CISA Launch Open-Source Tool to Detect Microsoft Cloud Hacking

“Known as the ‘Untitled Goose Tool’ and developed along with Sandia, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory, the tool can dump telemetry information from Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, and Azure Active Directory.”

CISA, the American Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has released a new open-source incident response (OSIR) tool designed to detect signs of unauthorized activity in Microsoft cloud environments.

Also Read, Hackers in Order to Install Frebniis Malware Hacks IIS Feature

Known as the ‘Untitled Goose Tool’ and developed along with Sandia, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory, the tool can dump telemetry information from Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, and Azure Active Directory. 

CISA said, “Untitled Goose Tool is a robust and flexible hunt and incident response tool that adds novel authentication and data gathering methods in order to run a full investigation against a customer’s Azure Active Directory (AzureAD), Azure, and M365 environments. Untitled Goose Tool gathers additional telemetry from Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) and Defender for Internet of Things (IoT) (D4IoT).”

With the help of Microsoft cloud interrogation and analysis tool of CISA, security networks, and experts will be able to –

  • Export and review Microsoft Defender for IoT alerts, Azure activity logs, M365 unified audit log, AAD sign-in and audit logs, and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint data for suspicious activity.
  • Query, export, and investigate Azure,  AAD, and M365 configurations.
  • Draw out cloud artifacts from Microsoft’s M365, AAD, and Azure environments without executing additional analytics. 
  • Managing time bounding of the UAL.

Earlier in March 2023, an open-source tool called ‘Decider’ was released by CISA to help defenders generate MITRE ATT&CK mapping reports to fine-tune their security posture based on the tactics and techniques of adversaries.

Decider was launched when a “best practices” guide about MITRE ATT&CK mapping in January was published, highlighting the imperativeness of using the standard. It also announced that starting January 2023, it would alert critical infrastructure entities of Internet-based systems susceptible to ransomware attacks.

Microsoft Launches PowerToys for MS Windows 10 & 11 Users

“The software giant has said it will introduce the “paste as plain text” option to Windows 10 and Windows 11 apps with PowerToys, empowering users by providing them with a much smoother experience when copying information over.”

Microsoft is all set to give a major sigh of relief to some Windows users as there is a major copy-and-paste shake-up on the way.

The software giant has said it will introduce the “paste as plain text” option to Windows 10 and Windows 11 apps with PowerToys, empowering users by providing them with a much smoother experience when copying information over. 

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Earlier, PowerToys users had little difficulties as there was no full paste function, which would allow users to simply copy text as it is, without keeping any formatting such as color, size, or other differences.

PowerToys Copy and Paste

The news was rolled out in a GitHub post, where PowerToys copy and paste developers mentioned how the feature, triggered by the familiar Ctrl+Win+V key presses, will active in any app where PowerToys works. 

Developers of PowerToys copy and paste, stated, “This is heavily based on the work done for the “Text Extractor” module then ripping out anything that may unnecessary. The same KeyboardMonitor implement and use. The interesting logic really falls inside the KeyboardMonitor as that is where the clipboard opens/reads/modifies, then a ctrl+v input sequence injects.”

Till now there is no update on when the Paste as Plain Text tool will commence, but as many PowerToys users have requested it, the release will do soon.

PowerToys is an open-source i.e. open-for-all, suite of tools for MS Windows 11 and 10 users, created to help bypass some peculiar settings and perform actions that are still unavailable in the default version. PowerToys also has a wider range of customization options.

Hackers in Order to Install Frebniis Malware Hacks IIS Feature

“Frebniis, the malware uses a method that injects harmful code into iisfreb.dll’s memory. Iisfreb.dll is a DLL file attached with an IIS feature used for checking unsuccessful web page requests.”

“Frebniss” is a new sort of malware that recently posed a threat to Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS). 

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The malware is being employed by hackers to help them carry out stealthy commands using web requests that are transmitted through the internet.

Microsoft IIS is a robust software app platform uses for web application hosting and web server functionality. Among its multiple uses, the software application platform serves crucial services of Microsoft such as Outlook.

Microsoft IIS is a trusted platform and enables users to get easy access to services and web applications, making it a preferred choice for businesses and individuals simultaneously.

Frebniis Corrupts IIS Feature

Frebniis, the malware uses a method that injects harmful code into iisfreb.dll’s memory. Iisfreb.dll is a DLL file attached with an IIS feature uses for checking unsuccessful web page requests. 

