Monthly Archives : May 2016

Windows Anniversary Update – Increased RAM Requirement

According to Microsoft, the Windows Anniversary Update will double the amount of RAM needed in order to run, which could be problematic for anyone using an older machine or running on a very small hard drive. Windows 10, 8, and 7, required only 1GB of RAM. The 32-bit Windows Anniversary update will increase this requirement to 2GB of RAM. The RAM required for the 64-bit systems will not increase but rather stay at the already required 2GB of RAM. All other requirements remain unchanged. You still need 1GHz processor, 16GB of free storage for the 32-bit version and 20GB free storage for the 64-bit version, as well as DirectX 9 support. For those that have cut corners on RAM, or have a “vintage” machine, you will most likely encounter problems trying to meet the new requirements. If you have recently invested in increased RAM or purchased a new machine in the past few years, Windows Anniversary update should give you no trouble. RAM is a fairly inexpensive upgrade and should prolong the life and quality of your machine.  As a reminder, the Windows Anniversary Update launches on July 29th of this year, with an improved Cortana and Hello login feature.

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If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Windows 10 Anniversary Update will require more RAM

Wi-Fi Capabilities Dramatically Increase with Beamforming

New things are coming in the world of Wi-Fi technology, in the form of beamforming and MU-MIMO. Beamforming makes it possible for routers to adjust their phase and power for better signal by allowing Wi-Fi routers and clients to exchange information about their locations. Beamforming, in either the explicit or implicit form, provides significantly better radio signals, faster forwarding, at greater distances. Devices manufactured in the last two years will support explicit beamforming, that allows client and Wi-Fi to communicate about their locations, and providing better steering of signals between the two. Implicit beamforming works in a similar way, steering signals based on the routers internal measurements rather than the respective locations of the router and the client. Prior to beamforming, Wi-Fi routers sent signals out in all directions. The signals need only go where Wi-Fi devices are, beamforming makes Wi-Fi capabilities more efficient by solving this problem and employing signals in the direction of devices. MU-MIMO, short for multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output, makes more bandwidth available to wireless users. Moving networking away from the one-at-a-time model to a more complex system, multiple devices can converse simultaneously.

David Newman with Network World, reviewed the MU-MIMO and beamforming capabilities within the Linksys EA-7500 and his results were noteworthy. After a quick power-up, online configuration, and downloaded firmware update, the router was up and running. Comparing transfer rates between the old 802.11n access point and the new Linksys EA-7500 router, Newman found a significant increase in results. The old 802.11n downloaded data at 25Mbps while the new Linskys EA-7500 downloaded data much faster at 58Mbps.

His conclusion is as follows:

So, can beamforming and MU-MIMO help you? The answer is “yes, for sure” if you’re in one of three categories:

  • if you’ve got devices 2 years old or newer, beamforming can help
  • if you’ve got distance issues, beamforming and MU-MIMO can help
  • if you’ve got multiple devices, MU-MIMO can help

In all these cases, we saw significant improvements using MU-MIMO and beamforming technology in the Linksys EA7500 Wi-Fi router.

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If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Review: Wave 2 Wi-Fi delivers dramatic performance boost for home networks

Kansas Heart Hospital- Paying the ransom still wasn’t enough

bitcoin, ransomware

The Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, recently found themselves at the mercy of a ransomware nightmare. Seeing as the demands were not unattainable or extremely high, the hospital decided to simply pay the Bitcoin, thinking that would be the end. Not quite. After the hospital paid the Bitcoin, the hackers decided that the hospital was a willing target for even more money! The hackers received payment and decided to hold back some of the data they had encrypted and proceeded to demand more money from the Kansas Hospital.

To my surprise, the Kansas Heart Hospital didn’t end up giving any more funds to the hackers. We aren’t sure if they decided the data was not of importance, or if the hospital employed some tech support from a trusted source. Whichever the case, I appreciate the hospital standing firm in their decision to not pay anymore Bitcoin. As many have been urged to not pay absurd ransomware demands, it can be terrifying when the circumstance comes about. Helpless, I’m sure is how many ransomware victims feel.

Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of malware and ransomware threats. Nearly half the hospitals in the United States have been attacked by some variable of malware/ransomware. An official at the Kansas Heart Hospital even told reporters that they “were aware of the ransomware threat and had a plan in place to deal with it”. Better make sure you have a plan B too.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Hospital pays ransom, ransomware demands more money

Antivirus – Top 4 on the Market in 2016

 

Keep your computer healthy and your stress low, with an easy to manage antivirus software. A wealth of options exist, so with the help of researcher Neil Rubenking at PCMag, we have comprised a list of the top antivirus programs. Each product has been reviewed and lab tested in order to provide real results and data. In times of trouble no one wants a program that can’t handle the pressure.

