May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

The point of antivirus is to keep malware off the system. A particularly nasty software flaw in Microsoft’s antivirus engine could do the exact opposite and let attackers install malware on vulnerable systems. 

The critical security vulnerability in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine affects a number of Microsoft products, including Windows Defender, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint, Microsoft Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection. These tools are enabled by default in Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft released an emergency out-of-band security update to fix the remotely exploitable type confusion bug (CVE-2017-0290) on Monday, along with a security advisory. 

“Vulnerabilities in MsMpEng [Microsoft Malware Protection Engine] are among the most severe possible in Windows, due to the privilege, accessibility, and ubiquity of the service,” Tavis Ormandy, a security researcher with Google’s Project Zero, who found the flaw along with fellow researcher Natalie Silvanovich, who called it “crazy bad.”

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

iOS 10: Pro tips and tricks

Uncover some of the cool new features hidden in the latest iOS 10 updates.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the new features contained in the latest iOS 10 updates that you might have missed.

While most of these features should be available on all devices that support iOS 10, some will only be available on newer devices.

Allow selected contacts to bypass Do Not Disturb

what’s hot on zdnet

The VIP system for allowing selected contacts to still call you has been improved dramatically in iOS 10. Now you can pick out contacts that can make your phone ring individually.

Go into Contacts, select a contact, and click Edit. From there, you can set the ringtone and text tone to Emergency Bypass On.

Dude, where’s my car?

Fire up Apple Maps to find where you parked your car. If it’s not immediately obvious from the little car icon on the map, you can search for Parked car.

Send smaller photos in iMessage

Go to Settings > Messages and enable Low Quality Image Mode.

If you send a lot of photos and you either have poor signal or you’re not on an unlimited data plan, this can be really helpful.

Time for bed

This is a weird feature that people will either love or hate. If you’re the sort of person who likes to have a certain number of hours of sleep before your alarm goes off, you can now have your iPhone remind you when to go to bed. (I know, how did we manage before such things?)

To enable this feature, open the Clock app and tap Bedtime.

Turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass

Here’s how anyone with an iPhone can become Sherlock Holmes!

Convert text to emojis

The Messages app will highlight the words you can swap out for an emoji in orange, and you can emojify a message by simply tapping on the words.

Prioritize app installations

If you’re recovering your iPhone or installing multiple apps, you can control which apps are installed first by doing a long press on any app waiting to be downloaded on the home screen and then tapping the Prioritize Download option.

This requires a device with 3D Touch.

Better iMessage read receipts

Now you can set your read receipt preferences by clicking on the “I” icon found at the top-right of iMessage window, then turn read receipts on or off.

This setting syncs across all your devices.

Jazz up your messages

If you’re sending a message to other iPhone or iPad users using iMessage then you can animate the message to give it a bit more impact. Just press and hold the send message blue arrow to uncover Bubble and Screen options.

Draw your message

Again in iMessage, rotate your device by 90 degrees to get access to an option that allows you to draw your message and send it to other iMessage users.

Find your Apple Watch

I know a lot of people requested this feature, and now it’s present as part of Find My iPhone.

Make Unlock work the way it used to

Apple tweaked the way you unlock your iPhone with the Touch ID sensor, but if this new feature annoys you there is a way to make it work like it did in iOS 9.

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Home Button and enable Rest Finger to Open.

Delete those undeletable apps

Apple’s own apps used to be a fixed feature, and the best you could do was hide them from view. But now you can delete apps such as Main, Stocks, and Weather just like you’d delete any other app (and if you change your mind, they’re in the App Store).

Bright lights!

You can now alter the brightness of the flashlight by using a long press on the flashlight icon in Control Center to choose between Bright Light, Medium Light, and Low Light.

This requires a device with 3D Touch.

Get to the camera — fast!

The icon might be gone, but you can still get to the camera from the lock screen. All you need to do is swipe left.

Search your photos

From Memories in the Photos app you can search for photos containing particular objects. This is also quite spookily accurate.

Easy unsubscribe

Mail automatically floats unsubscribe links from mailing list emails to the top, so you can find them easily.

