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Hive ransomware on Exchange servers

Hive ransomware has been targeting Microsoft exchange servers lately vulnerable to ProxyShell security issues in order to deploy various backdoors. Once the backdoor has been placed various attacks can be performed including but not limited to network reconnaissance, stealing admin accounts, taking valuable data, and even installing and deploying file-encrypting algorithms.

hive ransomware

ProxyShell wide abuse

ProxyShell is a set of three vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange Server that allows remote code execution without authentication on vulnerable deployments. The flaw has been used in past by various ransomware like Conti, BlackByte, Babuk, Cuba, and LockFile.

Security vulnerabilities have been reported to be fully patched on May 2021 but how Hive was able to still be successful in exploiting PowerShell and infiltrating into the system there seems to be still some unpatched and open issues.

Hive

Hive has gone a long way since it was first observed in the wild back in June 2021, having a successful start that prompted the FBI to release a dedicated report on its tactics and indicators of compromise.

In October 2021, the Hive gang added Linux and FreeBSD variants, and in December it became one of the most active ransomware operations in attack frequency.

Last month, researchers at Sentinel Labs reported on a new payload-hiding obfuscation method employed by Hive, which indicates active development.

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How to Use and Configure Active Hours
The issue with the abrupt system reboots to force Windows 10 updates on a computer has been lessened with Active Hours. This feature keeps a record of the hours during which a system remains active and prevents the installation of updates during such hours. For example, when a system restart is needed to complete the installation of an update, Active Hours delays the update and allows you to finish what you’re doing on your computer. Thus, if you haven’t heard of this feature, then now is the time you do, read this post to configure and use Active Hours in your Windows 10 computer. There are three ways you can configure Active Hours. The first one is for general users, whereas the rest of the two methods are for users who knows their way about the Windows Registry and Group Policy. To get started, refer to every given option below.

Option 1 – Configure Active Hours via Windows 10 Settings

  • Go to Settings > Update & Security. From there, click on the “Change active hours” option under the Windows Update section.
  • Next, you can select a time (“Start time” and “End time”) during which the restart can occur.
  • After that, click on the Save button and exit.
Note: Keep in mind that the values you’ve entered indicate the hours during which your system is in use, namely, ACTIVE. It is important for your active hour’s interval period and it can be anything between 1 and 18 hours since you can’t go beyond 18 hours. In addition, there is no option to configure different active hours on different days and you can’t specify different active hours for weekends and weekdays as well. On the other hand, Windows 10 also offer users an option to override Active Hours. All you have to do is go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Restart Options. From there, you can choose a custom restart time when your computer will restart to install the updates but this is only a one-time setting.

Option 2 – Configure Active Hours via Registry Editor

  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run utility and type “Regedit” in the field and tap Enter or click OK to open the Registry Editor.
  • Next, navigate to this registry path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsUpdateUXSettings
  • In the given registry path, you can choose to change “ActiveHoursStart” and “ActiveHoursEnd”.
Note: There are no extra settings available in the Registry Editor but you can change the remote computer’s Active hours settings using the Registry Editor.

Option 3 – Configure Active Hours via Group Policy

Note that this option is available for the Windows 10 Pro and Educational or Enterprise versions. It is mostly used by computers in Business or through remote access. To get started, follow these steps:
  • Tap the Win + R keys to launch Run and type “gpedit.msc” in the field and tap Enter or click OK to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • Next, navigate to this group policy setting: Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Updates.
  • From there, look for a policy labeled “Turn off auto-restart for updates during active hours” and double click on it. This will open a new window.
  • Click on the Enabled radio button to enable Active Hours. You also have the option to choose active hours just like in the first given option above. It works just fine except when the following policies don’t override:
    • No Auto-restart with logged-on users for scheduled automatic updates installations.
    • Always automatically restart at the scheduled time.
  • Since Group Policy allows you to reduce the range of active hours, you can configure it if you want it to be less than 18 hours. Just find the policy setting labeled “Specify Active hours range for auto -restarts. The minimum is 8 hours”.
  • After you set the Active Hours, click the Apply and OK buttons to save the changes made.
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Easy PrivateSearchPlus Removal Guide

PrivateSearchPlus is a browser extension that redirects all your searches through yonto. This way the extension claims you are browsing privately.

