until they are patched. Depending on the make and model of your computer, this issue may be able to be resolved and you can be protected from this exploit that has recently been admitted by Intel.  Hackers use this information to find ways to get into unprotected computers and run code that causes performance issues or damage to your system.

We encourage you to contact us at 250-382-0424 and bring your computer in to ensure that you that you have been updated to patch these 10 vulnerabilities.  If you have Windows 10, we also suggest that you have the Critical Anti-Malware Intervention patched and if you do not have an anti-virus program, we suggest a Virus Removal and 1 yr BitDefender License. We also offer a Microsoft Privacy Policy configuration to protect your privacy from Microsoft!

Integral Windows 10 Anti-Malware Intervention Critically Broken

Posted by on 5:46 pm in CyberSecurity, News, Technology, Windows 10 | 0 comments

Integral Windows 10 Anti-Malware Intervention Critically Broken

This major security flaw affects all versions of Windows 8 and 10

Microsoft introduced a major addition to their anti-malware protection in Windows 7 over 10 years ago that helps protect installed programs from being discovered and ultimately accessed and exploited by malware on your computer.  This technology is called ASLR, which stands for Address Space Layout Randomization which works by storing data in different locations every time the application is run. The protection makes it difficult for rogue programs on your computer to predict where that data is stored and exploit it should there be a security flaw. While this technology works flawlessly at making it more difficult for malware to infect insecure programs on Windows 7 computers, it is broken on Windows 10.

 

ASLR - Discovery Computers

The setting in the Windows Defender Security Center is available to be used and configured in the Fall Creators Update that was rolled out starting in October 2017. Unfortunately, in Windows 10, Microsoft is storing the data from the programs as they load in the very same place.  If a rogue program is on your computer and detects a program running on your computer that has a security flaw that is started on your computer, it can easily access it and exploit it. The protection that is supposed to be circumventing this issue, is critically broken.  It requires a specific technical fix that should not be attempted by anyone without knowledge of working with the registry to prevent damage.

 

To help explain how this prevention works, think of it like hiding keys to your home from someone that has already broken into it that had found it before when you were on vacation. You carefully plan out 12 different hiding spaces around your home that look nothing like each other and let your dog sitter know that they need to put it in a different spot each day.  The person who knows that there is a key could still find it and get into your house if they looked, but it will take them some time and they have to look around. The problem is, the dog sitter keeps putting the key under the mat every day and that person easily gets in the door every day.

If you use Windows 10, you are vulnerable to this and we strongly suggest that you contact us at Discovery Computers at 250-382-0424 and ensure that your computers is patched for this security issue. We can also review  We can also review is you are vulnerable to the Intel Management Engine security flaws and recommend a Microsoft Privacy Policy review for $30 if you have not configured this on your computer yet to protect your privacy from Microsoft.

Microsoft blocks updates for newer processors

Posted by on 10:18 am in News, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 | 0 comments

Microsoft blocks updates for newer processors

All of a sudden, Windows Update states you have Unsupported hardware

Intel’s the 7th generation known as Kaby Lake, AMD’s Bristol Ridge, and Qualcomm’s 8996 and any newer processors are no longer supported in Windows 7, or 8.1 by Microsoft and their only choice for you is to update to Windows 10.  When checking for updates, you will receive the message above or the error code Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error. As of April 2017, Microsoft made this decision based on “new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support” and blocked updates for all systems having these processors.

Microsoft identifies your computer based on the hardware that is installed on, so there is no way to prevent this block from happening.  The only way to resolve this is to finally upgrade.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as there are better power management options for your CPU and you will be able to take advantage of getting better performance from your computer.

For Windows 8.1 users, the jump won’t be so far from the OS, but Windows 7 users it is a big change.  There are options such as the Classic Shell that allow you to have a Windows 7 start menu rather than the Windows 10 menu, although I do suggest that you give the new Fall Creators Update start menu a try. There are a lot of great new features and free programs in Windows 10 that make the switch less painful once you spend a little time with it.

Until the end of 2017, you can take advantage of our Windows 10 upgrade special where we can help get you updated and ensure that your computer is secure.  If you don’t have an active antivirus on your computer, consider adding in a 1 yr Bitdefender license (details on the Current Offers page) that will keep your computer and your files safe from malware and ransomware.

Give us a call at 250-382-0424 and ask us today about upgrading your system to Windows 10 if you are experiencing this issue with your computer.

Windows 10 Creators Update has arrived

Posted by on 9:45 am in News, Windows 10 | 0 comments

Windows 10 Creators Update has arrived

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update rolled out Oct 17, 2017.

