Preston Gralla

About the Author Preston Gralla


The Microsoft security hole at the heart of Russian election hacking

Russian hacking of the 2016 election went deeper than breaking into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign — the Russians also hacked their way into getting information about election-related hardware and software shortly before voting began.

The Intercept published a top-secret National Security Agency document that shows exactly how the Russians did their dirty work in targeting election hardware and software. At the heart of the hack is a giant Microsoft security hole that has been around since before 2000 and still hasn’t been closed. And likely never will.

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Windows 10 quick tips: 6 ways to speed up your PC

Want Windows 10 to run faster? We’ve got help. Take a few minutes to try out these tips, and your machine will be zippier and less prone to performance and system issues.

1. Change your power settings

If you’re using Windows 10’s Power saver plan, you’re slowing down your PC. That plan reduces your PC’s performance in order to save energy. (Even desktop PCs typically have a Power saver plan.) Changing your power plan from Power saver to High performance or Balanced will give you an instant performance boost.

To do it, launch Control Panel, then select Hardware and Sound > Power Options. You’ll typically see two options: Balanced (recommended) and Power saver. (Depending on your make and model, you might see other plans here as well, including some branded by the manufacturer.) To see the High performance setting, click the down arrow by Show additional plans. 

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Windows 10: A guide to the updates

The launch of a big Microsoft Windows 10 update like the Creators Update isn’t the end of a process — it’s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we’ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update since the Creators Update, with the most recent on top. For each build, we’ve included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it.

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5 ways to stop future global malware attacks

The global WannaCry ransomware attack, which crippled hospitals, government organizations, companies and individuals around the world, didn’t have to happen. It was no grand technological feat perpetrated by genius hacker masterminds. Instead, it took advantage of the lazy, patchwork way organizations handle security and the seamy roles that the National Security Agency (NSA) and big tech companies play in undermining security in the internet age.

And that, in fact, is a piece of good news. Because it means that stopping the next global malware attack needn’t be impossible. Here are five steps that can do it.

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Is Donald Trump right about H-1B visa abuse?

As part of his “America First” campaign, President Trump has set his sights on the H-1B program, in which temporary visas are granted to foreign workers with college degrees and “highly specialized knowledge,” so that they can fill gaps in the U.S. workforce. The tech industry is a big supporter of the H-1B program, claiming that there’s a shortage of workers with in-demand tech skills. Hiring these foreign workers, the industry says, is good for the economy because it helps the tech industry thrive.

Trump has long been critical of the program, saying it takes jobs from Americans and drives down salaries for tech workers. In mid-April he signed an executive order calling for reform of the H-1B visa process, which admits tens of thousands of foreign workers a year via a lottery system. The order aims to crack down on fraud and abuse and would require that visa applicants and their employers prove that only “the most highly skilled workers” in their fields could receive H-1B visas.

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