Microsoft confirm Outlook issues

Microsoft confirm Outlook issues

Microsoft has confirmed that some users of Outlook are unable to send emails or access their accounts.

Hundreds of users from around Europe have commented on the website Downdetector that they have been affected by the problem.

A common issue seems to be that emails remain in the draft folder and are not being delivered to recipients.

‘Intermittent connectivity is affecting customers in some European countries, which we are working to resolve as soon as possible,’ said a Microsoft representative. They are monitoring the environment while connectivity recovers.

www.bbc.technews (19th September)

 

Facebook uncovers Russia – funded misinformation campaign

Facebook uncovers Russia – funded misinformation campaign

A Russian-funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages on its network has been discovered by Facebook. Approximately, £77,000 has been spent on over 3000 ads over a two year period.

The adverts did not back any political figures specifically, but instead posted on topics such as immigration, race and equal rights. Facebook has said it is co-operating with a US investigation into the matter. The advertisements were in breach of Facebook’s terms and conditions and spread false information to around 470 accounts

“The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum,” the company said in a blog post published on Wednesday.

The company said it believed, but could not independently confirm, that the accounts were created by the so-called Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg-based group known for posting pro-Kremlin messages on social media.

The accounts in question have now been shut down.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (7th September 17)

Ransomware still going strong

Ransomware still going strong

Research from Google suggests that cyber thieves have made in the region of £19m over the past two years.

‘It has become a very, very profitable market and is here to stay,’ said Elie Bursztein from Google who, along with colleagues Kylie McRoberts and Luca Invernizzi carried out the research.

Ransomware is a malicious software that infects a machine and then encrypts or scrambles files so they no longer can be used or read. The files are only decrypted when a ransom is paid.

The data gathered showed that there were 34 variants of ransomware, the most popular being Locky and Cerber.

Mr Bursztein said that the gangs behind the ransomware explosion were not likely to stop soon, even though there is competition from newer variants such as SamSam and SPora.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (27the July 2017)

Google fined a record £2.1bn over Shopping service

Google fined a record £2.1bn over Shopping service

Google has been fined 2.42bn euros (£2.1bn) by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results. The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty of payments of 5% of its parent company Alphabet’s average daily worldwide earnings. Based on the company’s most recent financial report, this amounts to about $14m a day.

The European Union’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said ‘Google has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.’

A spokesperson for Google said, ‘We respectfully disagree with the conclusions. We will review the Commissioner’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.’

Google shopping displays relevant products’ images and prices alongside the names of shops they are available from and review scores, if available.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (27th June 2017)

Apple Mac computers targeted by Ransomware and Spyware

Apple Mac computers targeted by Ransomware and Spyware

Apple Mac users are being warned about new variants of malware that have been created specifically to target Apple computers.  One is ransomware that encrypts data and demands payment before files are released. The other is spyware that watches what users do and scoops up valuable information. Experts have said that the threat is real due to the creators letting anyone use the two programs for free.

The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fotinet and AlienVault which found a portal on the Tor ‘dark web’ network that acted as a shopfront for both. The creators behind the malware are thought to have extensive experience of creating working code.

Those wishing to use either of the programs had been urged to get in touch and provide details of how they wanted the malware to be set up. The malware’s creators had said that payments made by ransomware victims would be split between themselves and their customers.

Researchers at Fortinet contacted the ransomware writers pretending they were interested in using the product and, soon afterwards, were sent a sample of the malware. Analysis revealed that it used much less sophisticated encryption than the many variants seen targeting Windows machines, said the firm. They also said that any files scrambled with the ransomware would be completely lost because it did a very poor job of handling the decryption keys needed to restore data.

Aamir Lakhani from Fortinet said Mac users should make sure their machines were kept up to date with the latest software patches and be wary of messages they receive via email.

www.bbc.co.uk/technews (13th June 2017)

 

Windows 7 hardest hit by WannaCry worm

Windows 7 hardest hit by WannaCry worm

Security firms have suggested that the majority of the machines hit by the WannaCry ransomware worm earlier this month were running Windows 7. More than 97% of the infections seen by Kaspersky Lab and 66% of those seen by BitSight used the older software. WannaCry has so far infected more than 200,000 computers around the world.

Many have suggested that the reason UK hospitals suffered was because many of them still relied on programmes that required Windows XP – a version of Microsoft’s OS that came out in 2001. However, figures from Kaspersky Lab showed that infections of XP by WannaCry were  insignificant. Windows 7 was released in 2009 and the most widely infected version was the x64 edition, which is widely used in large organisations.

Many organisations seem to have been caught out because they failed to apply a patch, issued by Microsoft in March that blocked vulnerability which WannaCry exploited.

Security experts also found that the worm spread largely by seeking out vulnerable machines on the net by itself. Adam McNeil, a senior malware analyst at Malwarebytes, said the worm was primed to look for machines vulnerable to a bug in a Microsoft technology known as the Server Message Block . Mr McNeil said he suspected that whoever was behind the worm first identified a ‘few thousand’ vulnerable machines which were used as the launch platform for the much larger waves of infection.

www.bbc.co.uk (22nd May 2017)