With the help of the IIS feature, all HTTP requests are stealthily tracked by Frebniis and detect particular formats of requests from the hacker, leading to the possibility of executing remote code.

frebniis-malware

The hacker must get access to the Windows system operating the IIS server utilizing another method to apply this trick. But, how the hacker got this access in this instance remains uncertain.

frebniis

The injected .NET backdoor allows C# code execution and helps in proxying without doing disk interaction which makes it undetectable. A particular password is checked when default[.]aspx or logon[.]aspx are requested. 

frebniis-malware-attack-microsoft-iis-internet-information-services

Frebniis can command and link with other systems via compromised IIS, utilizing a base64 encoded string as a second HTTP parameter, accessing secured internal systems which are publicly unavailable.

Microsoft explains why it should be allowed to buy Activision Blizzard

Microsoft’s FTC’s Activision Blizzard lawsuit has been in the news for a long time. Microsoft has filed a 37-page document explaining why it thinks it should be allowed to buy the gaming titan, Activision Blizzard.

In a statement to The Verge, Activision Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick said , “There is no sensible, legitimate reason for our transaction to be prevented from closing. Our industry has enormous competition and few barriers to entry. We have seen more devices than ever before enabling players a wide range of choices to play games. Engines and tools are freely available to developers large and small. The breadth of distribution options for games has never been more widespread. We believe we will prevail on the merits of the case.”

Microsoft president Brad Smith said, “Even with confidence in our case, we remain committed to creative solutions with regulators that will protect competition, consumers, and workers in the tech sector. As we’ve learned from our lawsuits in the past, the door never closes on the opportunity to find an agreement that can benefit everyone.”

 

The Document

In the 37-page document Microsoft said, “Microsoft is buying Activision to meet the billions of gamers who choose to play on mobile devices instead of a console or PC, and to learn how to make games that appeal to and engage them. Xbox also wants to make Activision’s non-mobile games more broadly available. One way is by continuing to distribute Activision’s games everywhere they currently exist and expanding to additional platforms like Nintendo. Another is by adding new Activision console and PC game to Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service on the day those new games are released, creating new ways to access those games. Activision has never before put its new games immediately in subscription”

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Call Of Duty is coming to Nintendo Switch

As reported by Kotaku, “Call of Duty might be one of the most popular series on the planet, but it’s not exactly the kind of game you think of when you picture the Nintendo Switch. So in one way, it’s very strange to see Microsoft come out tonight to announce a “10-year commitment” to release CoD games on Nintendo platforms, starting with the Switch.”

They also said, “Microsoft has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King.  Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play.

I‘m also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on Steam simultaneously to Xbox after we have closed the merger with Activision Blizzard King.”

CEO Phil Spencer said, “Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people, however they choose to play,”.

Spencer also mentioned that “Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on @Steam simultaneously to Xbox”.

Earlier this week, Microsoft president Brad Smith had confirmed that Microsoft offered a 10-year contract to Sony to make future CoD games available on PlayStation.

Smith noted that “Sony has emerged as the loudest objector” to Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition and “it’s as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix”.

According to Metro Entertainment, “The idea of bringing the series to Nintendo’s platform was always on the cards, with Microsoft expressing interest not long after it announced the Activision buy out.

It’s not something that’s been discussed since, but the topic has come back up now as Microsoft attempt to curry favour with regulators and push the Activision deal through.”

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Snapchat will be available in Windows Store

As per information collected from some sources, Snapchat is coming as a Progressive Web App (PWA), which will run through Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating system-based computers.

According to Business Standards, “Snapchat will be arriving on the Windows platform via the Microsoft Store. The social media platform’s Progressive Web App (PWA) would run through Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers. It is based on Snap’s web version and powered by Microsoft’s Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, reported the Windows Central.

The Snapchat app is 1.4MB in size and guarantees that it is always up to date and has the exact same features as the web version. As the app will work through Microsoft Edge, Windows would treat it like a native app – including the app in the Start Menu, notification support, and more.

Snapchat PWA will allow users to see stories, access messages, and get notifications on their Windows laptops. Just like the current web version of the app, users can download the PWA version from the Microsoft Store for free.

For Snapchat plus subscribers, the company launched the web version of its app in July in US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. However, it was made free for all in September. Web version of the app can only work with the Chrome browser.