Top 4 Commercial Antivirus Software on the Market

Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2016)1444039371_kaspersky-antivirus-2016-16.0.0.424

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan

 

 

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2016

Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky performed at the top of the scale in independent Lab tests.

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan
  • Website Ratingbd2016-boxshots-av-online-en_1_2

McAfee AntiVirus Plus (2016)

A single subscription of McAfee AntiVirus Plus allows you to install protection on all of your Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS devices.

  • On Demand Malware Scan Product_Page_Product-Overview_Pack-image_AntiVirus-Plus_320x430
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan
  • Website Rating

 

 

 

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (2016)

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus uses an  unusual behavior based detection technology. This makes Webroot the tiniest antivirus on the market today. This is both good and bad. In theory this Antivirus can protection you from malware, but it can also flag legitimate behaviors made by legitimate users.

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Website Rating

Antivirus program

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit:The Best Antivirus Utilities for 2016

Apple cleans up Safari, iTunes, and a lot of bugs

Of the many fixes deployed by Apple, Safari was brought to version 9.1.1, patching 7 vulnerabilities in the browser. One of the most detrimental being the loop used to take over a Mac whose user had entered a malicious website. Apple implemented something new along with their patches, now Safari is being run through a beta program of its own with the Technology Preview.This month Apple updated OS X El Captain to version 10.11.5, patching about 70 vulnerabilities, and cleaning house. They also decided to patch older OS X Maverick and OS X Yosemite, from 2013 and 2014 let me remind you.

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Apple usually supports an operating system for three years, providing support for the newest edition of Safari and the two prior versions. Just as many of you might remember when Mountain Lion was retired last year, when the newest version drops this year  the oldest edition, Maverick, will also retire. Apple likes to announce the newest version of Mac’s operating system during the June Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple then offers developers and users a preview code before the official release. In addition to Safari clean up and patches, Apple also release iTunes 12,4 which supports many of the new user interface changes with a simpler design. All updates can be downloaded like any other update, from the Apple App Store.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Apple patches 67 bugs in OS El Capitan, refreshes Safari and iTunes

iPhone 7 Anticipated to be Most Complex Model Yet

OK, so now that it has been a few rounds of Apple iPhone releases, we know a thing or two about their product secrecy and production habits. Sounds a little creepy, but iPhone 7 anticipation will do that to a girl. Apple’s top two suppliers started hiring employees earlier than usual due to a ‘more complex’ iPhone 7 design and the rumors are swirling.

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As it is already May and we have little information besides buzzing rumors about the newest addition to the iPhone family, the iPhone 7 seems to be more secret than previous models. It has been speculated that the 7 will house the same framework as the 6. Most are saying that the infrastructure won’t be much of a wowzer either. Economic Daily News feels the opposite, stating that the iPhone 7 will be “more complex than previous models” and has been shown through Apple’s increased production hiring. Apple’s top two suppliers are Foxconn and Pegatron, and their usual hiring practice before the production of a new generation iPhone has commenced a month earlier than in the past. This has been the first time in two years that Foxconn has started recruiting in May. This leads me to believe that the earlier hiring means more production hands on deck, for something bigger and more complex.

The two rumors that I would most like to see are the dual camera system and a water proof design. As an optimist, I am going to keep believing these features are the reason for the increased hiring practices, until the official iPhone 7 release in September.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: iPhone 7 said to be ‘more complex’ than previous models

Ransomware like scam – Windows Product Key is “Invalid”

 

Now that ransomware is on the brain, a few crooks posing as tech support are tailoring their skills to work the system. A lock screen appears on your PC and claims that a users Windows license has expired and to simply call the tech support number provided in order to quickly and effortlessly solve the problem. A fake Microsoft technician answers the line and is more than happy to help, if you are willing to pay the price.

Users will see a lock screen appear on their machine that truly resembles a genuine Microsoft program. After the program installs it waits patiently for the user to restart the PC. After the restart the program activates and sequentially takes over the desktop and displays a highly sophisticated Windows Update screen. Unrecognizable to the naked eye that this is in fact ransomware.

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After the program activation, the infected PC will display a screen that tells the user the desktop has been made effectively disabled because of an expired license key, with the computer name being taken from the victims actual PC. Now that the PC is locked, the user thinks they are doing the right thing by calling the number provided and talking to who they think is a tech support working for Microsoft.

Malwarebytes called the number, and a fake Microsoft technician revealed a hidden functionality. Hitting Ctrl+Shift+T would bring up a built-in installer for TeamViewer. The tech support scammer on the other end of the call refused to give much more information without the $250 to unlock the PC, which of course, Malwarebytes did not pay.