From the author: Search the web without tracking your search history or any personally identifiable information Access quickly to popular websites with icons sliding from this homepage is easy speedy and accessed ..Google Search, Yahoo, Aol, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and more from all world without login However, PrivateSearchPlus monitors your browsing activity, the websites you visit, the links you click, and stores personal information that is later sent to server ads. This extension changes your default search engine to Yonto, it displays additional unwanted ads, may display pop-up ads, and hijacks your home page. Several anti-virus scanners have classified this extension as a Browser Hijacker and are therefore not recommended to keep on your computer.

About Browser Hijackers

Browser hijacking is actually a type of unwanted program, commonly a web browser add-on or extension, which causes modifications in web browser’s settings. There are several reasons why you might have a browser hijack; but commercial, marketing, and advertising are the main purposes for their creation. In general, hijackers are made for the benefit of internet hackers often through income generation from forced ad clicks and site visits. Nonetheless, it’s not that innocent. Your web safety is compromised and it is also very irritating. Browser hijackers could also allow other vicious programs without your knowledge to further damage your computer.

How to know if your browser has been hijacked

When your web browser is hijacked, the following might happen: your browser’s homepage is suddenly different; you see new unwanted favorites or bookmarks added, usually directed to advertisement-filled or pornography websites; the default browser settings have been changed, and/or your default search engine is altered; you see unsolicited new toolbars added; you notice numerous ads show up on your web browsers or display screen; webpages load slowly and at times incomplete; Inability to navigate to particular sites, especially antivirus and also other security software websites.

So how does a browser hijacker infect a computer?

Browser hijackers might use drive-by downloads or file-sharing websites or an e-mail attachment in order to reach a targeted computer. They could also come from add-on applications, also referred to as browser helper objects (BHO), web browser extensions, or toolbars. Other times you may have unintentionally accepted a browser hijacker as part of a software program bundle (usually freeware or shareware). Some of the most well-known hijackers are EasySearchPlus, Babylon Toolbar, Conduit Search, OneWebSearch, Sweet Page, and CoolWebSearch. The presence of any browser hijacker malware on your system might drastically diminish the web browsing experience, monitor your internet activities that lead to major privacy concerns, produce system stability problems and ultimately cause your PC to slow down or to a nearly unusable state.

Browser Hijacker Malware – Removal

Some browser hijacking could be quite easily stopped by finding and eliminating the corresponding malware program from your control panel. Sadly, many of the software programs used to hijack an internet browser are intentionally created to be hard to detect or remove. Inexperienced PC users shouldn’t ever try for the manual form of removal methods, as it demands thorough computer knowledge to do repairs on the computer registry and HOSTS file.

What to Do if Virus Stops You From Downloading Or Installing Anything?

Malware can cause all sorts of damage once they invade your PC, ranging from stealing your personal details to erasing data files on your computer. Certain malware types alter internet browser settings by adding a proxy server or modify the computer’s DNS configuration settings. In these instances, you will be unable to visit certain or all websites, and therefore unable to download or install the necessary security software to get rid of the computer virus. So what to do if malware keeps you from downloading or installing Safebytes Anti-Malware? There are some options you can try to get around with this particular problem.

Install in Safe Mode with Networking

If the malware is set to load at Windows startup, then booting in Safe Mode should avoid it. Since only the minimal applications and services start-up in “Safe Mode”, there are rarely any reasons for issues to take place. You will need to do the following to eliminate malware in Safe mode. 1) Press the F8 key repeatedly as soon as your PC boots, however, before the big Windows logo appears. This will conjure up the Advanced Boot Options menu. 2) Use the arrow keys to choose Safe Mode with Networking and press ENTER. 3) Once this mode loads, you should have the internet. Now, make use of your web browser to download and install Safebytes. 4) After installation, run a complete scan and let the software program get rid of the threats it detects.

Obtain the antivirus program using an alternate web browser

Web-based viruses could be environment-specific, aiming for a specific browser or attacking particular versions of the browser. The best way to overcome this problem is to pick a browser that is well known for its security measures. Firefox contains built-in Phishing and Malware Protection to help keep you secure online.

