Computer News & Safety – Harry Waldron Rotating Header Image

July, 2016:

Windows 10 – Last day of eligibility for free upgrade

But tonight (or very early tomorrow morning, depending on your time zone), jumping from Windows Old to Windows 10 will no longer be complimentary. Instead, the Home version will cost you $120, while Windows 10 Pro will set you back $200. Since free is generally preferable to not free, most people should take the jump. In case you still have questions, though, here are a few answers.

Can I Upgrade? – This is the big one. First of all, make sure you’re even eligible; the free upgrade offer applies to tablets and PCs running Windows 7 or newer

Should I Upgrade? — The short answer: Yes. The slightly longer answer: Definitely yes. It adds useful features like Cortana, Microsoft’s capable virtual assistant, Microsoft Edge, a new browser that puts anguished Internet Explorer memories far in the rear view, and smaller features that liven up the Windows experience.

When Exactly Is the Deadline? — Last call for free Windows 10 actually bleeds into the weekend here in the US; specifically, Saturday morning at 5:59am EDT/2:59am PDT. After that, you’ll have to bust out the credit card.

How Do I Upgrade? — First: Back up your system. It’s not mandatory, but it’s good upgrade hygiene. Next, head to this handy Windows 10 download page. Double-click the Windows 10 download client, click OK when it asks if you’ll allow it to make changes, and settle in while your PC guides you from there.

Internet – World wide web now 10,000 days old

The internet is now 27 1/3 years as a special celebration of this great resource was noted for today.

Come July 28th, the web will be 10k days old! The web is still in its infancy but through its public release, there has been a tremendous impact on lives around the world. You can get a degree online; order medicine; learn to cook pizza; get real-time news from around the globe; etc.   We want 10,000 people to celebrate the 10,000th day of the Web. Join us on Twitter for a walk down memory lane as we highlight our favorite days out of the past 10,000

Background: On March 12, 1989 Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for a distributed information system at CERN that later became what we know now as the World Wide Web. That makes this Thursday, July 28, the 10,000th day. Until then, we’re partying like it’s day 9,999.

Windows 10 – Countdown clock for WIN7 and WIN8 users

This link shares the exact time in which the free upgrade offer expires for WIN7 or WIN8 users to upgrade to WIN10 free of charge (about 2 days from now)



Malware – 2016 Rio Olympics will be a key theme to bait users

Already “fake Olympic 2016 tickets” and other spammed items are now circulating. Major world events like this, offer the proverbial cheese in the mousetrap for “click happy” users.

Hackers are targeting the Rio Olympics, so watch out for these cyberthreats. The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will attract more than just athletes and tourists this year. Hackers from across the world will also be on the prowl, trying to exploit the international event.  That means visitors to the Olympics and even people watching from home should be careful. Cyberthreats related to the games will probably escalate over the coming weeks and could creep into your inbox or the websites you visit.

During past major sporting events, hackers have come up with fake ticketing and betting services to commit fraud on unsuspecting users. They’ll also use phishing emails and social media posts to spread malware.  Computer users will see these messages and links, expecting to view a video on a record-breaking Javelin throw or a bargain on great seats to the event. But in reality, they’ll end up downloading ransomware that can take their data hostage, Kapuria warned.

Leadership – How to bounce back from setbacks

John Maxwell shares an excellent leadership article related to value of sacrifice in making tough decisions

Do you know any rubber-band people? — They’re the people who, no matter what happens to them, always seem to bounce back. They may experience an illness, a family tragedy, or a run of bad luck, but it never seems to keep them down. Life can stretch them to their breaking point, but – like a rubber band – they always find a way back to their original shape.

Would you like to know their secret? — Resilience is the ability of an object to return to form after it’s been bent, stretched or compressed. People can have resilience too. In fact, I’ve been in leadership a long time, and of all the traits I’ve learned as a leader, perhaps none has been as useful to me as resilience. The ability to bounce back from a setback often makes the difference between losing and winning. As the saying goes, you only lose if you quit!

1. Fail Forward — There is no setback so severe that you cannot recover in some way, but it takes a certain mindset to make that recovery possible. I speak often of failing forward—learning from mistakes in order to become better. You cannot let your setbacks defeat you.

2. Commit to Growth — This is a natural outcome of choosing to fail forward. When you start looking for lessons, you set yourself on a path for personal growth. As you learn about yourself in your struggles, you also learn about the people around you. You begin to reflect on what you want from life, and what it would cost to get you there.

3. Recognize the Value of Adding Value — I have long quoted Zig Ziglar, who said, “If you’ll help others get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.”  Let the value you’ve given to others return to you and help you through your dark hours. You’ll emerge stronger – and more committed to adding value to others in the future.

4. Find Strength Beyond Yourself — Life has no shortage of difficulties, but the good news is that no matter how difficult things may get, you can bounce back. That’s the beauty of resilience. No matter how many setbacks you’ve faced in your life, it’s never too late to cultivate resilience. You too can grow to become a “rubber-band person,” someone who bounces back from setbacks every time.