If a user refused to pay the fee requested, they would have little resources to fix the machine on their own. Fortunately, security researchers have found a small loop hole. Discovered by  @TheWack0lian, Ctrl+Shift+S will allow users to kill the winlocker without touching the contents of their machine. The hardcoded values “h7c9-7c67-jb” or “g6r-qrp6-h2” or “yt-mq-6w” can be entered as the product key. These may work to unlock the machine, but is not a fix across the board as they will not work for all versions of the lockers.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Ransomware-like tech support scam locks screen, labels Windows product key as invalid

What is a VPN and Why do you need it?

VPNWhat is a VPN? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN’s Server. No one can see what you do on your desktop outside of that VPN connection. This keeps you safe from Hackers and scammers looking to access your personal information. If you travel and access public Wi-Fi this is a great tool to protect you and your web traffic. I mean who doesn’t go to a Starbuck’s and immediately log into their Wi-Fi?! Without a VPN tool you are opening your personal information to a hacker or scammer just looking for a quick payday.

When choosing the right VPN tool for you and or your company do not focus on the price, look for performance, type of encryption used, support, and reputation. Once you’ve found a company that meets these requirements see If they have a free trial so you can test out their service, you don’t want to get stuck with a slow speeds and unreliable servers. In this day and age there is no reason to deal with issues like that.

Private Internet Access VPN, NordVPN, and Hotspot Shield Elite are three good VPN tools to start researching if you are interested in locking down your web traffic.

Apple Makes $1B Investment in Chinese Didi Chuxing

didikuadi

Apple has decided to invest 1 billion dollars in the Chinese taxi startup, Didi Chuxing. This is by far the largest investment of funds that Didi Chuxing has received to date, as well as one of the largest investments Apple has ever made. Remember Beats? Apple shelled out 3 billion to them. But that is besides the point. Why is Apple so intrigued by Didi Chuxing?

“Didi exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China,” CEO Tim Cook said. “We are extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.”

Didi Chuxing began as Didi Dache back in 2012. Last year they merged with Kuaidi, their rival service, and became Didi Chuxing. Didi Chuxing is available in 400 Chinese cities and offers services similar to Uber and Lyft, with taxi, private car, and ride-sharing. Impressively, Didi Chuxing facilitates more than 11 million rides per day! Bringing in a whooping 1.43 billion in 2015. It has been recently reported that Uber is losing 1 Billion a year in China due to competition from Didi.

Most likely that is all the information we will receive from Apple concerning their plans for the investment. Speculation around the investment stirs as Apple hasn’t been doing too hot in China. Recently China has shut down access to iTunes, iBooks, and iMovies, leaving revenue in China down by 11 percent in the most recent quarter.

It is my prediction that Apple is trying to regain market in China as well as advance themselves in the up and coming car market. Nothing has been released, but rumors around the Apple car are buzzing with anticipation as Apple has been recruiting auto executives and quietly searching for places to test drive automobiles. Suspect…

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Apple Makes $1B Investment in Chinese Uber Rival

3 Ways to Make Windows 10 Less Annoying

Sign in with a local account rather than a Microsoft account

Microsoft doesn’t exactly make this option super accessible to its customers. It’s not in big bold letters, but it can be done. As many of you might have already discovered during the initial setup Windows 10 will ask you to sign in with a Microsoft account, or create a Microsoft account if you do not already have one. If you would prefer not to sign in with a Microsoft account, you can choose a local account. The very tiny “Skip this step” option during setup is the golden ticket. When asked to create a new account in Windows 10 you will see again, a very tiny, “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” which will allow you to bypass with ease.

*If you have already fallen victim to signing in with your Microsoft account, open settings, click accounts and then “your email accounts“. This will present you with the option to sign in with a local account.

local-account-before

Pull Back on Telemetry Settings 

Microsoft sends a hefty amount of telemetry information from your PC. This is not entirely a bad thing, as telemetry information shows how well or poorly your PC is operating, as well as how you use it. The main factor in which is problematic is the amount of information transmitted that ultimately takes your personal information with it. Protect yourself by changing the settings to manage security. The default setting sends the maximum amount of information possible.

In order to get to the settings changed required to perform this action you need to open the Settings app. After you have opened the Settings app you can continue to click Privacy > Feedback & Diagnostics. Click to the right of the Send your device data to Microsoft and you will see the full list of options. Choose Basic, close settings, and sleep better at night.

telemetry-after

Please Cortana, give it a rest 

Cortana is a great feature, but sometimes her persistent nature gets in the way of your needs. If you would rather use the search box without Cortana’s input, Cortana can be disabled. The search box on the taskbar will focus mainly on local files, settings and apps. I assume if you are annoyed by Cortana, that you missed the opportunity to tell her “No thanks”. If you have changed your mind and would like her to fade into the background, click the search box on the taskbar. This will bring the Cortana pane to you, where you can click the hamburger menu in the upper left corner. Proceed to click Notebook, then click Settings. Slide the top switch to Off, and Cortana won’t make a peep!

cortana-after

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Six Windows 10 annoyances: How to make them go away for good