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Microsoft

With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low

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Microsoft

If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?

But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.

Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for...

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Microsoft’s New Chromium-Based Edge Browser Is Reportedly Stealing Data from Firefox Without Permission

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Microsoft
Moz/FF

Microsoft and its data stealing tales never seem to end. After seeing numerous reports around this issue when the company first released Windows 10 to the public, Microsoft Edge release is also plagued by similar concerns.

According to several users, the company's new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser is sneakily importing data from Firefox without user permission. Users report that this happens even if you shut the process down.

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Also: Mozilla takes first step in pulling Firefox plug on macOS Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan

Microsoft admits there’s a serious problem with Windows 10

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Microsoft

Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that some of Windows 10’s most recent updates are causing rather serious problems for some PCs.

According to the company, the KB4557957 and KB4560960 updates, which are supposed to be cumulative updates that bring numerous security fixes to Windows 10, are instead encountering a critical issue with the Local Security Authority Process.

This has led to some computers to randomly reboot – with just a “your PC will automatically restart in one minute” message as a warning.

This can be incredibly frustrating, as it means you have to quickly save any work you’ve got open. Not only is it disruptive, but it could lead to loss of data as well if you don’t save in time.

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First Windows 10 ...now it's Microsoft Outlook users who are hit by serious glitch

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Microsoft

WINDOWS 10 users have been pummelled by a catalogue of issues in recent weeks, but the latest annoying glitch is impacting those who use Microsoft's hugely-popular Outlook software.

It's not been the best few weeks for Microsoft. Ever since the Redmond-based firm pushed out its Windows 10 May 2020 Update, it has been dogged by issues with a number of PCs suffering from the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) whilst others have been left unable to print anything from their PCs. And now, it seems another popular Microsoft software is also suffering from a hugely irritating and serious glitch which is making the software inoperable.

It seems when users update to the latest version of Outlook, they're instantly faced with an error message that stops them accessing the email client. There are numerous reports from users suffering from the issue and Microsoft has also confirmed that there is a problem.

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China’s Computers Run on Microsoft Windows: Are They Vulnerable to US Pressure?

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

As tension grows between China and the United States, there is worry in Beijing that the conflict could end up further restricting Chinese access to American technology.

Of foremost concern is that despite decades of effort, China has yet to build a homegrown operating system good enough to replace Microsoft Windows. “Our operating system market is dominated by U.S. companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple," a recent report by state-run Xinhua News Agency said. “To fundamentally solve the problem of ‘being choked in [the] neck', creating a domestic operating system and supporting software and hardware ecosystem is a must."

To be fair, China is not alone. Other countries including Russia, Germany and South Korea have been trying to develop their own operating systems. But none of them have gotten very far yet.

Washington has already targeted China’s technology vulnerabilities. The U.S. Commerce Department has banned Huawei from Google Android and cut off the Chinese tech giant from foreign chip manufacturers in May 2019 after adding it to the Export Administration Regulations Entity List. Just last week, 33 Chinese firms and institutions, including the Shanghai-listed software giant Qihoo 360 Technology, were added to an economic blacklist for activities that threaten American national security or foreign policy interests.

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Microsoft and Proprietary Software

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Microsoft
  • Red Cross urges halt to cyberattacks on healthcare sector amid COVID-19 [iophk: Windows TCO]

    The Red Cross called for an end to cyberattacks on healthcare and medical research facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, in a letter published Tuesday and signed by a group of political and business figures.

    Such attacks endanger human lives and governments must take “immediate and decisive action” to stop them, the letter stated.

  • FBI offers US companies more details from investigations of health care [cr]acking

    Criminal and state actors continue to target U.S. clinical trial data, trade secrets, and the “sensitive data and proprietary research of U.S. universities and research facilities,” the FBI told industry in an advisory this week. “Likely due to the current global public health crisis, the FBI has observed some nation-states shifting cyber resources to collect against the [health care and public health] sector, while criminals are targeting similar entities for financial gain.”

    The advisory, which CyberScoop obtained, includes multiple examples since February of state-linked [attackers] trying to compromise and retain access to the networks of organizations in the U.S. health care and public health sector. It is the latest in a series of warnings from U.S. officials about similar cybersecurity incidents as the race for a coronavirus vaccine intensifies.

