April’s Patch Tuesday update issues

There are reports of issues with the April 2019 patch Tuesday update causing Windows to boot and run slow. The issues appear to be related to Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 2012 server machines and anti virus from Sophos, and Avast.

See Beta News and Windows latest for more information.

One down, how many more to go?

Hacker and blackmailer gets caught, but is it enough? Users are still at risk as there are many more out there to take his place..

From London, a student used his programming skills to blackmail porn site visitors across the world. His scam is estimated to have been up to £4m, but only £700k has been located.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47800378

Window 10 April 2018 Update

The  latest update was made available yesterday (30th April), Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

So I decided to install this on one machine, which took in total over 4 hours to achieve from start to completion.

There are a number of new and updated features (see the Microsoft Windows blog for further information). Here’s a brief summary of new key features in this release are:

Timeline: A tool that tracks your activities on your devices and lets you return to these at a point later in time.

Nearby Sharing: share your videos, photos, documents, and websites with people and devices near you over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Focus Assist: block notifications, sounds, social media, etc and alerts to create distraction-free work times. The computer continues to receive notifications etc, but does not flag these up.

New Microsoft Edge features: Microsoft Edge is the browser integrated into Windows 10, so nothing new there, but Microsoft have added in EPub reading options, sound mute tab (not just turn sound of totally), full screen reading, autofill cards.

New Cortana:  Microsoft has responded to the sound activated devices such as Alexa, by integrating a similar feature into Cortana. Cortana is now also compatible with smart devices, such as Nest, ecobee, etc.

There are a number of other features described in the Microsoft Windows blog post, but these are the key that will have an impact on most users.

Password Expiry Policy

It has been accepted for some time that changing password regularly is a positive step to providing security for IT systems, but is it?

On reflection both, views have valid points to make.

Changing passwords has the advantage, that should a password be

National Cyber Security Centre Guidance can be accessed at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/password-guidance-simplifying-your-approach.

Cyber Attack update

Following events of the cyber attack on the NHS it has come to light this was on a global scale, and the effects to some degree could have been minimised. What wasn’t know on the previous post a couple of days back was the extent or the nature of the attack.

The attack was global, not just on the UK with at least 100 countries being affected, in the UK it was NHS systems, in Spain the utility companies, so no  real theme.

The nature of the attack is known as ransomware. This is where a virus attacks the computer and encrypts files. They will only be unlocked again after a payment. This particular code was already known to exist, a security update – or patch – was released by Microsoft in March to protect against the virus, but it appears many NHS organisations had not applied it or were using an older version of the operating system no longer supported – namely Windows XP. (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/end-of-xp-support) support for Windows XP finally ended in 2014.

Why was the NHS in particular a target? The size of the NHS can make it difficult to keep track that all patches have been correctly applied. Next, the NHS still use outdated operating system, Windows XP. The implications fro staying with the are clearly laid out on the webpage.

Every 2nd Tuesday of every month (known as Patch Tuesday) Microsoft puts out a series of patches which may be inconvenient, but important and should not be ignored. I have already written here before about the importance of keeping updates running and installing these when they become available. The particular cause of this attack already had a security patch deployed to many computers, almost 2 months previous to the attack.

This attack may be the first of many, so it is time now to get prepared.

NHS across UK hit by Cyber attacks

Reports have been coming in during the past hours of a Cyber Attack on the NHS.

Reports are suggesting this was part of something bigger globally, there is no lead at this time where this attack originated.

More at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39899646

Loyal Customers penalised on broadband costs

Does your broadband costs suddenly jump after an introductory deal ends? Citizens Advice has said that the cheapest broadband prices increase by an average of 43% or £113 a year.

Many customers were unaware of the price increases. The rises amount to a “loyalty penalty” for customers who stay with the same provider, Citizens Advice said. The £113 figure represents a five-fold rise on what customers were paying on average in 2011 to stay on the same broadband deal.

Four of the five biggest internet service providers had these “loyalty penalties”:

  • BT 12 month contract: £198 (67% increase)
  • Sky 12 months: £120 (53% increase)
  • EE 18 months: £90 (36% increase)
  • TalkTalk 24 months: £66 (28% increase)

Virgin Media’s 12 month plan was the only one that didn’t impose a loyalty penalty when the initial term of the contract ended.

Add into this how broadband suppliers have increased their prices:

BT ,Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have all put up their prices in the past 12 months.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39555140

IT Training for Transport

After a successful bid in the tender process AHB Information Technology Solutions are to deliver training to transport workers.

The training will involve using IT in general and the specific use of tablets.

Apple Recall

Apple has issued a recall notice on its mains adapters. This is due to safety concerns. Plugs in the UK are not affected, but plugs in the Apple World Travel kit are.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35432682

Twitter offline due to code change

Twitter went offline yesterday due to an internal code change which lasted over 6 hours. The code change was reverted back to the previous version which corrected the problem.

How did we all cope without one of the biggest social platforms on the internet?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35361150

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35351154