Congress has voted to ditch rules that would have made it harder for broadband companies to share personal user data with third party companies. The vote means Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations will not take effect. The rules were ... adopted by the FCC last October and covered broadband and wireless providers, but not websites such as Google or Facebook. Had they taken effect, the rules would have meant Internet providers could not share key data - for example with advertisers - without the explicit consent of customers. This data included browsing history, details of the apps ... (view more)
Users of Microsoft's Docs.com have been warned to review security settings on their account. Researchers found it was all too easy to search and find personal data contained in documents mistakenly made public. Docs.com is designed to make it easy ... to share documents with other users over the Internet, including PDF files and those in Office formats, regardless of the device and operating system they are using. The site includes a search feature that lets a user look for text in any document on the service to which they have access - something that's designed to make it much easier ... (view more)
Amazon's plans for convenience stores without checkouts or cashiers have taken a knock. Initial test show the system doesn't work properly if more than 20 or so customers use the store at once. The Amazon Go store works through a dedicated ... smartphone app and a technology similar to that used in hotel minibars. When a customer picks up an item from the shelf it will automatically be added to their virtual shopping cart (as well as their real one), though if they put it back on the shelf it will be removed. Instead of paying for the items at the check out, the customer simply walks out ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Phoebe A. writes: " Dear Dennis, Today I tried to free up some space on my C drive by moving files over to my external hard drive, but Windows gave me an error message, stating that 'Error during copy: the request could not be ... performed because of an I/O device error'. I've also tried using 'TeraCopy' to copy files over, but it keeps freezing on the same files. Can you help? " My response: If you receive an error that says "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" when trying to copy or move a file, that usually (but not always) indicates bad ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Scott writes: " Dear Dennis, I'm thinking of turning on disk encryption for my Windows 10 computer. I've never done this before. Is there anything to be concerned about or to be aware of? " My response: This is a good question. ... The truth of the matter is that if you encrypt your entire C drive using Windows BitLocker or a third party utility, it's going to slow your system down quite a bit. The reason for this is because every single file written to the drive must be encrypted, and then decrypted when read - including your operating system files. Constantly encrypting and ... (view more)
A man has been arrested after allegedly scamming two US companies into sending him more than a hundred million dollars online. He posed as a legitimate computer manufacturer and issued bogus requests for payment. The companies haven't been named, ... but prosecutors say one is a "multinational technology company" and the other a "multinational online social media company." Evaldas Rimasauskus was arrested in Lithuania last week and has been charged in US courts with one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identify theft, and three counts of money laundering. Bogus ... (view more)
A US court says a man must provide the password to unlock two hard drives that prosecutors say contain unlawful images. The court rejected his appeal that to do so would breach his fifth amendment rights, which roughly translate to: "No person shall ... be held to answer for a ... [crime], unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury." The case is an unusual twist on the more common disputes about how the fourth amendment -- which deals with searches and seizures -- applies to technology. In this case the man claims that handing over the password could incriminate him. The ... (view more)
Google has apologized to businesses whose ads appeared next to extremist videos on YouTube. It follows several major brands and the British government dropping Google advertising over the affair. The Times newspaper reported that videos from ... extremist groups had appeared beside advertising from many a host of big businesses and government agencies. That not only meant embarrassment but could mean that the advertisers were unwittingly -- if indirectly -- contributing to extremist groups. Content Classification Confusing Google's Matt Brittin told a conference that he wanted to " ... (view more)
Continuing on with last week's article, David L. writes: " Thanks for your help in identifying the culprit that was causing random Blue Screens of Death ( BAD_POOL_CALLER ) on both mine and my wife's system. Question: I have been using ZoneAlarm for ... many years and it has been good to me. If I decide to stick with the Windows Firewall per your recommendation - what happens if hackers find an exploit in the Windows Firewall that allows them into my system? Yes, ZoneAlarm has caused my Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) and it costs money upfront (versus the Windows Firewall which is free) - but why ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader David L. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a VERY perplexing problem! My wife and I are trying to publish a book online a website (CreateSpace.com) - unfortunately, both her system and my system are crashing with blue screens of death ... (BSOD) error: BAD_POOL_CALLER. I am using Mozilla Firefox on my machine, and she is using Edge. I've called Microsoft and talked to their support for over 4 hours but they were unable to help - and in fact, my system is operating even worse than before! You've done work for me in the past and I need to have you connect to my system and tell me ... (view more)
