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Security News

Intel Security, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and Symantec under the Cyber Threat Alliance have probed the net scourge revealing that the attackers are thought to be a single entity. That theory's based on commonalities in the Bitcoin wallets they use to receive ransom payments.

 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/30/crypowall_paper_cyber_threat_alliance/

Kaspersky Lab has added an additional 14,031 decryption keys to their free repository, enabling all those who have fallen victim to CoinVault and Bitcryptor ransomware to retrieve their encrypted data without having to pay a ransom to cybercriminals.

http://www.net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=3137 

Replies

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Re: Security News

Google is making a big change in the way it presents search results. Most people won’t notice, but, Google executives said, the new technology represents a leap forward in the company’s ability to understand what people are asking for when they search. [...]

Starting today, the company is rolling out a new machine learning–powered language processing method called Bidirectional Encoder Representations From Transformers, or BERT for short. BERT looks at the sequences of words in searches — not just the words themselves — to glean more information on the intent behind them. [...]

People who use Google won’t know whether their results are powered by BERT, and can’t revert to non-BERT results. Moving forward, BERT will be applied to all US searches.

 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nicolenguyen/google-search-bert-natural-language-processing

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Re: Security News

Avast Online Security and Avast Secure Browser are spying on you.

Are you one of the allegedly 400 million users of Avast antivirus products? Then I have bad news for you: you are likely being spied upon. The culprit is the Avast Online Security extension that these products urge you to install in your browser for maximum protection. [...]

https://palant.de/2019/10/28/avast-online-security-and-avast-secure-browser-are-spying-on-you/ 

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Re: Security News

Cloudflare launched Privacy Pass 2.0 for Firefox and Chrome on October 28, 2019. The new version makes the extension easier to use, integrates a new service provider (non Cloudflare), and improves the technology used by the extension.

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/10/28/cloudflare-releases-privacy-pass-2-0-extension/

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Phishing — Baiting the Hook
[...]
In fact, over a 60-day period, Akamai observed more than 2,064,053,300 unique domains commonly associated with malicious activity. Of those, 89% had a lifespan of less than 24 hours, and 94% had a lifespan of less than three days.
[...]
For the most part, the sale of compromised data happens in bulk, where combinations of usernames and passwords sell for pennies or less. Earlier this year, 50,000 usernames and passwords were selling for about $5.
[...]

https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-the-internet/soti-security-phishing-baiting-the-hook-report-2019.pdf 

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Mozilla added a number of extensions for the Firefox web browser that execute code remotely to the organization's blocklist in the beginning of November.

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/11/05/mozilla-bans-all-extensions-that-execute-remote-code/

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Actively exploited bug in fully updated Firefox is sending users into a tizzy

Fraudulent tech-support sites cause Firefox to freeze while displaying scary message.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/11/scammers-are-exploiting-an-unpatched-firefox-bug-to-send-users-into-a-panic/ 

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Google Chrome will block mixed content in the near future
Google Chrome will soon block all mixed content by default. Google revealed a plan in October that details how the company's Chrome browser will handle mixed content in the next release versions.

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/11/06/google-chrome-will-block-mixed-content-in-the-near-future/

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Data of ZoneAlarm Forum Users Leaked Following Breach
https://www.securityweek.com/data-zonealarm-forum-users-leaked-following-breach

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The WSJ reports that the partnership gives Google access to health data including lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as names and dates of birth, without informing patients.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/googles-secret-project-nightingale-reportedly-collects-healthcare-data-on-millions/ 

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Re: Security News

Firefox 71: new about:config interface lands
Mozilla plans to launch the redesigned about:config interface in Firefox 71, the next stable version of the web browser.

