Web

NSA warns about Windows exploit, ignores its own role in creation of malware

nsa phone surveillance is illegal u s appeals court rules exploiting the heartbleed bug mem 1

In a rare occurrence, the National Security Agency (NSA) has published a statement urging people to update their older Windows systems to protect against the BlueKeep vulnerability.

The NSA does not typically comment on cybersecurity vulnerabilities in commercial products, but the potential danger of the recently detailed exploit has lead it to make a statement.

“The National Security Agency is urging Microsoft Windows administrators and users to ensure they are using a patched and updated system in the face of growing threats,” the statement read. “We have seen devastating computer worms inflict damage on unpatched systems with wide-ranging impact, and are seeking to motivate increased protections against this flaw.”

The concern over this particular exploit is that it is “wormable,” meaning that it can spread itself from one infected computer to others on the same network. This is a big threat to older machines on a shared network, such as a typical enterprise system, as well as older machines which are connected to the internet.

Although there has not been a worm using this exploit detected yet, both Microsoft and the NSA believe it is only a matter of time until one appears. “NSA is concerned that malicious cyber actors will use the vulnerability in ransomware and exploit kits containing other known exploits, increasing capabilities against other unpatched systems,” the statement said.

The NSA also published an advisory on what steps system administrators should take to protect their networks against this vulnerability.

This is somewhat ironic given the NSA’s role in the creation of the very similar EternalBlue exploit which was recently used to hold the city of Baltimore’s computer systems for ransom. The NSA developed the EternalBlue attack software for its own use, but lost control of it when it was stolen by hackers in 2017. It then caused chaos around the world with the WannaCry and NotPetya cyber attacks. BlueKeep is similar enough to EternalBlue that Microsoft compared the two of them in its warning to users about the vulnerability.

The NSA has never formally acknowledged its role in the creation of malware, even though Microsoft itself pointed the finger at the NSA for the problems caused by “the stockpiling of vulnerabilities” and condemned it for allowing the malware to be stolen. “An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” Microsoft said.

Computing

TrickBot returns with new attack that compromised 250 million email addresses

TrickBot returns with a new attack that teams up the malware with a module dubbed TrickBooster. An investigation into TrickBooster's servers discovered a database with 250 million compromised email accounts.
Deals

Cool down with these early Prime Day 2019 deals on window air conditioners

The best time to buy air conditioning units this summer is today as Amazon releases early Prime Day 2019 deals on window air conditioners. This sale happens less than a week before the sales event officially launches on July 15.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Home Theater

Got a long plane ride? Here's how to download movies from Netflix

If you want to watch your favorite Netflix films and TV shows but don't have a data connection, you need to download them to view offline. Here, we show you how to download movies and TV series from Netflix in iOS, Android, or Windows 10.
Web

Chrome browser to add audio and video controls to address bar

Google's Chrome browser will soon be getting media controls which let you interact with currently playing videos in your browser from the address bar. You can preview the feature in the Chrome nightly developer build, Canary.
Movies & TV

Save a few bucks with the best free feature-length movies on YouTube

Bank account emptier than you thought? Check out our curated list of the best full-length movies on YouTube to find flicks that are free, legally uploaded, and actually worth watching.
Mobile

Forget work and find Google’s hidden, fun, time-wasting Wimbledon tennis game

Google has hidden a fun game based around the Wimbledon tennis tournament in its Search engine, ready for those looking to take a short (or not so short) break from what you should really be doing. Work, probably.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Gaming

Could Google Stadia finally make game streaming a great way to play?

Google Stadia could be the game streaming service that finally does it right. High-resolution, HDR gaming, at high-frame rates for anyone in the world on almost any device? It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it's Google.
Web

Not sure if Amazon Prime is right for you? Here is everything you need to know

So what is Amazon Prime? Is the premium membership really worth the cost of admission? With Prime Day, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime, and more, it might be worth jumping on board Amazon's all-inclusive membership program.
Computing

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be ending, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Movies & TV

20 Netflix hacks, tips, and tricks to make your streaming experience better

Netflix's tried-and-true formula hardly begs for improvement, but you can get even more out of your subscription with these 20 Netflix tips and tricks, sure to improve your online streaming experience.
Social Media

YouTube offers creators more ways to boost their bank accounts

Whether you're a top YouTube creator or just breaking into the game, the video-streaming site has some new features designed to help you please your fans and increase your bank balance.