Monthly Archives: February 2022

  • Trust no one: The case for blockchain

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    ISSUE 19.09 • 2022-02-28


    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    How you read the title above says a lot about how you should approach blockchain and its popular implementations (cryptocurrency and NFTs).

    If you read it as “there is no one who can be trusted,” then cryptocurrency may be of interest as a way to keep your finances hidden from the prying eyes of others (perhaps, notably, the government). However, if you read it as “trust the crowd rather than anyone in particular,” then blockchain may offer the means for reaching your goal, offering a way to establish ownership without having to trust any one individual or entity. In either case, you are using a tool and should respect its limitations and risks.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.09.0 (2022-02-28).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Newsletter 19.09.F (2022-02-28).

  • ‘Shell’ Extensions; Quick Assist; and moving a spinning HDD


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    It was another busy week for the AskWoody email servers, as your fellow subscribers sent in tips, observations, and questions covering a huge range of issues. Here are some of the most interesting!

    First up: An excellent tip involving another way to check for the cause of File Explorer malfunctions.

    Second: Remote Desktop’s gussied-up cousin, “Quick Assist.”

    And last: When you absolutely must, here’s how to safely move an active, spinning hard drive!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.09.0 (2022-02-28).

  • Five tiny tweaks — with Registry files!


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    Registry (.reg) files are an easy way to do a little Windows hacking.

    I don’t mean hacking as in eating Hot Pockets and breaking into NORAD. I mean hacking as in using technical, and perhaps complex, means to make useful changes to Windows.

    Basically, a .reg file is a backup of a Windows Registry key or value. In Windows, if you run a .reg file by double-clicking it, changes or additions will be made to the Registry to match what is in the .reg file. There are thousands of pre-made .reg files out there on the Internet. They’ve been created by individuals, companies, and even Microsoft itself to change a whole host of Windows’ capabilities.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.09.0 (2022-02-28).

  • Extra security for all your devices


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    These days, I don’t have just traditional PCs that I must protect — I have iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Chromebooks, and others. And these don’t run Microsoft operating systems.

    Not to pick on her, but my sister used to randomly surf with her Windows PC and, after searching, would end up with some sort of infection or malicious browser plugin. But when she did the same on her iPad or iPhone, I was spared the chore of cleaning up those devices — they were less targeted and less likely to end up compromised.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.09.0 (2022-02-28).

  • What can you do?

    Youtube video here

    I’m going to combine a bit of headlines with technology tonight. In watching the news tonight, it saddens me that we can’t all get along. That people tonight are having to fear for their lives and fear for their loved ones.  I know a lot of people that either have relatives, loved ones, technology team members in Ukraine.  So here are some thoughts tonight.

    First for home users and consumers, ensure that your edge device, your router, can’t be used in denial of service attacks. Michael Horowitz always has excellent resources on how to ensure your router is up to date and secured. If you bought your own router, ensure that it’s bios is up to date, your “from remote” password is strong, or better yet, that any remote access isn’t enabled, or is protected by two factor authentication.

    For businesses, do likewise with your firewall. Ensure that these edge devices are secured first and foremost.

    If you get hit by ransomware, know that chances are you are funding unsavory folks. So ensure that you aren’t a victim by having a backup. Always make sure that you can restore your data without having to give money to anyone who doesn’t have your best interests in mind.

    Finally, consider donating to help people who have had to flee their homes. As I’m in my nice warm house, with electricity and technology that I can depend on, it makes me wish and hope that everyone in the world can be as I am tonight. Warm. Safe. With a roof over my head. Here’s hoping that everyone can be content. Someday.

  • Let’s be careful out here

    Tonight as I’m seeing the news, once again our world is in a state of unrest.  Again.  Or still in unrest, depending on your point of view and where you live. For me, there’s a bit of added layer of concern.

    Ask you may be aware, Ukraine and the area around Ukraine has been in the news tonight for traditional attacks (tanks, soldiers, etc). But historically it’s been in the news for cyber style attacks. Often these types of attacks can and do inadvertently impact innocent businesses and individuals.