Create a portable USB antivirus for eliminating malware

Another method is to download and transfer an antivirus application from a clean computer to run a scan on the affected computer. Follow these steps to employ a flash drive to fix your corrupted computer. 1) Download Safebytes Anti-Malware or Microsoft Windows Defender Offline onto a clean computer. 2) Plug the Thumb drive into the uninfected computer. 3) Double click on the downloaded file to open the installation wizard. 4) Choose a thumb drive as the place when the wizard asks you where you wish to install the software. Do as instructed on the screen to finish off the installation process. 5) Now, plug the pen drive into the infected system. 6) Double-click the anti-malware program EXE file on the thumb drive. 7) Press the “Scan” button to run a full computer scan and remove malware automatically.

A Look at the Best Anti-Malware Program

To help protect your computer from various internet-based threats, it is very important to install an anti-malware program on your computer system. However, with so many anti-malware companies in the market, these days it is tough to decide which one you should obtain for your personal computer. A few are very good ones, some are ok types, while some are just fake anti-malware programs that can ruin your PC themselves! You have to pick a product that has got a good reputation and detects not only computer viruses but other sorts of malware as well. While considering the reliable applications, Safebytes Anti-Malware is certainly the strongly recommended one. SafeBytes is a highly effective, real-time anti-spyware application that is created to assist regular computer users in safeguarding their computers from malicious internet threats. With its cutting-edge technology, this software will allow you to get rid of several types of malware like computer viruses, PUPs, trojans, worms, adware, ransomware, and browser hijackers. SafeBytes anti-malware takes computer protection to a totally new level with its advanced features. Some of them are given as below: Real-Time Protection: SafeBytes provides an entirely hands-free live protection that is set to check, prevent and get rid of all computer threats at its very first encounter. It will continuously monitor your computer for hacker activity and also gives users advanced firewall protection. Anti-Malware Protection: Safebytes is based on the best virus engine within the industry. These engines can detect and eliminate threats even during the initial phases of a malware outbreak. Web Security: SafeBytes checks the links present on a webpage for possible threats and notifies you whether the website is safe to view or not, through its unique safety rating system. “Fast Scan” Abilities: Safebytes Anti-Malware, using its enhanced scanning engine, offers extremely fast scanning which can promptly target any active online threat. Light-weight: SafeBytes is a lightweight and easy-to-use anti-virus and antimalware solution. As it uses very low computer resources, this tool leaves the computer power exactly where it belongs to: with you actually. 24/7 Live Expert Support: For any technical questions or product support, you may get 24/7 professional assistance via chat and e-mail.

Technical Details and Manual Removal (Advanced Users)

If you wish to manually remove PrivateSearchPlus without the use of an automated tool, it may be possible to do so by removing the program from the Windows Add/Remove Programs menu, or in cases of browser extensions, going to the browsers AddOn/Extension manager and removing it. You will likely also want to reset your browser. To ensure the complete removal, manually check your hard drive and registry for all of the following and remove or reset the values accordingly. Please note that this is for advanced users only and may be difficult, with incorrect file removal causing additional PC errors. In addition, some malware is capable of replicating or preventing deletion. Doing this in Safe Mode is advised.

The following files, folders, and registry entries are created or modified by PrivateSearchPlus

Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREsupWPM HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesWpm HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMain Default_Page_URL HKEY_LOCAL_MachineSoftwareClasses[PUP.Private Search Plus] HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall[PUP.Private Search Plus]
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Fix Minecraft Won’t Launch in Windows 10
Minecraft has taken the world by the storm, it was an indie project game and it went mainstream. Dream of every game developer I guess. The dream of every gamer on the other hand is to double click on the game and to play it and not to deal with various issues, especially if they are launch issues. Luckily for all of you gamers, here at errortools we game as well and we are happy to bring you a solution on how to fix Minecraft won't launch issue. So sit back, relax and keep on reading, and hopefully enough you will be gaming again in no time. Follow the guide presented step by step, point by point how it is presented for the quickest way to get back in Minecraft. This guide also presumes that your hardware configurations meet at least the minimum system requirements for running Minecraft.
  1. Disable antivirus and firewall

    90% of the time this is the issue why Minecraft is not working, your antivirus or firewall has detected it as a false positive, and access to system internet, etc has been cut. Try disabling it and if everything is working fine add it to the antivirus or the firewall exception list.
  2. Run Minecraft as admin