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/11/11/firefox-71-new-aboutconfig-interface-lands/ 

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McAfee antivirus software impacted by code execution vulnerability
Researchers have revealed a serious code execution vulnerability impacting all editions of McAfee software.
On Tuesday, the SafeBreach Labs cybersecurity team said that CVE-2019-3648 can be used to bypass McAfee's self-defense mechanisms, potentially leading to further attacks on a compromised system.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/mcafee-antivirus-software-impacted-by-code-execution-vulnerability/

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Re: Security News

Microsoft Patch Tuesday – November 2019
This month the vendor has patched 75 vulnerabilities, 14 of which are rated Critical.

https://www.symantec.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/microsoft-patch-tuesday-november-2019

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AV-TEST - The Independent IT-Security Institute
The best Windows antivirus software for home users
During September and October 2019 we continuously evaluated 19 home user security products using their default settings.

https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/ 

Norton Security | Version22.18 & 22.19
PlatformWindows 10 Professional (English), (64-Bit)
DateSep-Oct/2019

https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/windows-10/october-2019/norton-norton-security-22.18--22.19-194019/

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December 2019 marks Ransomware’s 30th birthday
Experts predict that Ransomware will continue to grow his arsenal, arming himself with tools – keyloggers, backdoors, droppers – to expand his functionality. At the same time, it’s expected that Ransomware will become increasingly pickier about his victims, eschewing small-time marks in favor of bigger, juicier targets.

https://blog.emsisoft.com/en/34742/history-of-ransomware-a-supervillain-30-years-in-the-making/?ref=news191202 

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Mozilla removes all Avast Firefox extensions
If you search for Avast or AVG on the official Mozilla Add-ons website, you may notice that no results by these companies are returned. Neither Avast Online Security or SafePrice, nor AVG Online Security or SafePrice, are returned by the Store currently even though these extensions exist. [...]

Wladimir Palant, creator of AdBlock Plus, published an analysis of Avast extensions in late October 2018 on his personal site. He discovered that Avast's extension transmitted data to Avast that provided Avast with browsing history information.  The data that the extension submits exceeded what is necessary to function according to Palant. [...]

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/03/mozilla-removes-all-avast-firefox-extensions/ 

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SpywareBlaster 5.6 released! - (Google Chrome, Firefox, Windows 10, and more!)

https://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/spywareblaster-5-6-released-google-chrome-firefox-windows-10-and-more.423908/

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Re: Security News

bjm_:

O&O ShutUp10 updated with new privacy features
https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/04/oo-shutup10-updated-with-new-privacy-features/

Changelog for the recent versions
Version 1.7
1.7.1405 – released December 06, 2019
FIX: Application of predefined settings via menu were not saved

https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10/changelog#details 

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Private.sh Privacy Search Engine first look

Private.sh is a new search engine that was officially unveiled in November 2019. The search engine is maintained by Private Internet Access, a provider of VPN solutions and other tools, and Gigablast, a company that maintains an index of Internet pages.

Private.sh promises better privacy than other search solutions by encrypting searches on the user's system and by using secure proxies to hide user IP addresses.

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/17/private-sh-privacy-search-engine-first-look/

Private.sh uses a five step process for each search to ensure that your privacy is protected using cryptology to bring you the most private search engine.

https://private.sh/how-it-works.html

Private.sh release extensions for Firefox = Experimental
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/private-sh-private-search/?src=search
Private.sh release extensions for Google Chrome = 404 The requested URL was not found on this server.
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fcehiiknopcbcdnpakbeipijiiceobnl

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2019/12/private-sh-release-extensions-for-google-chrome-and-firefox/

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Microsoft will be releasing the Microsoft Edge Chromium based browser next month via Windows Update. If you don't want it to be installed automatically here's how to prevent it.

https://www.techsupportalert.com/content/prevent-microsoft-installing-edge-chromium-windows-10.htm 

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Re: Security News

bjm_:

Mozilla removes all Avast Firefox extensions
If you search for Avast or AVG on the official Mozilla Add-ons website, you may notice that no results by these companies are returned. Neither Avast Online Security or SafePrice, nor AVG Online Security or SafePrice, are returned by the Store currently even though these extensions exist. [...]

