Monthly Archives : November 2016

Shopper Safety – Beware of Fake Apps and Wifi Hotspots

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Now that holiday shopping is upon us, security researchers are handing out advice on how to protect yourself and your information from cyber hacking. More and more shoppers use their smartphones while they are shopping, to compare prices and deals at other stores or online. Reports by RiskIQ, an enterprise security firm, estimates that 30 percent of Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping will be done on a mobile device.

Cyber criminals are well aware that shoppers are relying heavily on their smartphones this holiday season. Noticing that many consumers often connect to free wifi hotspots while shopping, hackers have taken to setting up fake wifi zones to entice people into connecting. Consumers may see a wifi network available named “Macysfreewifi” and connect without even second guessing – often times the store isn’t even in the mall! If you see a wifi network labeled with a store name that is nowhere nearby, do not connect. The same goes for wifi networks set up with the word “free”, often these are bogus as well. Hackers will also monitor communications over legitimate networks that are poorly secured and not properly configured, but this is a more difficult process than getting an unsuspecting shopper to connect to a malicious network.

Hackers are also known to repackage legitimate applications so that the fake application they create looks almost identical to the real thing, in the hopes you will choose theirs instead. Sometimes hackers will create a completely fake application from scratch, such as “Amazon Rewards” that does not exist in the official app stores. Many times these fake apps will promise rewards or points for downloading. The fake Amazon Rewards app was found to be a trojan, spread by using fake Amazon vouchers and a link to a fake website sent via SMS text messages. The fake app even accesses the user’s contacts to send the vouchers to more mobile phones without permission.

This is not the first fake application, and it most certainly will not be the last. RiskIQ found 1 million applications that have been blacklisted for using brand names in the title or description of the application to trick consumers. The only real way to avoid such applications is to go directly to official application stores such as Google Play and Apple App Store to download applications.

Things To Remember:

  • Download applications only from official app stores

  • Beware of apps that ask for permissions to contacts, text messages, stored password or credit card information

  • Question applications that have rave reviews, they are easy to forge

  • If you do not understand the warning on your device, do not click continue

  • Update your device to the most current operating system

  • Disconnect from the network if your phone begins to act up or crash

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.computerworld.com 

 

Coolest MacBook Pro Touch Bar Features

Sitting just above the keys, the Touch Bar displays an array of color changing functionalities. Check out just a few of the cool things the Touch Bar can do!

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Just like texting on an iPhone, the Touch Bar allows for predictive text. For even faster email responses.

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You can Preview and Edit your photos with it too, all of the edit features appear just by double clicking a picture in the Photo Application.

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I think by far my favorite of the Touch Bar capabilities is switching between tabs visually in Safari. But it can also help coordinate your calendar and contacts by showing open times and days for you to choose from. It can also help you save documents and access keys no longer on the keyboard. Rather than lifting your hand and moving it to the track pad to save your document, just hit Command + S and watch Don’t Save, Cancel, and Save, appear. You may also notice that the F1 – F12 keys are missing from the new Pro. Not to worry, simply bring them up by holding the Fn key at the bottom of the keyboard and watch 1-12 appear on your Touch Bar.

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You can even choose Emojis with the Touch Bar!

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It can account for Touch ID as well. The first time you power up you will have to manually enter your password, but every time after that Touch ID is fair game. Just place your finger on the Touch Bar when you wake your machine from sleeping. Touch ID also means Apple Pay!

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Answer calls just like you would on your iPhone or iPad!

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Soon we will be asking ourselves how we ever lived without it!


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcmag.com 

 

Google Makes Photo Scanning a Piece of Cake!

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The holidays seem to give people the little push they need to start digitizing their photos. I hear it every season – “This is the year we are finally going to get all the old photos on the big TV and go through them!” and then it comes time to decide how, and the idea falls flat.

The top notch way would be with a photo scanner, and if you have stacks and stacks of photos, this is the recommended option. Photo scanners aren’t always cheap, and spending a little more money and time researching will pay off in the long run. But, if you aren’t in the financial situation to spend a couple hundred bucks on a devoted photo scanner, Google has you covered.

Google announced their new app, PhotoScan, intended for ease and quality. If you have ever tried to take a photo of a photo with your smartphone camera application, you know the quality of the picture is less than great. It is pretty obvious by the glare that you took a photo of a photo, and the edges are almost never straight. Sending your photos off for a company to digitize is an option as well, but the cost associated and the time frame are not ideal. Not to mention most do not want to send their original photos and have to get copies made anyway! What a mess!

The Google PhotoScan app gives a better solution, designed purely for photo capturing. The difference is that loads of scanning applications exist, but these are designed for documents with small print, flat color, and no glare. PhotoScan is designed for photos. It works by first walking you through the steps to take four overlapping photos of the print photo. It superimposes four dots on your smartphone screen and has you move your phone around to draw a circle around each dot. After which the application detects edges and straightens each of the four photos together, removes the glare, and finalizes the result. You are left with a perfect photo of a photo!

The application is essentially taking each of the four photos and stacking them on top of one another. In the process it removes the bright white pixels caused by glare and even adds image correction to color and clarity. Photos can be saved to the photo storage on your phone, or Google Photos offers unlimited storage with easy search, organization, and share features.

Check it out this holiday season!!