Avoid toll roads

If you’re a heavy user of Apple Maps and want to save yourself a few bucks then you might want to go into Settings > Maps > Driving & Navigation to turn off the tolls.

Save on storage space

If you’re low on space you can get iOS 10 to remove music you’ve not listened to in a while by going to Settings > Music > Optimize Storage and enabling Optimize Storage. From here you can pick how much free space you want to try to keep on your iPhone or iPad.

See also:

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

AirPods Review: 3 ways Apple can make them better

Would a free pair of AirPods be enough to tempt you to buy a $1,000+ tenth-anniversary iPhone 8?

Must read: Better, faster, more reliable Wi-Fi in six easy steps

According to a new report from analysts at JPMorgan, seen by 9to5Mac, the OLED-equipped iPhone 8 may come bundled with a free pair of AirPods. This is a pretty bold claim considering the cost and the fact that they are currently on six-weeks backorder.

The report also claims that the iPhone 8 will have an OLED display that extends edge-to-edge horizontally, but not vertically so as to retain a bezel along the top and bottom.

Would a free pair of AirPods tempt you to buy a $1,000+ iPhone 8? JPMorgan Would a free pair of AirPods tempt you to buy a $1,000+ iPhone 8?

Would a free pair of AirPods tempt you to buy a $1,000+ iPhone 8?


Other tidbits from the report claim the iPhone 8 will have a stainless steel frame and glass back (the glass back is essential for wireless charging), dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear with optical image stabilization, 7-megapixel front camera, and 3D sensing (for facial recognition and possibly augmented reality).

Oddly, the JPMorgan report is unclear on the inclusion of Touch ID.

JPMorgan estimates that the tech upgrades included in the iPhone 8 will increase Apple’s bill of materials by an additional $75-$80 per iPhone.

On the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus front, the report claims that Apple will add wireless charging and upgrade the aluminum chassis for a stainless steel frame with a glass back, with the rest of the changes being iterative (faster processor and GPU and such).

See also:

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

Low-cost smartphones like the Moto G5 introduced a few months ago are shipping with soon-to-be-outdated chips from Qualcomm, which has announced successor chips.

Qualcomm on Monday introduced the Snapdragon 630 and 660, which are massive upgrades to chips used in low-cost smartphones introduced over the last six months or so.

And in a few months, you’ll be able to buy low-cost smartphones with these new chips, with prices starting at $200. The handsets will feature LTE download speeds equivalent to that in the iPhone 7 and have graphics processors capable of capturing 4K video.

Additionally, the low-cost smartphones will charge up faster than ever. The chips support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4, and smartphones can charge up to 50 percent in just 15 minutes.

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s website slowed to a crawl after comic and political commentator John Oliver urged viewers to flood the agency with comments in support of net neutrality, in what appeared to be a repeat of a 2014 incident.

With the FCC headed toward a repeal of net neutrality rules it passed in early 2015, Oliver on Sunday echoed his “Last Week Tonight” commentary on the topic from three years ago. (Note to viewers: The link to Oliver’s new diatribe is not safe for work.) As in 2014, the FCC’s website seemed to buckle under the load late Sunday and early Monday, but the cause may have been more sinister than a flood of people expressing their support for net neutrality rules.

In this case, the FCC website was hit with a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks starting about midnight Eastern Time, FCC CIO David Bray said Monday. 

“These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host,” Bray said in an emailed statement. “These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC.”

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

In the wake of French president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen, IT armchair quarterbacks should look at the Macron campaign’s security playbook for ideas on how to fight off targeted phishing and other attacks.

When 9GB of files belonging to the Macron campaign was dumped on file-sharing website Pastebin less than two days before the French election, it looked too much like what had happened during the U.S. presidential election last fall.

There isn’t enough evidence to conclusively link the Russians to the Macron leak, and security experts believe some of the supposed clues are sloppy attempts at misdirection. The difference this time around seems to be the fact that Macron’s team was prepared for the attacks and engaged in a disinformation campaign of its own, according to The Daily Beast.

