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Windows 10 – PC Magazine updates information center APR-2017

PC Magazine has a free comprehensive guide for WINDOWS 10.  This guide was recently updated & a partial list of topics are noted below:

//How to Control Updates
//How to Share More (or Less) With Cortana
//How to Tweak Your Tiles
//Start Menu Alternatives
//How to Use Sticky Notes as Reminders in Windows 10
//How to Customize Your Default Apps in Windows 10
//How to Turn on Cortana by Voice in Windows 10
//How to Customize the Command Prompt
//How to Fix Windows PC Problems Via a Restore Point
//How to Check Out Early Versions of Windows 10



Webroot AV – False positive briefly impacts Windows system files APR-2017

Webroot had a brief AV false positive issue recently.  This accidentally impacted Windows system files and resulting in brief impacts. This was quickly addressed and illustrates that AV protection is important, but not always perfect.  On rare occasions it can sometimes flag legitimate files (but usually even these issues are quickly resolved).

An antivirus service used by tens of thousands of businesses and millions of home users shut down an untold number of computers around the world Monday after it mistakenly identified core parts of Microsoft Windows as threats, the company confirmed. Webroot confirmed on its support forum for customers that it issued an updated detection rule that “identified false positives” for critical Windows operating files Monday afternoon, resulting in those files’ being “quarantined” and inaccessible to Windows. It was reported the rule somehow allowed genuine “signed Microsoft files to be removed.”

The rule was distributed and applied by Webroot systems around the globe for about 13 minutes, the company said — long enough for businesses, users and administrators to find their files unavailable. Webroot reported. “The rule was removed and we are in the process of rolling back all of the false positives that reside in the Webroot Threat Intelligence platform,” the company said.

Windows 7 – third party user patch allows Kaby Lake and Ryzen CPUs to receive updates

A special third party patch has been developed which bypasses active blocking for the Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs which are only certified for Windows 10 by Microsoft 7.   There are some risks associated with this technique of overriding registry values, as described in the following:

Less than a week ago, Microsoft began actively blocking users from receiving updates on PCs running Windows 7 or 8 with a modern Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen processor. Surprise! An open-source patch is already available that lets affected users start snagging Windows updates yet again. That sure didn’t take long.

GitHub user Zeffy published a patch that supposedly defeats Microsoft’s block, as first spotted by techPowerUp. (PCWorld has not tested this patch.) What the patch boils down to is two flags: IsCPUSupported(void) and IsDeviceServiceable(void). On an unmodified system running a Kaby Lake or Ryzen processor, Windows would discover that the CPU was not supported, and therefore the device was not serviceable. But with the patch applied, Windows is told that everything’s fine and the hardware is supported.

Windows 10 – Mobile creators update coming APRIL 25

Windows 10  will release it’s mobile version of the “creators update” starting on APRIL 25.  A comprehensive preview can be found in the following article:

On April 25, Microsoft will begin rolling out its latest update for Windows 10 Mobile. The update shares the same name as its PC counterpart, the “Creators Update”, which is odd considering the Windows 10 Mobile update has literally no new features for “creators.” In fact, saying it has any new features worthy of note would be pushing it. Regardless, it is the latest and greatest version of Windows 10 Mobile.

Not much has changed on the surface when it comes to the Creators Update for Mobile. A lot of work has been done behind the scenes to make the OS run much smoother, and with fewer bugs to run into the whole experience is actually pretty enjoyable. Because of this, the Creators Update for Mobile is literally the best version of Windows 10 Mobile ever, which is to be expected considering its the latest version of the platform.


Windows 10 – Two feature releases planned per year in future

WIN10 is moving to a more standardized features release pattern in the future, targeting two releases per year (September & March) as described below

A key part of that economic impact is staying current with Windows 10 with feature and security updates. This approach has made large-scale, costly wipe-and-replace Windows deployments every few years a thing of the past. We’ve also heard our customers want more predictability and simplicity from this update servicing model to help make deployments and updates of Microsoft products easier.  Here are more details:

* Windows is committing to a predictable twice-per-year feature release schedule, targeting September and March of each year, aligning with Office 365 ProPlus. The next Windows 10 feature update will be targeted for September 2017.

* Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months. This is consistent with our current Windows 10 approach, but adds further clarity and predictability to organizations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus.

* In addition, System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, making both easier to deploy and keep up to date.

Computer Hardware – Recycle old devices and protect environment

Old equipment must be responsibly and carefully disposed of. The best solution is to pass on to others who can use the equipment, if it still is in good working order. Otherwise, there are many stores that will take in older equipment for free or a small charge.,2817,2383568,00.asp

We love our computers and smartphones and gadgets. That is, until they stop working. Then these devices and their peripherals such as printers and monitors, not to mention the cases and batteries and cables and accessories, often become burdensome electronic garbage.

Gadgets aren’t made to last, after all. No computer or phone maker is going to mind if you upgrade every year or two. In fact, they count on it. Consequently, all this junk ends up in the back of your closet or stored in your garage, collecting dust, because you aren’t sure what to do with it.

