Meltdown and Spectre – What To Know

You could spend the vast amount of your time reading about IT security flaws as they emerge, and how they affect your computers, phones, tablets, and IoT devices, and still not read everything that’s current and concerning. But here is a particularly powerful duo of exploits about which you need to know: Meltdown and Spectre:  https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/03/kernel-panic-what-are-meltdown-and-spectre-the-bugs-affecting-nearly-every-computer-and-device/

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WiFi Trouble? There Are Many Causes. Here is Just One

WiFi can just be wonky from time to time, and here is just one of the reasons why: WiFi wireless routers that operate in the 2.4GHz spectrum are in an area of the radio frequency spectrum that is unregulated by the FCC. Therefore many, many devices emit RFI, or radio frequency interference in, and/or operate in the 2.4 GHz range. This includes microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, radio control toys, baby monitors, FRS radios, and on and on.  There there is your neighbor’s own WiFi.  With all of this radio frequency energy floating in the around us, weird things happen with respect to 2.4GHz Wifi causing dead spots, and can easily cause one computer to function normally, and another in close proximity to behave poorly with respect to network connectivity. Restarting your router/wireless access point, moving it further away from the walls, moving your WiFi adapter or your entire computer around, and power cycling your hardware can all help. One last point: Wired network connections are *always* more stable and reliable than are wireless connections. If at all possible (and practicable), switch from WiFi to a wired connection.  More reading and more possible fixes here: https://www.pcworld.com/article/227973/six_things_that_block_your_wifi_and_how_to_fix_them.html.

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Android Oreo – A Big Deal

Are you into Android? Android Oreo is a very impressive upgrade. This article from Android Authority is a good read on just why:  www.androidauthority.com/android-oreo-vs-android-nougat-introduction-794696/

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CCleaner Booby Trap

As some of you may know, it was discovered last week that a recent version of CCleaner, the popular Windows clean-up utility, was infected with malware on Piriform’s (the publisher’s) production and distribution servers.  This meant that users who download and installed CCleaner 5.33 32-bit or CCleaner Cloud  1.07.3191 within a 31-day window between the middle of August and the middle of September were infected with this malware.

It was previously thought that no computers in the wild which were infected experienced any damage from the payload.  But as we learn more from this incident, it’s becoming apparent that some infected computers were indeed affected by the mysterious payload.  Read more here: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/ccleaner-malware-outbreak-is-much-worse-than-it-first-appeared/

To be clear, this infection apparently only affected CCleaner 32-bit version 5.33, and the CCleaner Cloud  version 1.07.3191.  Avast, the parent company of Piriform, says that installing CCleaner 5.34 (and now 5.35) will remove the malware.  To be safe, it’s recommend to not only uninstall CCleaner 5.33 32-bit and install the latest version (CCleaner Cloud users should have already received the fix automatically), but to also do a full AV scan of your Windows system.

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iPhone X Revealed for $1000

The anniversary edition of Apple’s flagship device, the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten) has arrived.  Initially available in two memory varieties, the price starts at $999 plus tax.  Although that price tag is a tough pill to swallow, the new handset from Cupertino sports some pretty new and cutting edge features.  Apple was expected to deliver something big for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this year, and perhaps they just did.  Read more here: https://www.techspot.com/news/70952-apple-unveils-iphone-x-most-expensive-smartphone-ever.html

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Trying To Decide on a Cloud Document Provider?

Are you trying to decide on a provider for moving your documents to the cloud? There are many options, and the four most obvious choices are listed in this well-written article: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/onedrive-dropbox-google-drive-and-box-which-cloud-storage-service-is-right-for-you/

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Windows 10 Creators’ Update

Windows 10 update to version 1703 is out, and there are some hidden features:  thetechbeard.com/windows10-creators-update-hidden-features.  Get the Windows 10 update here: www.windows.com.

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TSA is Asking for Social Media Passwords

This is odd, but apparently, since Trump’s executive order on international travel, there are stories about TSA not only checking that laptops and mobile devices are turned on and working, but are now also asking for your social media logins and passwords upon re-entering the US after international travel.  More here: http://techguylabs.com/episodes/1365/tsa-customs-are-asking-social-media-passwords

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QuickTime for Windows is Dead

Just a reminder, if you still have Apple QuickTime installed on your Windows computer, you need to remove it. Apple no longer updates or patches QuickTime for Windows, making it a vector for infection.  Read more HERE and also HERE.

 

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What Is an LCD Mura?

Example of a screen mura spot.

Have you ever owned a laptop that developed one or more white or dark spots on the screen?  Not a sharp dot or pixel, but more of a fuzzy white or dark area?  It’s called an LCD Mura.  Also known as LCD clouding, this condition occurs due to excessive heat and physical pressure to the LCD panel.

LCD mura or clouding can manifest itself as dark or white spots, regions, or streaks.  Since this sort of damage is permanent, the only fix is to replace the LCD panel on the laptop, or to just live with it.  Prevention is best:  Keep your laptop screen away from excessive heat or downward pressure on the top of the laptop.

Here is an illustration of what different types of muras look like: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/239762248_fig1_Figure-1-Illustration-of-line-spot-and-region-Mura.

 

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