Mark Wilson

Malware takes advantage of Windows' God Mode hack to slip past security

Hand of God

The so-called God Mode hack for Windows is rather less grand than it might first sound. Rather than granting users deity-like abilities, it simply provides one-folder access to an absolute butt-load of Control Panel options and settings. But security researchers have discovered that the technique used to create this special folder can also be exploited by malware.

McAfee says that while the Easter Egg is great for power users, it is also being used by attackers for "evil ends". By placing files within the God Mode shortcut folder, malware such as Dynamer is able to run undetected on a victim's computer.

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'Weak' Craig Wright backs out of Bitcoin claim


Craig Wright, the main claiming to be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto has started to backpedal on his claim. There has long been speculation about the identity of the person behind the cryptocurrency, and earlier this week Wright stepped up to the plate.

After doubts had been expressed about his claim to the Bitcoin crown Wright had promised to reveal "extraordinary evidence" as proof. But now he has had a change of heart. He's not saying -- yet -- that he's not Satoshi Nakamoto, but that he does "not have the courage" to publish the proof so many people are demanding to see.

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Microsoft prevents Windows 10 Pro admins from blocking access to the Windows Store

Windows-10 key

Microsoft has castrated some of the capabilities of Windows 10 Pro admins looking to lock down the computers they manage. The company is removing the ability to block access to the Windows Store using Group Policy Editor.

The option will still be available to those running Education or Enterprise versions of Windows 10. It means that businesses who have come to rely on this option as part of their security regime will have to consider upgrading to a different version of Windows 10.

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Hacker leaks millions of Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail usernames and passwords


A number of major webmail services have suffered one of the largest security breaches in recent years. The account details of Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and are just four of the services affected.

Security firm Hold Security says that it has been contacted by a hacker in possession of 272 million unique pairs of email addresses and unencrypted passwords. This is far from an insignificant number, and the situation is made all the worse as the data is being freely shared for just about anyone to access.

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After all the fuss about Facebook reactions, hardly anyone is using them


It is as though people have been asking for something more than the Like button on Facebook since the concept was first born. After years of asking, Facebook delivered. Facebook Reactions arrived at the end of February to much excitement.

But the excitement was short-lived, it seems. Two months after launch a study has found that hardly anyone is making use of the five new options (Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry). Analysis by Quintly reveals that Reactions account for a mere 3 percent of interactions, and the findings make for interesting reading.

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The ransomware problem just keeps getting worse and worse


If it feels as though you've heard an awful lot about ransomware recently, that's because you have. It's a problem that just seems to be getting worse, and ESG -- the security outfit behind anti-malware program SpyHunter -- has released figures that shows April was the worst month ever recorded for ransomware in the US.

The rate of infection rocketed last month, with the numbers more than doubling when compared to March. While there have been a few high-profile cases of large businesses getting hit with ransomware, increasing numbers of ordinary people are also falling victim.

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Adblock Plus and Flattr help sites earn money from donations even if visitors block ads


Adblock Plus has for some time tried to find a way to balance the needs of websites to display money-making ads, with the preferences of visitors who do not want to see such ads. After experimenting with its Acceptable Ads program whereby some discrete ads are allowed to slip through the net, Eyeo, the company responsible for Adblock Plus, is teaming up with Flattr to give sites another way to make money.

The scheme is called Flattr Plus, and it gives people the chance to pay a monthly subscription to access content on sites. It's a similar idea to an existing payment option run by Flattr, but the monthly subscription is used as an alternative to paying for access to individual articles.

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After the death of @MagicRecs, Twitter Connect makes it easier to find people to follow


It was a sad day on Twitter when one of most useful accounts, the @MagicRecs bot, was closed down. The experimental service had been firing account recommendations at users based on who they follow, but the experiment came to an end.

As something of a replacement, Twitter is introducing a Connect tab to its iOS and Android clients. The company says it will make it easier to find people to follow, and will come up with recommendations based on who you already follow, how you use Twitter, and what's proving popular with other people.

