Saturday, January 28, 2017

Data Privacy Day #PrivacyAware

January 28 is recognized as Data Privacy Day, a day established annually to promote information on privacy awareness.  However, we all need to be concerned with protecting their privacy not only on Data Privacy Day but every day.

I have posted about Data Privacy Day since 2011, covering a variety of suggestions to protect privacy.  This year, let's consider privacy and Windows 10.

With the release of Windows 10, there were people who didn't take advantage of the free update due to scaremonger articles about privacy and "reporting back" to Microsoft. 

One of the first things people hear about is "telemetry".  What is telemetry?  From Wikipedia:

"Telemetry is an automated communications process by which measurements are made and other data collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring. The word is derived from Greek roots: tele = remote, and metron = measure. Systems that need external instructions and data to operate require the counterpart of telemetry, telecommand."
It is important to realize that the use of telemetry is not unique to Microsoft and is employed by other companies as well to identify and analyze issues that need to be fixed.  If this really bothers you, it can be set in Settings under Feedback and diagnostics to Basic.

More importantly, Microsoft has heard users' requests for more control over privacy in Windows 10.  As a result, the next update to Windows 10, referred to as the "Creators Update" will include the changes to privacy outlined by Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, in Our continuing commitment to your privacy with Windows 10.

In the meantime, there are numerous journalists who have written about privacy settings in Windows 10.  One of my favorites is Ed Bott.  If you have concerns about the information you may be sharing, I suggest you read Ed Bott's recent article, Take control of your privacy in Windows 10 and Microsoft tries to soothe regulators and critics with new privacy controls.

For previous Security Garden articles about Privacy, check the Privacy label.


Data Privacy Day Information and Resources:

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Support quietman7 in Enigma vs Bleeping Computer Lawsuit

On January 5, 2016, Enigma Software Group filed a lawsuit against Bleeping Computer and "Does 1-10" for false advertising, defamation, and related claims based on a forum discussion topic which Enigma claims is a bad review.

The discussion topic in question was a request for a recommendation regarding spyhunter vs malwarebytes vs iobit by a forum member.  Rather than referring to the forum topic as a "review", it was better described by Trevor Pott in The Register as follows:

"Calling the post in question a "review" is being charitable. It is a collection of hyperlinks and statements that describe some users' problems with SpyHunter."

Since quietman7, a Moderator at Bleeping Computer, wrote his critical opinion of Spyhunter on Bleeping Computer's forum in answer to a question, he was included as a participant and witness in the litigation and could become an additional defendant at some point. As a result, quietman7 had to incur the expense of hiring his own attorney to represent him throughout the litigation process.

Because quietman7 is a volunteer and has no official affiliation with Bleeping Computer other than as a volunteer, the expense of obtaining his own legal representation and corresponding travel expenses, are not and cannot be covered by the thousands of dollars that have been donated to Bleeping Computer.

If you have received help at one of the many online forums, if you have provided help to others, and particularly if quietman7 has helped you, please consider a donation to help cover the legal fees and travel costs quietman7 has been incurring resulting from this lawsuit.

quietman7 Legal Fund

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mozilla Firefox Version 51.0 Released with Critical Security Updates

FirefoxMozilla sent Firefox Version 51.0 to the release channel today.  The update includes five (5) Critical, six (6) High, ten (10) Moderate and three (3) Low updates.  No additional changes are indicated in the release notes. 

Firefox ESR was updated to version 45.7.0.

The next scheduled release is March 7, 2017 (5 week cycle with release for critical fixes as needed).

26JAN2017 Update Note:   Firefox Version 51.0.1 was released .  From the Release Notes
  • Geolocation not working on Windows (Bug 1333516)
  • Multiprocess incompatibility did not correctly register with some add-ons (Bug 1333423)

Security Fixes:




  • Users can view passwords in the save password prompt before saving them
  • Added a zoom button in the URL bar:
    • Displays percent above or below 100 percent when a user has changed the page zoom setting from the default
    • Lets users return to the default setting by clicking on the button
  • Improved video performance for users without GPU acceleration for less CPU usage and a better full screen experience
  • Firefox will save passwords even in forms that do not have “submit” events
  • Added support for FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) playback
  • Added support for WebGL 2, with advanced graphics rendering features like transform feedback, improved texturing capabilities, and a new sophisticated shading language
  • A warning is displayed when a login page does not have a secure connection
  • Added Georgian (ka) and Kabyle (kab) locales
  • An even faster E10s! Tab Switching is better!
  • Improved reliability of browser data sync
  • Remove Belarusian (be) locale


  • Updated to NSS 3.28.1
  • Use 2D graphics library (Skia) for content rendering on Linux
  • Re-enabled E10s support for Russian (ru) locale


To get the update now, select "Help" from the Firefox menu, then pick "About Firefox."  Mac users need to select "About Firefox" from the Firefox menu. If you do not use the English language version, Fully Localized Versions are available for download.