    Minecraft will sometimes refuse to run if it does not has administrator privileges. To make sure this is the case locate the Minecraft executable, right-click on it and choose properties. Go to the compatibility tab and check Run as Administrator box.
  3. End Minecraft process

    It came to knowledge that even if Minecraft is not running it can have its processes active in the background. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open task manager Locate if Minecraft has a process running If you find the Minecraft process right-click on it and choose End Task
  4. Run Minecraft in compatibility mode

    If Minecraft still refuses to start try running it in compatibility mode in the previous Windows version Locate Minecraft executable file in its install location Right-click on it and choose properties In the properties, windows go to the compatibility tab Check run this program in compatibility mode for: Select previous version of the operating system, try Windows 8 or Windows 7
  5. Update graphic card driver

    The best bet is to go to your GPU manufacturer's website and download the latest version of the driver of your GPU.
  6. Remove mods, plugins, texture packs

    Mods, plugins, texture packs are all great but sometimes they can cause GPU overloads and other issues to see if this is the case try running Minecraft in Vannila mode without anything installed, just pure and clean Minecraft as it was just downloaded and installed.
  7. Reinstall Minecraft

    If everything else failed, reinstall Minecraft. There might be a chance that some DLL file was deleted or corrupted by mistake or that some crucial files are missing. Clean reinstallation will fix all of these issues.
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How to Fix Error Code 0xc004f210 in Windows 8

Error Code 0xc004f210 – What is it?

Error code 0xc004f210 occurs when Windows 8 users fail to activate their Windows operating system. Users will be able to identify error code 0xc004f210 because of the following common symptoms which occur:

Solution

Restoro box imageError Causes

If you enter an invalid product key or do not have a digital entitlement for the edition of Windows you are attempting to activate, you may experience error code 0xc004f210. Since this error usually occurs due to these main reasons, you will most likely find success resolving this issue by ensuring you use a valid product key or activate an appropriate edition of Windows based on the edition of your digital entitlement.

Further Information and Manual Repair

Error codes can be resolved through manual repair procedures that seek to fix the underlying issues causing the error. In the case of error code 0xc004f210, you should be able to resolve this error by using the methods below. You may also consider contacting a Windows repair technician if you have difficulty resolving the error code.

Method One: Enter Valid Product Key

To successfully activate your operating system and resolve error code 0xc004f210, you will need to enter a valid product key in the Update & security section of Windows. Follow the instructions below to enter the product key.

  • Step one: Click the Start button then select Settings
  • Step two: Select Update & security then Activation
  • Step three: Click the Change product key
  • Step four: Enter a valid product key

If the issue causing error code 0xc004f210 is related to the use of an invalid product key, you should be able to successfully activate your Windows operating system. Should the problem persist, however, you will need to attempt the next manual repair method explained below? Note: Failure to fix this error code might result in other Windows 10 error messages.

Method Two: Ensure Edition of Windows Matches Your Digital Entitlement

Digital entitlement allows Windows users to access activation without using a product key. This digital entitlement only affects Windows 8 users who are attempting to activate versions of Windows 10 that include Windows 10 Pro. Once you are using a genuine copy of Windows 8.1 and your edition of Windows matches your entitlement, you may proceed with the instructions below.

  • Step one: Click the Start button then select Settings
  • Step two: After selecting Settings, click Update & Security
  • Step three: Select Windows Update then the Check for updates tab
  • Step four: Click activate Windows 10 update

You should be able to activate your Windows update once you follow the instructions above. Remember error code 0xc004f210 is an activation code related to product keys or your digital entitlement so once these issues are rectified, you should have no problem activating your operating system of choice and enjoying the benefits it offers. If, however, the problem remains unresolved after you have attempted both manual repair methods, there may be unusual issues affecting your system. Contact Microsoft to rectify the issue or get help from a Windows repair technician.

Method Three: Download an Automated Tool

If you wish to always have at your disposal a utility tool to fix these Windows 8 and other related issues when they do arise, download and install a powerful automated tool.

