Microsoft has detailed the intricate and carefully crafted attack techniques of a longstanding group of online spies. They include taking advantage of a now-retired Windows feature for easier updates. Thankfully for home users, the attacks from the ... group Microsoft dubs "Platinum" have been highly targeted at government, defense, communications and intelligence agencies and organizations. That's promoted speculation a government may be behind the attacks. The details come in a report by Microsoft's Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting. It notes that while some attacks are ... (view more)
Varying attitudes around the world to cellphone use are reflected in two new policies. India is to mandate 'panic buttons' in cellphones, while a German city has taken drastic measures to keep phone users safer. The Indian rules begin to take effect ... next January when all cellphones on sale will have to include some form of panic button. The measure is designed to deal with growing fears for safety on the streets, particularly among women. Officials reportedly concluded that while cellphones make it much easier to call for help than in the days of relying on payphones, the process of ... (view more)
A new manufacturer plans to sell ultra-secure smartphones for as much as $15,000. They won't be the most expensive ever made, but will be the costliest outside of gimmick "luxury" handsets. Sirin Labs, a company based in the United Kingdom and ... Israel, has raised $72 million in investment funding. It plans to launch its first handset in a dedicated retail store next year. (Source: reuters.com ) The company has released relatively little detail about the handset, but has been working on it for almost three years. It says the big selling point is that it will offer military level ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'Lee' writes: " Dear Dennis. I have done a clean install of Windows 10 and downloaded all updates; however, I keep getting a blue screen error message that "CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED". Prior to that I was running Windows 7 - but also ... had the same error CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED. I have done several clean installs, but no luck. I've run chkdsk (check disk) and did a memory check - but neither report any errors. I did the 'sfc /scannow', but receive an error that 'windows resource protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them'. Can you please help? " My response: ... (view more)
European officials have formally accused Google of breaching competition rules in the way it handles the Android system. They say the company unfairly used the system to push its search services. The claims come from the European Commission, the ... equivalent of the executive branch of the European Union. It oversees some elements of competition law that apply across 28 countries. The Commission has issued a Statement of Objections, which is formal notification that it is investigating alleged breaches. Google now has 12 weeks to respond to the claims. If found guilty it could face financial ... (view more)
Worldwide PC sales have fallen to their lowest level in almost a decade according to new estimates. It's also now four years since sales rose year-on-year. The figures come from analyst Gartner, which gathers together data from a range of sources. ... Strictly speaking, it estimates shipments to retailers rather than actual sales to consumers and businesses. That can have a lag effect, but doesn't affect overall trends - over the long run, sales affect how many units retailers order. (Source: gartner.com ) According to the company, shipments between January and March this year totaled 64. ... (view more)
The Supreme Court has rejected claims by authors that Google Books violates copyright. It ends a legal battle dating back 12 years. The legal issues originally centered on Google Library, in which the company scanned millions of books that were no ... longer being published and made them available in full. Later on Google used the same technology to scan books that are in print and add them to its search database alongside web pages and other forms of information. When users carry out a search that matches content in a scanned book, they can now see the relevant section as part of the search ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Todd G. writes: " Dear Dennis, I am using Windows 10 and I have VMWare workstation installed. I have been playing around with a CentOS (Linux) virtual machine for the last few months. When I first created the virtual machine, I ... selected the default size for the operating system which is 8 gigabytes. However, I'd like to create a larger partition because I am running out of space. I am using the Ext4 file system with a logical volume for my primary partition. I tried using gparted to increase the volume size on /dev/sda, but when I rebooted, the 'df -h' command shows that my ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Sonja S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a very perplexing question that has been bothering me for the last little while. For the longest time, I have been using an app called ES File Explorer for my Android smartphone, which allows ... me to connect to a shared Windows folder on my Windows PC using my WiFi connection. However, it appears that ES File Explorer now contains a bunch of bloatware and is constantly scanning my SD Card, and alerting me of programs 'requesting sensitive information'. I was wondering if you can tell me if there is another Android app I can use to share ... (view more)
Amazon has released a luxury version of the Kindle e-Reader, with a price tag to match. It's drawn comparisons to Apple's high-priced iPads, despite being a single-purpose device. New Kindle editions over the past few years have mainly involved very ... small tweaks to an established design. The new Kindle Oasis has been redesigned to be easier to hold. The most notable difference is that the device is no longer a perfectly flat device. One side of it is the thinnest a Kindle has ever been, at barely an eighth of an inch. However, the other side has a tapered bump that takes it up to a ... (view more)
Microsoft is to make the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" (BSOD) a little less likely to leave people feeling helpless. Users may be able to hold a smartphone up to the screen and get a link to an explanation of the problem. The screen appears when ... Windows encounters a serious problem that causes it to completely crash. When this happens, a blue screen with a cryptic error message is displayed, and sometimes the system will reboot automatically. For the most part, a blue screen involves an incompatibility or fault between Windows and software or a hardware device. At the moment, the ... (view more)