PhotoScan

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.computerworld.com 

 

Faster Updates Promised for Windows 10 – Creators Update

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Microsoft is already promising big things for the Creators Update. Introducing Unified Update Platform (UUP), Microsoft’s answer to user feedback concerning slowness and drained battery life with Windows 10 updates. The UUP process allows for delivery of smaller files and could reduce the size of the update by 35 percent. The differential download packages ensures that your computer or mobile will only download the changes that have been made since your most recent update, rather than a full Windows build. It is also anticipated that more of the update processing will be moved to the cloud. This should make updating faster for not as powerful mobile devices.

These changes stem from users that wish to see improved battery life, faster updates, control over timings of the updates, less local processing, and reduction of download sizes.

The more streamlined updates through UUP is currently rolling out to developers in the Windows Insider preview program. The rest of us will have to wait till the Windows 10 Creators Update, in 2017.


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcmag.com

 

Two Factor Authentication – What is it?

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Two Factor Authentication, or 2FA, takes a combination of generally accepted forms of authentication to further secure your login to big sites and applications such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple iCloud and others. This is an extra layer of protection that utilizes something you know such as a password, and something only you has, such as a cell phone or fingerprint. This is not necessarily a new idea, many of us use this everyday when making purchases with a credit card and asked to enter a zip code for verification.

There are 3 generally accepted factors of authentication:

  1. Something you know – such as a password

  2. Something you have – such as a hardware token like a cell phone

  3. Something you are – such as your fingerprint

Two Factor Authentication takes two of the above in order to secure your log in. Such that if you have 2FA enabled on Facebook for instance, when you attempt to log into Facebook on a new device or browser you will be asked to confirm this log in with a second form of authentication which can be any of the three described above.

This form of authenticating is especially advised for sites and applications that house your personal information, credit cards, location information, are tied to other accounts, and could otherwise affect your personal life such as email, social media – the list is endless!

A few big names have taken head to this advice by employing 2FA, although the process is not entirely seamless, great strides have been taken to make using 2FA as easy as possible. Look for 2FA on your favorite big name sites and applications.

Set up Google 2FA here 

Set up Apple 2FA here 

Set up Microsoft 2FA here


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit :

Windows 10 Vulnerability – Edge Browser users Safe

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The vulnerability is called Strontium, found in Windows code. Google stumbled across the flaw, and wrote a blog post in late October stating the affects on Adobe’s Flash media player. Google’s policy concerning such critical vulnerabilities is to publish them actively seven days after Google has reported them to the software’s creator.

According to Google, the flaw exists in the Windows kernel and can be used as a “security sandbox escape”. Sandboxes are use in software in order to stop malicious or malfunctioning programs from reaching or otherwise damaging other parts of the machine.

Microsoft has acknowledged the flaw, but also criticized Google for releasing it before a fix was available, stating to a member of VentureBeat,

“We believe in coordinated vulnerability disclosure, and today’s disclosure by Google puts customers at potential risk,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.  “Windows is the only platform with a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible.”

Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson, explained the vulnerability in more detail in his blog post on Tuesday. In order for the computer to be affected with the malware, it must first infiltrate Adobe;s Flash to gain control of the web browser. After which privileges are elevated in order to escape the browser’s sandbox. Finally the malware would be able to install a backdoor to provide access to the victim’s computer.

Those that are using Microsoft Edge browser are protected, as the browser prevents the installing of the backdoor. Everyone else is left to wait for the next available patch to solve the issue, which should be November 8th.

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcmag.com 

 

Best Mac Dock – Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter

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The Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter (that is one heck of a name) allows you charge or attach two USB devices to your Mac while also supporting a 4K display. This dock is part of a new wave of docks that finally do more than just drain your battery. Affordable at $60 on Amazon, this dock is attractive in both appearance and functionality. It has a higher level finish, with rounded edges and aluminum case that is available in four colors that perfectly match your Mac.

The built in cable has reinforcement at the dock connection and the head for durability. The USB-C jack is in an aluminum case for durability as well, and fits perfectly into a MacBook. The dock also has an HDMI port that supports 4K video at up to 30Hz.

At $60 this dock is $20 less than the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport adapter alternative which is less capable, awkward in design, and has one fewer USB 3 Type-A port. Satechi is a great competitor device is you just want to charge and connect to a 4k display.


If you want to learn more about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.macworld.com

AWS releases tool for migrating on-premises apps to the cloud

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The Server Migration Service was created to simplify the process of incremental replication of virtual machines from their on-premises infrastructure to Amazon’s cloud.

IT administrators install a connector that will analyze their virtualized server environment and collect information about the instances they’re using. AWS Management Console allows for viewing all the operating connectors and inspect the inventory of virtualized servers running in an environment. Adminstrators can then create and manage replication jobs to take the contents of a VM and reproduce it as an Amazon Machine Image stored in the AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) service.

Replications can be run on an ongoing schedule and each incremental replication will sync only what has been changed to minimize network bandwidth use. Furthermore it is possible to spin up new instance that should be a duplicate of what is running on-premises. This can be used either for testing the replicated VM or for getting it running in production.

Server Migration Service is available now. Works with regions in northern Virginia, Ireland, and Sydney. Service itself doesn’t carry a charge, but customers must pay for $3 storage used for the move and EBS snapshots that result from the migration process.

 


If you would like to learn more about the material presented in this blog post please visit: www.networkworld.com