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Reliability Monitor is not updating or working
In case you don’t know, there is a built-in tool in Windows 10, known as Reliability Monitor that provides a day-to-day snapshot of the health of your system. It warns users of any looming issues or disasters before your computer breaks down finally. So obviously, Reliability Monitor is useful, however, there are times when it could behave incorrectly. For instance, it might fail to show you any updates even when they are installed. Thus, if you experience any malfunctions with the Reliability Monitor tool in Windows 10, read on as this post will guide you in updating or working in Windows 10. To fix the problem with the Reliability Monitor, there are several fixes you can check out. You can try to enable the data collection for Reliability Monitor or reset it, as well as put your computer in a Clean Boot State. For more information, refer to each one of the options given below.

Option 1 – Try to enable the Data Collection for Reliability Monitor

The Reliability Monitor tool uses data provided by the RAC Agent scheduled task and it will start to display a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after the system installation. The RACAgent scheduled task, by default, runs after the operating system is installed. And if it is disabled, it must be manually enabled from the Task Scheduler snap-in for MMC or Microsoft Management Console. Thus, you need to enable the Data Collection for Reliability Monitor to fix the problem.

Option 2 – Try to reset the Reliability Monitor

The next thing you can do to fix the issue with the Reliability Monitor might want to reset it to resolve the problem. If the Reliability Monitor is already open, you have to close it and open it again. After the reset is done, it may take up to 24 hours for the Reliability Monitor to display results again. This should fix the problem.

Option 3 – Troubleshot the problem in a Clean Boot State

There are some instances that some conflicting programs installed in your computer might be the one that’s causing the Black border issue. To identify which program is causing the problem, you need to put your computer in a Clean Boot State. To do so, follow the steps below.
  • Log onto your PC as an administrator.
  • Type in MSConfig in the Start Search to open the System Configuration utility.
  • From there, go to the General tab and click “Selective startup”.
  • Clear the “Load Startup items” check box and make sure that the “Load System Services” and “Use Original boot configuration” options are checked.
  • Next, click the Services tab and select the “Hide All Microsoft Services” check box.
  • Click Disable all.
  • Click on Apply/OK and restart your PC. (This will put your PC into a Clean Boot State. And configure Windows to use the usual startup, just simply undo the changes.)
  • From there, start to isolate the problem by checking which one of the programs you installed recently is the root cause of the problem.
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Disabling the Recently Opened Files in Windows
The Windows 10 operating system comes with a user-friendly interface as well as better security features compared to its previous versions. One of these new features is the “Recently Opened Files” feature which displays all the files you’ve opened recently in File Explorer. Although it might seem useful, some users see this as a privacy concern especially if there are other users that use the same computer. If you are one of these users, read on as this post will guide you on how you can disable the “Recently Opened Files” feature in Windows 10. There are three ways you can disable the “Recently Opened Files” feature. You can manually clear the recent files, or disable the feature via Control Panel. You can also do it using the Group Policy Editor.

Option 1 – Manually clear the recent files

The first thing you can do is to clear the recent files manually. Since the information about the recently opened files is stored in the form of cached data, you can locate this data and delete it manually, from time to time. To do that, follow these steps:
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run utility and copy this address in the field: %AppData%MicrosoftWindowsRecent
  • Next, tap the Ctrl + A keys to select all the items and then tap the Shift + Delete keys simultaneously.
  • After that, a prompt will appear where you have to click on Yes. This will delete all the recently opened files in the File Explorer the next time you open it.

Option 2 – Disable the feature via Control Panel

The next option you can try to disable the feature is via Control Panel. Refer to these steps to do so:
  • First, click on the Start Menu button and select the Settings icon.
  • After that, click on Personalization and then on Start located on the left pane.
  • Next, scroll down until you see the “Show recently opened items” in Jump Lists on the Start or the Taskbar and click on it and then toggle it off.

Option 3 – Disable the feature using the Group Policy Editor

If you are using the Windows 10 Pro version, then you have access to edit the functions in the Group Policy. The Group Policy function has the option that can disable all the default services of Windows 10. Note that in this step, you will permanently disable the “Recently Opened Files” feature. So before you proceed, make sure that you really want to disable this feature permanently and not in the meantime.
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box and type “gpedit.msc” in the field and click OK or tap Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • Next, on the left side pane, click on the “User Configuration” option and then click the “Administrative Templates” option.
  • After that, select the “Start Menu and Taskbar” option and select the “Don’t keep the history of recently opened documents” option in the right pane.
  • Now double click on this option and check the “Enabled” option and then click on Apply and OK buttons to save the changes made.
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What Is Phishing And How Can You Protect Yourself From It?