  • Microsoft copied its new Windows Package Manager from rival AppGet, claims developer

    Beigi interviewed in December, and then never heard anything back from the company for nearly six months until he received a 24-hour heads up that Microsoft was launching winget last week. “When I finally saw the announcement and the GitHub repositories, I was shocked? Upset? I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at,” says Beigi.

    Beigi claims the “core mechanics, terminology, the manifest format and structure, even the package repository’s folder structure” of Microsoft’s winget are all heavily inspired by AppGet. Microsoft only briefly mentions AppGet once in its announcement, in a throwaway line that lists other Windows package managers.

    “What was copied with no credit is the foundation of the project. How it actually works,” explains Beigi in a separate Reddit post. “And I don’t mean the general concept of package / app managers... WinGet works pretty much identical to the way AppGet works.”

  • The Day AppGet Died.

    TLDR; I’m no longer going to be developing AppGet. The client and backend services will go into maintenance mode immediately until August 1st, 2020, at which point they’ll be shut down permanently.

  • Apache Pulsar joins Kafka in Splunk Data Stream Processor

    Splunk built out its event streaming capabilities with a new update, released Wednesday, to its Data Stream Processor to bring in more data for analysis on the Splunk platform.

    The DSP technology is a foundational component of the information security and event management vendor's Data-to-Everything approach.

While waiting for the Linux train, Bork pays a visit to Geordieland with Windows 10

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Microsoft

Bork!Bork!Bork! As the UK tentatively returns to work and those who must venture back onto public transport, we were happy to learn that even in these changed times, Windows remains as wobbly as ever.

Today's entry comes from Register reader Dan.

Snapped last week, the Newcastle Station Info Point is terribly poorly, with three pop-ups showing Windows' escalating levels of distress.

The first sign of wobbling was the "Close programs" message, which tends to pop up when Microsoft's OS is getting short of resources. Things went downhill from there.

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Microsoft Entrapment and Openwashing

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Microsoft

Microsoft loves Linux — a little too much?

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Microsoft announces a lot of Linux related stuff, and Maui. Trouble is: Maui is already the name of a Linux distribution and the name of a framework for graphical user interfaces for Linux applications — and, as it turns out, has been a registered trademark for those things for 5 years.

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Microsoft Build: Same old recycled stuff, no upcycling

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GNU
Microsoft

Often, a proprietary software company's silence can speak as loudly as their latest campaign against a computer user's right to freedom. This is the case with Microsoft's developer-centric "Build" event. While Microsoft announced a few more welcome additions to its free software output, it missed the opportunity to demonstrate a real commitment to user freedom by upcycling its recently abandoned Windows 7 operating system under a free software license.

The predictable failure here here fits together well with the corporation's complex history of mixed messaging on freedom, which once compared copyleft to "a virus that gobbles up intellectual property like a Pac-Man," and yet now would have you believe that it "loves [free software]." Our Upcycle Windows 7 petition has given Microsoft the perfect opportunity to take the next step in its promotion of free software, to show that its "love" was real. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that they have ignored this call from us and thousands of potential users.

Although the petition signatures and "special gift" were signed, sealed, and delivered safely to their Redmond, WA headquarters, the FSF has not received any response from a Microsoft representative. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the operations of even the largest companies, but as of yet, we haven't heard anything from Microsoft suggesting this was the reason for the lack of response. They certainly seem to have had the resources to put on a 48-hour video marathon about proprietary software.

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More in Tux Machines

Tor and Mozilla/Firefox

  • United Nations Whisteblower Says The Tor Anonymity Network Is Great For Human Rights Work

    US military subsidiaries such as the NSA, who use Tor for open source intelligence gathering, are not the only ones who need a secure traffic analysis resistant anonymity network like Tor. UN human rights lawyer Emma Reilly says it is "great" when working with human rights defenders. [...] We feel for her, she is not the only one who was forced to learn Pascal in her youth. We also feel for all the victims of the UN Human Rights Council who has been handing over names of human rights activists from the day it formed in March 2006. China is not only having a very negative impact on human rights activists who contact the UN for help, China is also committing grave crimes against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong (香港). [...] The free software tool OnionShare is a very user-friendly program that lets you share files and setup chat-rooms over the Tor network in case you need to communicate with human rights activists or other endangered people in a secure fashion. You can follow human rights lawyer Emma Reilly on Twitter if you want to learn more about her important human rights work. She does not appear to have a fediverse social media account in case Twitter de-platforms her on behest of the Chinese regime.