If you have not already updated to the Fall Creators Update, you can’t put it off any longer.  And frankly, you shouldn’t. Microsoft introduced named versions of Windows 10, signifying major releases to the operating system that advance the way it looks, performs, and adds new features. Each version has a code name and a marketing name for easier recognition.  The Fall Creators Update, version 1709, codenamed “Redstone 3”, is the fourth major update to Windows 10 and the third in a series of updates planned under the Redstone codenames. It carries the build number 10.0.16299. The first preview was released to Insiders on April 7, 2017, and the final release was made available to Windows Insiders on September 26, 2017, followed by a public release on October 17. Microsoft is working on the next version, Redstone 4 due for release in early 2018.

To check to see if you are running the latest version of Windows, type in winver into the Cortana search box and press enter.  This box will pop up and you want to see Version 1709 Build 10.0.16299 showing.  If you do not, you need to update your version of Windows.

 

New features in the Fall Creators Edition

  • Windows Mixed Reality – plugin VR headsets and connect with a wide variety of apps to experience virtual reality in under 15 minutes.
  • Mixed Reality Viewer – using Remix3D.com community or your own creation from Paint 3D, bring your creation to life with this app.
  • Photos – now add text, filters and 3D effects. Join pictures and videos with music, transitions and themes.
  • My People – pin your top people to your taskbar to send them a Skype or Mail message without opening the apps and share files with a drag and drop or Share picker. Emoji’s pop up and animate when they are sent to you.
  • Cortana – you can now ask Cortana to shut down, restart, or sleep your PC
  • Microsoft Edge – downloaded books from the Store can be annotated, pin your favourites to the taskbar, edit the URL of your favourites, and now experience full screen with F11!
  • Microsoft Store – now unified across the website, Windows and XBox.
  • Security – Windows Defender Exploit Guard protects against several well known persistent ransomware campaigns and Windows Defender now uses cloud protection service.
  • Stay productive – forward pages on your phone to open on your computer, connect your android to your PC and streamline it, access your OneDrive files on demand, advanced options for you PC Pen, new PDF functions, a currency converter, improve battery performance, and Microsoft Account password reset at the login screen.
  • Accessibility – new eye control using a compatible eye tracker, new feature to screen reader to generate missing image descriptions, and a new Dictate function using cloud-based intelligence and modern-day speech recognition.
  • Tips – new tip apps helps you maximize Windows 10 and helps you know more about the Fall Creators Update
  • PC Gaming – toggle Game Mode from the Game bar, Mixer broadcasting loads and starts faster, new XBox networking help options, new GPU monitoring in the Task Manager
  • Start Menu – improved resizing and new transparency option
  • Action Centre – new layout and design places notifications in boxes grouped by apps
  • Emojis – holding down the Windows flag key on your keyboard and tapping the . (period) key will bring up the new dedicated Emoji panel that includes a search function.

If you are experiencing errors and difficulties updating Windows, give us a call at 250-382-0424 and we can help resolve that for you!

Do you use CCleaner? You could have malware on your computer!

Posted by on 7:10 am in CyberSecurity, News, Vista, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows XP | 0 comments

Do you use CCleaner?  You could have malware on your computer!

You could be infected

If you have CCleaner 5.33 installed, you could be one of the millions of people that still have or had a version that was compromised.

Security researchers at Cisco Talos discovered that download servers used by the company that owns CCleaner, Avast, were compromised to distribute malware inside CCleaner. The Talos team reported, “For a period of time, the legitimate signed version of CCleaner 5.33 being distributed by Avast also contained a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner.”

Over 2.27 million users were affected by the malware attack, and Avast Piriform believes the company was able to prevent the exploit from harming customers. It did, however, commandeer computers to participate as part of a botnet that attacked internal networks at large companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Samsung.  Other targetted companies were Sony, HTC, VMWare, Intel. Cisco, Vodafone, Linksys, Epsom. MSI, Dlink, and some Asian companies.

A botnet uses infected computers as zombies, stealing their resources to attack or spam a target without the owner’s knowledge. Signs that your computer resources are being used are; slow internet speeds on your computer, pages not responding, programs not opening, freezing, slow startup or shutdown.

If you have installed CCleaner 5.33 or find that your computer is running slowly, you could be compromised with malware. Give us a call at 250-382-0424 and let us clear out any malware on your system and set you up with a 1 yr Bitdefender license to get you protected.

What is Ransomware?

Posted by on 9:45 pm in CyberSecurity, News | 0 comments

What is Ransomware?

One day, your files are gone…

In 1996 the concept of cryptovirology was introduced by 2 computer scientists at the IEEE Security & Privacy conference, inspired by a character in the movie Aliens, the fictional facehugger.  Young and Yung also authored the book “Malicious Cryptography: Exposing Cryptovirology” and Yung has now moved on to working at Snap Inc, the company that owns Snapchat.