    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Oracle Java Critical Security Update


    Oracle released the scheduled critical security updates for its Java SE Runtime Environment software.

    The update contains seventeen (17) new security fixes for Oracle Java SE.  Sixteen (16) of these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., may be exploited over a network without requiring user credentials. 

    Details for the CVE's addressed in the update are available here.

    Known Issue:

    Java Installation will fail for non-admin users with UAC off:
    The Java installation on Windows will fail without warning or prompting, for non-admin users with User Access Control (UAC) disabled. The installer will leave a directory, jds<number>.tmp, in the %TEMP% directory.
    JDK-8161460 (not public)


    If Java is still installed on your computer, it is recommended that this update be applied as soon as possible due to the threat posed by a successful attack.

    Download Information

    Download link:  Java SE 8u121

    Verify your version:

    • Minimally, UNcheck any pre-checked toolbar and/or software options presented with the update. They are not part of the software update and are completely optional.  Preferably, see the instructions below on how to handle "Unwanted Extras". 
    • Starting with Java SE 7 Update 21 in April 2013, all Java Applets and Web Start Applications should be signed with a trusted certificate.  It is not recommended to run untrusted/unsigned Certificates.  See How to protect your computer against dangerous Java Applets

    Critical Patch Updates

    For Oracle Java SE Critical Patch Updates, the next scheduled dates are as follows:
    • 18 April 2017
    • 18 July 2017 
    • 17 October 2017
    • 16 January 2018

    Unwanted "Extras"

    Although most people do not need Java on their computer, there are some programs and games that require Java.  In the event you need to continue using Java, How-to Geek discovered a little-known and  unpublicized option in the Java Control Panel to suppress the offers for the pre-checked unwanted extras that Oracle has long included with the updates.  Although the Ask Toolbar has been removed, tha does not preclude the pre-checked option for some other unnecessary add-on.

    Do the following to suppress the sponsor offers:
    1. Launch the Windows Start menu
    2. Click on Programs
    3. Find the Java program listing
    4. Click Configure Java to launch the Java Control Panel
    5. Click the Advanced tab and go to the "Miscellaneous" section at the bottom.
    6. Check the box by the “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java” option and click OK.
    Java suppress sponsor offers

    Windows XP

    For information on Java support for Windows XP, organizations and individuals who must continue using Windows XP and have Java installed are referred to the Oracle blog post, The future of Java on Windows XP (Henrik on Java).

    Java Security Recommendations

    For those people who have desktop applications that require Java and cannot uninstall it, Java can now be disabled in Internet Explorer.  See Microsoft Fix it to Disable Java in Internet Explorer.

    1)  In the Java Control Panel, at minimum, set the security to high.
    2)  Keep Java disabled until needed.  Uncheck the box "Enable Java content in the browser" in the Java Control Panel.

    Java Security
    Instructions on removing older (and less secure) versions of Java can be found at


    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Microsoft Security Bulletins for January, 2017

    As this is the second Tuesday of the month, there will be one security monthly rollup for Windows 7 and 8.1 as well as Server 2008 and 2012.  The details of the updates included are listed below.

    Reminder:  Today marks the last time Microsoft will release bulletins.  Starting in February, the information will only be available from the new Security Updates Guide which includes the ability to view and search security vulnerability information in a single online database. The guide is described as a "portal" by the MSRC Team in Furthering our commitment to security updates.

    January Security Update Details:

    Microsoft released four (4) bulletins.  Two (2) bulletins are identified as Critical and two (2) rated Important in severity

    The updates address vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Services and Web Appsand Adobe Flash Player for Windows 8.1 and above. 

    Addressed in the updates are Remote Code Execution, Elevation of Privilege and Denial of Service.