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Think Privacy CEO launches site to name publishers who illegally detect and circumvent adblockers


Adblockers are, have been, and will continue to be a matter of some controversy. While sites rely on ad income to stay afloat, users are understandably irked by a barrage of flashy commercials and are increasingly turning to adblocking. To fight back, some sites are using various methods to detect the presence of an adblocker and then bypassing it.

This, in turn, upsets people once again, and the CEO of privacy and security consortium Think Privacy, Alexander Hanff, has come up with a solution. To fight back he has set up a website that names and shames those sites that "use illegal methods to detect that you are using an adblocker".

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Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto revealed to be Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright


For some time, the person who created the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been known as Satoshi Nakamoto. We know that was nothing more than a pseudonym, and now Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has revealed that he is the man behind the mask.

It brings to an end years of speculation about the inventor's real identity, and Wright has been able to provide technical proof to the BBC to back up his claims. The IT and security consultant's home was raided in recent days as part of an investigation by the Australian Tax Office, and documents leaked from the inquiries pointed towards Wright. He has now confirmed his identity.

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Facebook Messenger to gain privacy-enhancing self-destructing messages


With the ongoing debate about privacy and encryption, the rollout of end-to-end encryption to Facebook-owned WhatsApp came as little surprise. Now Facebook Messenger is set to gain a couple of privacy-enhancing features including self-destructing messages.

Already found in other messaging tools such as SnapChat and Telegram, self-destructing messages have been unearthed in Messenger for iOS version 68.0. As you would expect, the feature makes it possible to place a time limit on how long messages are visible for, making it ideal for communicating sensitive information.

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Windows 10 growth slows as OS X makes market share gains


The growth of Windows 10 continues, albeit slowly, the latest figures from NetMarketShare show. The statistics for April reveal that, at long last, Windows 7 is no longer installed on the majority of computers, slipping to a 48.79 percent market share. Windows 10 saw slight growth to 14.35 percent (up from 14.15 percent), and Windows XP dropped below 9.66 percent.

Usage of Windows 8.x stayed largely stable (12.11 percent compared to 12.01 percent in March), but the balance between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (9.16 percent down from 9.56 percent) shifted slightly, with the older version seeing slight growth (2.95 percent, up from 2.45 percent). OS X's market share increased slightly, and Linux dropped a little.

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Facebook hit with lawsuit over new stock option that gives Zuckerberg a license to print money


When Facebook announced its first quarter results this week, it also announced that it created a new class of stock. The non-voting Class C stock proposed would enable Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan to more easily fund their philanthropic ventures, whilst keeping Zuckerberg himself firmly in control of Facebook.

In response to this, a lawsuit has been raised that says the proposed deal is unfair. The shareholders raising the class action lawsuit said the deal would grant Zuckerberg even more control and that the board committee didn’t do enough "to obtain anything of meaningful value" in return. The lawsuit accuses him of wanting "to retain this power, while selling off large amounts of his stockholdings, and reaping billions of dollars in proceeds".

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Apple: You're saying it wrong -- iPhones is not a word!


Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller has taken to Twitter to set the record straight about the nomenclature of the company's product names. Specifically, he takes umbrage with just sticking an 's' onto the end of product names to pluralize them.

Yep -- iPhones is, apparently, not a word. Someone might need to speak with Tim Cook to get him on the same page though, as he doesn't seem to have seen the memo.

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Twitter's unfair token system gives it far too much control over rival apps


In recent days you probably heard about the demise, and subsequent resurrection, of the Twitter client Fenix. Earlier this week, the app became a victim of its own success, succumbing to what it described as "the infamous Twitter tokens limitation". It's now back in the Google Play Store having carved out some sort of deal with Twitter, but the debacle highlights an important issue.

If you want to create a Twitter client -- and why wouldn’t you? -- you'll need access to the Twitter API. This is not something Twitter wants, or permits, to just be a free-for-all, and it limits developers' use of the API through a token system. Simply put, one token equals one user, and Twitter decides how many tokens each developer has, in turn dictating the maximum number of users any rival Twitter client may have. Anyone spot a problem?

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