Hardware – Seagate 10TB Barracuda Pro

Seagate is introducing the world’s largest hard drive designed for consumers for around $540 as described below

Got a thirst for more storage on your PC? Seagate has heard you and Tuesday morning introduced the world’s largest capacity consumer hard drive for desktop users. The 10TB Barracuda Pro doesn’t play just the capacity card though. Seagate also aimed to make it a high-performance hard drive, fitting it with a massive 256MB of cache. The drive also spins along at 7,200rpm rather than the typical, lower-cost 5,400rpm large drives.

Of course, “performance hard drive” may sound like an oxymoron in this age of SSDs that can easily hit 1.5GBps read speeds, but all things considered, the 3.5-inch Barracuda Pro is still fairly peppy, with rated a 220MBps sustained transfer rate. Well, for a hard drive anyway.

The Barracuda Pro uses Conventional Magnetic Recording and doesn’t resort to sealing the drive and filling it with helium or exotic magnetic technology to achieve its high capacity. The operative word in all of this is “consumer,” as 10TB hard drives for enterprise have been around for some time. Western Digital’s HGST began shipping a 10TB helium-filled model in late 2015. Seagate followed suit with its own 10TB helium-filled drive this January. The new 10TB Barracuda Pro has a list price of $534.99, which means street pricing should  be considerably lower than an enterprise 10TB drive.

Leadership – Tough decision-making creates personal growth

John Maxwell shares an excellent leadership article related to value of sacrifice in making tough decisions

Everything worthwhile is uphill. I’ve been saying this for a while now, but the more I think about it, the more I know it’s true. Whether you’re talking about personal growth, personal health, business or some other aspect of life, nothing of value is easy. The precious things in life require something in exchange.  Leaders are well aware of the need to sacrifice. The decisions leaders face almost always include some measure of giving up something in order to gain something; for leaders, life is always a set of scales that need balancing. One of the easiest places to see this principle at work is parenting.

As leaders in businesses and organizations, we are called to make tough choices on behalf of our people. Sometimes the sacrifices are obvious and simple. You let go of a little money to gain a better product. You promote a fantastic worker because they’ll make an even better leader. You release a great employee to go and chase their dream.  Sometimes the sacrifices are harder and more draining. You have to cut the budget in order to keep the company afloat. You have to admit your organization made a mistake in production. Or, even harder, you have to admit that you made a bad choice as a leader and cost the company millions.

Windows 10 – Final WIN7 and WIN8 free WGX upgrade notification

For WIN7 and WIN8 users, the final version for the FREE Windows 10 upgrade notification invitation has been released to remind users of the July 29th deadline.

With nine days to go, Microsoft really, really wants you to claim your free upgrade to Windows 10. Come to think of it, Microsoft has really, really wanted you to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC to Windows 10 for more than a year, and backed it with the GWX subsystem — first installed by KB 3035583 in March 2015, 15 months ago.

Now the flirtation includes a yellow exclamation for an icon in the system tray, a popup with a hamburger icon, and a countdown clock that tells you that there’s just 9 days 7 hours 16 minutes and 77 seconds left. You’re given the options of “Decline free offer” and “Upgrade now.” If you decide to upgrade now, you’ll get the old Windows 10.1, version 1511, released last November, build 10586. You will have 31 days to roll back to your original operating system.

Facebook – Messenger reaches One Billion users milestone

Over one billion users registered to any software facility is a rare accomplishment

SAN FRANCISCO — Messenger, Facebook’s homegrown messaging app, has joined the 1 billion users club, achieving what is still a rare feat in the technology world.  But they are increasingly in favor of Facebook, which now has three apps with more than 1 billion monthly active users; and Google, which has seven, most recently Gmail.  Facebook and Google, as today’s dominant digital companies with reach around the world, have the best shot at crossing the 1-billion-users threshold. Still, they must create the kinds of experiences that consumers crave.   “Facebook and Google are running the show when it comes to making mobile apps that people want to download,” says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “What they offer are apps that you want to use again and again and, quite frankly, that you need to use again and again. Very few apps can offer that.”

Malware – History of Ransomware 2005-2016

This 22 slide presentation shares a historical recap of developments through the years.  This threat took off significantly during 2013 with the advent of Cryptolocker

Ransomware has been the most pervasive cyber threat since 2005. According to publicly available information, ransomware infections have outnumbered data breaches 7,694 to 6,013 over the past 11 years.  Over the years there have been two distinct varieties of ransomware which remain consistent: crypto and locker based.  Crypto-ransomware is ransomware variants that actually encrypt files and folders, hard drives, etc. Whereas Locker-ransomware only locks users out of their devices, most often seen with Android based ransomware.

New-age ransomware involves a combination of advanced distribution efforts such as pre-built infrastructures used to easily and widely distribute new strains as well as advanced development techniques such as using crypters to ensure reverse-engineering is extremely difficult. Additionally, the use of offline encryption methods are becoming popular in which ransomware takes advantage of legitimate system features such as Microsoft’s CryptoAPI, eliminating the need for Command and Control (C2) communications.