Wladimir Palant, creator of AdBlock Plus, published an analysis of Avast extensions in late October 2018 on his personal site. He discovered that Avast's extension transmitted data to Avast that provided Avast with browsing history information.  The data that the extension submits exceeded what is necessary to function according to Palant. [...]

https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/03/mozilla-removes-all-avast-firefox-extensions/ 

December 22, 2019
Mozilla has allowed the AVG and Avast Online Security extensions back into their addons site after the extensions reduced the amount of tracking data being sent to Avast's and AVG's servers.  [...]
In a statement to BornCity.com, Avast stated that they have reduced the amount of data sent by the Avast Online Security and AVG Online Security extensions and have also updated their privacy policies to explain exactly what is sent. [...]

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/avast-and-avg-firefox-extensions-added-back-to-mozilla-addons-site/ 

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[Windows 10 Tip] Block or Prevent Automatic Installation of Microsoft Edge Browser via Windows Update
Microsoft is going to release final stable version of Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser to public on January 15, 2020 as mentioned here. Microsoft Edge browser will be automatically downloaded and installed on all Windows 10 devices via Windows Update. If you don't want this forcefully installation of Microsoft Edge browser in your Windows 10 computer, this tutorial will help you in blocking/disabling the automatic delivery of Microsoft Edge browser from Windows Update.

https://www.askvg.com/windows-10-tip-block-or-prevent-automatic-installation-of-microsoft-edge-browser-via-windows-update/

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Re: Security News

What is DNS over HTTPS or Secure DNS lookups?
Did you hear about DNS over HTTPS? Do you want to know what DoH is? Why this new security standard that encrypts DNS requests is important, and why you should use it? In this guide, we answer all these questions, and show you how to enable DNS over HTTPS in Google Chrome, which is the most popular web browser today. There's plenty of ground to cover, so let's get started:  [...]

To check whether DoH works in your Google Chrome, open it, and visit Cloudflare's Browsing Experience Security Check webpage. Press the orange Check My Browser button and wait for the testing to be done. [...]

https://www.digitalcitizen.life/dns-over-https-secure-dns-lookups


Connection settings in Firefox
Enable DNS over HTTPS: This setting enables DNS Over HTTPS (DoH) using the specified server.  For more information, see Firefox DNS-over-HTTPS.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/connection-settings-firefox


How secure is your browsing experience?
When you browse websites, there are several points where your privacy could be compromised, such as by your ISP or the coffee shop owner providing your WiFi connection. This page automatically tests whether your DNS queries and answers are encrypted, whether your DNS resolver uses DNSSEC, which version of TLS is used to connect to the page, and whether your browser supports encrypted Server Name Indication (SNI). [...]

If I pass all four tests, am I secure no matter which site I browse?
Not necessarily. Even if you pass all four tests, the domain you are visiting also needs to support these technologies. If the domain you visit doesn't support DNSSEC, TLS 1.3, and Encrypted SNI, you are still potentially vulnerable, even if your browser supports these technologies. [...]

https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl/encrypted-sni/ 

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NortonLifeLock Global Privacy Statement - EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2020
https://www.nortonlifelock.com/privacy/gps-english

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Unfortunately, the DNS infrastructure was created in a more innocent era in which the Internet was often seen as comprised of trustworthy organizations and people. DNS remains highly vulnerable to monitoring, readily revealing what sites people are trying to visit (for purposes of advertising, commercial profiling, political profiling, network censorship, or espionage). It’s also vulnerable to spoofing, whether by an Internet service provider’s own resolver service (which could give deliberately false replies to users’ queries) or by someone who has compromised Internet routers (who could observe queries and then quickly inject false replies even before the genuine ones arrive), among other possibilities.

The lack of DNS encryption is a serious privacy concern for all Internet users. [...]