    Remember Maersk shipping that got hit by ransomware that originally targeted firms in Ukraine?  Cyber attacks don’t stop at borders but can hurt individuals and businesses all over the world.

    Already I’m reading reports of destructive malware that has been targeting businesses in Ukraine. Specifically, “The wiper abuses legitimate drivers from the EaseUS Partition Master software in order to corrupt data. As a final step the wiper reboot computer”

    While the CISA site is specifically about warning businesses about the impact of cyber attacks. I want to also give a warning for you, the individuals and small businesses reading this post. Ensure you HAVE A BACKUP. I cannot stress that enough. Ensure that you have an external hard drive, a spare hard drive, a cloud, a …. SOMETHING … that you can use to recover your information.

    As Sargeant Phil Esterhaus used to say “Let’s be careful out there“.  Be extra careful in your clicking and surfing.

  • MS-DEFCON 5: A very quiet February

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    ISSUE 19.08.1 • 2022-02-22


    By Susan Bradley

    For the first time in an extremely long time, this month of patching has been so quiet that I’m changing the patching status to the magical level of 5.

    All’s clear. Patch while it’s safe!

    Don’t blink, because it may not happen again. There are so few issues that it feels too quiet, like the calm before the storm. The only thing I’m tracking is a few reports on issues with the 2012 R2 print server, because it broke printing on DataMax label and badge printers. However, I’m not tracking any issues with standalone printers.

    Anyone can read the full AskWoody Plus Alert 19.08.1 (2022-02-22).

  • Master Patch List updated through Feb 22

    For those of you that are Plus members, I’ve updated the Master patch listing through February 22, 2022.  I’ve expanded the listing of Browsers showcasing that many of them received updates last week.

    Remember the .NET updates this month did not include security updates but I’ve gone ahead and indicated they should be installed if you are offered them.

    Thank you all for supporting the cause! Remember a mere $1 donation will give 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.

  • Will your flip phone work tomorrow?

    (US Centric post) Tomorrow marks the day that the phone companies will shut off 3G services in order to make room for 5G. If you have an older flip phone you may need to reach out to the cellular phone company to ensure it works. I know that in my area, the phone company has been swapping out phones for free to get people on supported models.

    If you are unsure, call them (*) today rather than tomorrow.

    (*)yes I know, dealing with their telephone support gives us all high blood pressure.  I have to mentally tell myself to lower my voice and calm down when dealing with them. From the annoying phone menu system to having to go through the basics (yes I rebooted my phone), they are definitely not my favorite tech support experience.

  • 11 settings to tweak on a new Windows 11 PC

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    ISSUE 19.08 • 2022-02-21

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    There are a bunch of settings you should configure before you fully dive into Windows 11.

    Let’s assume you’re running Windows 11 on a new or upgraded PC. Before you fully start working, playing, and hopping online, there are several key settings and features you should review, configure, or enable. By doing so, you’ll feel more at home with Windows 11. Among the settings to check are the Start menu, Taskbar, battery power, universal clipboard, and Windows Hello options.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.08.0 (2022-02-21).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Newsletter 19.08.F (2022-02-21).

  • Wide-ranging reader questions


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    The AskWoody email servers have been busy! This week’s column features three interesting questions and tips submitted by your fellow subscribers.

    First up: We look at several potential workarounds for OneDrive backup issues.

    Second: A reader encounters the one time when an unexpected reboot doesn’t necessarily signify trouble.

    And last: A malfunctioning copy of File Explorer resists all repair attempts!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.08.0 (2022-02-21).

  • How to find out who owns that website you hate


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Sometimes, you really want to look up the email address or phone number of whoever owns a particular website or domain name.

    Unfortunately, this is becoming more difficult as various “privacy” services attempt to hide this information from the global WhoIs system. Surprisingly often, these cloaking mechanisms fail to provide website owners with true security and actual privacy — while seriously frustrating the rest of us.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.08.0 (2022-02-21).