The best thing to do is donate or recycle it. Contribute your old computers and phones to groups that will fix and clean them and put them back into circulation. Even the oldest computer—something you consider the most obsolete of digital dinosaurs—can probably be used by someone.

There are times, though, when a device is too far gone. There’s nothing that can be done to bring it back to life again. Even a charity doesn’t want unusable rubbish. That junk—called e-waste—is potentially dangerous. Electronics are filled with “heavy metals” (read: toxic metals) and carcinogenic chemicals that are fine when you’re using them, but not so much when sitting in a landfill or, worse, when people recycle them incorrectly. Thousands of tons of e-waste are shipped overseas yearly to countries like China and India, where it gets dumped and maybe burned, which puts mercury and lead into the air.

Network Security – Cisco releases large security update APR-2017

Corporate network administrators should carefully patch all applicable products as documented in the April 2017 advisory

Cisco had a pretty large dump of security advisories todayseven “high priority” and one “critical” – impacting a variety of products many with the threat allowing a remote attacker to cause a denial of service. First up this week Cisco said a vulnerability in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) UDP throttling process of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco Unified CM) software could let an unauthenticated, remote attacker cause a denial of service (DoS) attack.

Cisco said it has released software to tackle all seven of these vulnerabilities.  Cisco continues to list the Apache Struts2 Jakarta vulnerability as “critical.” Apache in March disclosed a vulnerability in the Jakarta Multipart parser used in Apache Struts2 that could allow an attacker to execute commands remotely on a targeted system by using acrafted Content-Type, Content-Disposition, or Content-Length value. Cisco said it continues to investigate its product line to determine which products may be affected by this vulnerability and the impact on each affected product

Mobile Security – Targeted TEXT scam message attacks

Please beware of dangers associated even with TEXT message scams.  There are false messages being randomly sent to smartphones, where following instructions can disclose sensitive information leading to identity theft or even fraud.  In this case, an urgent response to your bank may even appear to be legitimate as described below. 

A fake text message is being circulated as  “xxxxxx Bank – Urgent Notification.  Please Contact HelpDesk @ xxx-xxx-xxxx”.  Users who call will be prompted by an automated system replied “your account is locked for security reasons.  Please press 1 and complete the whole process to secure your account”.   Next it asks for your social security number.   Users should avoid these type of calls.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – TouchWiz 2017 User Interface review

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has both major hardware & software improvements over past versions.  The TouchWiz 2017 User Interface is reviewed in this comprehensive article:

I challenge anyone to receive a notification on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and not be charmed by the elegant blue pulse of light that traces the contours of the phone’s gorgeous screen. This sort of subtlety, this sort of organic, emotive, instant appeal is not something I ever expected Samsung would be capable of. But the company once judged to have cynically copied Apple’s iPhone design has exceeded all expectations this year: the 2017 version of Samsung’s TouchWiz brings its software design right up to the high standard of its hardware.

The 2017 iteration of Samsung’s UI is that it was evidently designed by someone with both taste and authority.  No major phone manufacturer has skinned Android this well or this skillfully. The glyphs for the Android navigation keys have the same style as the outline shapes used in Samsung’s app icons, all of them refreshingly unique, distinctly colored, and striking the right balance between abstraction and specificity. Samsung has introduced a new “were you looking for” module at the bottom of each sub-menu that is actually helpful.

It’s also great to see Samsung’s software coming closer in line with Google’s default Android behavior. I can now finally switch my Android navigation keys so the back button is on the left rather than the right. TouchWiz 2017 is a major leap forward. I find all the small design touches in this new software coalesce into a unified user experience that lives up to the high standards of, and synergizes with, Samsung’s great hardware

Vivaldi Browser – Version 1.8 offers advanced history review panel

The Vivaldi browser (developed by one of original founders for OPERA browser) is considerably improved with release 1.8 as shared below.  Chrome and IE are currently the most popular browsing choices.  A more obscure viewing tool offers a little more safety.  This is because exploit development by malicious authors may be less of a target than the more popular browsers.  Still, no tool is perfectly safe and it is important for users of this new browser to always stay up-to-date.

Below are the new features for Vivaldi version 1.8:

*** Create a new and more advanced history (VB-627)
*** History panel (VB-25525)
*** Auto-muting options for tabs (VB-25474)
*** Add option to set home page to startpage (VB-25082)
*** Add “Open Link” (in current tab) to document context menu (VB-25175)
*** Make option for graying/shading hibernated tabs (VB-25337)
*** More visible highlight to use drop-down (VB-5827)
*** Allow creating a note from dragged text (VB-25402)
*** Add “Copy Selection to New Note” menu entry in Notes menu (VB-25379)
*** Add “Open Image” to image context menu (VB-25883)
*** Add new tab introducing to new features on update (VB-26270)
*** Context menu for image searching is needed (VB-13533)
*** Uninstall should open an uninstall page to help find out how Vivaldi can be improved (VB-26219)
*** [Windows] Allow notifications of new versions even if Vivaldi is not running