    Information about the update for Windows 10 is available at Windows 10 update history with KB3213986 for 1607. 

    • MS17-002 -- Security Update for Microsoft Office (3214291)
    • MS17 -003 -- Security Update for Adobe Flash Player (3214628)
    • MS17-001 -- Security Update for Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers (3205651)
    • MS17-004 -- Security Update for Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (3216771

      Additional Update Notes

      • Adobe Flash Player -- For Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Version 1511, Adobe Flash Player is now a security bulletin rather than a security advisory and is included with the updates as identified above.
      • MSRT -- Microsoft released an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and the Download Center. 
      • Windows 10 -- A summary of important product developments included in each update, with links to more details is available at Windows 10 Update History. The page will be regularly refreshed, as new updates are released.


        Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
        May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

        Adobe Flash Player and AIR Critical Security Updates Released

        Adobe Flashplayer

        Adobe has released Version of Adobe Flash Player for Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, Chrome and Linux.

        These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. 

        Release date: January 10, 2017
        Vulnerability identifier: APSB17-02
        CVE number: CVE-2017-2925, CVE-2017-2926, CVE-2017-2927, CVE-2017-2928, CVE-2017-2930, CVE-2017-2931, CVE-2017-2932, CVE-2017-2933, CVE-2017-2934, CVE-2017-2935, CVE-2017-2936, CVE-2017-2937, CVE-2017-2938
        Platform: Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Chrome OS

        Warning:  Although Adobe suggests downloading the update from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, that link includes a pre-checked option to install unnecessary extras, such as McAfee Scan Plus or Google Drive.  If you use the download center, uncheck any unnecessary extras.

        Edit Note:  The old direct download links for NPAPI (Firefox, Pale Moon) and ActiveX Plugin are not currently working.  In addition, Opera/Chromium-based browsers now use the Pepper/PPAPI plugin. 

        The updated links are below.  The local offline installers are also available at the bottom of this page:

        If you use the download center, uncheck any unnecessary extras.
          • If you use the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, be careful to uncheck any optional downloads that you do not want.  Any pre-checked option is not needed for the Flash Player update.
          • Uncheck any toolbar offered with Adobe products if not wanted.
          • If you use alternate browsers, it is necessary to install the update for both Internet Explorer as well as the update for alternate browsers.
          • The separate 32-bit and 64-bit uninstallers have been replaced with a single uninstaller.

          Verify Installation

          To verify the Adobe Flash Player version number installed on your computer, go to the About Flash Player page, or right-click on content running in Flash Player and select "About Adobe Flash Player" from the menu. 

          Do this for each browser installed on your computer.

          To verify the version of Adobe Flash Player for Android, go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > Adobe Flash Player x.x.


          Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
          May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

          Adobe Reader and Acrobat Security Update Released


          Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI for Windows and Macintosh. These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

          Release date: January 10, 2017
          Vulnerability identifier: APSB17-01
          CVE Numbers: CVE-2017-2939, CVE-2017-2940, CVE-2017-2941, CVE-2017-2942, CVE-2017-2943, CVE-2017-2944, CVE-2017-2945, CVE-2017-2946, CVE-2017-2947, CVE-2017-2948, CVE-2017-2949, CVE-2017-2950, CVE-2017-2951, CVE-2017-2952, CVE-2017-2953, CVE-2017-2954, CVE-2017-2955, CVE-2017-2956, CVE-2017-2957, CVE-2017-2958, CVE-2017-2959, CVE-2017-2960, CVE-2017-2961, CVE-2017-2962, CVE-2017-2963, CVE-2017-2964, CVE-2017-2965, CVE-2017-2966, CVE-2017-2967
          Platform: Windows and Macintosh

          Update or Complete Download

          Update checks can be manually activated by choosing Help > Check for Updates.
            Note: UNcheck any pre-checked additional options presented with the update. They are not part of the software update and are completely optional.

            Enable "Protected View"

            Due to frequent vulnerabilities, it is recommended that Windows users of Adobe Reader and Acrobat ensure that Protected View is enabled.  Neither the Protected Mode or Protected View option is available for Macintosh users.

            To enable this setting, do the following:
            • Click Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced) menu. 
            • Change the "Off" setting to "All Files".
            • Ensure the "Enable Enhanced Security" box is checked. 

            Adobe Protected View
            Image via Sophos Naked Security Blog


            Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
            May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...