Besides, Snapchat has partnered with Amazon to provide a virtual try-on experience to users. The collaboration came after Snapchat introduced several upgrades to appeal to the brands. MAC Cosmetics, Ultra Beauty, American Eagle, Puma, Chanel, Walmart, and LVMH are some brands that have partnered with Snapchat.”

Snapchat as one of the leading messaging apps can be expected to receive a very good response from the users.

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Microsoft’s DirectStorage 1.1 will soon boost PC game load times with GPU decompression

Source: The Verge

 

Microsoft is bringing GPU decompression to Windows PC games soon. After launching DirectStorage earlier this year, GPU decompression promises to be the next step in the ongoing effort to improve game load times on PCs. Microsoft says it’s “one of our most highly requested features” from game developers.

GPU decompression works by offloading the work needed to decompress assets in games to the graphics card instead of the CPU. Modern games include massive amounts of assets like characters, landscapes, and objects that are all compressed to reduce the total size of a game.

“Typically, decompression work is done on the CPU because compression formats have historically been optimized for CPUs only,” explains Cassie Hoef, a senior program manager at Microsoft. “We are offering an alternative method in DirectStorage 1.1 by moving the decompression of those assets to the GPU instead — known as GPU decompression.”

 

GPU decompression frees up the CPU for other game tasks

 

By moving this workload to a GPU, load times can dramatically decrease in games, even in areas where you’re moving from one world to another. Microsoft claims this can be as much as three times faster, freeing up the CPU to handle other game processes. “When DirectStorage 1.1 [is] released, it kicks off a new journey for game developers to make full use of gaming hardware and speed up load times for PC games over the next few years,” says Hoef.

These new improvements are coming soon for developers, and will be available in both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Microsoft says there are “additional optimizations in the IO stack available to Windows 11 users,” so that will be the best choice for GPU decompression and DirectStorage in general.

GPU makers like Nvidia and AMD will also need to release compatible DirectStorage 1.1 drivers ahead of Microsoft’s final release later this year. While DirectStorage has the promise of blazing-fast load times that we’re seeing on Xbox Series X consoles, we haven’t seen many PC games adopt this technology yet. Forspoken was supposed to be the first big game with DirectStorage support, but the title got delayed to January 2023.

 

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Microsoft Teams has been storing authentication tokens in plaintext

Microsoft Teams stores authentication tokens in unencrypted plaintext mode, allowing attackers to potentially control communications within an organization, according to the security firm Vectra. The flaw affects the desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux built using Microsoft’s Electron framework. Microsoft is aware of the issue but said it has no plans for a fix anytime soon, since an exploit would also require network access.

 

Microsoft Teams authentication storage

 

According to Vectra, a hacker with local or remote system access could steal the credentials for any Teams user currently online, then impersonate them even when they’re offline. They could also pretend to be the user through apps associated with Teams, like Skype or Outlook, while bypassing the multifactor authentication (MFA) usually required.

 

“This enables attackers to modify SharePoint files, Outlook mail and calendars, and Teams chat files,” Vectra security architect Connor Peoples wrote. “Even more damaging, attackers can tamper with legitimate communications within an organization by selectively destroying, exfiltrating, or engaging in targeted phishing attacks.” Attackers can tamper with legitimate communications within an organization by selectively destroying, exfiltrating, or engaging in targeted phishing attacks.

 

Vectra created a proof-of-concept exploit that allowed them to send a message to the account of the credential holder via an access token. “Assuming full control of critical seats–like a company’s Head of Engineering, CEO, or CFO — attackers can convince users to perform tasks damaging to the organization.”

 

The problem is mainly limited to the desktop app, because the Electron framework (that essentially creates a web app port) has “no additional security controls to protect cookie data,” unlike modern web browsers. As such, Vectra recommends not using the desktop app until a patch is created, and using the web application instead.

 

When informed by cybersecurity news site Dark Reading of the vulnerability, Microsoft said it “does not meet our bar for immediate servicing as it requires an attacker to first gain access to a target network,” adding that it would consider addressing it in a future product release.

 

However, threat hunter John Bambenek told Dark Reading it could provide a secondary means for “lateral movement” in the event of a network breach. He also noted that Microsoft is moving toward Progressive Web Apps that “would mitigate many of the concerns currently brought by Electron.”

 

For more updates on storage industry, Click here.

Two nations now offer Microsoft’s Game Pass Friend & Family tier

It comes to about €4.40 per person per month.

