Microsoft shares workarounds for Windows Group Policy issues (PLUS OTHER ISSUES)

By Sergiu Gatlan September 23, 2022 07:28 AM

Microsoft has acknowledged a known issue where copying files/shortcuts using Group Policy Preferences on Windows client devices might not work as expected after installing recent Windows cumulative updates released during this month’s Patch Tuesday.

On affected systems, files or shortcuts will not copy to the target drives or end up as zero-byte files when using Group Policy file operations.

“File copies using Group Policy Preferences might fail or might create empty shortcuts or files using 0 (zero) bytes,” Microsoft explained.

“Known affected Group Policy Objects are related to files and shortcuts in User Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings in Group Policy Editor.”

The list of affected platforms includes client (from Windows 8.1 up to Windows 11 22H2) and server releases (from Windows Server 2008 SP2 and up to Windows Server 2022).

Microsoft acknowledged the issue following a stream of Windows admin reports across multiple social networks and on Microsoft’s online community regarding issues with Group Policy settings after deploying September 2022 Patch Tuesday updates.

At the time, some of the affected admins suggested a radical fix requiring manually uninstalling and hiding the offending cumulative updates. Unfortunately, this would also remove all fixes for recently patched security vulnerabilities.

However, multiple admins have also reported that un-checking the “Run in user security context” option on the affected GPOs will help address the file copying and shortcut creation problems.
Official workarounds are also available

Microsoft confirmed the last workaround shared by impacted customers before the issue was acknowledged, together with a couple of additional ways to mitigate the issue (any one of them is enough for mitigation) :

Uncheck the “Run in logged-on user’s security context (user policy option).” Note: This might not mitigate the issue for items using a wildcard (*).
Within the affected Group Policy, change “Action” from “Replace” to “Update.”
If a wildcard (*) is used in the location or destination, deleting the trailing “\” (backslash, without quotes) from the destination might allow the copy to be successful.

Redmond also added that its developers are working on a resolution for this known issue and will provide a fix with an upcoming update.

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Microsoft: Windows KB5017383 preview update added to WSUS by mistake
Microsoft rolls out emergency fix for blocked Windows logins (

Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President
Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient
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Microsoft: Exchange servers hacked via OAuth apps for phishing

By Sergiu Gatlan September 22, 2022 01:13 PM
Microsoft says a threat actor gained access to cloud tenants hosting Microsoft Exchange servers in credential stuffing attacks, with the end goal of deploying malicious OAuth applications and sending phishing emails.

“The investigation revealed that the threat actor launched credential stuffing attacks against high-risk accounts that didn’t have multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled and leveraged the unsecured administrator accounts to gain initial access,” the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team said.

“The unauthorized access to the cloud tenant enabled the actor to create a malicious OAuth application that added a malicious inbound connector in the email server.”

The attacker then used this inbound connector and transport rules designed to help evade detection to deliver phishing emails through the compromised Exchange servers.

The threat actors deleted the malicious inbound connector and all the transport rules between spam campaigns as an additional defense evasion measure.

In contrast, the OAuth application remained dormant for months between attacks until it was used again to add new connectors and rules before the next wave of attacks.

These email campaigns were triggered from Amazon SES and Mail Chimp email infrastructure commonly used to send marketing emails in bulk.
The attacker used a network of single-tenant applications as an identity platform throughout the attack.

After detecting the attack, Redmond took down all apps linked to this network, sent alerts, and recommended remediation measures to all affected customers.

Microsoft says this threat actor was linked to campaigns pushing phishing emails for many years.

The attacker was also seen sending high volumes of spam emails within short timeframes through other means “such as connecting to mail servers from rogue IP addresses or sending directly from legitimate cloud-based bulk email sending infrastructure.”

“The actor’s motive was to propagate deceptive sweepstakes spam emails designed to trick recipients into providing credit card details and signing up for recurring subscriptions under the guise of winning a valuable prize,” Microsoft further revealed.

“While the scheme possibly led to unwanted charges for targets, there was no evidence of overt security threats such as credential phishing or malware distribution.”

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Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President
Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient
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Google, Microsoft can get your passwords via web browser’s spellcheck

Google, Microsoft can get your passwords via web browser’s spellcheck
By Ax Sharma September 17, 2022 02:39 PM

Extended spellcheck features in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge web browsers transmit form data, including personally identifiable information (PII) and in some cases, passwords, to Google and Microsoft respectively.

