Author: Preston Gralla

Russia is losing the cyberwar against Ukraine, too

When Russia launched its all-out attack against Ukraine in February, the world expected the invaders to roll over the country quickly. That didn’t happen, and Ukraine today, though still under assault, has so far thwarted Russia’s ambitions to conquer it.

Russia has also been fighting a quieter war against Ukraine, a cyberwar, deploying what had been considered the most feared state-sponsored hackers in the world. And in the same way that Ukraine has fended off Russia’s military might, it’s been winning the cyberwar as well.

In that cyberwar, as always, the terrain is primarily Windows, because it represents the largest and most vulnerable attack surface in the world. The facts about what exactly is going on have been shadowy. But there’s plenty of evidence that Ukraine may keep the upper hand.

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Windows is in Moscow’s crosshairs, too

Russia telegraphed its intentions to invade Ukraine well ahead of this week’s attack by massing nearly 200,000 soldiers along Ukraine’s borders, and by Vladimir Putin’s increasingly belligerent threats.

Behind the scenes, Russia was doing more than that, including dangerous cyberattacks launched against Ukraine. And as is typically the case in such attacks, Windows was the attack vector.

“We’ve observed destructive malware in systems belonging to several Ukrainian government agencies and organizations that work closely with the Ukrainian government, Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post in mid-January. “The malware is disguised as ransomware but, if activated by the attacker, would render the infected computer system inoperable.” In a related technical post detailing how the malware works, Microsoft added: “These systems [under cyberattack] span multiple government, non-profit, and information technology organizations, all based in Ukraine.”

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How to protect your privacy in Windows 10

There has been some concern that Windows 10 gathers too much private information from users. Whether you think Microsoft's operating system crosses the privacy line or just want to make sure you protect as much of your personal life as possible, we're here to help. Here's how to protect your privacy in just a few minutes.

Note: This story has been updated for the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, version 21H1. If you have an earlier release of Windows 10, some things may be different.

Turn off ad tracking

At the top of many people's privacy concerns is what data is being gathered about them as they browse the web. That information creates a profile of a person's interests that is used by a variety of companies to target ads. Windows 10 does this with the use of an advertising ID. The ID doesn't just gather information about you when you browse the web, but also when you use Windows 10 apps.

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