New iOS 10 Security Flaw Exposed

If you upgraded your iPhone or iPad to iOS 10 listen up because there is already a security problem with the Apple’s new operating system.

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The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system features a “major security flaw” that makes it easier for hackers to crack passwords through local iTunes backups.

Apple released iOS 10 on September 13, three days before it launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both of which run the new operating system.

Phone Breaker

This latest flaw stems from an alternative password verification mechanism that Apple added to iOS 10 backups. The new method, which sits alongside a previous backup method used in iOS 9 and earlier versions apparently allows hackers to guess at a device’s password anywhere from 40 to 2,500 times faster than before.

Using hacking software known as Phone Breaker with a variety of password dictionary resources, a hacker running those tools over a two-day period has an 80 percent to 90 percent chance of recovering a password on an iOS 10 device.

Apple has issued the following statement: “We’re aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update. This does not affect iCloud backups.”

The Good News

The good news here is that this vulnerability exists only if a hacker has physical access to an iOS 10 device so that’s some good news. Apple also has reported that a software update will be available soon that will correct this flaw.

Until this update arrives do not lose you Apple device!

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Chrome for iOS Just Got Better

My favorite browser both on the PC and my smartphone, Chrome just got better. That’s because this week Google updated its app for iOS with Incognito Mode, YouTube integration, iOS 10 support, and more.

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What’s New In This Version:

• Search privately with incognito mode. You can turn on “incognito mode” in settings and your search and browsing history will not be saved. Even better you can also enable Touch ID for incognito mode, ensuring that only you can re-enter your existing incognito session if you exit the app. Bonus Tip: you can also enter incognito mode with a 3D Touch shortcut by hard pressing on the app icon.

• Watch Youtube videos, right in Search. You can now instantly play YouTube videos, directly from search results. No need to open new webpage or the YouTube app.

• Improved compatibility with iOS 10. Increased stability for iOS 10 users.

• Performance improvements. Crash rate now reduced by 50%

You can download Google from the App Store for free.

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Microsoft Kills it’s Windows 10 Nag Screen

The story here I tell again is sad because Microsoft’s blunder with their attempt to force Windows 10 on unsuspecting users was completely unnecessary. Windows 10 has turned out to be an excellent improvement over Windows 7 & 8. Windows 10, I believe will continue to improve and is on the way to becoming a true modern operating system which we will all benefit from for years to come. However Microsoft wanted to push this out by force using confusion as their weapon of choice.

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Goodbye Nag Screen

Windows 7 & 8 PC users will be breathing a sigh of relief shortly because Microsoft is finally removing one of its most annoying apps.

Microsoft’s latest software update finally gets rid of the “Get Windows 10” app that has nagged millions of users across the world to update to Microsoft’s latest product.

Microsoft officially ended its free Windows 10 upgrade program on July 29th, but some users still on older versions of the software have reported still encountering the pop-up app advertising an update post July 29.

Rising up repeatedly when users least wanted it, the pop-up app caused many users to vent their frustration at what they saw as unwanted and unnecessary intrusiveness.

The Good News

The app can now be removed by accessing the Windows Update menu, which can be found by clicking through Windows > Settings > Windows Update.

Once downloaded, the Get Windows 10 app and other software related to the free upgrade of Windows 10 will be removed from your PC following a restart.

The removal marks the end of one of Microsoft’s more unfortunate user experiences.

Over the course of the last year Microsoft has come under fire for its frustratingly forceful reminders to get people to upgrade their machines to Windows 10.

Forced Confusion by Microsoft

Microsoft has previously replaced the Cancel button in the Windows 10 pop-up box with another upgrade option – Update Tonight rather than Upgrade Now.

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Microsoft later changed the behavior of its upgrade boxes, so that clicking the red cross in the right-hand corner of the window no longer canceled the upgrade. After more than six months of teaching Windows users that the only way to dismiss the Windows 10 update was to exit the dialogue box by tapping that red cross.

Microsoft later pushed out full-screen prompts in an effort to get people’s attention.

The Cost of Skipping the Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer

If you still haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 and want to do so, you may have to prepare for a serious expense.

Since the end of July, Microsoft will charge you $119 for a full version of Windows 10 Home. Meanwhile, Windows 10 Pro will set you back $199.

However once installed, you won’t need to pay extra for the Anniversary Update, Microsoft’s first significant upgrade to Windows 10, as this remains free of charge.

Anniversary Update contains a redesigned Start Menu (with twice as many adverts as the previous version), new handwriting recognition software, enhanced capabilities for Cortana and more.

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500 Million Yahoo Accounts Hacked

yahooIf you have a Yahoo account you should immediately change your password. Yahoo has been hit with a hack that has exposed 500+ Million accounts. Yes 500 Million. What makes this worse is that this hack occurred back in 2014 but only now has this information been released to the public.