Ever gotten an e-mail offer that seemed just a little bit too good to be true? Might’ve been a phishing attempt! These are everywhere and can come in many different forms. 

So what’s phishing exactly, how can you detect it and how can you keep safe?

What is phishing?

Phishing (pronounced like fishing) is a type of cyberattack that tricks the user into trusting the source and revealing sensitive information. Fishing being the perfect analogy, the bait is a legitimate-looking site, e-mail or file and when you take a bite, your identity, banking information and much more can be revealed and stolen.

Phishing Illustration
Credit: Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Some phishing attempts are incredibly obvious, others are super elaborate. Like with most types of malware, cybercriminals have become extremely well-versed in phishing and anyone can fall for it. To help you recognize and avoid it, we’ll take you through a couple of phishing types and give you tips on what to do if faced with them.

Phishing techniques

E-mail phishing

This is actually the most common type of phishing. A cybercriminal creates an e-mail containing stuff like attractive offers, legitimate-looking attachments or links and makes it appear as though it’s coming from a trusted source.

Illustration of Email Phishing
Credit: Justin Morgan on Unsplash

For example, it looks like it’s coming from your bank or your favorite retailer. The logo looks legit and the structure of the e-mail seems familiar, so you might get tricked into clicking on whatever clickable content is in it.

Unfortunately this exposes your device to malware that hands your data off to the hacker, who can decide what to do with it further.

SMS and social media phishing

Like the above example, you could be approached with lucrative offers or links via text messages or social media messages. Typically, the messages seem relevant to the user as they will be made to look like they’re related to apps or services you’re using.

Voice phishing

Voice phishing attacks are schemes that appear as though they’re coming from a credible number. Normally, you’ll get a call about something related to credit cards or taxes to get you into a state of worry, leading you to disclose personal information on the phone.

Spear phishing, whaling and BEC

Spear phishing normally targets specific individuals within a company who are likely to have access to sensitive data. Spear phishers spend time collecting information they can use to reach out to the individual looking as trustworthy as possible. They’ll typically lead with something relevant, for example mentioning an upcoming company event, and make a seemingly legitimate request.

Whaling is a more elaborate form of spear phishing, which targets people in even stronger positions such as executives or high-value individuals. The ultimate goal is to get them to transfer financial or other sensitive information that can be used to compromise the entire business.

Spear Phishing Illustration
Credit: Azamat E on Unsplash

BEC, or Business e-mail compromise, is a specific spear phishing technique carried out via e-mail. While there are many ways this is done, most commonly you’ll see instances where the phisher poses as a CEO or similar executive, or as a lower-level employee in specific positions (e.g. sales managers or financial controllers).

In the first situation, the impersonator reaches out to employees requesting them to transfer certain files or pay invoices. In the second situation, the phisher takes control of the employee’s e-mail account and sends false instructions to other employees in order to obtain data and information from them.

What can you do?

There are many ways you can be aware and spot a phishing attempt. Here are some tips:

  • Always check the sender’s address in your e-mails, even when they seem to come from a familiar source.
  • In any instance where payment information is requested, be very, very careful.
  • If you are receiving attachments you never asked for and definitely didn’t expect, better not click on them. 
  • Beware of content that transmits a sense of urgency (sales deals, urgent updates to login credentials, etc.).
  • Bad spelling and grammar are usually a telltale sign of phishing.
  • Links that look shortened (e.g. Bit.ly) or just suspicious in general - if you have a bad feeling, do not click on them.
  • If you are receiving threats, you probably shouldn’t be clicking on anything in that message.
  • Always examine first-time senders in detail.
  • Block suspicious e-mail addresses, numbers and social media accounts.
  • If you are receiving a coupon for free stuff… You aren’t.
  • If you’re being asked to update your payment details by a service you use, such as Netflix, chances are it’s an impersonator.

Those are some of the ways to identify and prevent phishing attacks. However, sometimes phishers disguise themselves a little too well or a misclick happens and there you go - you’ve been exposed to malware.

Illustration of a Lock on Keyboard Keys
Credit: FLY:D on Unsplash

This won’t happen if you invest in powerful protection software from the get-go, though. A good antivirus program like Bitdefender will keep you safe from becoming a victim of phishing scams. In fact, it will protect you from malicious attacks overall.

