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  • EU Anti-Trust investigation hits Google with biggest fine yet

    Posted on June 27th, 2017 at 15:30 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Google has been fined $2.7 Billion US, in its European Union anti-trust ruling, after a 7 year probe.

    From Financial Times:

    “Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results and demoting those of competitors. What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules”, said EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

    Google is understood to be considering appealing the ruling. Other reports say that even if the fine is paid, it is unlikely to cripple Google/Alphabet financially, but Alphabet’s share price has dropped since the ruling was announced.

    You can read the European Commission press release here

  • Net Neutrality Day is July 12th, 2017 – a call to action

    Posted on June 24th, 2017 at 12:55 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Moves are again underway in U.S. to remove net neutrality, a subject that Woody raised a few years ago, more than once. Several groups have united to bring attention to this, and have created online sites for sending letters to FCC and congress-critters.

    To have your say (and with further information), check out:
    battleforthenet.com – This is a battle for the future of the internet
    ACLU – Tell the FCC: Keep the internet free

    For further information about Net Neutrality Day, see:
    wikipedia.org – Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality

    What is Net Neutrality?
    It is the principle that your Internet Service Provider should not control what (or how) you see and do online. This could mean not being able to access to your chosen provider of services, being restricted in your speed of access or having to pay a premium for faster access for all otherwise-throttled internet access. More information is here:
    ACLU- What Is Net Neutrality?
    Wikipedia.com – Net Neutrality

    Also check out the mention of it here on askwoody.com and on Twitter

    (& PS Thanks for the suggestions for topics I have received recently, this one comes from @Elly)

  • ZDNet: Windows 10 S, the safest Windows yet, can be hacked

    Posted on June 24th, 2017 at 12:01 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft says ‘no known ransomware’ runs on Windows 10 S — so we tried to hack it

    By | June 24, 2017

    We enlisted a leading security researcher to test if Microsoft’s newest, locked-down version of Windows 10 is protected against all “known” kinds of ransomware, as the company claims.

    Microsoft claims “no known ransomware” runs on Windows 10 S, its newest, security-focused operating system.

    The software giant announced the version of Windows earlier this year as the flagship student-focused operating system to ship with its newest Surface Laptop. Microsoft touted the operating system as being less susceptible to ransomware because of its locked-down configuration — to the point where you can’t run any apps outside the protective walled garden of its app store. In order to get an app approved, it has to go through rigorous testing to ensure its integrity. That’s one of several mitigations that helps to protect the operating system to known file-encrypting malware.

    We wanted to see if such a bold claim could hold up.

    Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

    Read the full article on zdnet.com

  • Google will no longer scan Gmail to serve up personalized ads

    Posted on June 23rd, 2017 at 17:14 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s a remarkable development. Martin Binkmann at gHacks reports that Google’s giving up on its email scanning.

    Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if EU privacy concerns prompted the move. Whatever the impetus, the result is important. Google stopped scanning email in paid accounts and educational accounts years ago. This is another step in the right direction.

    Far as I know, Microsoft still scans the subject line in free Hotmail/Outlook.com mail accounts.

  • Snapchat’s new Snap Map shares your location

    Posted on June 23rd, 2017 at 02:51 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A furore has erupted over Snapchat’s new location-sharing Snap Map – unless you set the app to “Ghost Mode”, your location is shared with your contacts.

    We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!

    It’s easy to get started — just pinch to zoom out and view the Map! You decide if you want to share your location with friends, or simply keep it to yourself with Ghost Mode.

    If your friends are sharing their location with you, their Actionmoji will appear on the Map. Actionmojis only update when you open Snapchat.

    We hope you enjoy the new Map as much as we do!
    Happy Snapping!
    Team Snap

    Many are retweeting instructions on how to set the Ghost Mode, while many are debating why anyone thought this was a safe idea…

    If you are using Snapchat, please check your settings now.

  • Would you pay less for hardware without updates?

    Posted on June 22nd, 2017 at 03:19 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Some smartphones come with an unaffordable price tag, and some of those phones don’t even come with good backup service or a long product life expectancy. The cost to purchase often far exceeds the benefits of ownership, if all you want is a mobile phone. The market offering of phones that are just a mobile phone has shrunk dramatically in the last few years, with smartphones being the market leader.

    Michael Horowitz’ June 20th article “Are Android bug fixes worth $510 when buying a phone?” addresses this and goes into the security risks which some cheaper smartphones face, as they do not share the same update schedule given to pricier models.

    Most cheaper models have older OS versions, and one even came with pre-installed monitoring (spyware). The question becomes, is the risk of not updating worth the extra cost of buying hardware that is updated more often? The after-sales service also figures in the long-term cost of ownership.

    Your decision will depend on how you plan on using your smartphone – if phone calls and SMS are your only uses for the device, a cheaper phone may well suffice, but if you plan on doing online banking, accessing cloud documents and online shopping, that might not be such a smart idea.

    Reported life expectancy of a smartphone is less than two years. Even if it does last longer than that, obsolescence often catches you out – think of an iPhone 4 that still works to communicate, but would you want to connect it to the internet now? Its iOS doesn’t work for secure apps any more, and it can’t be updated… planned obsolescence, presumably. Even if you have apps installed, access to them may be blocked. Either you buy a newer model, or just use it as a phone.

    Michael’s article on computerworld.com is an interesting read.

  • Viivo End Of Life Just Announced

    Posted on June 20th, 2017 at 16:02 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PKWARE’s Viivo data encryption has just announced it will be shutting down from the end of the month, with their servers ceasing to operate a year later.

    Viivo’s free and paid services have added to the security of cloud storage over recent years, giving extra peace of mind to users of offerings like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Box. These users will now be looking at their options, so they can decrypt their Viivo files within the given time. Find out more on https://viivo.com/shutdown

    PKWARE are also known for their zip products, as well as encryption.

  • Acrobat Reader XI Now Offered Upgrade to Acrobat 2017 Reader

    Posted on June 19th, 2017 at 14:26 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This month, Adobe has started upgrading Reader XI to 2017, which was released this month. This comes with new options for upgrading, and EULA changes.

    You can read about this over on Browser & Desktop Software:
    Acrobat 2017 is now being rolled out