Computer News & Safety – Harry Waldron Rotating Header Image

July 18th, 2016:

Windows 10 – Automatic Security update advanced tuning options

In most cases, it is beneficial always let Windows Update automatically install and keep operating system as up-to-date as possible with security patches. Below are a couple of additional options for corporate and home wireless users to help tune this process further as needed:

An up-to-date PC is less vulnerable to attack, so automatic updates are generally a good thing. But sometimes an update will make things worse, rendering a PC problematic or even unusable until the problem is solved.  That’s why some people prefer to hold off on an update until other people have tried it without disaster. But this requires you to take time out of your day to keep up on the news about Windows updates (a Google News alert can help). And if you’re using Windows 10, you’ve got another problem. It won’t let you turn off automatic updates. Luckily, there are two workarounds.

CORPORATE WINDOWS 10 – Change the Group Policy

If you have a Professional, Enterprise, or Education edition of Windows 10, you can turn off automatic updates. But the option is hidden.

1. Press Win-R, type gpedit.msc, press Enter. This brings up the Local Group Policy Editor.
2. Navigate the left pane as if it were File Explorer, to
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
3. Find and double-click Configure Automatic Updates

HOME WINDOWS 10 – Metered network trick delays updates

If you’ve got the plain old Home version of Windows 10, you can stop automatic update. But there’s a more serious caveat. It only works with a Wi-Fi network. Ethernet need not apply.  The trick is to tell Windows that you have a metered connection to the Internet—one that can only download so many bits per month without increasing your ISP bill. To tell Windows that you have a metered connection:

1. Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet.
2. The Wi-Fi tab should already be selected in the left pane. In the right, main pane, select Advanced options.
3. Turn on Metered connection.

Microsoft Stream – New video service for enterprise

The new Microsoft Stream service is designed to let users upload and share videos securely within a corporate setting.  It has just been released in beta mode and works with the cloud-based Azure Media Services

It’s called Stream, and it’s supposed to let people easily work together with one another on videos, and then share that content both inside and outside their company.  In the realm of consumer web services, video is ascending. Facebook has been emphasizing video posts on its popular social network, while YouTube is still going strong. Microsoft is trying to take some of that mojo and bring it to the business world with the launch of an open beta for Stream on Monday.

Stream allows users to log in to a video portal that lets them see all of the videos that are shared with them, and do things like subscribe to channels, search for subject matter they want to explore, and follow co-workers whose videos they want to see.  People who create videos can upload footage to the service by dragging and dropping files from their computers. Stream will handle the processing and let people add titles, descriptions, and even a caption file so that hearing-impaired viewers can read along with what’s being said.

The service also has the ability to set sharing permissions that can let anyone in an organization view a video, or lock it down to just a small group of people. That way, it’s possible for users to get feedback on a video from a small group before pushing it out to the wider company.  It’s all powered by Azure Media Services, a cloud-based video streaming system that Microsoft has been building up to host a variety of products including public cloud video encoding services used for the Olympics and Skype Meeting Broadcast, a service that lets Skype for Business customers send out a video feed to thousands of viewers.

Microsoft Xbox – New S model available in August 2016

The “S” model is a  more compact version of the Xbox One and will debut on August 2, 2016

Microsoft’s new slimmed-down version of the Xbox One will hit the streets on August 2, the company announced today, in a launch that coincides with the release of the big Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Unlike the  powerful Project Scorpio console  slated for holiday 2017, the Xbox One S largely features the same basic technical capabilities as the original Xbox One, but in a package that’s 40 percent slimmer than the original. It’s not completely identical, though. The Xbox One S integrates the console’s power supply, adds an IR blaster, and includes support for 4K and high dynamic range video. Games won’t be playable at 4K resolution, however—though  Play Anywhere games  that work on both the Xbox One and Windows PCs will start rolling out in September.

Security – Pokemon Go Servers hacked as proof-of-concept

Some possible weaknesses for the key servers supporting the Pokemon Go application, were discovered by a hacking group who shared issue more to create awareness than actual harm to the user community.

As Niantic rolled out Pokemon Go to 26 additional countries over the weekend, it’s easy to assume the rush of new players was to blame for recent server issues.  But hacking collective OurMine may have also played a part. The group—famous for infiltrating the social media accounts of Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey, among others—claimed responsibility for the popular game going offline on Sunday.  As an OurMine member told PCMag via email, the three-person team is “just trying to protect [companies’] servers.”  “We wrote we will stop the attack if any [Niantic] staff talked with us, because we will teach them how to protect their servers,” the anonymous representative said.

According to OurMine, if it doesn’t break into celebrity accounts and knock games offline, someone else will.  Someone like PoodleCorp, which also attacked Pokemon Go servers this weekend via a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack. The group’s Twitter account hints at another invasion planned for Aug. 1.