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/despite-criticism-past-year-has-seen-tremendous-progress-toward-encrypting-dns 

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Getting Started with DoH and Quad9
https://www.quad9.net/doh-quad9-dns-servers/

Firefox
DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is not enabled by default, so you have to type about:config in your browser bar to open up the settings page.

In Settings, you can modify 3 items related to the Trusted Recursive Resolver (aka network.trr):

  • network.trr.mode
    • trr.mode controls when and how DoH should be used. By default it is set to 0, meaning it is disabled. If you change it it will enable it.

      • 0 — Off (default). To use operating system resolver.
      • 1 — Race native against TRR. Do both in parallel and go with the one that returns a result first. Most likely the native one will win.
      • 2 — First. Use TRR first, and only if the secure resolution fails use the operating system resolver.
      • 3 — Only. Only use TRR. Never use the native (after the initial setup).
      • 4 — Shadow. Runs the TRR resolves in parallel with the native for timing and measurements but uses only the native resolver results.
      • 5 — Off by choice This is the same as 0 but marks it as done by choice and not done by default.

      We recommend trr.mode of ‘2’ so it will fall back to the default resolver if the connection to the DoH server fails. If you only ever want to use DoH you can set it to 3 – You will be unable to resolve DNS names if your DoH server goes down and you won’t have a back-up using your system resolver.

  • network.trr.uri (this is where you specify the resolver you want to use)
  • network.trr.bootstrapAddress (you can forgo setting this and it will use the native system resolver for the initial query for hxxps://dns.quad9.net/dns-query)

You can check out the logs by typing about:networking#dns into your browser bar.  Look for TRR ‘true’ entries to see what is being looked up via DNS over HTTPS.


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    DNS-over-HTTPS causes more problems than it solves, experts say
    Several experts, companies, and national entities have voiced very convincing concerns about DoH and its features.

    The general idea is that DNS-over-HTTPS isn't what many have thought. It doesn't actually protect users from having their web traffic snooped, and it's not really that useful for dissidents in dangerous countries.

    Users who want to hide their web traffic should still look at VPNs and Tor as safer solutions, with DoH as an extra layer of protection, when available.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/dns-over-https-causes-more-problems-than-it-solves-experts-say/ 

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    Scammers have taken an old browser scam and invigorated it using a clever and new tactic that takes advantage of your web browser's full-screen mode to show a fake Windows 10 desktop stating your computer is locked.

    This type of scam is called a police browser locker. which pretends to be law enforcement locking your browser because due to illegal activity. These scams then state that if you pay a fine via a credit card, it will unlock your computer so you can use it again.

    These types of scams are normally easy to detect as they utilize fake and suspicious URLs and allow you to use other apps on your computer even if the browser is locked.
    [...]
    It is important to know that law enforcement will never lock your browser like this and then demand a fine be paid online.

    If you ever see a message on your screen like this, press Alt+Tab to see if you can get back to your normal desktop or press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to open the Task Manager and terminate any browser processes.

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/fake-windows-10-desktop-used-in-new-police-browser-lock-scam/ 

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    Broadcom flogs Symantec enterprise security unit to Accenture

    Less than 12 months after acquiring Symantec’s enterprise security business for $10.7bn, and barely two months after the deal was completed, Broadcom is selling the security services unit on to Accenture for an undisclosed sum.

    https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252476350/Broadcom-flogs-Symantec-enterprise-security-unit-to-Accenture

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    More and more Americans are using the Dark Web
    Despite the Dark Web's mostly negative connotation, new research from PreciseSecurity.com has revealed that over 30 percent of North Americans used it regularly during 2019.

     https://www.techradar.com/news/more-and-more-americans-are-using-the-dark-web

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    United States–funded mobile carrier that offers phones via the Lifeline Assistance program is selling a mobile device pre-installed with not one, but two malicious applications. Assurance Wireless by Virgin Mobile offers the UMX U686CL phone as their most budget conscious option. At only $35 under the government-funded program, it’s an attractive offering. However, what it comes installed with is appalling.

