FixMeStick’s Weekly Cybersecurity Round-Up: Jan 6th – 12th

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the Cybersecurity Round-Up! Hopefully the New Year has been treating you well, and any New Year’s resolutions have been holding strong. This week has been interesting, with news regarding cyber attacks from overseas, political ads on Facebook, and security risks on your computer. Keep reading to catch up on everything you need to know!

As you’re probably aware, tensions have been escalating between the United States and Iran recently, while security experts are chiming in with their thoughts on a cyber security attack from Iran.

To avoid high-end relatilation from the US, experts say that Iran will opt for security attacks, targeting refineries, financial institutions and other targets over the next few months. While these attacks will not likely not affect the general public, it is still a call to be more vigilant online. 

You can read more about the story here.

As of January 14th (today!), Microsoft will end its support for Windows 7. While individuals who still have Windows 7 can continue using the operating system, it means that Microsoft won’t provide free security updates, essentially making computers more susceptible to bugs, malware, and hacking. 

If you are one of many who continue to use Windows 7, don’t worry! The operating system will continue to be functional, although a bit more unsafe. If you’re concerned about your computer security, we always recommend installing some form of antivirus, or running a FixMeStick scan more often than usual. Or, better yet, try out our new product, the StartMeStick, if you’d like to continue using your computer but with a fast, private, and secure operating system.

You can read up more on the Windows 7 update here.

If you need more tips on keeping yourself safe online, we have some solutions for you.

If you’re a Mozilla Firefox user, it’s probably best that you update your web browser as soon as you get the chance. Recently, an undisclosed group of hackers have been exploiting a vulnerability in the Firefox software, allowing them to crash and exploit your browser. 

This vulnerability, known as ‘CVE-2019-17026’, can be exploited when hackers trick unsuspecting users into viewing malicious websites, which will trigger harmful code in the web browser.

The best course of action is to update your browser right away. Though Mozilla often updates your browser when they’re available, you can do so manually by going to “Menu > Help > About Mozilla Firefox”.

To read more into this, click here.

Recently, Facebook has made the decision not to limit political ads on its platform. The main criticism over Facebook and its political ads has been regarding its targeting of specific demographics and its spread of misinformation.

While Facebook’s main digital-ad rival Google has since limited how political ads can be targeted to specific groups of people, Facebook has decided to keep its policy relatively the same. Instead, they have simply announced more limited “transparency features”, which give users more control over how many political ads they see.

One of the main criticisms of political advertising has been the spread of misinformation. Although social platforms such as Twitter have banned political ads outright, Facebook has even opted against fact-checking political ads, a move which critics say will give political groups more license to spread false information.

 You can read more into Facebook and its political ads here.

That’s all for this week’s security round-up! Be sure to stay keep yourself up-to-date, since knowledge is the best sort of defense!