Information including names, addresses, secret answers and passwords was stolen from Yahoo at some point in late 2014 and showed up for sale on the dark web in August this year. Yahoo says the “vast majority” of passwords were secured using an algorithm called bcrypt, which renders it impractically expensive for an attacker to try to break, but the Yahoo has not given any way of checking which passwords were actually stolen. Until they do, you should assume your password is unprotected, and act aquickly.

This means even if you no longer use Yahoo – but you did back in 2014 you should log back into it and change your password – without delay.

You should also change the security information for any account that used the same passwords or security answers as your Yahoo account. This means if your Yahoo account used your mother’s maiden name, you are safest if you start using a different security question.

This advice doesn’t just apply to the people who had a Yahoo webmail account. A number of other popular services shared Yahoo logins, most notably BT Internet’s webmail service, and online photo storage service Flickr. Former users of other Yahoo properties including social bookmarking service Del.icio.us may also have Yahoo accounts without being aware.

Protecting Your Online Information Is Serious Business

As I have recommended many times. Everyone should take their online security very seriously. Hacking and stealing our online information is – in many ways the crime of the future, and the future is now.  One of the best – and easiest ways to do this today is by using a password manager like LastPass. With password managers you can enjoy some sense of online security by using different encrypted passwords for each and everyone of your online accounts.

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Amazon Prints is Launched for Pennies a Print

Are You an Amazon Prime member who uses Amazon’s Cloud Photo Service? I have been using this service for quite a while now and it’s a winner. As a bonus here, all of my photos are backed up like never before. Today my photos not only live my iPhone but they are safe and sound both in Microsoft’s OneDrive and Amazon Prime Photos. If you are a Amazon Prime member this additional service is available to you – and I highly recommend it.

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Before we move on to Amazon’s new Photo Print service another side benefit to this service is that all of my photos now act as my screensaver on my Amazon Fire TV. All of those amazing photos now show up on my 60″ TV for everyone to enjoy.


OK let’s move on to the new stuff.

Amazon has just launched Prints, a new service that offers to print your photos, with prices starting at 9 cents each.

You can order prints in various sizes, as well as a range of photo books that start at $20 each; shipping is free on orders of $15 or more. Amazon also reported that custom stationery and calendars will soon become available as well.

Amazon obviously hopes its new service will help Prime customers take advantage of the full-resolution photo storage that’s bundled with its subscription plan. It launched Prime Photos in 2014. I have been using it ever since.

Amazon Drive customers who pay for the company’s cloud storage service can also order prints from their uploaded photos.

Amazon’s prices come in lower than Shutterfly’s, the latter charges 15 cents per print and about $30 for its starting range of photo books.

You will need a Prime subscription or an Amazon Drive account to try Prime Photos; there’s more information on the company’s site.

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Report from PTI’s Annual CIO Summit

It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many technology leaders earlier this week. Between September 18 & 20 I attended, and participated in PTI’s Annual CIO & Leadership Summit in Orlando Florida. Each and every presentation brought value and innovative ideas to the challenges technology leaders face today.

Here is a very special Thank You to Dr. Alan Shark and your amazing team at PTI for holding this event and even tweeting our my presentation.

You can learn more about PTI here.

You can check out my presentation here.

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Getting to Know Wireless Emergency Alerts

Many of us have received these. Emergency Wireless Alerts. These are the alerts that regardless of your smartphones status, other then being powered off they begin to screach an alert message. These emergency alerts include communications such as “Amber Alerts”, “Major Weather Messages” and now “Public Safety Notifications”.

Last week New York used an Emergency Wireless Alert in respect to the bombing in tehir city and information on the suspect. The alert read, “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.”

Emergency Wireless Alerts are becoming more common so what are they exactly?

According to the Federal Communications Commission, these text-like messages let cellphone users in a particular area receive notices about what are deemed critical emergencies. Messages can be about weather threats, missing children or emergencies like a chemical spill.

The wireless industry, the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency started this program in 2012, according to the wireless trade group CTIA. So you can see that these message types have been around for quite some time but have only recently grown in their widespread use.

How Are These Messages Sent?

FEMA must authorize these messages from local, state or federal agencies and forwards them on to wireless carriers.

Messages appear on phones just like texts and are accompanied by a loud alarm. The phone also vibrates, which the FCC says helps people with hearing or vision disabilities. The alerts don’t count as texts, so people on limited text plans won’t get charged extra. Some phones, especially older ones, might not be equipped to receive these messages, though.

The alerts aren’t affected by network congestion and are based on cell tower locations, so if you’re on vacation in California, you won’t get alerts for New York, even if your phone is registered there. The FCC says targeting is typically down to the county level.

Can You Stop These Messages?

The FCC says some alerts can be blocked, if the carrier allows it. However not alerts issued by the president. On iPhones, the setting is under “Notifications.” On Android, look for “Emergency broadcasts” under “Sound,” though your phone maker may have moved that. On Samsung’s Galaxy S7 phone, for instance, the setting is under “Privacy and Emergency.” Hit “Emergency Alerts,” then “More,” then “Settings.

