*Here is How to Decrypt Your Files If You’ve Been Hit By WannaCry

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If you were a victim of the WannaCry ransomware attack it may be too late for you. But if you weren’t, and you think you could be when the next wave of attacks hit, then here’s how to deal with the problem.

A group of security researchers have created a tool that can help those hit by the massive attack decrypt their files without paying the ransom or wiping their device.

The Wanakiwi tool, as it is called, is capable of defeating the WannaCry ransomware, which encrypts a user’s files and demands a payment made in Bitcoin in order for the victim to regain access to their machine.

WannaCry hit more than 300,000 machines in 150 countries earlier this month, including computer systems of hospitals in England and major corporations around the world. Those attacks have slowed since the first wave, but have not stopped entirely. As an example, we recently learned that the Russian Postal System was severely hit as well.

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*Nine tips for paranoid Windows 10 users

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Windows 10 is well known for its controversial collection of personal and private data. Many people don’t understand the big deal about keeping their personal lives personal. For instance, they share their recent purchases, where they eat, when they are on vacation and vacant from their homes, if they are cheating, their sex life, their spouse’s arguments, photos of their children, and even themselves in inappropriate or compromising settings … everything about themselves on social media, and think it’s harmless.

What’s more, Microsoft has now joined the ranks of personal data collection with Windows 10 as its most recent operating system. Many computer experts are even calling Windows 10 as ‘spyware’. To some degree that’s true whether it matters to you or not.

But if you are serious about wanting to protect your privacy, here are ways that you can avoid, remove, or turn off features that track you in Windows 10. Some of these tactics may seem extreme, but you can obviously pick and choose, depending on what level of privacy you’re comfortable with.

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*Computing vulnerabilities you should address

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Most people and small businesses are still using hardware and software that is older than five to seven years old. In a general sense, that’s ok. But as the march of improved products and software moves forward, it leaves existing equipment behind. Older than five years is becoming too old to be trusted in today’s world of security breaches.

An old computer that’s still chugging along, running an old operating system and perhaps old programs and applications, doesn’t seem to be a big deal. After all, they still seem to work just fine. Why spend money on new equipment or software if it’s adequate and functioning?

Walker White, president of BDNA, a company that tracks and analyzes end-of-life (EOL) data for hardware, software and medical devices, says that the main problem with out-of-date software and legacy hardware is that once they pass their EOL cycle, the vendor no longer maintains or supports the products, resulting in security vulnerabilities and risk.

Here’s a look at the hardware, software and mobile device vulnerabilities you should tackle now to reduce risk and increase security.

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*Four browsers with secure ad-blocking features built in.

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Having to wade through websites that are loaded with ad placements in every corner and between paragraphs can be a major nuisance. And these days many of the ads can be set to download malware onto your computer as well.

So a large number of people use ad-blockers to help eliminate that problem. Most work fairly well, even though a few ads may slip through. And some websites will even block you from viewing their content if you use an adblocker, requiring you to turn your ad-blocker off if you want to proceed.

Simply wanting to browse the Internet and not be pummeled with ads is getting more difficult all the time. Wouldn’t it be great if browsers actually used security methods to block ads?

There are actually quite a few browsers with these features built in, some lesser known than others. Here are four that we’ve tried that seem to do the job fairly well. These browsers will by no means block everything, but they are a great addition to add to your arsenal of ad-blocking and security programs.

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*Answers to 18 basic questions regarding WannaCry ransomware

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The WannaCry ransomware attack dominated tech headlines through the weekend. According to Europol,  WannaCry infected  200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, tied the UK health service in knots, knocked out the Spanish phone company, troubled train travelers in Germany, and took big swipes out of FedEx, Renault, a reported 29,000 Chinese institutions, and networks all over Russia—including the Russian Interior Ministry.

Although it looks like the worm started spreading on Thursday night (5-11-17), the real effects started showing up the next day on Friday.

For the most part, people are asking basic questions.

Here is what I have learned so far:

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* Are average computer users a factor in the WannaCry ransomware attack?

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Cybersecurity experts are clamoring to contain the massive global ransomware attack that infected several hundred thousand computers over the weekend in more than 150 countries. While the attacks have mainly struck large businesses, should the smaller home user be concerned?

The attack that began on Friday — known as WannaCry — is believed to be the largest cyber exploitation attack recorded. It was responsible for crippling Britain’s hospital network and Germany’s railway, along with other governments and infrastructures worldwide. And oddly, Russia seems to be the worst hit of all affected countries.

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*HP Computers Found with Keyloggers Pre-Installed

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Security firm ‘Modzero AG’ in Switzerland released a white paper (PDF) that contains details about a keylogger in some HP audio drivers. The keylogger is built-into the driver, by Conexent, and records of all of your keystrokes into a text file located in the public folder C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log.

The Security Advisory, lists almost 30 HP machines known to use the bad drivers, including EliteBook, ProBook, ZBook, and Elite x2 models running both Windows 10 and Win7. It’s an large lineup, including many current models.

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