• MS-DEFCON 4: A “sort of” quiet February

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    ISSUE 21.09.1 • 2024-02-27

    MS-DEFCON 2

    By Susan Bradley

    The February updates have generally been well behaved, with one major exception: gamers.

    Otherwise, things have been mostly quiet. That’s why I feel comfortable lowering the MS-DEFCON level to 4. Patches are unlikely to cause most users any problems.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (21.09.1, 2024-02-27).

  • Get ready for AI

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    ISSUE 21.09 • 2024-02-26

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about some new technology using AI.

    Whether we like it or not, vendors are going to be slapping a coat of AI on just about everything to ensure it gets in front of us.

    We already know that many in our readership do not want AI in their technology. But what if you do want to embrace it? What are some things you need to concern yourself about, or at least be aware of before you start using it?

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.09.0, 2024-02-26).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • All the places a “missing” email can be hiding

    MICROSOFT 365

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    If an email hasn’t arrived, there are many reasons why it’s not sitting in your Inbox. Before complaining to the sender, save yourself embarrassment by checking the many other hiding places.

    Over 20-plus years, I’ve had a lot of experience from both sides of a missing email. I’ve traced missing emails sent to me and helped people trace messages that my site, Office-Watch.com, sent to them.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.09.0, 2024-02-26).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • AM-DeadLink — Because nothing lasts forever

    FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” —Jimmy Dean

    Websites disappear or get redirected as their original owners stop paying for the domain names and someone else scoops them up. I’m going to show you how to adjust your sails.

    AM-DeadLink is a free program by Aignesberger Software, an Austrian software company. The program searches your Web browser’s bookmarks or favorites for links that are no longer active (dead) or are getting redirected to another website (a common tactic used by scammers who buy up the old domains). But AM-DeadLink doesn’t stop there. You can also use it to scan text files, tab-delimited files, CSV files, and HTML files to find dead links.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.09.0, 2024-02-26).

  • Windows Terminal arrives?

    WINDOWS 11

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Microsoft’s Windows Terminal is not a new thing, but it arrived by stealth in Windows 11. It’s quite a change.

    Windows Terminal is a replacement for the Windows Console that can run any command-line-interface (CLI) app within a tabbed interface. It was developed for Windows 10 and has been around since 2019, but it has suddenly appeared in Windows — apparently with no warning.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.09.0, 2024-02-26).

  • Do you know what to do for identity theft?

    I hope you are following Brian Livingston’s series on Password managers. There’s more to come in fact. As a password manager program is one of the best things you can do to prevent identity theft.

    As the SANS  OUCH newsletter points out, the best way to prevent such thing is to ensure you are using strong passwords.

    Strong Passwords: One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is secure each of your accounts with a unique, long password, and when possible, enable multi-factor authentication.”

    There is no way the human brain can remember a long strong password even if you did make it a passphrase. In addition, if you reuse it on many sites, all it takes is one site that does not do their due diligence in protecting your hashed password and once “popped” by an attacker, they then try that saved hashed password against other web sites.  We are creatures of habit when it comes to reusing passwords. Try to NOT be a creature of habit. Are you following Brian’s series?  Do you use a password manager? What steps have you taken to keep your identity safe?

  • Born to fail?

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    ISSUE 21.08 • 2024-02-19

    BEN’S WORKSHOP

    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    A beguiling and captivating laptop showed up here with a bad combination of RAM and SSD.

    One of my clients recently traded in a Dell Inspiron 15-7568, a laptop with a brilliant 15-inch, 4K (3840×2160) resolution touch screen; eight gigabytes of memory; and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD).

    Nice, but troubled.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.08.0, 2024-02-19).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Can you use a free password manager, or must you pay?

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    We all face security threats on the Internet. A common recommendation by tech pundits is this: at each website where you register, enter a different username-password combination.

    Remembering all those combos — especially if you make up random strings, such as 6!p#o&a0%9b — almost forces you to install software called a password manager. But do you really have to?

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.08.0, 2024-02-19).

  • Microsoft’s groundhog — Copilot

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan BradleyBy Susan Bradley

    Will you see it, or won’t you?

    In the United States and Canada, on a day in early February, a certain rodent is observed emerging from its burrow. Based upon an old Pennsylvania Dutch superstition, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it retreats into the ground for six more weeks, signaling that much more wintry weather.

    I feel a bit like this with Microsoft’s release of Copilot — I never know whether a machine is going to see it or not.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.08.0, 2024-02-19).

  • Who are you? (2024 edition)

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Here are a few things we learned from this year’s reader survey.

    First, many thanks to the very large number of readers who took the time to complete our 2024 reader survey. Your response is very gratifying and greatly appreciated.

    There are several reasons we do these annual surveys. Of greatest importance is making sure we understand the nature of your use of technology, which directs the content we produce. We also want to know a bit about you and your background — again, so we can gauge the level to which we write.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.08.0, 2024-02-19).

  • Review your notifications

    When you purchase a new Windows 11 computer – especially one that wasn’t manually built by you but purchased from an OEM vendor, you want to look for all of the “upsells”. In the System/Notifications, look for the other apps and other vendors that have preset to give you notifications.

    Case in point my Windows 11 Home test laptop purchased “AS IS” from an OEM vendor comes with notifications turned on to “upsell you” to Dropbox.

    The other day I saw someone in Enterprise complain that new HP computers were coming shipped with Wolf security and wondering if that bloat could be removed with Intune or Autopilot.

    Bottom line anytime you get a new computer, review what’s installed and rip out accordingly.

    And for the record “bloat” has long been a problem in the Windows ecosystem.

  • Master Patch List as of February 13, 2024

    Happy Valentine’s day and Happy Post Patch day – or rather the wait and see week.

    I’ve updated the Master Patch list for the February updates.  I’ll be updating the page for any known issues or issues that we are tracking.  Still seeing failures on Windows 10 and KB5034441 which fails to install with error code 0x80070643.  That has not been fixed.

    Consumers: At this time I only want you to install browser updates.

    Businesses: You’ll want to install Exchange updates for your on premise mail servers NOW.  Exchange 2016 – you must run a script.  Exchange 2019 has a patch. Make sure you read this post.

    Mind you at this time I still have not given the go ahead and strongly recommend that you do not install updates at this time. But I know some of you are testing updates at this time. The full details will be in Monday’s Plus newsletter.

    As always, thank you all for supporting the cause! Remember we use the “name your price” model where you can choose how much you will pay for  a membership . Plus membership gives you access and if you donate $50 or more you’ll get a special code to enable text messages sent to your phone each time the Master Patch List gets updated and when I change the MS-DEFCON level.  More details in Monday’s newsletter.  You are missing out if you don’t sign up. All content is human made with our own blood, sweat, tears, fingers and brain power and 100% AI free.  Therefore, if I’ve fat fingered any KB numbers or if you have any questions, as always post in the forums and I’ll follow up!