Author: Computerworld Security

Microsoft, OpenAI move to fend off genAI-aided hackers — for now

Of all the potential nightmares about the dangerous effects of generative AI (genAI) tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot, one is near the top of the list: their use by hackers to craft hard-to-detect malicious code. Even worse is the fear that genAI could help rogue states like Russia, Iran, and North Korea unleash unstoppable cyberattacks against the US and its allies.

The bad news: nation states have already begun using genAI to attack the US and its friends. The good news: so far, the attacks haven’t been particularly dangerous or especially effective. Even better news: Microsoft and OpenAI are taking the threat seriously. They’re being transparent about it, openly describing the attacks and sharing what can be done about them.

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JAMF warns: Many Apple-using businesses still aren’t secure

Your enterprise security does not live in isolation — the threat environment extends across all your colleagues, partners, and friends.

That's why it’s very concerning that so many businesses continue to fail to meet basic security hygiene standards, according to the latest Security 360 report from Jamf.

Data is gold, which attackers recognize — even many in business don’t. Every stolen address, email, phone number, name, or even passport number is an ID attack waiting to happen, a path to enable a more complex phishing scam, or just an opportunity to call someone up and claim the target has a problem with their computer that they can help them with.

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Apple’s iMessage gains industry-leading quantum security

Apple is preparing for future threats to iMessage by introducing upgraded encryption for its messaging service by using quantum computers.

Think of it as state-of-the-art quantum security for messaging at scale, the company says, resulting in Apple's messaging system being more secure against both current and future foes.

What is the protection?

Announced on Apple’s Security Research blog, the new iMessage protection is called PQ3 and promises the “strongest security properties of any at-scale messaging protocol in the world.”

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EU begins formal investigation of TikTok over potential violations of Digital Services Act

The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to assess whether TikTok may have breached the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) in various ways associated with the protection of minors, advertising transparency, data access for researchers, and managing risk for addictive design and harmful content.

The formal investigation adds to the privacy and safety concerns that have plagued the video-sharing platform, giving enterprises yet another reason to consider banning its use by employees while they access corporate networks. The Commission had previously conducted a preliminary investigation and risk assessment that found further oversight to be necessary.

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Miro boosts security for its visual collaboration app

Miro has unveiled a set of security tools designed to help businesses protect sensitive data shared on its digital whiteboard application. The new Miro Enterprise Guard includes features to automate detection and classification of sensitive data, manage content for legal audits, and provide IT admins with greater control over encryption.

Visual collaboration is one of the fastest-growing areas of the wider collaboration software market, according to IDC. Digital whiteboard apps provide a shared canvas for coworkers to brainstorm ideas and plan projects, with Miro competing against the likes of Mural, Figma, Microsoft and others.

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Microsoft fixes two zero-days with Patch Tuesday release

Microsoft on Tuesday released 73 updates in its monthly Patch Tuesday release, addressing issues in Microsoft Exchange Server and Adobe and two zero-day flaws being actively exploited in Microsoft Outlook (CVE-2024-21410) and Microsoft Exchange (CVE-2024-21413).

Including the recent reports that the Windows SmartScreen vulnerability (CVE-2024-21351) is under active exploitation, we have added “Patch Now” schedules to Microsoft Office, Windows and Exchange Server. The team at Readiness has provided this detailed infographic outlining the risks associated with each of the updates for this cycle.

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Microsoft and the Taylor Swift genAI deepfake problem

The last few weeks have been a PR bonanza for Taylor Swift in both good ways and bad. On the good side, her boyfriend Travis Kelce was on the winning team at the Super Bowl, and her reactions during the game got plenty of air time. On the much, much worse side, generative AI-created fake nude images of her have recently flooded the internet.

As you would expect, condemnation of the creation and distribution of those images followed swiftly, including from generative AI (genAI) companies and, notably, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In addition to denouncing what happened, Nadella shared his thoughts on a solution: “I go back to what I think’s our responsibility, which is all of the guardrails that we need to place around the technology so that there’s more safe content that’s being produced.”

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Apple is ramping up its fight against malware

Ensuring platform security is hard, but when a company the stature of Apple begins to ramp up protection of its ecosystem, every IT decision maker should pay attention. Unfortunately, this is precisely what's happening: Apple is now updating fundamental protection at a faster clip than it's ever done before.

Apple’s security teams are alert

That important revelation comes from Howard Oakley at the excellent Eclectic Light Company blog. He notes that in the six weeks ending Feb. 9 Apple, has updated a Mac security feature called XProtect five times — introducing 11 new rules to the service.

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What a future without browser cookies looks like

Most online users have experienced it. You do an online search for healthcare purposes, travel information, or something to buy and soon you’re being bombarded with emails and targeted online ads for everything related to your search. That’s because browser cookies were tracking you as you performed your searches; they identified you and your activity.

Over the past few years, the online advertising industry has been undergoing a sea change as regulators restricted how cookies can be used and browser providers moved away from their use in response to consumer outcries over privacy.

“They often feel surveilled; some even find it ‘creepy’ that a website can show them ads related to their behavior elsewhere,” according to a recent study by the HEC Paris Business School.

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Apple accuses UK gov’t of ‘unprecedented overreach’ on privacy

In the name of security, the UK government may well have put a cybersecurity target on the nation’s back, with Apple once again warning that proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 are a “serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy.

“We are deeply concerned about the amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill currently before Parliament, which will put the privacy and security of users at risk," Apple said in a statement. “This is an unprecedented overreach by the government and, if implemented, the UK new user protections could be secretly vetoed globally, preventing us from ever delivering them to customers.”

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