A major "hack" of prominent Twitter accounts has raised awareness of a big security loophole. The problem isn't with Twitter itself, but rather third party tools. This morning several thousand accounts belonging to public figures and major ... organizations and businesses posted identical messages. The tweets included a swastika symbol and references to Nazi views in Germany and the Netherlands and are thought to relate to an ongoing political spat between the Netherlands and Turkey. (Source: bostonglobe.com ) There's never a good time for accounts to be hijacked in such a way, ... (view more)
The makers of a remote controlled device for personal pleasure have agreed to pay $3.75 million after allegedly collecting data on how the device was used. Standard Innovations has not formally admitted any wrongdoing. The company makes several ... models in the We-Vibe line, each designed for intimate female use. Some of them include a Bluetooth connection that in turn connects to a smartphone. That allows the user or a partner to remotely control the operation and settings of the device, with an option for partners in long-distance relationships to operate the device over the Internet. ... (view more)
Android phones from a variety of companies have reached business employees with malware already installed according to researchers. How and why it got there is not yet confirmed. The report comes from Checkpoint, a security company. It says it was ... examining devices used by staff at two businesses: one a "large telecommunications company" and the other a "multinational technology company." (Source: checkpoint.com ) While it's not unusual to find malware on employee phones during some checks -- that's partly the purpose of hiring services such as Checkpoint. ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Barry P. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have an HP computer running Windows 10 (previously upgraded from Windows 8), and it's running very slow. I'd like to reinstall Windows - but before I do that, I want to back everything up onto ... external hard drive. I want to keep the backup as small as possible - as such, I noticed that I have a 'C:\System Recovery' folder with 'C:\System Recovery\Repair' and 'C:\System Recovery\Repair\Backup' subfolders. The 'C:\System Recovery' folder is taking up 40GB of data and I'd like to know if it's safe to delete. I have another machine here and I ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Alan B. writes: " Dear Dennis, I rebooted my laptop recently, and now my keyboard has completely stopped working. I looked at the status of my keyboard under Device Manager and it reports that my keyboard is a 'Standard PS/2 ... Keyboard' with an error code 39. The specific error message is: 'Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)'. I have scoured the Internet and have tried various registry 'fixes' online, but nothing works! You fixed my computer a few years back using your remote desktop support service, and ... (view more)
Leaked documents suggest the CIA has a program for spying on people through home devices such as Smart TVs. However, it appears such attacks are highly targeted and often require physical access to the TVs. The claims come through a batch of 8,761 ... documents released by WikiLeaks, which says they come from the CIA. That agency has yet to comment on their authenticity and have not yet been independently verified. The documents are said to detail some of the tactics the CIA have used to improve digital surveillance. The overall message is that the agency appears to be concentrating more on ... (view more)
A major news organization says Facebook doesn't do enough to remove images that exploit children. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) says the site removed just 18 out of 100 images that it reported as part of an investigation. The test was ... part of a follow-up to a report last year about people using members-only groups on the site to share inappropriate images of children. At the time, Facebook said it was improving its moderation system. To see if that was the case, the BBC used Facebook's formal reporting button to report 100 images that appeared to breach the site's ... (view more)
Google's voice activated home assistant gadget has told users that former president Barack Obama is planning a coup. It's an unfortunate quirk of the way the company applies its website techniques to the gadget. Google Home - the company's answer to ... the Amazon Echo - is a small speaker that contains a microphone and a WiFi connection. It's designed to help with a host of activities around the house where voice-based information is quicker or more convenient than using a phone, tablet or computer. Examples include being able to ask for a recipe unit conversion while in the ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Tom T. writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently had to reinstall Windows and I'm trying to clean up the root directory of my C drive to keep things tidy. I have a Windows.old.000 folder that I would like to remove, but every time I try ... to delete it, I get a window that says 'You need permission to perform this action' and nothing gets deleted. I've tried ccleaner (crap cleaner) and check marked the 'Delete old windows installation' option (under the Advanced menu), but that doesn't work, either. What do I have to do to remove the Windows.old.000 folder and its contents? " My ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Gros C. writes: " Dear Dennis, By mistake I installed both Windows 10 64 bit and Windows 32 bit on my machine. Both installations reside on separate partitions. I want to keep the Windows 10 64 bit, but the problem is that I don't ... know how to safely remove the Windows 10 32 bit from my machine. Can you give me a bit of advice on how to remote Windows 10 32 bit? " My response: This can be very, very tricky, as how to remove Windows 10 32 bit (or even the 64 bit version) on a separate partition depends on which installation of Windows contains the master boot record. For ... (view more)