One of the nastiest ransomware variants may have been defeated. Two security researchers have reportedly figured out a way to recover access to an encrypted computer without paying an extortion fee. Most forms of ransomware involve infecting a ... victim's computer and then individually encrypts files. That leaves the victim able to run Windows, but unable to access any of their data. The Petya variant is more dangerous as it encrypts the hard drive's master file table. That's a database which has the details of every files on a computer, including those for Windows itself. If the master ... (view more)
How to Fix: Svchost.exe High CPU Usage Infopackets Reader Ben J. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just reinstalled Windows 7 on my machine, and from the get-go the machine is very slow to use. I ran Windows Task Manager to see what is going on, and the ... svchost.exe process is consuming 50% of my CPU. I have disabled the sleep mode on my computer and let svchost run for a few days, but nothing has come of it - it's still causing high CPU usage. I should also mention that I have not yet received any Windows Updates on my computer for the last week. What is causing the svchost process to run at high CPU ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Jason B. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thanks for all your excellent articles! Somehow my PC got infected with the Trojan: Trojan.Agent.Gen - it was detected by Malwarebytes Antimalware after I ran a scan. Malwarebytes said it needed to ... reboot to clean the infection; I did that, but after another scan, the Trojan is still on my system - I can't remove it! The filename and path of the Trojan is located at %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\windows.vbs. I have also tried removing Trojan.Agent.Gen using Microsoft Security Essentials and ADWCleaner, but neither program will remove it and ... (view more)
The people behind phishing emails appear to be getting more sophisticated. Reports from both sides of the Atlantic say such emails are including more personal details, something that was previously used only for high value target. Phishing emails ... are a way to try to trick people into either providing confidential information such as bank details or online passwords, or by clicking on links that install malware, usually through security weaknesses in web browsers or office software. More and more phishing attacks now involve trying to install ransomware that locks up a computer until the ... (view more)
Microsoft has unveiled a couple of changes to improve Windows 10: smartphone owners will be able to see notifications on their computer screen, while many Chrome extensions could be coming to the Edge browser. A forthcoming update will introduce ... something called "notification mirroring." That will mean pairing a Windows or Android smartphone or tablet with a Windows 10 computer. Users can then automatically have any notifications that normally appear on their smartphone or tablet show up on their computer screen instead. The idea is that while somebody is working on their computer, ... (view more)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unveiled a standardized way for broadband providers to give details on pricing and other contract terms. The "consumer broadband labels" resemble, and are based on, the nutritional information labels ... seen on packaged food. The labels were developed with the input of both broadband providers and consumer groups. Although providers won't legally be required to use the labels, it is very much in their interests to do so. Companies which do use the labels will, assuming they have been honest and accurate with the information, ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Sam S. writes: " Dear Dennis, A few days ago I booted my computer to the Windows 10 desktop, but now my Windows 10 start menu doesn't work. If I click on the start menu, it doesn't do anything at all - no menu, no tiles - nothing ... at all! The only options I have are the Windows 10 task bar which allows me to click on Microsoft Edge browser, so I can at least get on the Internet. Can you tell me why my Windows 10 start menu disappeared? I need to get into my tiles so can access my apps. Thanks for any help you can offer. " My response: This is a very vexing problem (based on ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'David' writes: " Dear Dennis, I have Windows 10, and the updates keep failing. Also, when I try to update Creative Cloud (to upgrade my Adobe Photoshop), it gets to 54% complete and then I receive a message stating that 'Another ... installation is in progress' error. I also received a very strange error message when attempting to install Classic Shell: 'User System has previously initiated an install for product (Microsoft Office). That user will need to run that install again before they can use that product. You current install will now continue.' I click OK and it will ... (view more)
Microsoft has unveiled some of the features for the next major update to Windows 10. Among the biggest surprise is better support for the world of Linux. The new features and tweaks will come in an update that's been codenamed Windows 10 Redstone. ... It's expected some time this summer and is planned to be the biggest update yet. Microsoft has likened Redstone to the level of change that came with Windows 8.1, though thankfully this time it will be less about undoing changes in the initial release that went down badly. Cortana & Action Center Overhauled The most visible changes for ... (view more)
The FBI has asked businesses for urgent help dealing with a new form of ransomware. The attack is designed to compromise an entire network, rather than just a single computer. Ransomware is a form of malware that damages a computer in a way that's ... usually reversible - but only by the malware creators. Commonly it involves encrypting files or even an entire hard drive so that they can't be accessed without a key, which is only provided when the victim hands over a fee. Last month the FBI put out a warning of a form of ransomware dubbed MSIL/Samas.A. It targets a security vulnerability ... (view more)
