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Microsoft Extends Security Updates for Windows 7 for Free for Voting Systems

According to the company, this free support applies to both the US and ‘other democratic countries’, as defined by the EIU Democracy Index

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Tech giant Microsoft has announced it will offer extended support for free for federally certified voting systems running Windows 7 operating system (OS) through the 2020 elections even as the OS meets its end of support deadline on January 14, 2020.

This announcement is a part of the company’s ‘Defending Democracy Program’.

“As we head into the 2020 elections, we know there is a relatively small but still significant number of certified voting machines in operation running on Windows 7.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

“We also know that transitioning to machines running newer operating systems in time for the 2020 election may not be possible for a number of reasons, including the lengthy voting machine certification process — a process we are working with government officials to update and make more agile,” Tom Burt-Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust, wrote in a blog post on Friday.

Also Read: Social Networking Giant Facebook Suspends Several Apps Post-Cambridge Analytica Probe

According to the company, this free support applies to both the US and ‘other democratic countries’, as defined by the EIU Democracy Index.

“We are also announcing today that, as part of the Defending Democracy Program, we are proactively identifying and engaging election authorities that are Microsoft Azure customers to provide guidance and technical assistance in using the most advanced security features in Azure. We provided this service ahead of the 2018 election cycle and will again ahead of the 2020 cycle,” added Burt. (IANS)

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Microsoft Works To Fix Security Bug Issue in Internet Explorer

The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory

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Overall, Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week will no longer receive security updates. Pixabay

 Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date.

The vulnerability was first reported by US Homeland Security on Friday evening, although the issue is not limited to American devices. Overall, Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week will no longer receive security updates.

The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory. An attacker could use the flaw to remotely run malicious code on an affected computer, such as tricking a user into opening a malicious website from a search query or a link sent by email, TechCrunch reported recently.

“The company is only aware of limited targeted attacks for which it is already working on a fix,” the report quoted a Microsoft spokesperson. The tech giant assigned the bug with a common vulnerability identifier, CVE-2020-0674, but specific details of the bug have yet to be released.

Qihoo 360, a China-based security research team helped Microsoft in finding this flaw and it is believed to be a similar vulnerability as one disclosed by Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser.

As per report, neither Qihoo, Microsoft, nor Mozilla said how attackers were exploiting the bug, who the attackers were, or who was being targeted. Microsoft assigned the bug with a common vulnerability identifier, CVE-2020-0674, but specific details of the bug have yet to be released.

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Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date. Pixabay

Additionally, according to information gathered by PreciseSecurity.com, Microsoft Office products were the most commonly exploited by cybercriminals around the world and nearly 73 per cent of cyber exploits were performed in MS Office products in the third quarter of 2019.

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MS Office products were followed by Browsers with 13.47 per cent of the total number of exploits by cybercriminals, Android with 9.09 per cent, Java with 2.36 per cent, Adobe Flash with 1.57 per cent and PDF with 0.66 per cent. (IANS)