Articles

Tue
21
Jan
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Could Improve Google Chrome

The Chrome browser may soon put less drain on processors and battery life in Windows 10. Perhaps surprisingly, that's because of changes made by Microsoft rather than Google. The relevant tweaks were discovered by Microsoft as part of its work to ... rebuild the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10. Originally it ran on Microsoft code, but the new version of Edge is now based on Chromium. For those unaware, Chromium is an open source project, which is the basis of Google's Chrome browser. Microsoft found one cause of battery drain was disk caching during online video playback. In simple terms ... (view more)

Fri
17
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Scammed by PayPal Technical Support? Here's What to Do

Infopackets Reader Kathleen S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I really need your help! I have been scammed by fake PayPal technical support . Here's how it happened: beginning some time in March, 2019, I received invoices from PayPal claiming that I paid ... for some kind of technical support for my computer. I have no recollection of this, so up until now I've kept deleting the emails, thinking they were sent in error. Flash forward to January 8, 2020, and I received another message stating that if I don't pay the original invoice ($399), I'm going to be charged an additional ' $500 late fee ,' and ... (view more)

Thu
16
Jan
John Lister's picture

Chrome to Block Third-Party Cookies

Google says it will block third-party cookies, which can track Internet users in ways they don't expect. But it could be up to two years before the block is fully in place. A cookie is a small text file placed on a user's computer by a website. The ... idea is the site can check for the cookie later on and customize the users' web experience. Examples of 'legitimate' cookie use would be an online store that holds items in a virtual 'shopping basket', and a movie theater chain's site 'remembering' a user's location to automatically show them local listings. The more controversial variant is third- ... (view more)

Wed
15
Jan
John Lister's picture

Critical Windows 10 Bug Needs Immediate Fix

The National Security Agency (NSA) has told Microsoft about a major Windows 10 bug which also affects Windows Server 2016 and 2019. A patch is already available and is a must install. For the NSA to tell Microsoft about a Windows vulnerability and ... then discuss it publicly is relatively rare. In the past, the NSA has used such security flaws to take advantage of potential suspects, as part of its surveillance program. In this case, the bug was so serious the NSA seems to have concluded any benefits it could gain itself would be more than wiped out by the threat to the general public (and US ... (view more)

Wed
15
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

How to use Smart DNS to Access Geo-Restricted Content

Have you ever tried to watch a trending online video, only to find that it's not available in your region? A Smart DNS proxy is a solution can help. Here's how it works: A Smart DNS proxy can be used to unblock geo-restricted content from around the ... world. It does this by collecting data related to your geographical location and re-routing it through a computer server located in a region where access to the blocked content is permitted. They do this by changing your Domain Name System (DNS) settings so that the websites you visit think you're in a location where you are permitted to access ... (view more)

Tue
14
Jan
John Lister's picture

Google Slammed Over Android 'Bloatware'

50 privacy groups have urged Google to crack down on pre-installed "bloatware" on Android devices. They say the apps haven't been properly vetted and could threaten privacy. Bloatware refers to software that is already installed on a device when a ... user first starts it up. With Android phones it's particularly significant as it's difficult or even impossible to uninstall. Sometimes manufacturers consider such apps to be genuinely useful for phone owners and even part of the appeal of getting a handset. In other cases it seems more likely the manufacturers have struck deals with developers to ... (view more)

Fri
10
Jan
John Lister's picture

'Police Web Browser Scam' Dupes Users into Paying Thousands

An old Internet scam has got a new twist. The new scam makes it appear as if local police have taken over the web browser in order to "fine" the user for "illegal activities". The "police browser locker" scam is an example of what's dubbed scareware ... by preying on a user's paranoia (or guilt). It involves popup window from within the web browser, or an unexpected web page appearing and giving a bogus message demanding payment. A common form of this scam is the infamous Microsoft tech support scam stating that the computer has been infected with malware and the user needs to ... (view more)

Thu
09
Jan
John Lister's picture

Cyber Attack Fears Rise Over Iran Conflict

Cyber analysts warn Iran may further target the US with cyber attacks as tensions rise in the Middle East. While one federal website has already been compromised for propaganda purposes, the real danger may be to infrastructure, with businesses and ... home users caught in the crossfire. The most eye-catching attack this week involved the website of the Federal Depository Library Program, which was altered to show and Iranian flag and an unflattering picture of the President. However, this doesn't appear to be a particularly sophisticated breach and may well have been the work of amateur hackers ... (view more)

