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  • Tasks for the weekend – October 16, 2021 – what ports are open?

    Posted on October 17th, 2021 at 00:40 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube video here

    One of the ways a home user can see if you are vulnerable for external attacks – especially if you have devices that allow for remote access is using a port scanner. One such tool is Shieldsup from GRC. You can visit the site and have it scan typical ports.

    But keep in mind it only scans about 1000 ports on the “all service ports” and there’s over 64,000 ports that can “talk” in your computer system.

    Shields up showcases ports from the outside of your computer.  It lets you see what an attacker can see on your system from the outside.

    Green means “stealth”.

    Now mind you the attackers can still get you with browser attacks and phishing these days so I’d argue that this “direct” attack method is less likely to occur these days, but especially if you have older tech that relied on specific ports to be open, this is still a quick and dirty tool to use to check that your outside edge of your network is what you expect it to be.

    Edit 10-17-2021

    I was trying to provide the ultimate url and grc doesn’t work using the landing page.

    Try and scroll down to the 2nd tool in the list:

    NEW SHIELDS UP! TEST: UPnP Exposure Test!

    Go to ShieldsUP! and click GRC’s “Instant UPnP Exposure Test”.

  • Got a Western Digital My Cloud device?

    Posted on October 15th, 2021 at 15:11 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Make sure that you know if you are supported or not – if you still plan to use these devices make sure they are NOT set to have remote/Internet access and are only accessible internal to your home network.


    Support for your My Cloud device is changing
    Western Digital continuously evaluates and improves our hardware, software, and services as security standards evolve. As a result, we’ve determined that it’s necessary to end support for prior generations of My Cloud OS, including My Cloud OS 3. You should act now to protect your content.
    On April 15, 2022, support for prior generations of My Cloud OS, including My Cloud OS 3, will end. Your device isn’t compatible with critical security updates that are only available for My Cloud OS 5-compatible devices. As a result, you’ll only be able to access it locally. After April 15, 2022, your device will no longer receive remote access, security updates, or technical support. To help protect your content, we recommend that you back up your device, disconnect it from the internet, and protect it with a strong, unique password. Check out our recent My Cloud updates to learn more.
    Thank you for being a long-time Western Digital customer. We understand that your content is important to you, and we appreciate that you trust us to help you preserve it. To show our appreciation, we’re sending you a 20% discount coupon in January 2022 that you can use toward an eligible device. Keep your eye out for another email from us with information about that discount. 

    My Cloud Team


  • October Patch Day – MS DEFCON 2 – here comes Win 11

    Posted on October 12th, 2021 at 12:36 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Dustin Childs is first of the block with his October 2021 security update review.

    And yes Virginia, we have security updates for Windows 11.

    There is one bug that is reported as being used in targeted attacks, however it did not impact Windows 11.

    Microsoft is already fixing some bugs in Windows 11:

    “Compatibility issues have been found between some Intel “Killer” and “SmartByte” networking software and Windows 11. Devices with the affected software might drop User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets under certain conditions. This creates performance and other problems for protocols based on UDP. For example, some websites might load slower than others in affected devices, with videos streaming slower in certain resolutions. VPN solutions based on UDP might also be slower.”

    That should be fixed in today’s release.

    As usual – we are at MS DEFCON – 2 – meaning that “Patch reliability is unclear. Unless you have an immediate, pressing need to install a specific patch, don’t do it”.  We’ll be watching for side effects in the meantime.

    Edit 10-12-2021:  Starting to see smatterings of printer issues again. One thing to keep in mind, make sure all servers and workstations get updates and are rebooted at the same time.

    Edit: 10-15-2021:  Seeing more than “smatterings” of issues with printers.  <sigh> Hang loose as we figure out workarounds.

    A reminder — You can be alerted automatically when the MS-DEFCON level changes, in one of two ways.

    Twitter:  Sign up for Twitter and follow the defconpatch account. Then set up notifications in your Twitter app so that you get alerted when the account tweets a change.

    Cell phone notifications via text: If you are a Plus Member, you can sign up for our SMS text alert service. To cover the extra costs associated with the hosting and SMS service for this exclusive benefit, we ask for a small fee of your choosing. One you have signed up you’ll get a text message whenever the MS-DEFCON level changes.

  • The first Google search result often leads to a virus

    Posted on October 11th, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.39 • 2021-10-11


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    The top search result in Google is all too often a link to a website that’s been hacked to infect visitors’ devices with a virus.

    The culprit behind these infections is called “Gootloader,” a descendant of years-old malware that just keeps getting worse on Google — the only search engine that’s being targeted.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.39.0 (2021-10-11).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.39.F (2021-10-11).

  • PC refuses to upgrade to newer version

    Posted on October 11th, 2021 at 02:44 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    Even as Windows 11 is coming down the pike, some readers are still having trouble getting their PCs to upgrade to the current version of Windows 10!

    But whether you’re updating Win10 or moving to Win11, here are several steps you can try — ranging from simple to severe — if your PC refuses a standard upgrade via Windows Update.