  • How one woman fired up her online business during the pandemic

    Sophia Keys started her ceramics business, Apricity Ceramics, five years ago. But it wasn’t until a global pandemic forced everyone to sign on at home and Screen Time Report Scaries became a thing that her business really took off. She had never been active on social media, but decided to create relaxing videos of pottery throwing as a type of craft-ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response videos that provide relaxation with a sedative, tingling sensation for some) early in the pandemic. These videos gained traction and Keys started building a community. A couple months into the pandemic, when she had more finished pieces than she knew what to do with, she posted about the sale on her Instagram page. She sold out. She now has over 21K followers and her ceramics sell out in hours. Amidst the chaos of 2020, here’s how Sophia expanded her woman-owned online business, found her own confidence on social media, and built a community around her handmade products.

  • Mozilla Performance Blog: Performance Sheriff Newsletter (February 2021)

    In February there were 201 alerts generated, resulting in 29 regression bugs being filed on average 4 days after the regressing change landed. Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the performance sheriffing newsletter. Here you’ll find the usual summary of our sheriffing efficiency metrics, followed by some analysis on the data footprint of our performance metrics. If you’re interested (and if you have access) you can view the full dashboard.

Games: Assassin’s Greed, Yorg, Wanted Raccoon and More

  • Assassin’s Greed

    I don’t think any sane person is going to disagree with the quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For those unaware, that quote came from British politician Baron Acton in 1887. That’s one of the few sayings man has uttered that stands against the test of time. Keep in mind, Acton coined this phrase from politicians who said something similar even earlier than his time; Acton’s phrase just seems to be the most popular, since it reads like modern English. Now, I’m not trying to get into politics; we’re a gaming web site, after all. But sadly, after a number of events have occurred — for the gaming industry in particular — within the past couple of years, I feel like even us Linux gamers get the short end of the stick. True, we always had the short end of the stick, up until Valve stepped in and basically saved our bacon around 2012-2013. But as far as native Linux games are concerned, and as advanced as Proton gets, competition that has arisen lately can either be a plus for us, or, as I bring out here, competition can be more so of a nuisance than it is anything else. [...] Yeah, some were probably expecting me to point the gun at Microsoft first. I’m not a total Microsoft hater, as I do appreciate some of their work, like some of the code they’ve contributed to the Linux kernel. But I seem to hear it all the time. Microsoft bought this company. [...] Microsoft joined the Linux foundation late 2016. Supposedly, they’re a high-paying “Platinum Member.” I don’t know if their claim, “We love Linux,” is actually true. If anything, they consider Linux as a threat, as long as they’re not making revenue via this platform. They haven’t made any official drivers for Linux as far as their Xbox controllers are concerned. Microsoft is invested in Linux at least when it comes to their whole Azure cloud services, a competitor to AWS and Google Cloud, and they have made it easier to develop for Linux within Windows with the WSL module developed in partnership with Ubuntu. Microsoft tried to make their own locked garden during the Windows 8 era with the Windows Store and trying to force everyone to put their applications through there. Fortunately, they failed miserably, thanks in no small part to Valve creating SteamOS. But it doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t stop trying.

  • FOSS racer Yorg has a new release with improved gamepad support | GamingOnLinux

    Top-down open-source racing? Yorg is a little bit like some of the classic Micro Machines games and while rough around the edges as it's in development it's showing promise as another FOSS game. With fast arcade racing along with some amusing physics, Yorg is already a lot of fun with multiple tracks, vehicles and different drivers to pick from. You can play against AI, local multiplayer and experimental online multiplayer. There's weapons too, so you can blow everyone up.