The basics of ransomware are:

  • Ransomware is created and distributed by the attacker.
  • The victim downloads the ransomware encrypting their files with a unique key which is sent to the attacker.  A demand is sent back to the victim’s computer giving them instructions on how to get their files back.
  • If a ransom is paid, the attackers may or may not send back the unique decrypter key to unlock the victim’s files.  This is not always successful

In 2012, the first Ransomware started growing internationally delivered by a trojan disguised as downloading or opening what seemed to be legitimate file attachment in an email. Since then, it has been disguised as Flash updates, Google font updates, unknowingly downloaded through infected websites, installed by a bundled program, or delivered through Windows security flaw. No matter how the ransomware gets onto your computer, the results are devastating.

What can be lost to Ransomware?

All of your important files such as documents, pictures, videos, PDF’s, music files, game related files, tax files, databases, website files, CAD files and some virtual desktops can be encrypted.  Some ransomware infects your master boot record and will not allow you to start your computer into Windows. Newer ransomware deletes the Shadow Copies on your hard drive making it impossible to retrieve any backups of any files that you may have had. In some cases, your files are deleted immediately, or when the ransom is not paid, files are deleted to urge the victim to pay.

Types of Ransomware

  • BadRabbit – Wiper. Encrypts files, demands a ransom. If the ransom is not paid, your data is lost.
  • Cerber – Encrypts files, demands a ransom. Has the computer speak to the victim.
  • CryptoFortress – Encrypts files in shared folders as well, demands a ransom.
  • CryptoLocker – Encrypts files, demands a ransom.
  • Cryptomix – Encrypts files, victims must wait for an email ransom demand.
  • CryptoWall – Encrypts files, demands a ransom, drops spyware on your computer.
  • FBI – Displays a message warning that the victim has violated federal law. Encrypts files, demands a ransom.
  • Jigsaw – Encrypts files, demands a ransom and starts deleting files and increasing the ransom each hour. Variants will use porn images or offer chat support.
  • Kriptovor – Steals certain files, gathers the process list, takes a screenshot of the victims desktop, encrypts files, demands a ransom.
  • Locky – Encrypts files and renames them into hex values, demands a ransom.
  • NotPetya – True purpose appears to be malicious, not ransomware. Files are not recoverable as the key that encrypts the Master File Table is discarded and you cannot read the drive.
  • PadCrypt – Encrypts files, demands a ransom. Live chat support.
  • Petya – Infects the Master Boot Record so the victim sees a blue screen when they start their computer up. Encrypts files, demands a ransom.
  • Spora – Deletes the shadow copies, changes folder settings, drops files. Encrypts files, demands a ransom. Provides a friendly user interface for the victim that is actually running on their computer.
  • TeslaCrypt – Encrypts game-related files, demands a ransom. TorrentLocker – Encrypts an extensive list of file types, demands a ransom.
  • Troldesh – Encrypts files and changes the original file name, demands a ransom.
  • VaultCrypt – Downloads hacking tool to steal passwords/logins from your browser, takes action to prevent recovery, encrypts files, demands a ransom. Provides a customer portal.
  • WannaCry – Distributed through a Windows security flaw, encrypts files, demands a ransom.

 

Ransomware as a Service

From 2015- 2016 the growth of new ransomware families was 600% resulting in an average of 4,000 attacks per day.  In the first 150 days of 2016, there were 50 new ransomware families discovered, twice that were found in 2015. The increase in infections are spread through email attachments grew to 97.5% in Q3 2016 from Q1 according to this Phishme report.

Ransomware as a service allows anyone who can pay for the service, or give the author a percentage of the profits, the ability to create ransomware that will pay them and send it out to infect people. The quick payout is more attractive than stealing personal information and credit card details.  With this type of Cybercrime, using Bitcoin comes anonymity, they cannot be traced. It becomes too easy to be a copycat cybercriminal at the expense of countless of unprotected victims that don’t take steps to protect themselves.

Ransomware in the future

As shown in the many variants of ransomware families, information may have already been taken from the victim’s computer.  The attacker could have access to all of their personal information, documents, emails, contacts or website history. Ransomware can take on a second demand known as online extortion or doxxing. Demanding payment in order not to release personal or embarrassing information online or selling it.

Attackers are also targetting services, creating havoc in our lives. Hospitals, transit, and power plants have suffered as a result of being attacked. As we have more devices attached to our computers, the ability to infect other devices and use them for attacking and infecting other computers.

What can you do?

Clean it up
You need to ensure that your computer is completely clean of all files and remnants of current or previous malware infections.
Patch it up
Ensure that all of the necessary security patches have been applied to your computer
Get protected
Install a trusted and recommended security program that will protect you from malware and ransomware attacks.
Back it up
Use an online backup service or external hard drive and make regular backups. It’s better to have both
Scan your attachments
If you are absolutely convinced that the email is valid, download the attachment but DO NOT OPEN IT! Upload it to www.virustotal.com and it will scan it. Be extremely careful opening links from email, it’s better not to do it.

System Security Inspection and 1 yr BitDefender license – $120

Call us at 250-382-0424 to book a time to come see us and we’ll help you get protected.