    https://blog.malwarebytes.com/android/2020/01/united-states-government-funded-phones-come-pre-installed-with-unremovable-malware/ 

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    Why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks' personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address? Seriously, why?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/01/09/checkpeoplecom_data_exposed/ 

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    Re: Security News

    Firefox 74 will drop support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1
    [...]
    Firefox settings regarding TLS :
    security.tls.version.min // Default=1 (FF72)
    security.tls.version.max // Default=4 (FF72)

    1=TLS 1.0, 2=TLS 1.1, 3=TLS 1.2, 4=TLS 1.3
    [...]

    https://www.ghacks.net/2020/01/10/firefox-74-will-drop-support-for-tls-1-0-and-tls-1-1/ 


    Chrome UI for Deprecating Legacy TLS Versions
    Last October we announced our plans to remove support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in Chrome 81. In this post we’re announcing a pre-removal phase in which we’ll introduce a gentler warning UI, and previewing the UI that we’ll use to block TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in Chrome 81.

    Starting January 13, 2020, for Chrome 79 and higher, we will show a “Not Secure” indicator for sites using TLS 1.0 or 1.1 to alert users to the outdated configuration:

    https://security.googleblog.com/2019/10/chrome-ui-for-deprecating-legacy-tls.html 

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    MajorGeeks Newsletter: January 2020

    Hey Geeks. The majority of you reading this have probably already moved to Windows 10. But some, with valid reasons, may still be running Windows 7. Or, like me, have a bunch of machines hanging around still with Win 7 that you never bothered to upgrade, but still use.

    On January 14, 2020 Microsoft will officially end support of Windows 7. If you still use that OS, what does that mean for you? Well, basically no more updates, no more security packages, no more tech support. Leaving you more vulnerable.

    With this deadline looming, Tim has scribbled a bit of a guide  > How to Stay Safe With Windows 7 After End of Support and your choices going forward. He also cobbled  a video to match  for those who don't like to read. 

    Most software you have should still operate though, at least for the short term but eventually most companies will end support.  For example Chrome has stated that they'll drop support for Win 7 in about 18 months so eventually you will need to upgrade.

    If that is the case you may as well look into upgrading now as Tim has found a bit of a loophole which will allow you to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 for free. (Or really cheap) He has written and article > How to Upgrade From Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 for Free and again, a video to match.

    https://mailchi.mp/majorgeeks/majorgeeks-newsletter-how-to-be-safe-with-windows-7

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    Report: McAfee Wants to Buy NortonLifeLock

    Next year, Norton and LifeLock could become McAfee-owned brands.

    In November, Symantec officially renamed itself NortonLifeLock, but the name change may be short-lived as McAfee is thought to be considering acquiring its rival.

    https://www.pcmag.com/news/372451/report-mcafee-wants-to-buy-nortonlifelock 

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    5 popular Windows 10 settings tweaks you need to quit using

    The longer you've used Windows the more likely you are to have built up a collection of tips and tricks for squeezing out extra performance. Here are five popular techniques that haven't stood the test of time and deserve to be retired.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/5-popular-windows-10-settings-tweaks-you-need-to-quit-using/ 

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    Re: Security News

    bjm_:
            5 popular Windows 10 settings tweaks you need to quit using...
            https://www.zdnet.com/article/5-popular-windows-10-settings-tweaks-you-need-to-quit-using/ 

    Hi bjm_:

    Excellent article with lots of good suggestions (I'd never heard of Microsoft's Diagnostic Data Viewer app before) .  You should consider posting this as a separate topic in the Tech Outpost for wider exposure, especially for all those users who still purge their Windows registry on a regular basis with registry cleaners and/or Norton Power Eraser.
    -----------
    Dell Inspiron 5584 * 64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.535 * Firefox ESR v68.4.1