Microsoft has finished work on a special edition of Windows 10 for Chinese users. It appears to be designed to keep the country's authoritarian government happy. The edition is known as Windows 10 Zhuangongban, which translates as Specially Provided ... Edition, and will be aimed mainly at government agencies and government-owned businesses. The new software is described in an article on Chinese website Caixin, though its unclear how free the site was to cover the news without either direct censorship or self-censorship. Software Meets 'Special Needs' Based on an automated Google ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'Colin' writes: " Dear Dennis, I have Windows 10 64-bit and when I try and run an old Visual Basic software program, it says 'This app cannot run on your PC'. I believe the Visual Basic program uses 16-bit architecture. So the ... question is, how can I run 16-bit programs on Windows 10 64-bit? " My response: The simple answer is that you cannot run 16-bit applications on 64-bit Windows directly , including Windows 10 64-bit. The same holds true when trying to run 16-bit applications on Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 8 64-bit. That said, there are workarounds to the problem. ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Janie T. writes: " Dear Dennis, I wanted to know if I should use a VPN (virtual private network) to connect to my bank website. A service I came across called saferweb.com claims that they will encrypt my connection, but I don't ... know if they can be trusted or not. What do you think? PS: I love your daily infopackets letters - they are very informative. " My response: This is a good question. When visiting saferweb.com I noted the following statements on their site: "Safer Web gives you an extra layer of security against Internet hackers. By hiding your IP, we keep your ... (view more)
The FBI says it may be able to unlock the San Bernadino shooter's phone without Apple's help. But it's refusing to reveal details of its apparent solution. Apple recently refused to comply with an order to assist law enforcement officials with ... unlocking the phone, leading to a planned courtroom hearing this week. The FBI then asked for the case to be put on hold until next month, saying it wanted to investigate a method it discovered this past weekend that may make Apple's help irrelevant. The argument isn't about decrypting the data on the phone, something that's ... (view more)
Some of the biggest tech firms have joined together to call for new standards that could make emails more secure. The proposals have gone to the Internet Engineering Task Force, which develops voluntary but widely used technical standards for the ... Internet. These days around 30 percent of Internet traffic from North American users is encrypted, meaning that if somebody intercepts it on route, they'll struggle to be able to read it. That figure is expected to jump to 60 percent this year, though that's largely a quirk caused by a change in policy by Netflix. In any case, it's now ... (view more)
Owners of older Kindle eReaders have been warned to update their devices today or temporarily lose Internet connectivity. The loss won't be irreversible, but will cause added hassle. The issue affects all Kindle eReader models released before 2013. ... That includes the Keyboard, Touch and DX versions, along with the 5th generation and earlier of both the standard Kindle and Paperwhite editions. (Source: amazon.com ) The only unaffected models are those released from 2013 onwards, specifically the Paperwhite 6th and 7th generation, the 7th generation standard Kindle and the Voyage model. The ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Tim S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I am upgrading the hard drive and CPU on a computer for a friend of mine. His computer does not have a dedicated video card; as such, he is using the onboard graphics built onto the motherboard, which ... is very outdated and slow compared to today's standards. I would like to buy him a used video card, but am not sure which model to get, as the model numbers seem to be very confusing - whether it's an AMD video card or an Nvidia card. How can I compare video cards so I know which card is better than the other? " My response: This is a very good ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'Kathy aka VJ' writes: " Dear Dennis, In regard to John Lister's article ' Windows 10 install surprising users ' - how about an article about switching to Linux instead of Windows 10, including a how to, cost, warnings, software ... compatibility, etc. I've just about had it with Microsoft and it's aggressive tactics, trying to get me to install Windows 10 with its 'gotcha' updates . As such, I am thinking it's time to get myself out from under the Microsoft umbrella. I am expert with MS Office and would hate to switch, but if it won't run under Linux, I may have to stick with ... (view more)
A Google-owned app aims to tell you the right time to leave on a car journey based on current traffic. It's something of a chicken and egg situation though, as the more people who use Waze, the more accurate it gets. Waze was developed by an Israeli ... company and bought out by Google in 2013. Unlike most GPS navigation tools, it doesn't work solely by databases of roads. Instead, it gathers anonymized information from users about their journeys, measuring exactly how long they take to cover a particular route and where they are being held up. The idea is to use this crowdsourced ... (view more)
Infopackets Top Windows 10 FAQs
How to Upgrade from Windows 10 32-bit to 64-bit
How to Fix: Windows 10 Antivirus Missing, Not Compatible
How to Fix: Windows 10 Display Shifted; Screen Fuzzy
How to Upgrade Windows 7, 8 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit
to Downgrade from Windows 10
- How to Fix: Windows 10 Upgrade Failed Error C1900208
- How to Fix: Windows 10 Upgrade Failed Error 80240020
- Can I Cancel my Windows 10 Reservation and Reserve Later?
- How to Clean Install Windows 10 using Windows 7, 8 License
- Will Windows 10 Install Automatically?
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Do I have to Reinstall Programs?
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Can I choose 32-bit or 64-bit?
- Which Version of Windows 10 Will I Get (Home or Pro)?
- How to Reserve Windows 10 Upgrade (Free)
- How to Fix: CPU Not Compatible with Windows 10 Error
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Can I keep my Old Windows Install?
- How to Cancel Windows 10 Reservation (Properly)
- Download Windows 10 .ISO (DVD) for Clean Install?
- Microsoft: Windows 10 Will Be The Last Version
- Does Windows 10 require the CPU to support PAE?
- Windows 10: Can I Upgrade or do I need a Clean Install?
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