“You can flood these [phishing] addresses with multiple passwords and log-ins, true ones false ones, so the people behind them use up a lot of time trying to figure them out,” the head of Macron campaign’s security team, Mounir Mahjoubi, told The Beast.

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

Outlook Groups is supposedly the core of Microsoft’s Exchange-based collaboration experience, integrated in its Outlook email, calendar, and contacts client. It’s meant to provide shared calendars, shared notes, shared files, and shared messages (handled by Outlook as if they were emails) to members of a group—sort of like SharePoint for humans.

But it’s been available only to Windows Outlook and Outlook Online via a browser since its September 2015 debut. Starting in late April, Microsoft began enabling Outlook Groups for Office 365 accounts’ Outlook clients on MacOS, iOS, and Android (if you have the most recent Outlook versions). Thus, Microsoft finally opened its core collaboration tool to users on all the major OS platforms, unifying Outlook group messages, Outlook group calendars, OneDrive shared files for your group, and OneNote shared notes for your group.

Unfortunately, Outlook Groups is not very useful on any “supported” platform—Windows included—because very little of it works in the native Outlook client. It’s really a browser-based service, not fully implemented in Outlook. As a result, even when you use it within an Outlook app, Outlook Groups keeps opening browser windows (and requiring you to sign in to Office 365) as you try to use the Outlook Group features. It’s a schizophrenic user experience.

Outlook Groups doesn’t do much in Outlook

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella helped introduced Windows 10 S last week, he related a tear-inducing story of how much technology could help poor kids learn in the modern world, citing his own youth in India. That’s effective for getting media attention, but not so much for succeeding in the market.

After struggling for nearly a decade, Google’s Chrome OS recently has begun picking up traction in schools, so of course that’s the new battlefront for technology pundits. The theory is that whoever wins the school wins the next generation. That’s provably false: Apple “owned” the education market in the 1980s but never owned the mass market, and IBM “owned” the education market in the 1990s but only very briefly owned the mass market.

Education is not a market—it’s a charity case. Google’s Chromebooks are very cheap and very limited (so they’re easier to manage by teachers and students in the typical IT-less school). That’s great for schools, which are often underfunded and deprived of needed resources. I applaud any company that helps out such schools.

But Windows 10 S is no Chrome OS. Although simpler than regular Windows 10, it’s still sophisticated, somewhere between the complexity of an iPad and a Mac. I’ve heard plenty of school administrators say that iPads are too involved to manage in school settings, so I don’t see how Windows 10 S will really get traction beyond resource-rich schools or those that Microsoft itself adopts for technology management to serve as marketing showcases.

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

MapD, creator of a GPU-accelerated database that scales both up and out, has open-sourced its core technology.

As announced in a press release and blog post, the core database and its “associated visualization libraries” are available under the Apache 2.0 license. But enterprise-level features like the high availability, LDAP, ODBC, and horizontal scaling functionality—many of which debuted in the 3.0 version released earlier this month—will be kept close to the chest.

Core concerns

Of the key pieces being open-sourced, the first and most crucial is the MapD Core Database, since it includes the basic bits needed to perform SQL processing on however many GPUs are available from a single server.

“We wanted the community to be able to take advantage of our core technological innovations, and that meant open sourcing essentially the entire core of the system,” explained Todd Mostak, co-founder and CEO of MapD Technologies. “We are also giving away a free binary with a noncommercial license to our server-side GPU rendering technology and our Immerse visual analytics client, but we are not open-sourcing those pieces.”

May 9, 2017 brianradio2016

Office manager pilot fish gets a call from an employee complaining that her internet connection is dead — and fish has some idea what might be going on.

“As I was checking connections, I got a call from another user in the office next to hers,” says fish. “He said he couldn’t access the internet either. I know there’s a network switch in the first user’s office, so I figured that was the problem.

“When I went to her office, I found the switch — unhooked and sitting on top of a file cabinet.

“When I quizzed her about it, she said she was rearranging her office and needed the shelf the switch was sitting on. Since she didn’t know what it was, she unhooked it.