Even if they don’t want you to, here’s how to change browsers on Windows 11

With a centered taskbar, windows with rounded corners, and a minimalist style that makes this OS feel like it belongs in 2021, Windows 11 offers an intriguing UI makeover to the platform. However, the news is not all positive. As it turns out, Microsoft apart from their Office 365 email has aggressively promoted Edge as the default browser, making it increasingly impossible to use your preferred browser. Briefly, it is a shambles. 

What’s up with Windows 11’s browser selection? 

When you first open a link after installing a third-party browser on Windows 11, a pop-up will ask you how you wish to open the link (i.e. which browser you would like to use). Because a pop-up appears on Windows 10, you may assume the process is the same — you select the browser you want, then click “OK.” 

Unless you remember to tick the easy-to-miss “Always use this app” option, every subsequent link will open in Microsoft Edge. Even if you try to use a third-party browser solely, you will never see this pop-up again. So, what’s the deal? 

Microsoft isn’t entirely anti-competitive; there is a method to make Google Chrome your default web browser, for example, but it’s not simple. Instead of having a simple choice to say “Windows, please always open my things in Google Chrome,” you’d have to select Chrome as your default for each file type, such as HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS. 

In Windows 11, things are currently done in this manner. Instead of a pop-up, most web browsers will direct you to the Default Apps area of Settings, where you may select which web browser you want to use for each file type specified (the default on each will be, of course, Microsoft Edge). Simply go to Settings > Apps > Default Apps to access this settings page. 

Verge put this new “system” to the test using Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, and found that only Firefox was able to alter all of these parameters without having to ask you to do so. In the same article, The Verge notes worries from web browser manufacturers such as Mozilla, Vivaldi, and Opera about Microsoft’s approach to user choice. 

It’s a shame, since Edge, despite its bad press, is a fantastic browser. I assume Microsoft believes that the only way to persuade you of this is to have you use it. That is one approach to entice consumers to join, but it feels predatory. If you are looking for technical support, then you can always contact IT Consultants.  

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Microsoft is testing a new ‘Super Duper Secure Mode’ for Edge

On the internet, privacy and security are big subjects these days, with every IT Company adding new tools to protect your data. Microsoft, on the other hand, is taking the situation lightly. The company’s browser vulnerability research team is testing with “Super Duper Secure Mode,” a new feature in Microsoft Edge. 

Super Duper Secure Mode — yeah, it’s actually named that right now — is still in its early phases, and it works by disabling V8’s Javascript engine’s Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation. JIT is a technique for accelerating browser performance by compiling JavaScript into machine code before it is utilized. 

Although the benefits are amazing, it also presents several weaknesses that are readily exploited. According to Johnathan Norman, Microsoft Edge Vulnerability Research Lead, about 45 percent of frequent vulnerabilities and exposures in 2019 were connected to JIT. Norman also cites Mozilla statistics suggesting that a JIT issue was used in over half of all Chrome exploits found in the wild. 

Turning off JIT will “remove about half of the V8 issues that need to be fixed,” according to the report. As a result, Norman claims, there will be fewer security updates and emergency fixes. However, no one wants a sluggish browser. JIT was disabled, and JavaScript benchmarks were substantially lower. 

In additional performance testing, Norman adds that when JIT was removed, most of Microsoft’s tests indicated little or minor differences, and users seldom noticed a difference in daily surfing. 

Better security in exchange for a mediocre browser performance is an acceptable compromise for some people. This is particularly true for journalists, activists, and anyone who may meet sensitive information. If you’re using a beta version of Edge, you can use Super Duper Secure Mode, but there are certain restrictions. Edge Canary, Dev, and Beta have the feature under edge:/flags. 

What is the purpose of Super Duper Secure Mode, the burning topic is on everyone’s mind? The browser vulnerability IT consultants wants to “have fun with this project,” according to Norman, which includes giving it a “somewhat controversial name” because it’s amusing and it’s too early to give it a more “formal” designation. Fair! 

Norman did, however, mention in a tweet that they were open to suggestions for alternate names, as the name would most certainly need to be changed in the future. Boo. Allows hope Microsoft’s suits loosen up a little and let everyone have some fun. 

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In the first six months of 2021, HP discovered that 75% of threats were distributed via email

According to the current HP Wolf Security Threat Insights Report, Email Hosting hence emails remain the most common method for delivering malware and other threats, with over 75% of threats being transmitted via email communications. 

HP security analysts created the study, which covers the first half of 2021, based on customers who choose to share their threat warnings with the firm. 

Between H2 2020 and H1 2021, HP researchers discovered a 65 percent increase in the usage of hacking tools acquired from underground forums and filesharing websites. Using computer vision techniques, several of the tools can answer CAPTCHA difficulties. 

Manufacturing, transportation, commodity trade, marine, property, and industrial supplies are among the most targeted industries. 

The spread of pirated hacking tools and underground forums, according to Ian Pratt, HP’s worldwide head of security, “allows hitherto low-level offenders to pose substantial dangers to business security.” 

“Simultaneously, people are falling prey to basic phishing attempts on a regular basis. To maximize corporate protection and resilience, security solutions that equip IT departments to remain ahead of emerging threats are critical “Pratt explained. 

According to the study, Dridex affiliates have been selling access to compromised businesses to other threat actors, including ransomware gangs. Dridex is currently the top malware family isolated by HP Wolf Security. 