  • Wanted Raccoon is an upcoming comedy game in the spirit of Goat Simulator

    Remember the craziness of Goat Simulator? Wanted Raccoon has a familiar theme of animals going wild and it's entering Early Access on March 19 with Linux support. A game that seems like a big gimmick but apparently there's a little more to it. The developer mentions an actual storyline and some sort of research system. You can ride skateboards, fight people, upgrade skills, and of course - steal food. Everything a good Raccoon does right? There's also something about a kidnapped family. Hero Raccoon to the rescue?

  • Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 2: Selecting a Graphics Card

    Linux graphics support is still remarkably similar to how it was 20 years ago, even with all the progress that has been made in the years since. The Mesa 3D graphics library had its origins all the way back in 1995, and through the Utah GLX project attracted the attention of industry luminaries such as id Software’s John Carmack and vendors such as ATI, Intel, Matrox, S3, and 3dfx. By the turn of the millennium all of them had at least some support in Mesa. Nvidia went a different route, one which continues to set them apart to this day. Rather than choosing to cooperate with Mesa they instead ported their Windows drivers over to Linux directly, maintaining their own proprietary binary blob separate from the main Linux kernel. This driver model was also later adopted by ATI when they switched focus to their own proprietary “fglrx” driver, although this was largely reversed again after AMD acquired the company in 2006. By the time of Red Hat Linux 9 the Direct Rendering Infrastructure or DRI was firmly in place in Mesa and offered 3D support for a wide number of cards. This included the ATI 3D Rage Pro Turbo, which was the AGP card I had selected to test the machine. While a solid 2D performer it offered lacklustre 3D graphics even for the time of its release, and was intended more as an OEM graphics solution than for gaming. That makes them easy to find, but also not worth a lot.

10 Best Compression Tools for Linux

File compression is an integral part of system administration. Finding the best compression method requires significant determination. Luckily, there are many robust compression tools for Linux that make backing up system data easier. Here, we present ten of the best Linux compression tools that can be useful to enterprises and users in this regard. [...] A plethora of reliable Linux compression tools makes it easy to archive and back up essential data. You can choose from many lossless compressors with high compression ratios such as LZ4, lzop, and bzip2. On the other hand, tools like Zstandard and plzip allow for more advanced compression workflows. Read more

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (activemq, libcaca, libupnp, mqtt-client, and xcftools), Fedora (ceph, mupdf, nagios, python-PyMuPDF, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), Mageia (cups, kernel, pngcheck, and python-pygments), openSUSE (bind, chromium, gnome-autoar, kernel, mbedtls, nodejs8, and thunderbird), and Red Hat (nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, screen, and virt:8.2 and virt-devel:8.2). 

  •   
  • Server Security Tips – Secure Your Server with These Best Practices

    Servers play a vital role in organizations. Their primary function is to provide both data and computational services. Because of the critical role they play, servers hold confidential organizational data and information. Information is like gold nowadays, and hackers are gold miners. An insecure server is vulnerable to all sorts of security threats and data breaches.

  •      
  • Multiple Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Could Allow Privilege Escalation

    Fortunately, before any active exploitation, Popov fixed these bugs for the users. Popov has confirmed merging of these patches with the mainline kernel version 5.11-rc7. Also, the fixes have been “backported into the stable affected trees”. As Positive Technologies elaborated, this isn’t the first time Popov found and patched a vulnerability. Earlier, he has also caught and fixed two Linux, bugs CVE-2017-2636 and CVE-2019-18683, as well in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

  • Understanding Samsung Knox Vault: Protecting the data that matters most

    Eight years ago, Samsung set out on a mission to build the most trusted and secure mobile devices in the world. With the introduction of our Samsung Knox platform at MWC in 2013, we put in place the key elements of hardware-based security that would help defend Samsung mobile devices and our customers’ data against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Samsung Knox has since evolved into more than a built-in security platform, now encompassing a full suite of mobile management tools for enterprise IT administrators. But our mobile product planners, developers and security engineers have remained laser-focused on answering the primary question: how do we remain a step ahead of hackers and keep our users safe at all times? [...] In the first days of Android, the main focus was building a more open and flexible mobile operating system. Security was state-of-the-art for the time, inherited from the world of Unix and mainframe computers. But from the start, it became clear that smartphones were different; they were the most personal computers anyone had ever built.