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  • Tasks for the weekend – October 23, 2021 – what should an Apple user do?

    Posted on October 23rd, 2021 at 23:48 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here

    If you are an Apple Mac or phone user, what are some of the basic computer steps you should do?

    First off, just like with Microsoft platforms, you too need to be on your guard. Attackers are more and more going after the Apple platform. Recently Apple has patched several zero day attacks that were used in targeted attacks. Just like with Microsoft, you need to ensure your machine is on a platform that obtains updates and is not out of date. Next you need to make sure you are aware of Apple updates when they come out. I’d recommend that you sign up for the Apple security update notification service if you own either a Mac computer or an iPhone (especially if you manage iPhones in a business setting).

    Next review apps on your systems and make sure that they are currently supported as well. If you are bored some day, take your iphone and remove all of those out of date apps that the vendors are no longer supporting.

    Next review the literature out there on how to maintain your systems. If you are moving to Macs in business, make sure you pay attention to the guidance released for managing and maintaining Macs in business. NIST has included guidance as well.

    Bottom line, don’t think that you don’t have to be careful on any platform (hint, next week I’ll give tips on Chromebooks)

    (edit, sorry messed up the Apple mail notification link – Security-announce Info Page (apple.com)

  • Just in time for Thanksgiving

    Posted on October 21st, 2021 at 13:01 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s kinda, sorta official now. Over on the Windows insider blog Brandon LeBlanc is announcing that Windows 10 21H2 will be out in November of 2021. Just in time for American Thanksgiving.

    This also means it’s REALLY squirrel away time for the Windows 10 ISO based on 21H1. Remember the process here, I strongly recommend keeping a copy of 21H1 for a rainy day and the easiest way to do this is by downloading it now from the Microsoft ISO page. Click to download the “Download tool now” and then run the EXE and run through the prompts to download an ISO either on a flash drive or somewhere on your computer.

     

  • Viva Microsoft!

    Posted on October 21st, 2021 at 07:35 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    One day in what seems the distant past, Microsoft Cortana starting sending me email messages. I didn’t ask for them; they just started showing up. For the most part, I found them useless. I think there were some “mental health” messages. My wife thinks I’m crazy; I don’t need some server in Redmond telling me that.

    One day in what I’m sure is the recent past, the new Microsoft Viva took over that responsibility. This time, however, the focus appears to be on actionable items. Cortana/Viva is watching me, picking out what it thinks are to do items, and reminding me about them. I’ve been a happy camper for years because while it was apparent that Google was reading my Gmail, Microsoft wasn’t. Now it clearly is.

    But, okay, reminders. I handle a lot of email in my editorial duties; some assistance might be helpful. So, I’ve been experimenting.

    Microsoft Viva Broken

    More often than not, clicking one of the action buttons in the email results in the teeny, tiny error message shown at the top.

    Can’t Microsoft code any longer?

  • The annoyances of printers

    Posted on October 19th, 2021 at 14:53 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We are supposedly in a paperless business world. Yea… right.  Meanwhile every month we keep hitting printer issues (for some printers, not all) triggered by Microsoft updates. So we get told to buy a new printer to make our lives easier and then the printer manufacturers get downright … well how can we say this nicely…. overbearing, and nearly evil in their ways to hook us into their ink and cartridge programs.

    Once upon a time I had an HP laserjet 4 printer that would run and run and run. The next version of that printer for home users, the HP Laserjet 4L would just run and run and run. (You can still buy one on ebay). I finally had to get rid of it when plastic parts would break off but I must have had that printer for 15 years or more?

    So then the printer manufacturers realized two things – thing one selling printer cartridges was a good business to be in and thing two – if they made a printer that was indestructible we’d never buy another printer again.

    In the small business industry there are certain models of printers that work nicer with working from home and remote printing. A plain laser jet printer of the Lexmark or Brother variety tends to not give you grief when remote printing unlike a USB connected all in one. I also try to not connect home printers via USB when I’m sharing them, rather I look to see if they have a network jack and connect them via a rj45 cable to my home router. Then I go into “add printer” and add a network printer and they find the printer on the network.

    Bottom line it’s 2021. We’re not paperless. We still have issues printing. Each time you install an update (and a reminder, we’re not ready yet to give the all clear to install updates) you need to test that you can print as your first post reboot activity.

    Printing is still such a mess.

    So what printer do you use and what annoys you about your printer?

     

  • A single Registry line enables Windows 11 without TPM 2.0

    Posted on October 18th, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.40 • 2021-10-18

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Microsoft has published a new support document revealing a one-line entry anyone can add to the Registry allowing Windows 11 to install on devices that do not have the so-called TPM 2.0 chip installed on the motherboard.

    The Trusted Platform Module, as I explained in the September 6 AskWoody Newsletter, is a small hardware component that generates and stores cryptographic keys, among other things. Until the release of the recent support document, Microsoft had repeatedly stated that the 2.0 version of TPM would be a requirement before Windows 11 would install. In addition, Win11 has CPU and other hardware requirements above those of Win10, as set forth in Microsoft’s Win11 specifications.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.40.0 (2021-10-18).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.40.F (2021-10-18).

  • Can you fully delete the Edge browser? Should you?

    Posted on October 18th, 2021 at 02:44 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    The answer is yes, no, and maybe, depending on exactly what you’re trying to do and what risks you’re willing to take. You’ll find the how-to information below.

    However, because Fred thinks removing Edge is a bad idea, this column also suggests a better, safer way to suppress Edge — a way guaranteed not to cause new problems with other Windows apps and services.

    But if you understand the risks and still want to remove Edge, here are the background and links you need!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.40.0 (2021-10-18).

  • Freeware Spotlight — CAD

    Posted on October 18th, 2021 at 02:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    BEST UTILITIES

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    For those of us who had drafting in high school, we thought our T-squares were expensive. Those new-fangled home computers were going to make things so much easier for designing palaces, office towers, and rockets — but to do so, they needed software. Very expensive software called CAD.

    CAD stands for computer-aided design. What it should stand for is cash-aided design, because the top CAD programs can cost as much as a used Camaro. A very, very nice used Camaro. Seriously, I just want to design a patio and a birdhouse for said patio. I want software that is much closer to free … or exactly free!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.40.0 (2021-10-18).

  • Opal: Physical assembly – the motherboard

    Posted on October 18th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    HARDWARE DIY

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    I didn’t realize assembling a PC could be so dangerous.

    Like other folks who put together PCs, I usually call them “builds.” That’s a bit generous. As you’ve seen from my previous installment in this series (AskWoody 2021-08-30), I acquired components. I’m not really building anything — I’m assembling those components into the final product, Opal.

    Once the collection of components is on hand, where does one start?

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.40.0 (2021-10-18).

  • Windows 11 is officially vulnerable

    Posted on October 18th, 2021 at 02:41 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Call me silly, but I never consider a Windows release as “official” until the first security updates come down on Patch Tuesday.

    Windows 11 has 39 vulnerabilities; two of the fixes are deemed critical and 37 are important. KB5006674 also includes several fixes that, according to reports, impact performance on specific computers.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.40.0 (2021-10-18).

  • 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 https://www.grc.com/default.htm 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. 

    Sincerely,
    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.