HDMI allows you to connect almost any device to a TV or another external display, but HDMI requires a wired connection. You might assume there’d be a well-supported standard for wireless displays, but you’d be wrong.
When it comes to mirroring a device’s screen wirelessly or using it as a remote-control for media displayed on another screen, there is still a wide variety of competing standards fighting it out in the market.
Thinking about giving the Windows 10 preview build a shot? You aren’t the only one — according to Microsoft, its Windows Insider Program hit one million registrants over the weekend, giving a lot of potential users access to the latest build of its next-gen operating system. Joining the Windows Insider Program doesn’t necessarily translate to an installed preview, but it is the only way to get access to Windows 10 currently. While it’s not clear how many of those millions have installed the OS, Microsoft says it has received over 200,000 pieces of feedback through Windows’ native feedback application.
Microsoft has reason to believe that most of that feedback is from extensive use, not just folks dipping their toe in the OS: its stats indicate that less than half of all installs are running on virtual machines, meaning most of its users installed Windows 10 natively. It also learned that most users are using more than seven apps a day. The team says that it’s currently trying to categorize and process all of the feature requests and feedback its receiving, and promises to continue to revise and improve the OS before launch.
After a relatively quiet few months, Microsoft Patch Tuesday is back in full force, covering three zero-day vulnerabilities that administrators should attend to as quickly as possible.
Microsoft issued eight security bulletins Tuesday, covering a total of 24 vulnerabilities found in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and the .Net framework. Three of the bulletins are marked as critical, which means administrators should test and apply these patches immediately. A single bulletin can cover multiple vulnerabilities within one technology.
Three of these vulnerabilities are already being exploited by malicious attackers, hence they are being called zero-day vulnerabilities. This is the first time in recent history—and perhaps ever—that Microsoft has fixed three zero-day vulnerabilities in a single round of patches, which Microsoft typically issues on the second Tuesday of each month.
“Sandworm” is the most notorious of the three and is a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that has already been used in attacks on NATO and a number of European government agencies, telecommunication firms and energy companies, according to cyberthreat intelligence firm iSight. Microsoft Bulletin MS14-060 fixes this bug.
“This is an urgent one to fix,” said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer for IT security firm Qualys.
Microsoft marked MS14-060 as important rather than critical because for the attack to work, it would require a user to click on a file. Qualys ranks this vulnerability as more severe in that it is pretty easy to trick a single person into clicking on a file, such as a PowerPoint presentation, which would be all that would be required for an attacker to gain access to an internal network with a well-crafted script, Kandek said.
Sandworm is a good reminder for administrators to make sure that they set the user permissions correctly on desktop and laptop computers, meaning not to give an end user full administrative privileges on the machine, Kandek said.
Internet Explorer gets patched, too
The second zero-day flaw addresses a problem in Internet Explorer and the fix is found in MS14-056. This vulnerability “could allow an attacker to break out of the sandboxing capabilities in Internet Explorer,” said Amol Sarwate, director of vulnerability research at Qualys.
The third zero-day, addressed in MS14-058, also comes from a flaw within Windows, namely from the way the operating system kernel drivers handle TrueType fonts. An attacker could embed some malicious code within a TrueType font. When a user visits a site with these ill fonts, Windows will download the font package and automatically execute the code buried within.
Beyond Microsoft’s patches, administrators will also have a busy week with patches from Adobe and Oracle, Kandek said.
On Tuesday, Adobe released a set of patches for its Flash multimedia player. Oracle is also releasing a wide range of patches for its enterprise software. In particular, administrators should take a look at the Java patches, Kandek advised.