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Users in Vietnam, Philippines, India prone to viruses from removable drives

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet keyboard

In a study conducted by Kaspersky, the security network unearthed some disturbing statistics: out of nine Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries, Vietnam, the Philippines, and India have the highest number of computer users who experienced local threat incidents.

Local threats refer to any form of virus or malware distributed through offline means. Those include USB flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and local networks — basically anything that isn’t sourced from the internet. Encrypted formats such as programs from complex installers and files count, too.

kaspersky-lab-threat-landscape

As you can see in the graph above, the three headlining countries — Vietnam (64 percent), the Philippines (58.4 percent), and India (54.8 percent) — have the most local detections, but not by a mile. Indonesia just barely missed a dishonorable third place.

As for online detections, China scored highest with 24.3 percent, followed closely by Vietnam at 22.8 percent, and a tie for third with India and Indonesia both scoring 18.5 percent. The stats cover June to September, 2016, so the data is quite recent.

Overall, an average of 49 percent of users in APAC were troubled by offline threats, while 17 percent of users faced online threats that were eventually blocked by Kaspersky’s software protection.

What this all means is that security companies are getting better at detecting and eliminating web-related attacks, but people are still highly prone to opening malicious physical storage drives and virus-infected installers.

This serves as a reminder to not open unknown files from unsafe sources. Remember, no matter how strong your antivirus programs are, no computer is truly safe from digital harm.

Computers

Microsoft’s new patches may be harming your PC

The Meltdown and Spectre patches are duds!

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The Meltdown drama continues. Days after researchers confirmed the existence of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, big firms like Microsoft and Apple started issuing patches against the bug. Microsoft’s fixes, however, might be doing more harm than good.

Microsoft’s series of patches have been causing issues among those who installed it already. Users are reporting that the patches have caused their PCs to run slower than usual.

Surprisingly, Microsoft themselves have confirmed the reports. A wide range of devices are indeed slowing down because of the patches. The firm has also listed down the affected PCs, as described below.

First, PCs that run Windows 10 on newer processors like Skylake and Kaby Lake show “single-digit” but hardly noticeable slowdowns. Meanwhile, PCs that run Windows 10 on fourth generation or earlier chips will suffer from noticeable slowdown. Finally, those that run Windows 8 or 7 on older chips will be most hit by the performance issues.

The chaos doesn’t even stop there. Some users have even reported that their PCs have stopped booting entirely. In an open thread on Microsoft’s support forums, a user suffering from a bricked PC has been joined by a torrent of users who are suffering from the same issue.

As with the performance issues, Microsoft has issued a statement regarding the unbootable state. This time, they have pinpointed that AMD processors are to blame for the issue, citing a lack of documentation on AMD’s part.

Microsoft has since halted distribution of the erring security patch to AMD processors. Their support team is working to resolve the issue among those already affected by the issue. Meanwhile, Microsoft and AMD developers are working to put out a more stable fix for the Spectre flaw.

Despite the lack of workable fixes for the issue, Microsoft is assuring its users that harmful exploits have not been discovered out in the wild. Not yet, that is.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Computers

All Apple devices are at risk of Meltdown, Apple says

Patch your devices now!

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“Macs never get viruses.” It’s an adage that Apple fans often use to defend their beloved devices against PC users. With the Meltdown and Spectre reveals, that may soon change.

As we reported earlier, researchers recently uncovered hardware flaws that left affected devices open to hidden attacks that leaked sensitive info. Meltdown and Spectre affect nearly every device working today.

Tech firms, including Apple, are rushing to release their own patches to ease consumer fears. Apple users have been waiting with bated breath for a statement, especially since the company usually lives in its own world outside of the PC.

Now, Apple has finally released a statement for the issue. And it’s a resounding yes: Apple devices are affected.

Not surprisingly, every single Apple device, from the small iPhone to the towering iMac, are vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre attacks. The firm remains one of the biggest chip makers in the tech world.

Despite the flaw, Apple says that there is nothing to fear; they haven’t discovered any exploits that take advantage of the two flaws.

Even then, the firm has already released patches for Meltdown in its latest OS updates — iOS11.2 and macOS 10.13.2. The updates have been available for download even before the reveals for Meltdown and Spectre.

Meanwhile, Apple shares in the difficulty of patching the Spectre flaw. The flaw itself is hard to exploit, but equally as hard to patch. Other companies are still developing their patches to the bug. Likewise, Apple is also only promising an update through Safari in the coming days to ease the risk.

Further, Apple says that the Apple Watch is safe from Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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CES 2018

Lenovo outs ultra-thin 4K ThinkVision monitors

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Aside from new business laptops, Lenovo also introduced a couple of desktop monitors which are designed to bring new visual technology to offices.

(more…)

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