 

Family & Friend Tier Game Pass Features

 

Following a leak last week, Microsoft has officially launched Game Pass Friends & Family in Ireland, providing you and four additional people with the same advantages as Game Pass Ultimate for €22 ($22) per month. That works out to just €4.40 ($4.40) a month for each person, which is less than double the Game Pass Ultimate price for one person (€13). Even better, there are no family restrictions; the only prerequisite is that all four participants must reside in the same nation.

 

It has only so far reached two nations, but that may soon change. “This strategy is currently being tested in Colombia and the Republic of Ireland. There may be additional nations or regions added in the upcoming months, “A FAQ was written by Microsoft.

 

Prorata validity for existing customers

 

Existing Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in those nations will have their remaining days prorated, essentially in accordance with the price difference. Accordingly, you receive 18 days of Game Pass Friends & Family for 30 days of Game Pass Ultimate, compared to 12 days for 30 days of Xbox Game Pass or Live Gold. 6 days of Game Pass Friends & Family are included with 30 days of EA Play.

 

Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass are both $10 per month in the US, while Game Pass Ultimate, which includes multiplayer, is $15. According to The Verge, the price of The Game Pass Friends & Family in the United States will probably be around $25, or $5 per person per month. Users of Ultimate can access Xbox Cloud Gaming, Xbox Live, and more in addition to multiplayer.

Netflix and Microsoft are collaborating for Netflix’s ad-supported tier

Netflix, one of the leading companies among OTT platforms, is now going to collaborate with technology leader Microsoft for its upcoming ad-supported streaming tier. The American subscription streaming service and production company on their website said, “In April we announced that we will introduce a new lower priced ad-supported subscription plan for consumers, in addition to our existing ads-free basic, standard and premium plans. Today we are pleased to announce that we have selected Microsoft as our global advertising technology and sales partner.

Microsoft has the proven ability to support all our advertising needs as we work together to build a new ad-supported offering. More importantly, Microsoft offered the flexibility to innovate over time on both the technology and sales side, as well as strong privacy protections for our members.”

The Verge quoted their statement, “It’s very early days and we have much to work through,” Netflix COO Greg Peters writes in the post. “But our long term goal is clear. More choice for consumers and a premium, better-than-linear TV brand experience for advertisers. We’re excited to work with Microsoft as we bring this new service to life.”

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft tweeted, “We’re thrilled Netflix has selected Microsoft as its advertising technology and sales partner. We want publishers to have more long-term viable ad monetization platforms, so more people can access the content they love wherever they are.”

 

The subscription

 

About the subscription to be offered Microsoft said, “At launch, consumers will have more options to access Netflix’s award-winning content. Marketers looking to Microsoft for their advertising needs will have access to the Netflix audience and premium connected TV inventory. All ads served on Netflix will be exclusively available through the Microsoft platform. Today’s announcement also endorses Microsoft’s approach to privacy, which is built on protecting customers’ information.

This is a big day for Netflix and Microsoft. We’re excited to offer new premium value to our ecosystem of marketers and partners while helping Netflix deliver more choice to their customers.”

When will Microsoft Launch its Xbox Cloud Gaming?

Earlier in May 2022, a rumor suggested that Microsoft might be nearly ready to launch a Chromecast-like game streaming stick for its Xbox Cloud Gaming service. The company has now confirmed that such a device (codenamed Keystone) does exist, but it may not be coming any time soon after all, according to a report from Windows Central.

 

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming

 

As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central. “We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future.

Last year, Microsoft confirmed that it was making Xbox video game streaming sticks and baking the technology into Smart TVs. “We’re… developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience,” the company said at the time.

 

Taking Stock of Own Project

 

Since Stadia did not light up the market as much as Google likely hoped, Microsoft may be taking stock of its own project. “As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers,” the spokesperson said.

Xbox Cloud Gaming (née xCloud) has rolled out to PCs, mobile devices and Xbox consoles as part of the $15/month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription — though it’s still technically in beta almost a year after launching widely. However, Stadia can run on Google’s relatively inexpensive Chromecast devices, plus NVIDIA Shield TV and numerous Smart TVs. Microsoft is obviously being careful about its own streaming device, so it doesn’t look like a launch is in the near future after all.

10 Interesting Facts about Bill Gates that will take you by Surprise

Bill Gates has become one of the most successful and prolific entrepreneurs in history, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn’t know his name or the company he founded, Microsoft. But many people don’t know much about Bill Gates as a person. In this blog, we have covered 10 interesting facts about Bill Gates that might surprise you.

