How-to: Survive Heartbleed

Bleeding Hearts: Street Art on Maybachufer – Artist UnknownFor those who have never seen the term Heartbleed before, it is not the latest medical scare to follow SARS, Ebola and Bird-flu. In fact, its nothing medical at all. For those with an eye on the technology news, you may have seen all kinds of mis-reporting and scare stories.

So what is Heartbleed and what can you do to survive it?

First of all, the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability is a computer security crack – and NOT a virus.

Heartbleed is a vulnerability in web-servers running the authentication software OpenSSL. This is the non-proprietary version of Secure Sockets Layer, the open source implementation of SSL and TLS, the protocols used for secure connections – look for web addresses beginning https://, not http://. Read more of this post

News: XP eXPires

Windows XP desktopWhile Microsoft has extended the end-of-life deadline Windows XP several times under consumer pressure, not least from Enterprise customers, we have reached that line in the sand. The party’s over.

Officially, Windows XP is now dead, but it’s not gone. Choose your stats carefuly; conservatively, between 20 and 27% of computers connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. Yet as of April 8th, we’re at the”end of support” – so what will happen to all those Windows XP systems now?

It will continue to run and activate, using the same activation process that checks with Microsoft to ensure you’re using “genuine” software and not a pirated version of Windows. The activation servers will continue to run for the foreseeable future. The only noticeable difference you’ll see is a monthly message that will appear to remind you that XP is now defunct. This message can be hidden, and will only appear on home computers, not on networked, managed business computers. Read more of this post

How-to: Diagnose an SD Card that’s stopped working

SD Memory Card from Open ImagebankIt never ceases to amaze me how resilient is the humble SD card. They take heat, cold, damp, weight, an infeasible amount of weight, bending and mistreatment. And, unlike most of your other electronic gadgets, magnets and magnetism don’t affect SD cards; the amount of electro-magnetism it takes to corrupt the bits on EPROM flash memory just doesn’t exist in the average home or office.

Read more of this post

How-to: Fix Windows 8.1 Upgrades

Windows 8.1 upgrade error screenMicrosoft recently released Windows 8.1, the upgrade to Windows 8 that added features and addressed some of the user’s pet hates (no, that didn’t include the Fischer-Price ‘Metro’/Modern-UI non-desktop).

Depending on how important you consider boot to desktop, SkyDrive (OneDrive) integration, and an updated UI, with dynamic Snap for multiple apps and sharing the desktop wallpaper with the Start screen, you might elect to go for 8.1.

Most of the changes, however, are under the hood and with it’s usual flair for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Redmond’s latest service pack – for that’s really what it is – injected for some Windows 8 users a host of deeply embedded flaws. Read more of this post

How-to: Check Compatibility with Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 start screenIt’s here: Windows 8.1. Boot to desktop, a Start button, and more user friendliness. But – is your software and hardware compatible with Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 is an upgrade with serious issue for a significant number of users. And there’s no option to back-out to Windows 8. Affected users are stuck with it or forced to re-install Windows 8.

So before you walk into trouble, check your computer is compatible with Windows 8.1Read more of this post

How-to: Avoid Dangerous Email Attachments

Quarantine - by unknown, Creative CommonsEmail. It can’t really be ‘dangerous’ can it? Short of some bad news giving you a heart attack, no. But email attachments can harbour all kinds of nasties; trojans, worms, rogue executable code and other viruses. How do you know what’s safe to open? Even from people you know?

The trouble is, any type of file can be attached to an email, and whilst most mail servers run some sort of virus scanning and either remove or ‘quarantine’ suspicious emails, anti-virus software isn’t perfect. In this game, the buck stops with you; look after yourself and avoid loss of your data, money, identity and time.

Suspect email attachments are blunt weapons of mass destruction; indiscriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a targeted corporation or government department, bank, shop, business, or the retired old lady at the end of your street. So how do you spot the suspect package in your inbox? Read more of this post

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