Wed
08
Jan
John Lister's picture

New Clop Ransomware Encrypts Windows Processes

Researchers have spotted new ransomware with a nasty new twist. "Clop," as it's called, doesn't just encrypt files, but deliberately attempts to screw up applications as well. The move is most likely intended to reduce the chances of the ransomware ... being blocked, but also means an attack could be even more disruptive and make it more likely a complete rebuild of the affected PC is necessary. Normally ransomware's main task is to encrypt as many files as possible on a computer. The idea here is to extort the user by forcing them to pay a ransom to regain access to the locked files. ... (view more)

Mon
06
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Scammed by Easy / Net PC Expert? Here's What to Do

Infopackets Reader Jerald B. writes: " Dear Dennis, I was using my computer the other day, then all of a sudden the screen turned red and started flashing, telling me my computer was at risk and I must call 1-855-551-6777 to find out the problem. I ... was on the phone for about an hour and a half, and the people that I spoke to had a very thick Indian accent . They told me that my IP address was open to anyone who wanted to use it and I must encrypt my IP address for the price of $399.00, otherwise hackers would get into my machine. I reluctantly paid the fee and felt uneasy about it. That's ... (view more)

Fri
03
Jan
John Lister's picture

North Korea Accused of Attacking Windows Users

Microsoft has warned users to pay particularly close attention to emails that appear to come from "microsoft.com". A simple trick involving spelling was the key to a security attack that Microsoft believes was instigated by North Korea. A US court ... has given Microsoft legal control of 50 web domains it says were used to carry out cyber attacks on Windows users. It's said to be the work of a group dubbed Thallium operating out of North Korea. Microsoft says the attacks were targeted at "government employees, think tanks, university staff members, members of organizations ... (view more)

Thu
02
Jan
John Lister's picture

No More Security Updates: Win7 Support Ends Jan 14

Microsoft will officially ditch support for Windows 7 in just a couple of weeks, a decade after the system debuted. It means Microsoft may face a difficult choice over security issues. January 14 will mark the end of Extended Support for Windows 7 - ... the second period of a Windows edition's lifespan. Mainstream support, which is the period when Windows 7 received new features and Microsoft deals with tech queries free of charge, already ended in 2015. (Source: bt.com ) Extended Support is where Microsoft charges for help and where the only updates are to fix security problems and major ... (view more)

Tue
31
Dec
John Lister's picture

Wyze Camera, Customer Database Leaked

A "smart" security camera maker has suffered a significant data breach. No video footage was leaked, but email addresses and details of some home gadgets were exposed. Manufacture Wyze hasn't revealed full details of how the breach happened, but ... denied that the leak was due to using cloud computing in China. According to Wyze, the exposed data covered 2.4 million customers and included "customer emails along with camera nicknames, WiFi SSIDs, Wyze device information, body metrics for a small number of product beta testers, and limited tokens associated with Alexa integrations. ... (view more)

Fri
27
Dec
John Lister's picture

Windows 10 Updates Could Get Big Change

Microsoft may be planning to change the way it issues updates for Windows 10. It could help break the cycle of updates fixing previous problems and introducing new ones. Windows 10 represents a shift in the way that Windows Updates are applied. In ... addition to frequent updates to fix bugs and add features, the biggest changes are saved for two major updates each year. The idea is that Windows 10 will be updated indefinitely, rather than introducing a totally new edition. This replaced the previous model of each edition of Windows getting a "Service Pack" of updates every year or two and then ... (view more)

Thu
26
Dec
John Lister's picture

Report: Most Facial Recognition Software 'Racist'

Facial recognition software may be less accurate when dealing with non-Caucasian faces, according to a new study. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) noted the problem was likely the data used to "train" algorithms. The NIST ... examined 189 algorithms from 99 different developers, which it says is a majority of all commercially available systems. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) In the testing, it looked at two tasks. Specifically, they looks to see if two specific photographs are of the same person. In one example, it was to verify identity in order to unlock a phone or check a ... (view more)

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