 

1. His first computer was a converted Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100.

 

The diminutive computer came with a whopping (by today’s standards) 4KB of RAM, a 20-character-per-line display and two cassette tape drives. If that wasn’t cutting edge enough for you, Gates didn’t even own one—he wrote code on paper and transferred it to other people’s machines via Altair BASIC sheets.

 

2. He wrote his first program on this computer, which is now in the Smithsonian Museum.

 

The Altair 8800 was released in 1975, and it featured a BASIC programming language. While it sold about 50,000 units at a price of $397, MITS—the company that created it—only grossed $97,000 from sales. But one of those buyers was 15-year-old Bill Gates. The future billionaire wrote his first computer program on that machine, which is now housed in Washington’s National Museum of American History as an important artifact in computing history.

 

3. He dropped out of Harvard but received an honorary degree in 2007

 

Dropping out of Harvard to start Microsoft was a big decision for Gates, but it turned out to be one of his best moves. In 2007, he received an honorary degree from Harvard for his accomplishments in business and for being an outstanding citizen and philanthropist.

 

4. The life expectancy in his home country – USA – will increase by 33 years over the next 50 years.

 

This is incredible! Thanks to vaccines, people are living longer and better lives. The advances in our understanding of vaccines is really incredible. It’s sad that so many people in third world countries don’t have access to these life-saving drugs. I hope they do it soon, before an outbreak happens and kills thousands or millions of people.

 

5. His family’s wealth is estimated at $90.7 billion.

 

As of 2014, it’s been reported that his family has amassed a fortune of $90.7 billion. This is up from $76 billion in 2013.

 

6. He frequently gives away half his annual income to charity. In 2014 he gave away $2.5 billion.

 

I’m pleased to give more money to these and other charities, he wrote in a statement on his website. We don’t need it — our foundation is doing fine financially. (It’s made a lot of people rich, including me.) There are many things we can do besides sit on [our] wealth that ensures we will be well taken care of in case something happens to either one of us.

 

7. He has never owned a car because his father thought it was too expensive.

 

Starting with a 300 SL Mercedes sports car, Allen had bought and sold a number of cars over time. He finally disposed of them all in 1968 when he read an analysis by Consumer Reports that indicated that the cost per mile of owning and operating a car exceeded its sticker price by more than 200 percent. Since then, Allen has not owned a car; he uses public transportation or travels by foot or bicycle. In 1997, Forbes magazine estimated his annual expenses at $130,000 to $180,000 and his personal investment portfolio then was worth $9 billion.

 

8. He loves giving money away even though he admits that sometimes he feels like a little boy playing with an extraordinary toy.

 

I still like to think of myself as a geek in many ways, and so I get excited by ideas. I’ll just toss them around in my head until they’re fully formed. He was ranked seventh on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires—with a net worth estimated at $53 billion. Until October 2008, he held a position on Microsoft’s board of directors but quit for personal reasons that were not revealed. In 2009, he rejoined its board after Steven Ballmer replaced him as CEO. He met his wife Melinda when both were students at Harvard University: she was studying industrial economics; he was writing software code.

 

9. People from over 70 countries work for Microsoft as part of his strategy to make Microsoft products available all over the world.

 

In his quest to become a truly global company, Microsoft has employees in 70 countries. To find out if you work for Microsoft, look at your business card; most staffers wear them. (They can’t use Microsoft Corporation on it, though.)

 

10. In 2000, he sold his company shares worth $13.9 billion to start The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he currently serves as its chairman. The foundation strives to improve healthcare and reduce extreme poverty around the world.

 

During a Reddit Ask Me Anything session in 2014, Gates said that his three favorite books are Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The latter is a book that aims to bust myths about global development with data and an exploration of how human minds process information. As with all things Gates, it became a New York Times bestseller.: In addition to being one of America’s richest men, Bill Gates has been listed as one of Time magazine’s most influential people and was recently named among Forbes’ 100 most powerful people.

 

Conclusion

 

The above-mentioned unknown facts about Bill Gates are astonishing. Bill Gates is one of the most well-known people on the planet for good reason. Although he is not as well-known as his long-time rival and sometimes-almost-friend, the late Steve Jobs, he is an intriguing figure in his own right. This is due, in part, to the fact that Gates was a co-founder of Microsoft, which means that his name is synonymous not only with wealth, but also with the fundamental way that computers have changed our lives in recent decades.

 

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