Articles

Thu
26
Mar
John Lister's picture

Windows 10 to Only Get Security Fixes

Microsoft is switching to a "security updates only" model for Windows from May until further notice. The idea is to limit the risk of creating bugs while many people are working from home without IT support staff. The change affects what are known ... internally at Microsoft as C and D updates. Those roll out on the third and fourth week of the month and contain previews and testing of new features that are planned for a main release the following month. Microsoft will continue with the B update on the second Tuesday of each month, unofficially known as Patch Tuesday. However, this will now only ... (view more)

Wed
25
Mar
John Lister's picture

Critical Security Flaw Hits Windows 7 and 8 Hardest

Microsoft has warned users of a significant unpatched security flaw in Windows. It's offered some key steps to take while the problem is being fixed. The problem affects all currently supported versions of Windows, though Windows 7 and 8 machines ... are affected 'critically' according to the Microsoft advisory bulletin. Attacks on Windows 10 machines are considerably more constrained due to its enhanced security features. Microsoft says its currently only aware of targeted attacks on Windows 7 machines, though that could change now the bug has been made public. (Source: microsoft.com ) Adobe ... (view more)

Tue
24
Mar
John Lister's picture

Warning: Windows Defender May Break (Workaround)

Windows 10's built-in security tool Windows Defender has stopped working properly for some users. There's a workaround for those who want added peace of mind. Exactly what's causing the problem isn't yet clear, but some users are finding both manual ... and automatic scans produce messages such as: "Items skipped during scan: The Windows Defender Antivirus scan skipped an item due to exclusion or network scanning settings." In other cases, the error message reports that the entire scan was skipped. The message isn't proving particularly helpful as it's not clear what items are actually being ... (view more)

Thu
19
Mar
John Lister's picture

Google Pauses Chrome Updates

Google says it won't be adding any new features to the Chrome browser and operating system for the moment. It's switching to security updates only, a move prompted by changing work patterns. Announcing the move, Google wrote: Due to adjusted work ... schedules at this time, we are pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases. Our primary objectives are to ensure Chrome continues to be stable, secure, and work reliably for anyone who depends on them. We'll continue to prioritize any updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80. (Source: chromium.org ) Chromebook Use May Rise ... (view more)

Wed
18
Mar
John Lister's picture

Tech Giants Tackle COVID-19 Fake News

Leading tech companies have agreed a joint program to week out false information about the COVID-19 pandemic. It could have a knock-on effect on the rest of their services. The program is announced in a joint statement from Facebook, Google, ... LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube. It says they will take steps "to make sure everyone has access to accurate information, stop misinformation and harmful content, and support global health experts, local governments, businesses and communities." (Source: fb.com ) It's part of a four part program of measures from Facebook. The ... (view more)

Tue
17
Mar
John Lister's picture

Apple, Google Differ On COVID-19 Apps

Apple says it's banning any COVID-19 related apps unless it's certain they come from authoritative sources. It's also banning any game or entertainment apps related to the coronavirus pandemic. The move is particularly significant as it's almost ... impossible to install an app on an iPhone or iPad unless it's been approved by Apple. In contrast, Android users can install unapproved apps from sources other than the official Google Play store, albeit only after confirming they are willing to take the security risk. Apple says that when it comes to COVID-19 content it is "evaluating apps critically ... (view more)

Mon
16
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Win10 Home Disable Password Complexity, Expiration

Infopackets Reader Ginny S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I am running Windows 10 Home and all the sudden it is telling me that I need to change my password and that my Windows password must meet complexity requirements . I have never had this issue ... before. To make matters worse it tells me that the password needs to be minimum of 8 characters and contain both upper and lower case, plus digits. This has happened twice already and I have a hard enough time remembering my passwords. How can I disable the Windows 10 Home password complexity and expiration ? All the posts I've come across all mention ... (view more)

Fri
13
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Can't Start Malwarebytes Installer Service

