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  • Patch Lady – if you use a IT consultant

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 18:54 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you use an IT consultant please please please forward them this post by Amy Babinchak on what a Managed Service Provider should do to audit their own internal processes:

    http://techgenix.com/msps-internal-security-audit/

    Hackers, attackers are targeting consultants because they know they can hit a lot of people with one targeted attack.  Just the other day Krebs on Security reported that 100 small dentist offices were impacted by ransomware after their IT consultant was targeted.

    If you don’t use an IT consultant and instead do your own IT, make sure you think about the vendors and services you use for online activities and think about ways to add two factor authentication to sensitive information.  Add two factor to your bank access.  If you use hosted email, check with your ISP or vendor if they support two factor.  Just the other day I got an alert that my Xfinity had been logged in from an Ubuntu device.  I do HAVE an ubuntu device but I sure wasn’t logging into Xfinity from it.  I quickly added two factor it that account as well.

    Need two factor for remote desktop?  Check out duo.com

    Need a third party app that supports multiple vendors?  Check out authy.com

    Bottom line make sure that you protect accounts and log ins that you can’t live without and make sure they have extra protections.

    They are out to get you.

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Make sure automatic update is blocked

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 08:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Tomorrow’s Patch Tuesday. Now’s a good time to double-check and make sure the patches won’t hit you the minute they roll out the Windows Update chute.

    Step by step instructions in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • The Chrome OS FAQ, Part II: Which Chromebook should you buy?

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    GOOGLE CHROME OS

    By JR Raphael

    In Part I of this three-part series on Google’s Chrome OS, we covered the ins and outs of Google’s Chrome OS software and the Chromebook laptops that rely on it (see AskWoody Plus issue 16.44.0, 2019-12-02).

    In this week’s Part II, we’ll go into greater detail on the hardware side of things — specifically, what you need to know to buy the best Chromebook for your needs.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Removing bloatware and OEM mods from new machines

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:10 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    By Fred Langa

    New Windows PC on the way? Give it the strongest-possible start by removing nonessential software, settings, and modifications from the as-delivered factory setup.

    Windows 10 offers three built-in ways to do this — the relatively little-known Fresh Start tool plus two classic Reset options.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Freeware Spotlight — PrivaZer

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    BEST UTILITIES

    By Deanna McElveen

    There are many reasons for removing all traces of your (or another user’s) activities from a computer.

    But short of reformatting the system drive and other storage devices, it’s not simple. To make that scrubbing task considerably easier, Goversoft offers PrivaZer, a free and comprehensive cleanup and privacy tool.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Versatile gadget gifts for stuffing stockings large and small

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    GADGETS

    By Michael Lasky

    Christmas stocking stuffers are usually thought of as small, whimsical, and not always practical gifts. They’re fun little extras.

    But throughout the year, I bookmarked a host of high- and low-tech products that are actually useful for digital denizens. You know: gadgets that will appeal to your favorite techie — or that you secretly covet for yourself.

    If your holiday shopping list is still incomplete, here are four items for your consideration.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Chasing the elusive upgrade for Win10 Pro v1803

    Posted on December 8th, 2019 at 14:45 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I have been doing some testing on my Win10 Pro v1803 machine. I wanted to see if the pulldown deferral settings in the Windows Update GUI under Advanced Settings really work.

    My Win10 Pro v1803 Windows Update Settings are as follows:
    + In the GUI, Semi Annual Channel, Feature Update deferral=365, Quality Update deferral=0, NO Pause.
    + In Group Policy under Windows Update\Configure Automatic Updates=Enabled, value=2 (notify download/install)
    + Fully up-to-date 2019-11 CU KB4525237 Build 17134,1130
    + wushowhide shows NO available updates.
    + There are no pending updates in the queue and it is reported “Up to date”.
    + There is NO “Download and install now” section/link because the updates are deferred thus not available.

    Testing:
    1. Set deferral=230 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809 (2019-1113)
    2. Set deferral=200 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    3. Set deferral=180 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    4. Set deferral=150 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    5. Set deferral=120 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1903
    6. Returning to deferral=365 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows NO available updates.

    Observations:
    + Perhaps the 180 deferral for v1903 is too large by the 60-day one-time extension MS allowed for the change in updating (eliminating SAC (Targeted).
    + Settings between 230 days and 150 days deferral make v1809 available in wushowhide
    + A setting of 120 days deferral make v1903 available in wushowhide.
    + Returning to 365 days deferral eliminated the availability of the upgrades.
    + I did not run “Check for updates” because I did not want to do the upgrade at this time and that would have initiated the download/install.
    + Because I did not wait for the system to check for updates on its own, there were no available Feature Updates, so I did not see the “Download and install now” section.

    Conclusion: The deferrals seem to be working as expected.

  • Yes, there’s a crack to enable extended security updates on all Win7 machines. No, you shouldn’t count on it.

    Posted on December 8th, 2019 at 07:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Martin Binkmann on Ghacks.net has some cracking news about the Win7 Extended Security Updates — the ability to install Win7 security patches from Microsoft after Win7 hits end of service in January:

    Someone discovered a way to enable Extended Security Updates on all machines running Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

    That’s really big news for several reasons, but one point that intrigues me is that it offers hope for Win7 Home and Ultimate users that they might be able to get security patches after January.

    All in all, it’s a clever hack from some brilliant folks on My Digital Life that flips the proper bits to make any Win7 system pass Microsoft’s eligibility check for Extended Security Updates. We don’t yet have even one Extended Security Update, so it’s impossible to tell if it’ll work on the Real Thing.

    It’s also about 99.999% likely, in my opinion, that MS will plug the hole before January.

    That won’t keep people from trying, of course.

    Meanwhile, I’m sitting with bated breath, wondering if Susan and Amy will be able to find a way for normal people like me to pay $50 and get an extra year of security patches.