I would suggest that you not block these message types because that can allow us to better help protect each other. Of course if these become over used – that’s another story.

Are There Any Technical Problems With Emergency Messages?

The current technology supports only text and 90 characters. This can lead to a slightly awkward phrases like “See media for pic” of Rahami, rather than a link to a photo or a photo itself being sent.

The FCC has proposed permitting longer messages, embedded links or possibly even images like maps. The wireless industry has said it is wary of including links because they could lead to network congestion or confused customers.

Wireless Emergency Messages – A Natural Evolution

Emergency Wireless Messages are a natural evolution in the way we communicate during emergency events and for the most part I applaud the government for stepping in here. This is not very different then receiving emergency messages over our televisions which has been happening since the 1950’s.

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Do You Have the Windows 10 – Anniversary Edition?

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft starting pushing out their “anniversary” edition for Windows 10. I have strongly recommended this update in the past, and I still do. The Anniversary Edition brings more features and a more stable work environment.

Normally this upgrade appears just like any other update for Windows, however Microsoft has reported now that this automatic push will not be there for some Windows 10 users until November. That’s a long time to wait for a “must upgrade”.

The UI changes in the Anniversary Update are so subtle that you may not even notice if your computer has already installed it. If your Windows is on build number 14393 or higher, you’ve got it.  To check:

1. Type “winver” into the Cortana box and click the icon which appears.

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2. Note the build number in the window which appears.

Winver

The UI changes in Anniversary Update are so subtle that you may not even notice if your computer has already installed it. If your Windows is on build number 14393 or higher, you’ve got it.  To check:

1. Type “winver” into the Cortana box and click the icon which appears.

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2. Note the build number in the window which appears.

Winver

The UI changes in Anniversary Update are so subtle that you may not even notice if your computer has already installed it. If your Windows is on build number 14393 or higher, you’ve got it.  To check:

1. Type “winver” into the Cortana box and click the icon which appears.

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2. Note the build number in the window which appears.

Winver

I am not sure some users are seeing such a delay with such an important update for Windows 10, however there is some good news. Users who have not seen the Anniversary update can force it.

Checking to See if You Have Windows 10 – Anniversary Edition

The user interface (UI) changes in Anniversary Update are very subtle so you may not even notice if your computer has already installed it. If your Windows is on build number 14393 or higher, you’ve got it.  To check:

1. Type “winver” into the Cortana box and click the icon which appears.

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2. Note the build number in the window which appears.

Winver

Mandatory Upgrade for Windows 10 – Anniversary Edition

So… if you have not received the latest – greatest from Microsoft who is what you can do.

Windows 10 users who have not yet seen the Anniversary Update arrive automatically can manually grab the update in a couple ways. The new version can be accessed by going to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update, clicking “Check for Updates” and then selecting “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1607.”

Users can also get the update by clicking “Learn more” under Updates & Security, which will then take them to a support page where they can download the OS.

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Galaxy Note 7 Recalled

Samsung has recalled their flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note7. The battery on this device has several times caught fire. The problem has become so dire that airlines are requiring that these phones must be powered off – on flights. I am not sure how airlines are checking to see if passengers have these phones but the fact that airlines are going to this length demonstrates the importance of taking this recall very seriously.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered that Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones can only be carried by crew and passengers on planes if the phones are switched off and are not connected to charging equipment.

The order follows an official recall announced Thursday of 1 million Note7 smartphones by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, following concerns about faulty batteries in the devices which could overheat and even explode.

Air Travel Restrictions
People can now travel with the Note7 on aircraft only if they disable all applications like alarm clocks that could accidentally activate the phone, protect the power switch to prevent the phone from being inadvertently activated or turned on, and store the device in carry-on baggage or on their person, and not in checked baggage.
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A destroyed Note7 caused by the defective battery.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported that it has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damages.

If you have a Galaxy Note 7 you should contact your wireless carrier as soon as possible and get it replaced as soon as possible.

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Adobe Fixes Critical Flaws

Adobe Systems has fixed more than 30 vulnerabilities in its Flash Player most of which could be exploited to remotely install malware on computers.

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The bulk of the flaws, 26, were patched in Flash Player on all supported platforms, including Windows, Mac and Linux.

“These flaws could allow hackers to compromise computers and install malware.”

Adobe advises users to update Flash Player version 23.0.0.162 on Windows and Mac or version 11.2.202.635 on Linux. The new version of the Flash Player extended support release, which only receives security patches, is now 18.0.0.375.

The Flash Player plug-in bundled with Google Chrome will be automatically updated through the browser’s update mechanism and the plug-in bundled with Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 and 8.1 will be updated through Windows Update.

Adobe also released version 4.5.2 of Adobe Digital Editions for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. This new version of the company’s eBook reading app fixes eight vulnerabilities, all of which could be exploited to achieve remote code execution.

So there you go – make sure your Adobe Flash Player is up to date!

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