While this may be a known and intended feature of these web browsers, it does raise concerns about what happens to the data after transmission and how safe the practice might be, particularly when it comes to password fields.

Both Chrome and Edge ship with basic spellcheckers enabled. But, features like Chrome’s Enhanced Spellcheck or Microsoft Editor when manually enabled by the user, exhibit this potential privacy risk.
Spell-jacking: That’s your spellcheck sending PII to Big Tech

When using major web browsers like Chrome and Edge, your form data is transmitted to Google and Microsoft, respectively, should enhanced spellcheck features be enabled.

Depending on the website you visit, the form data may itself include PII—including but not limited to Social Security Numbers (SSNs)/Social Insurance Numbers (SINs), name, address, email, date of birth (DOB), contact information, bank and payment information, and so on.

Josh Summitt, co-founder & CTO of JavaScript security firm otto-js discovered this issue while testing his company’s script behaviors detection.

In cases where Chrome Enhanced Spellcheck or Edge’s Microsoft Editor (spellchecker) were enabled, “basically anything” entered in form fields of these browsers was transmitted to Google and Microsoft.

“Furthermore, if you click on ‘show password,’ the enhanced spellcheck even sends your password, essentially Spell-Jacking your data,” explains otto-js in a blog post.

“Some of the largest websites in the world have exposure to sending Google and Microsoft sensitive user PII, including username, email, and passwords, when users are logging in or filling out forms. An even more significant concern for companies is the exposure this presents to the company’s enterprise credentials to internal assets like databases and cloud infrastructure.”
Users may often rely on the “show password” option on sites where copying-pasting passwords is not allowed, for example, or when they suspect they’ve mistyped it.

To demonstrate, otto-js shared the example of a user entering credentials on Alibaba’ Cloud platform in the Chrome web browser—although any website can be used for this demonstration.

With enhanced spellcheck enabled, and assuming the user tapped “show password” feature, form fields including username and password are transmitted to Google at

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Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President

Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient

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Bitdefender Update BEST (Windows) Release Notes – Slow Ring

Bitdefender has released version of the Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools (for Windows) on slow ring.

The release notes are available here. Link (

Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President

Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient

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Bitdefender releases free decryptor for LockerGoga ransomware

By Bill Toulas September 16, 2022 11:09 AM

Romanian cybersecurity firm Bitdefender has released a free decryptor to help LockerGoga ransomware victims recover their files without paying a ransom.

The free tool is available for download from Bitdefender’s servers and allows you to recover encrypted files using instructions in this usage guide [PDF]. LInk

Bitdefender says the decryptor was developed in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, including Europol, the NoMoreRansom Project, the Zürich Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Zürich Cantonal Police.

For a working decryptor to be created, researchers usually need to identify a flaw in the cryptography used by the ransomware encryptor.

However, in this case, the LockerGoga operators were arrested in October 2021, which may have allowed law enforcement to access the master private keys used to decrypt victims’ encryption keys.
How to decrypt your files

Files encrypted by LockerGoga will have the “.locked” filename extension and cannot be opened with regular software.

Bitdefender’s tool offers to scan your entire filesystem or a single folder, locate any encrypted files, and perform the decryption automatically.

For this to work, the computer needs to be connected to the internet, and the ransom notes generated by the ransomware during the encryption need to be in the original paths.

Bitdefender says the decryptor can operate either on a single machine or on entire networks encrypted by LockerGoga.

Note that the decryption process can be interrupted or not always work as expected, and you might end up with corrupted files. For this reason, the decrypter has the “backup files” option ticked by default, and users are recommended to leave that setting enabled.
Who was LockerGoga

The LockerGoga ransomware operation launched in January 2019, hitting high-profile targets such as the French engineering firm Altran Technologies and the Norwegian aluminum giant Norsk Hydro.

Together with Ryuk and MegaCortex, LockerGoga was involved in ransomware attacks against at least 1,800 organizations worldwide.

In October 2021, twelve individuals were arrested in an international law enforcement operation for deploying various ransomware strains, including LockerGoga.

“Its operator, who has been detained since October 2021 pending trial, is part of a larger cybercrime ring that used LockerGoga and MegaCortext ransomware to infect more than 1,800 persons and institutions in 71 countries to cause an estimated damage of $US 104 million,” Bitdefender explains in the decryptor announcement.