CryptBot malware is currently being used by some criminal gangs to transmit the banking trojan DanaBot, and cybercriminals are increasingly targeting corporate executives. 

“HP Wolf Security discovered a multi-stage Visual Basic Script malware campaign aimed at top employees in March 2021. The targets were emailed a malicious ZIP download with their first and last names on it “According to the report, 

“Employee names and email addresses were most likely acquired from publicly available information online by the threat actor. An obfuscated VBS downloader was included in the files, which downloads a second VBS script from a remote server to the user’s percent TEMP% folder. The initial stage script was extensively disguised, with just 21% of anti-virus scanners on Virus Total detecting it as malicious.  

A rĂ©sumĂ©-themed harmful spam campaign was also discovered, which targeted shipping, marine, logistics, and associated organizations in Italy, Japan, Chile, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, the United States, and the Philippines. According to HP, these assaults take use of a Microsoft Office vulnerability to install the Remcos RAT and acquire backdoor access to affected machines. 

“Threat actors continue to target outdated vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office,” HP’s researchers said, “underscoring the necessity for companies to patch out-of-date Office versions in their settings.” 

“In H1 2021, we noticed a 24% rise in CVE-2017-11882 attacks compared to H2 2020. In contrast to H2 2020, there was no substantial change in the vulnerabilities exploited by attackers throughout the reporting period.” 

The cybercrime ecosystem is evolving and changing, according to Alex Holland, a senior malware analyst at HP, with increasing chances for petty cybercriminals to “link with bigger actors inside organized crime and acquire powerful tools that may circumvent defenses and infiltrate systems.” 

Malicious attachments most included archive files, spreadsheets, documents, and executable files. According to IT consultants, over 35% of malware collected had never been seen before. 

“By just changing their tactics, cybercriminals are easily evading detection systems. We’ve seen an increase in malware delivered using unusual file formats including JAR files, which are presumably intended to avoid detection by anti-malware scanners “Holland said. 

“Victims are falling for the same old phishing techniques, with transaction-themed baits enticing users to click on infected files, links, and web pages.” 

There is no such thing as a modest breach, according to Pratt, since cybercrime grows more structured and smaller actors may quickly get effective tools and monetize assaults by selling on access. Cybercriminals continue to pay close attention to endpoints, he said. 

“Their tactics are becoming more advanced, so having a complete and robust endpoint architecture and cyber protection is more critical than ever,” Pratt added. “This involves defending against current attackers with capabilities like threat containment, reducing the attack surface by removing threats from the most popular attack channels — email, browsers, and downloads.” 

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WhatsApp Will Be Available on a Variety of Devices Soon

WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging software owned by Facebook, is finally providing genuine multi-device compatibility other than just being a mobile app’s development after years of consumer demand. 

Previously, all of a user’s WhatsApp traffic had to go via their phone, regardless of which device they were using, but the new restricted public beta allows users to use the app on up to four non-phone devices at the same time, even if they don’t have a phone. 

Users will be able to use WhatsApp even if their phone battery dies, and they will no longer have to deal with sluggish service owing to all data being routed via the phone. 

This meant redesigning the app’s architecture while maintaining privacy and end-to-end encryption, according to Facebook. 

“Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp on its own, preserving the same degree of privacy and security that WhatsApp users have come to expect with end-to-end encryption. 

In a blog post, the firm stated, “Importantly, we have created new technologies to ensure end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync your data across devices – such as contact names, chat archives, starred messages, and more.” 

The new multi-device functionality is now being tested with a limited number of existing beta testers before being gradually rolled out to the rest of the world. 

WhatsApp has millions of users in Australia, and it is especially popular among Australians born overseas, according to IT consultants in research firm Roy Morgan. 

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How to Turn Off the Annoying Weather Widget on Windows 10

If you’ve enabled automatic updates in Windows 10, you’ve probably noticed a new — and obnoxious — weather and news widget in the taskbar. It’s called “News and Interests,” IT Consultants have developed this and it emphasizes everything that’s wrong with Windows 10: inconsistencies in design, the inclusion of a feature no one wanted, and additional clutter you don’t need. 

When opposed to the sharp high-resolution items all around it, the taskbar widget even appears fuzzy, which adds to the melancholy.

Fortunately, it’s simple to get rid of. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Right-click any section of the taskbar on your Windows 10 PC. This may be found in the bottom-right corner of the screen, to the left of the clock and network connection symbols. 
  1. Choose News and interests 
  1. Now, click Turn off 

If you ever regret removing this widget (which is rare), you can restore it by right-clicking anywhere on the taskbar and selecting News and interests > Show icon and text from the context menu. There’s also a Show symbol only option, which shows only the tiny weather indicator without the text next to it. 

In addition, if you hover your mouse pointer above the weather widget, a large panel containing news and weather information will appear. You may deactivate simply the news component of the widget if you only want the weather on your taskbar and don’t care about Microsoft’s news and updates. 

To do so, right-click on the taskbar and select News and Interests from the drop-down menu. Uncheck the box that says “Open on hover.” The weather widget will remain in the taskbar, but the larger — and irritating! — news panel will not open unless you click the widget. 

If you’re searching for something else, there are a slew of other fantastic weather applications for Windows to consider that app developers have developed.

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