    Plus: What to do when your PC won’t respond to any keystroke!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.39.0 (2021-10-11).

  • Preparing for your move to Linux

    Posted on October 11th, 2021 at 02:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Sandra Henry-Stocker

    By Sandra Henry-Stocker

    For most of us, our Microsoft Office suite is far from the only thing we use on our Windows computer. What about email, messaging, screen captures, password safes, tax-preparation software, calculators, image-manipulation tools, video players, backup tools, and such?

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.39.0 (2021-10-11).

  • Becoming more security-aware

    Posted on October 11th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Windows 11 is now nearly a week old, and are we magically more secure? I’d argue not.

    An up-to-date operating system does help to make us more secure, so I cringe any time anyone wants to disable updates because they don’t feel that updates improve their security. But I’d also argue that installing Windows 11 isn’t a magic pill that, overnight, grants you the goodness of security.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.39.0 (2021-10-11).

  • Tasks for the weekend – checking those URLs

    Posted on October 10th, 2021 at 00:08 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here showcasing the malicious email

    So today I got an email that almost ‘caught’ me. It was a fedex email that looked nearly legit. But if you hovered over the links, they clearly were not proper for fedex.

    I wanted to see what the links were trying to do. Come to find out they were attempting to install/download a .jar (java archive file) file. Yet virustotal indicates that no one has reported it malicious. ( report here)

    It reminded me that too often these older style of files can be used to infect our systems. Just for grins I tested to see what would happen if I tried to click on the link in a virtual machine. In the case of edge and Chrome browsers it was automatically blocked. Firefox still tried to download it.

    But what about Office macros?  Another way that bad guys try to get in?

    Later on this year, Microsoft will be blocking these older Excel 4.0 style macros by default in Microsoft 365 because that’s become a key way that ransomware enters into systems.

    So what about you?  Do you hover over links before you click?

  • MS-DEFCON 2: October updates right around the corner

    Posted on October 8th, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.38.1 • 2021-10-08


    By Susan Bradley

    Enjoy the fall season — take a break from patching!

    With the October updates bearing down upon us, it’s time to take a break. Wrap up patching and updating from September, and prepare your PC to delay the upcoming patches.

    For those of you still on Windows 10 2004, this is an excellent time to upgrade to 21H1 and let it settle in. As for Windows 10 21H2, we still don’t have a definite date.

    Windows 10 will be fully supported until 2025, but it’s still unclear whether Microsoft will be switching to an annual feature-release schedule, as with Windows 11, or keeping the twice-per-year cadence we’ve had for the past five years.

    Consumer and home users

    Based on the information I have now, I will probably sound the all-clear for consumers to install this round of updates on or after October 26. Go into Start, Settings, Update and Security, and Advanced options. In the Pause Updates section, pick October 26 from the drop-down menu.

    If you’ve installed the September updates for Windows 10 2004, 20H2, or 21H1, including KB5005565, you can turn your print spooler service back on and use your printer normally — Microsoft has finally fixed its Print Nightmare bugs. It’s safe to turn it on and leave it on (we hope).

    Business users

    For businesses, I’ll urge you to unofficially shoot for deploying updates a week earlier on October 19. Every time I’ve tried to urge businesses to patch earlier than consumers, we’ve hit side effects and needed to wait for workarounds.

    This is also the time to be testing — but not deploying — Windows 11. Microsoft started releasing Windows 11 as it became Tuesday, October 5, in each time zone around the world. All the tools that help us control, patch, and deploy Windows 10 will also be used to control, patch, and deploy Windows 11. Microsoft is releasing much of its Windows 11 content and will be updating it as more information comes out. Tuesday marked the start of the 36-month servicing-support lifecycle for Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 11. The Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro for Education editions of Windows 11 will receive 24 months of servicing support. But I see no need to rush into Windows 11 — it’s a time to watch for side effects and issues.


    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.38.1 (2021-10-08).

  • So have you been offered Win11 yet?

    Posted on October 7th, 2021 at 15:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So my one – and only – computer that can handle Windows 11 is a Surface Pro 7 plus with cellular/LTE.  And so far it has NOT been offered Windows 11.  I’m going to leave it so I can see when an officially supported Microsoft hardware will get offered Windows 11.  I’ll keep you posted.

    In the meantime early birds get performance hits:

  • October 2021 Office non-Security Updates have been released

    Posted on October 5th, 2021 at 13:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The October 2021 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, October 5, 2021. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the September 2021 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Access 2016 (KB5001978)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB3114524)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB4462197)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB4486711)
    Update for Microsoft Outlook 2016 (KB5001998)

    There were no non-security listings for Office 2013.
    On April 10, 2018, Office 2013 reached End of Mainstream Support. Extended Support will end for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
    Office 2016 also reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • A rolling release to Windows 11

    Posted on October 4th, 2021 at 15:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So for those of you in Australia, heads up!  Windows 11 is on the roll