Be it your household or your business you’re concerned about, there are a bunch of different packages and options available, providing different kinds of cybersecurity services. That’s the only way you can ever really be sure you aren’t at risk of a digital attack.

Summary

Have you ever been targeted by phishers and didn’t know that’s what it was until you read this article? Many can relate. Protect yourself before it’s too late!

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DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error in Chrome
If you always use Google Chrome when browsing the internet, then you might have come across an error saying, “This webpage is not available, DNS PROBE FINISHED BAD CONFIG”. If you do, then this problem certainly has something to do with the DNS since any error code which has “DNS” in it points out a network issue in the computer. Getting the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error indicates that your computer is not able to connect the website because the Domain Name Server or DNS wasn’t able to resolve the website name into IP address or it is not available at all. So in this guide, we’ll help you sort out this issue in Chrome on your Windows 10 PC.

Option 1 – Check the Network Cables and restart your router then reconnect

The most obvious thing you can do first is to try checking if the network cables connected to your computer or router are properly connected or not. If it turns out that some network cables are not connected properly, then it’s probably why you’re getting the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error in Chrome. And if your computer is connected via Wi-Fi, you need to make sure to restart your router once. In addition, you can also forget the Wi-Fi your computer is currently connected to and then try reconnecting again to see if it would work.

Option 2 – Flush the DNS and reset TCP/IP

Flushing the DNS and reset TCP/IP could also help in fixing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error in Chrome. To do so, refer to these steps:
  • Click the Start button and type in “command prompt” in the field.
  • From the search results that appear, right-click on Command Prompt and select the “Run as administrator” option.
  • After opening Command Prompt, you have to type each one of the commands listed below. Just make sure that after you type each command, you hit Enter
    • ipconfig /release
    • ipconfig /all
    • ipconfig /flushdns
    • ipconfig /renew
    • netsh int ip set dns
    • netsh winsock reset
After you key in the commands listed above, the DNS cache will be flushed and the Winsock, as well as the TCP/IP, will reset.

Option 3 – Try to remove the Proxy

You can also try to remove the Proxy as it might also help you in fixing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error. Here’s how you can do it:
  • Tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Then type “inetcpl.cpl” in the field and hit Enter to pull up the Internet Properties.
  • After that, go to the Connections tab and select the LAN settings.
  • From there. Uncheck the “Use a Proxy Server” option for your LAN and then make sure that the “Automatically detect settings” option is checked.
  • Now click the OK and the Apply buttons.
  • Restart your PC.
Note: If you are using a third-party proxy service, you have to disable it.

Option 4 – Change the DNS

Try to use the Google Public DNS If the first option didn’t work, you can try to use the Public DNS by Google and see if it can help fix the DNS error. You have to modify the DNS settings in your system explicitly and use the DNS IP addresses.
  • The first thing you have to do is right-click on the network icon in the Taskbar and select Network and Sharing Center.
  • Next, click on the “Change Adapter Settings” option.
  • After that, search for the network connection that you are using to connect to the internet. Note that the option might be “Wireless Connection” or “Local Area Connection”.
  • Right-click on your network connection and click on Properties.
  • Then select the new window to choose the “Internet Protocol 4 (TCP/IPv4)” option.
  • After that, click on the Properties button and click the checkbox in the new window for the option “Use the following DNS server addresses”.
  • Type in “8.8.8” and “8.8.4.4” and click OK and exit.

Option 5 – Clear Chrome’s browsing data

If your browsing data in Chrome hasn’t been cleared for some time now then that might be the reason why you’re suddenly getting the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG error when you browse the web. To fix this error, you need to clear your web browsing data. Refer to the following steps to do so.
  • Tap the Ctrl + Shift + Delete buttons to go to the Clear browsing data section in Chrome.
  • Next, set the time range to “All time” and tick all the boxes and then click on the Clear data button.
  • After that, restart the Chrome browser and try to open the website you were trying to open earlier.

Option 6 – Try running the Chrome Cleanup tool

In case you don’t know, there is actually a built-in malware scanner and cleanup tool in Chrome that helps you get rid of any unwanted ads, pop-ups, and even malware, as well as unusual startup pages, toolbars, and other things that could affect the performance of the browser.
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How to Fix Error Code 0xC004C003 When Installing Windows 10

What is Error Code 0xC004C003?