Since the operator’s arrest, threat actors have ceased using the LockerGoga ransomware, and the ransomware’s source code was never released.

Therefore, this decryptor will mostly be for past victims who refused to pay the ransom and have been waiting to recover their files for free.

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Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President

Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient

“Where Service and Technical Skills Count”

Rackspace Email Customers

Rackspace Email Customer, 

As we continue our preparations to migrate Rackspace Email users to a new and improved mail platform, we are announcing a change in our spam and trash retention settings.  

On November 1st 2022, Rackspace Email will change the retention rules for the spam and trash folders to 30 days. This means that any mail data in these folders older than the retention limits will be removed. 

Prior to November 1st, the mailbox owner will need to review the mail in those folders and move any mail they want to keep into another folder. You can view the spam and trash limits for each mailbox by logging into        

– Mailbox: Navigate to Mailboxes > manage > settings       

– Domain: Navigate to Rackspace Email > Settings > Folder Cleanup 

This change will help users manage their storage usage automatically, effectively increasing the total available mail quota for most users.

Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President

Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient

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Your APIs have no clothes

This week, SecurityBoulevard has featured an interesting article on why APIs have no clothes — APIs being the digital equivalent of the protagonist in the Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the story, the emperor was exposed, but no one told him or was willing to do anything about it. Not so different from where you might find yourself with APIs.

The first challenge to API security the author highlights is presented by the disappearing perimeter. Organizations can no longer rely on perimeter protections, such as firewalls, to protect their assets. The adoption of cloud technology and PaaS has meant that the external perimeter is largely eroded. Instead, the focus needs to move to protect the API endpoints themselves by using advanced authentication like multi-factor authentication (MFA), and monitoring multiple levels of the network to identify attacks.

As ever, the lack of cybersecurity talent and skills only exacerbates the problem, and nowhere is this more acutely felt than with APIs. Many of the lessons learned with protecting web applications no longer apply to APIs, and teams need to learn new skills or adapt their methods to protect APIs.

To remedy this and get your APIs covered, the author suggests going back to the basics in protecting APIs, namely:

Auditing and logging

Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President

Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient

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Microsoft rolls out emergency fix for blocked Windows logins

By Sergiu Gatlan September 8, 2022 12:20 PM
Microsoft says a Windows 11 update released in late August is blocking customers from signing in with newly added Microsoft Account users after restarting or logging off systems running Windows 11, version 21H2.

“After installing KB5016691 and adding a new Microsoft account user in Windows, you might be unable to sign in for a brief time after the first restart or sign out. The issue only affects the newly added Microsoft account user and only for the first sign in,” Microsoft explained.

“This issue only affects devices after adding a Microsoft account. It does not affect Active Directory domain users accounts or Azure Active Directory accounts.”

Microsoft says it addressed this issue via Known Issue Rollback (KIR), a Windows capability designed to revert buggy Windows non-security fixes pushed through Windows Update.

Once rolled out, KIR-issued fixes usually reach all consumer and non-managed business devices within a day. Affected users can also get the fix after restarting any impacted Windows devices.

As a workaround, those experiencing this issue can wait for the lock screen to appear again, as it will resolve itself after some time, allowing users to log in as expected.
Group policies available for enterprise

As an IT admin, you must install and configure a KIR Group Policy to resolve this known issue on affected enterprise-managed devices.

“The special Group Policy can be found in Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> KB5016691 220722_051525 Known Issue Rollback -> Windows 11 (original release),” Microsoft added.

You can download this Rollback Group Policy for Windows 11, version 21H2, from here.

To deploy the Known Issue Rollback via Group Policy, you have to go to the Local Computer Policy or the Domain policy on your domain controller using the Group Policy Editor to choose the Windows version you need to target.

Detailed information on how to deploy and configure KIR Group Policies can be found on Microsoft’s support website.

In July, Microsoft issued another emergency fix via Known Issue Rollback (KIR) to address an issue causing the Windows 11 start menu to malfunction after installing recent updates.

Roy Miehe | MspPortal Partners Inc. | Ceo/President
Security Software Distributor: Bitdefender , Barracuda, RackSpace, Axcient
“Where Service and Technical Skills Count”