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Windows provides what Intel cannot

Big news hits the computer, updates sent out recently for Windows 10 are solving big problems caused by Intel’s patch.

Back on January 2nd, there was an announcement that Intel CPUs were having some serious problems in regards to its security vulnerabilities and that these issues stemmed from features of the CPU that was essential for performance. This issue was named Spectre. However there was another issue Intel users faced, and that was named Meltdown, which was essentially because a patch for Spectre would result in a slowing of the processors. That is exactly what the “solution” did.

Intel noted that the patch did indeed slow down processors, and saw that benchmark results were as significant as a 25%¬† drop in performance. The problems didn’t stop there.

Problems arose in the patch that was supposed to help. The patch resulted in some processors booting more often than they should, and generally without much any warning at all. Last week Intel announced a solution to the reboot issues, but it only affected some older processors.

So, that brings us to the current time. Intel has admitted that it’s latest patch for Spectre was basically worse than the bug it was made to fix. As a response, Windows has realeased an out-of-band patch for Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. This patch will disable the fix for Spectre variant 2. If you are experiencing the problem, you will need to manually download the update, as it is not automatic yet. You can find the link¬†here.

Microsoft’s latest windows program update should stop the rebooting until Intel gets their game together and provides a proper update.

Check out the link and get your computer back in a somewhat working manner, then keep an eye out for the proper patch! It’s amazing how much heat Intel has been accumulating lately. Hopefully the future bodes a different story.

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Ransomware update: Petya

Petya-based ransomware using EternalBlue to infect computers around the world

There are more reports of a massive cyber attack hitting a number of companies in Ukraine, including banks, transportation services, energy companies, and even the government. Avast says this is another example of the Petya-based ransomware, which was first identified in 2016. Petya ransomware was spotted patched and bundled as a different malware strain called PetrWarp just a few months ago. The attack seems to be spreading with incidents being reported in Russia, India, France, Spain and also the Netherlands. The writers behind the attack are demanding a $300 ransom to be paid in Bitcoin.

 

As the outbreak was being analyzed, an infection vector tied to an updater for Ukrainian accounting software was found called MEDoc.

Once this modification of Petya infects the network, it spreads using two different methods. One method is by using two SMB vulnerabilities, EternalBlue and EternalRomance. Another is by spreading via Windows network shares by using the victim’s stolen credentials. This is done from a vundled Mimikatz-like tool which extracts passwords. Microsoft released a patch for both of these in March.

 

There has been over 12,000 attack attempts as of 6-27-2017. Data from Avast shows 38 million PCs that were scanned last week have not patched their systems and are still vulnerable. The actual number of vulnerable PCs is probably much higher then that. Windows 7 showed to be the operating system that was effected the most.

Avast Protection

 

Customers that are using the latest versions of Avast are protected against Petya-based ransomware. If Petya somehow made it into your system, Avast will detect it, quarantine it and destroy it. If it detects Petya trying to enter your computer it will block it from getting in. Updates will be provided regularly to protect against possible future variants. If you are concerned, make sure your antivirus software is up to date. Finally make sure that if your a Windows user, you update their systems and applications with any available patches as soon as possible.

 

If you are having any doubts about your own system, please feel free to give Re2Tech a call!
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