Error code 0xC004C003 has to do with activating Windows 10 after a clean install. This problem has been a frequent nuisance to users trying to update from Windows 7 or 8.1 following the invite path they got from Microsoft.

Solution

Restoro box imageError Causes

There are several problems that may have caused error code 0xC004C003. The most common of them are:
  • The product key entered was invalid, and cannot be used to activate the new OS.
  • The user followed the proper installation procedure, but the Windows update servers were too busy to handle the activation at that moment.
  • The free upgrade invitation was followed but after the reinstallation, the copy of Windows 10 was still not activated.
  • The user tried to perform a full clean install of Windows 10 instead of upgrading from Windows to Windows 10

Further Information and Manual Repair

A lot of solving error code 0xC004C003 has to do with the method in which the user has tried to update the system. If one decided to try and update the program before being invited to do so by the update manager, he must wait. Unfortunately, if one chooses to do it on his own and download a clean install, he was never given a product code to authenticate the process. There are two options to address error code 0xC004C003 — either restore to the previous Windows Operating System or call Microsoft (or visit their Website) and purchase a product key. The Windows update servers are very busy. There are lots of Microsoft users around the world, and the servers are doing their best to get to each and every one of the users as fast as possible, but they can only move at a certain speed. Your best bet is to sit back and wait a while. But what if you were invited, and properly downloaded Windows 10, then decided to do a clean install? It is advised that one do not try to enter Windows 7 or 8.1 serial code as this will not work. However, unlike the problem above, these users will NOT need to purchase a product key. According to Microsoft Support Staff, the installation servers are also very jammed because of the high numbers of installations going on right now. No matter what posts you may read, the key IS genuine, and it is NOT blocked, broken, or invalid. To check if Windows has been properly activated, open the Command Window. Make sure you are logged into an administrator profile; otherwise this check will not work. Type in “slmgr.vbs/ato” and click Enter and then wait. While waiting, the command will check on the status of the activation. Windows Script Host will open and show whether or not it is activated. A lot of users have reported that the activation did not work for the first few times. However they later reported after some more attempts, no issue was found in the way the operating system updated and that the activation process went smoothly. This is most likely due to the overload on the Windows Update servers, so bear with Microsoft. Users have reported that when trying to correct error code 0xC004C003, they have followed the upgrade path and then been told by Microsoft that the key was invalid and they had to purchase a new one. If the upgrade path provided by Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is correctly followed then there is nothing to worry about Just wait a while and try it again. If there are prolonged issues, speak with a technician by visiting the Microsoft website and contacting the help center by calling the number provided. Give them all relevant information and they will be sure to help accordingly. The best solution to fix error code 0xC004C003 is to wait. In essence, the user will be waiting to reenter the same product key. According to Microsoft, and many user posts found online, it is recommended to wait a while and then try to activate again. This seemed to be an answer to most users' problems, and seem to work just fine. If the problem persists, take it to a windows repair technician to have it sorted out. If that does not work, use a powerful automated tool to fix the problem.
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Enable Touch Keyboard in Windows 11
Touch KeyboardIf by any chance you are working on a touchscreen PC, tablet, or any similar device and have no access to a hardware keyboard there is a way to place Touch Keyboard on your screen for easy typing, and you can enable icon on the taskbar for easy access.

Enabling the Touch Keyboard

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar
  2. Select Taskbar Settings
  3. Go to Personalization > Taskbar
  4. Click on Taskbar Corner Icons to expand it
  5. Click on the switch next to Touch Keyboard to turn it ON
  6. Close settings
The icon will immediately appear on the Taskbar in the lower right corner. Clicking the icon virtual keyboard will appear on the lower part of the screen. You can use this keyboard to type in applications the same as you were typing on hardware one. By taping on X in the upper right corner, you will hide the keyboard. Tap on the icon in Taskbar to bring it up again.

Hide the Taskbar icon

If you do not want to use Touch Keyboard anymore you can easily hide the icon:
  1. Right-click on the Taskbar
  2. Select Taskbar Settings
  3. Go to Personalization > Taskbar
  4. Click on Taskbar Corner Icons to expand it
  5. Click on the switch next to Touch Keyboard to turn it OFF
  6. Close settings
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