Twitter is cracking down on abusive and personal attacks. It's giving users extra controls while introducing automated checks to pick up on potential abuse. The new rules aren't specifically about what people can post in a normal tweet. Instead, ... they cover posts where the writer deliberately includes somebody else's user name, meaning that other person will see the post as part of their notifications. That helps deal with a loophole in the way Twitter works. For the most part, people only see posts from accounts they've chosen to follow, but the notifications tool includes ... (view more)
Voice messages from parents to children through a 'smart' cuddly toy could be compromised. The security risk is a combination of a flaw by the designers and poor security practices by users. The issue involves CloudPets, a range of $40 toys designed ... to help working parents stay in touch with their kids. The parent can leave a voice message via a phone app at any time and it will then be sent over the Internet and Bluetooth and played back through a speaker in the toy. The child can then press the toy's paw to record and send a reply. The problem is that while delivering messages ... (view more)
An unfortunate error has led to a massive leak of confidential data online. It's led to calls from users to review their passwords and change the most sensitive ones. The leak involves Cloudflare, which ironically is a security company. It offers a ... service by which it acts a little like a gatekeeper for websites, passing on valid requests for data and blocking those designed to cause disruption. In particular, it combats denial of service attacks (DoS) that aim to bring a website down by sheer weight of incoming traffic - usually bogus traffic. As part of Cloudflare's operations, it ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Gord F. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a very vexing issue. For the last few weeks, Firefox randomly produces a ' This connection is untrusted ' message whenever I try to sign out of my Outlook email account (outlook.live.com), or ... when I visit other secure websites. It seems to work one minute, then it won't work the next. If I shut down and restart the computer the 'This connection is untrusted' error disappears, only to pop up again the next time I visit a secure website at some point in the day. When I see a 'This connection is untrusted' message, I've clicked the ' ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Marion L. writes: " Dear Dennis, I haven't used my laptop for a few weeks. I went to turn it on today, but it won't turn on at all. I have it plugged in to the wall power outlet, but it still doesn't work. What do I do now? " My ... response: This is a fairly common issue with laptops; oftentimes the laptop won't turn on even if it's plugged into the wall if it's been sitting for a while - in your case, a few weeks. Sometimes, however, something else has gone wrong, and parts of the laptop may be corrupt or not working, or the laptop may have died. I'll explain what you need to ... (view more)
The British government says insurers should have to pay out if a customer's self-driving car crashes, whether or not the human was in control. It's the latest in a series of legal questions raised by the technology. The government has published the ... Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill and will now try to make it law through the country's parliamentary system. If adopted, the rules would mean the government would legally classify cars as self-driving on a model-by-model basis. With any car that fits into this category, the legally-required insurance policy would have to be set up ... (view more)
Chrome browser users have been warned to watch out for a sneaky malware attack. The trick involves a bogus on-screen message that claims the user needs to download a missing font. The people responsible are using hacked websites on the WordPress ... platform to operate the scam. They've altered the page so that the text appears to have been corrupted and is made up largely of symbols such as black diamonds and question marks. The page then displays an on-screen message that's carefully designed to look like a genuine Chrome error message, complete with the correct logos, shapes and even ... (view more)
Controversial file sharing site owner Kim Dotcom has come another step closer to being extradited to the United States. It comes despite a New Zealand court agreeing with one of Dotcom's key arguments against extradition. Dotcom, who changed his ... name from Kim Schmitz, was the man behind one of the biggest alleged piracy websites, "Megaupload." It was a site where users could upload files, either as a form of back-up, or as a way to share files with other people. Not surprisingly, many users found that Megaupload was an excellent way to illegally share copies of copyrighted music ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Teresa P. writes: " Dear Dennis, My computer has been acting terribly slow! I pressed CTRL + ALT + DEL to bring up Task Manager to see what was going on, and I have a task called presentationfontcache.exe that is eating 25% of my ... CPU. This is an older computer, and these days I need all the CPU processing power I can get - and this definitely isn't helping! Can you please tell me how I can disable presentationfontcache.exe in Windows 7? " My response: I have not had this problem before so I asked Teresa if she would like me to look at the issue more closely using my remote ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Sam R. writes: " Dear Dennis, The other day I wanted to connect to my wife's PC using Remote Desktop, but the Remote Desktop settings are missing. I've right clicked 'This PC', then selected Properties, then clicked on the 'Remote ... Desktop' link, but all I see is an option for 'Remote assistance' - there is no option for 'Remote Desktop' as there is on my machine. She is running Windows 10 Home. What gives? " My response: Unfortunately, there is no way to manage the Remote Desktop service using Windows Home versions; you need the "Pro" version of Windows to be able to use ... (view more)
Infopackets Top Windows 10 FAQs
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