As some of you have no doubt heard, beginning on Friday and over the weekend, and I suspect into the week, there have been multiple cyber-attacks executed on multiple computer infrastructures around the world - in what is quickly becoming one of the largest cyber-attacks on record.
The hackers apparently used software that was stolen from the National Security Agency and used it to exploit infrastructures like Britan's public health system and Russia's Interior Ministry, along with thousands of computers elsewhere around the world.
By early Saturday morning, the attacks had spread to over 74 countries. The exploit itself was a ransomware type attack. In simple terms the hackers send out emails with the malicious software attached, the user opens the email and downloads the attachment and the software immediately starts encrypting your data. The hackers say they will give your data back to you for a fee, usually payable by bitcoin. In this particular case, the hackers used a software called Wanna Decryptor, which is an evolved form of the WannaCry Ransomware. The software, the same software that was stolen from the NSA (supposedly, but most likely) was designed specifically to attack vulnerabilities within Windows Servers, which is one of the reasons why it spread so fast.
Unfortunately, there is little you can do after the fact. You either have to pay the ransom, which I highly do not recommend, or you need to start from scratch. If you have all of your important data backed up, the effects, aside from downtime, will likely be minimal, if however, you don't have your data backed up, well. you are SOL. MORAL of the story people, be vigilant and BACK-UP your data.
I also urge you, to not pay the ransom. Not only does this help fund these black hat hackers, which allows them to continues these types of cyber attackers, but there is also no guarantee that when you pay, they will actually give you back your data. Additionally, paying them could put you on their radar for future cyber-attacks.
The Windows 10 Creators Update has been out for a little less than a month now. For some, you might have already received it and for others, you will be receiving the update in the not so distant future so here is what you need to know.
The Creators Update (CU) has a focus on security. Microsoft has integrated a high-level privacy dashboard that makes it easier to manage your security and privacy preference. Additionally, the CU has some other interesting new things integrated into it. For example, it comes with as new 'Paint 3D' app (which is an exciting feature for many), it comes with native video game streaming, a Game Mode aimed at improving gaming performance and Edge support of for eBooks and 4K streaming for those Netflix lovers.
Microsoft is also making some changes to the way we get our updates. For awhile now, many users have been upset by the way in which Microsoft has forced Windows Updates on us. Often, interrupting important work or causing problems. Becuase of that, they have introduced new features to make Windows Updates more tolerable. For Windows 10 Pro, EDU and ENT, they have included the ability to defer Windows Updates for up to 35 days. Yes, they are still requiring us to get the updates, but they are at least giving us the ability to install at a more appropriate and convenient time. You will also be able to add new definitions of when you want updates to install and when you don't. So if you work between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, you can make sure the updates to occur during that time.
They have included a feature called Dynamic Lock, which uses your computer's camera to automatically unlock your computer as your sit at it. It also uses your phone's Bluetooth to lock your computer when you walk away from it.
Additionally, they have made updated to Windows VR, Cortana, the Start Menu, Display Settings, Theme Support and Windows Defender.
All said, the CU is packed with lots of great features and by all accounts, this is just the beginning. With another large update to happen later on this year, we can expect even greater changes in the future. The great thing about this model of delivering updates is, we don't need to purchase a new OS every time there are significant changes that we want. Providing you already own Windows 10 these great updates will come to you free of charge. And despite the fact that some of the change are missing the Microsoft said would be included, I take comfort in the fact they likely weren't included because they simply were not ready and I fully expect to see them in the coming updates.