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Microsoft: We’ve fixed Windows 10 1903’s Cortana CPU spike bug

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Microsoft’s plan to split Windows 10 from shell is happening
Windows 10 preview shows signs of Windows OS separating from the shell in line with Microsoft’s modular plans.

Microsoft’s mega Patch Tuesday update also brought a fix for a several-week-old Cortana bug that was causing high CPU pain for Windows 10 version 1903 users. 

Microsoft last week finally acknowledged user complaints about the Cortana process SearchUI.exe causing abnormally high CPU usage. 

SEE: 30 things you should never do in Microsoft Office (free PDF)

Complaints rolled in after users installed the KB4512941 update that Microsoft released on Friday, August 30, to address bugs from a previous cumulative update that were lingering on in version 1903. 

Microsoft promised that a fix for the high CPU usage would be provided by mid-September, but the company actually delivered it a little earlier, as part of its huge September Patch Tuesday update. 

“Addresses an issue that causes high CPU usage from SearchUI.exe for a small number of users. This issue only occurs on devices that have disabled searching the web using Windows Desktop Search,” Microsoft said in the security update KB4515384 released yesterday. 

Still, a small number of Windows Insiders had reported the same issue through the Feedback Hub in preview testing of the buggy update, which Microsoft missed despite recent efforts to improve its detection of narrowly reported issues  

The Patch Tuesday update address two zero-day elevation of privilege flaws that were under attack already. The update included 80 security fixes.   

Additionally, Microsoft patched two remote code execution bugs in the Remote Desktop Protocol. However, these don’t appear to be as dangerous as the recent BlueKeep and DejaBlue vulnerabilities, which could be used to create a wormable exploit to automatically infect vulnerable machines on the same network.

SEE MORE: Windows 10 1903: Buggy update slows PCs, breaks Desktop Search, says Microsoft

“Unlike BlueKeep and DejaBlue, these members of the Blue Bug Group are all client-side. An attacker would need to convince someone to connect to their malicious RDP server or otherwise intercept (MITM) the traffic,” said Dustin Childs from Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative.  

“It’s good to see these issues patched, but they don’t carry the urgency of the recent wormable bugs.”

More on Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates



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Security

The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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