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    New year, new browser – The new Microsoft Edge is out of preview and now available for download
    [...]
    Now that we’ve reached this milestone, you might be wondering what to expect on your PC. To get the new Microsoft Edge you have two choices: you can either manually download it today, or if you are a general consumer user, you can wait for it to be automatically released to your device via Windows Update. When you do make the switch, your favorites, passwords, form fill information and basic settings will carry over to the new Microsoft Edge without you having to do anything.
    [...]

    https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2020/01/15/new-year-new-browser-the-new-microsoft-edge-is-out-of-preview-and-now-available-for-download/

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    [Tip] How to Restore Old Legacy Microsoft Edge Browser After Installing New Edge in Windows 10
    [...]

    If you also want to bring back and restore legacy UWP version of Microsoft Edge in your Windows 10 device which has been disabled or removed after installing new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, this tutorial will help you.

    There is a Registry tweak which can force Windows 10 to keep both old and new versions of Microsoft Edge browsers and allow users to run them side-by-side.

    But this Registry tweak must be applied before installing new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge in Windows 10. If you have already installed new Microsoft Edge, you'll need to uninstall it first. If you have not installed new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge yet, we'll advise you to implement this registry tweak immediately as new Edge will be delivered via Windows Update in coming days and when it'll be installed automatically, it'll replace and disable old legacy Edge in your system. If you applied the registry tweak in advance, it'll prevent and restrict new Microsoft Edge from replacing and disabling old legacy Microsoft Edge in your Windows 10 device.
    [...]

    https://www.askvg.com/tip-how-to-restore-old-legacy-microsoft-edge-browser-after-installing-new-edge-in-windows-10/

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    It’s not just you: Google added annoying icons to search on desktop

    Google added tiny favicon icons to its search results this week for some reason, creating more clutter in what used to be a clean interface, and seemingly without actually improving the results or the user experience.

    Lifehacker also provided instructions on how to apply filters to undo the favicon nonsense and revert back to how the search results used to look.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/17/21070871/google-favicon-search-icons-links-brands

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    [Windows 10 Tip] Prevent / Restrict New Microsoft Edge from Replacing and Disabling Old Legacy Edge
    CASE 1:
    CASE 2:

    https://www.askvg.com/windows-10-tip-prevent-restrict-new-microsoft-edge-from-replacing-and-disabling-old-legacy-edge/

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    dupe

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    Over the past two weeks, Mozilla's add-on review team has banned 197 Firefox add-ons that were caught executing malicious code, stealing user data, or using obfuscation to hide their source code.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/mozilla-has-banned-nearly-200-malicious-firefox-add-ons-over-the-last-two-weeks/ 

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    Avast is harvesting users' browser histories on the pretext that the data has been 'de-identified,' thus protecting your privacy. But the data, which is being sold to third parties, can be linked back to people's real identities, exposing every click and search they've made.

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    Wawa Breach May Have Compromised More Than 30 Million Payment Cards

    Pennsylvania-based Wawa says it discovered the intrusion on Dec. 10 and contained the breach by Dec. 12, but that the malware was thought to have been installed more than nine months earlier, around March 4. The exposed information includes debit and credit card numbers, expiration dates, and cardholder names. Wawa said the breach did not expose personal identification numbers (PINs) or CVV records (the three-digit security code printed on the back of a payment card).

    A spokesperson for Wawa confirmed that the company today became aware of reports of criminal attempts to sell some customer payment card information potentially involved in the data security incident announced by Wawa on December 19, 2019.

    https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/01/wawa-breach-may-have-compromised-more-than-30-million-payment-cards/

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    Re: Security News

    It may be tempting to try to download the latest games or applications for free, but doing so will ultimately land you in a hotbed of trouble as your computer becomes infected with adware, ransomware, and password-stealing Trojans.

    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/pirated-software-is-all-fun-and-games-until-your-data-s-stolen/ 

    This thread is closed from further comment. Please visit the forum to start a new thread.