Infopackets Reader Marlene T. writes: " Dear Dennis, My Windows 10 computer recently upgraded and my desktop icons have gone missing . On top of that, Malwarebytes Antimalware no longer works. When I try to launch Malwarebytes Antimalware, it ... freezes at the Malwarebytes logo and does not progress. I've tried to uninstall Malwarebytes Antimalware but it tells me that it can't start the malwarebytes installer service . I'm completely lost and need Malwarebytes to run! I need your help! " My response: I asked Marlene if she would like me to connect to her machine using my remote desktop support ... (view more)

Thu
12
Mar
John Lister's picture

New Ransomware Exploits Excel Format

A new ransomware variant takes advantage of a Microsoft Excel feature. It's a good reminder to keep security software up-to-date. The variant has been reported by security company Lastline. It involves a known ransomware called Paradise that ... operates in the familiar fashion: the attackers find a way to get remote access to a computer then encrypt files and demand a fee to restore access - sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars, or much higher. In this case, the attackers try to trick victims into opening a file attachment that creates the opening for accessing the machine. The ... (view more)

Wed
11
Mar
John Lister's picture

Official: COVID-19 a Pandemic; Tips to Clean Devices

Apple has issued new guidance on how to clean iPhones, iPods and laptops. Though it doesn't mention the reason for the update, it's almost certainly a reaction to concerns about COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Most of the medical ... advice for people to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus has centered on regular hand washing with hot water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching the face. However, portable devices are certainly an area of concern, given how often many owners touch them during a day. Apple already offers official advice for keeping ... (view more)

Tue
10
Mar
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Revamps Win10 Data Collection Options

Microsoft is changing the options for how Windows 10 computers share data for diagnostic purposes. It's ditching one option and renaming the others, though no PC will start reporting data without the user's permission. The diagnostic data program is ... where computers send information to Microsoft about their activity and any problems. The idea is to help Microsoft spot any bugs as well as assess how widely features are used and thus which are most worthy of further maintenance and development. Some User Control Because there's an obvious tension between improving Windows 10 and addressing ... (view more)

Mon
09
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Program Won't Remove from Programs and Features

Infopackets Reader Rick F. writes: " Dear Dennis, I had a problem trying to uninstall a program via the Control Panel (Add or Remove Programs / Programs and Features) and ended up having to remove it manually. The problem now is that the program ... won't uninstall from Programs and Features . Is there a way to manually fix a program that won't remove from Programs and Features so it's completely removed from the list? It's like I have a phantom entry and I don't know how to get rid of it. I hope what I'm asking makes sense. I've tried to follow so-called guides online to fix this problem but ... (view more)

Fri
06
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Disable CompatTelRunner.exe (High CPU, Disk Usage)

Infopackets Reader Sharon S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just purchased a used Acer laptop with Windows 10 on it. The system is slow and Task Manager shows 100% disk usage by CompatTelRunner.exe . Also CompatTelRunner.exe causes high CPU usage . I ... searched Google on how to disable CompatTelRunner.exe or delete CompatTelRunner.exe but can't seem to find a straight answer. Can you help? " My response: I asked Sharon if she would like me to have a closer look at the issue using my remote desktop support service , and she agreed. Below I will discuss my findings. How to Fix: Disable CompatTelRunner. ... (view more)

Thu
05
Mar
John Lister's picture

Malware-Free Cyber Attacks on the Rise

Most online attacks don't involve malware, according to newly published figures. It's the first time "fileless techniques" have been in the majority. The figures come from an annual report by security company CrowdStrike. It says it analyzed its own ... customer data along with that from investigations into known attackers and data from reported incidents. According to the report, malware-free attacks made up 51 percent of the total during 2019, up from 40 percent the previous year. The tactics were particularly prevalent in North America, making up 74 percent of attacks. (Source: zdnet.com ) As ... (view more)

Wed
04
Mar
John Lister's picture

Apple to Pay Price for Purposely Slowing iPhones

Apple is to compensate customers after claims it intentionally slowed down old iPhones to make people more likely to upgrade. Each person eligible in the class action lawsuit will get around $25, but Apple isn't formally admitting any wrongdoing. ... Back in 2017 Apple admitted it had intentionally slowed down the performance of old iPhones through a software update. However, it denied this was a marketing move and instead said it was a necessary step to extend the lifespan of ageing batteries of older iPhones . Specifically it said sudden spikes in processor demand could cause older batteries to ... (view more)

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