The Extinction of Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 1 made its debut in Windows 95 and was part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit in Microsoft Plus for the operating system. What’s interesting is that Internet Explorer 1 was the creation of a team with only six workers, but which rapidly expanded in the following years.

 

 

Now at version 11, Internet Explorer is no longer Microsoft’s top priority, as the company has introduced a new browser called Edge that’s offered as the default option on its new Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer’s Scheduled Extinction 

The development of Microsoft Edge was necessary mostly because the software giant needed a fresh start to compete against the other browsers on the market, including here Chrome and Firefox, which made Internet Explorer obsolete over the years.

A new engine powering Edge and a wider array of features, which include support for extensions, are all supposed to make Microsoft’s new browser a stronger rival to both Chrome and Firefox, although its adoption is still impacted by the limited availability in Windows 10 – Microsoft has already said that it has no plans to bring Edge on previous Windows versions or on non-Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer will no longer receive new versions, features, and improvements, but Microsoft will continue to patch it should new vulnerabilities and security issues be discovered. This way, users who are still running Internet Explorer, be they consumers or enterprises, can remain fully protected before migrating to Edge or a different browser.

As a result of Microsoft move with Edge the market share of Internet Explorer is quickly declining, and statistics have shown that Google Chrome has become the clear leader of the browser world with a share that exceeds 50 percent. Time will tell if Microsoft Edge is the eagerly anticipated Google Chrome and Firefox killer, but for the moment, Google continues to be the browser of choice for more than 50 percent of PC users out there.

Disney & CBS Look to Challange Netflix

Two major networks are looking to compete with Netflix and steal, at least part of their audience. First CBS announced it’s own streaming service with the launch of the new “Star Trek” TV series.

First You Have CBS

CBS is moving fast in the streaming channel arena, with plans to expand CBS All Access to Canada and other international markets by next year.

CBS is also working on the launch of a streaming sports channel patterned after its CBSN digital news service. The movement in the over the top (OTT) market comes as the CBS All Access and Showtime stand alone services are expected to exceed 4 million subscribers in total by the end of this year.

The sports channel is in the early stages of development and doesn’t yet have a name.

The decision by CBS to relaunch the “Star Trek” franchise on CBS All Access rather than on the CBS network or Showtime, or even to sell it to Netflix in the U.S., was a calculated decision to grow the streaming service.“Star Trek: Discovery” – the first new TV series in the “Trek” canon in 11 years, is set to premier on September 24. In an obvious effort to attract users to their new platform – through Star Trek – CBS will premier the first episode on their regular CBS network with the second episode (part 2 of a cliffhanger) airing immediately afterward – exclusively on CBS All Access. In other words if you want to keep watching the new Star Trek – sign up with CBS All Access.

As you can see by watching the quality of the “Star Trek: Discovery” trailer the mission of these networks to launch their own streaming service, with new & exciting content is no joke – and could, potentially be a boon for all of us.

Then You Have Disney

Disney has now officially announced that it’s making its own Netflix competitor, a streaming service that will air original Disney movies and TV shows. In addition Disney announced that it also plans to launch a second Netflix-like offering that will deliver sporting events.

It’s not surprising that Disney wants to directly compete with Netflix and other streaming services, given that more people opt to ditch traditional cable in favor of online entertainment.

The Disney TV streaming service will only launch in 2019, while the ESPN-based service would be available as soon as next year.

Disney also reported that it will terminate the licensing agreement for new titles beginning with the 2019 calendar year.

This means that post 2019 if you want to watch Disney movies and show you will need to subscribe to their exclusive channel.

What All of this Means

How we watch television is rapidly changing. Networks like ABC, CBS and NBC are trying to find ways to remain relevant in this ever changing landscape. Where commercial advertisements were once king now networks are looking to the audience to “subscribe” in order to watch the content they enjoy. At the same time, because of the success of pay-cable TV shows like “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones” audiences now expect much more from their television dramas. Commercial interruptions are a disaster to good TV – and the networks know this. We are well on the way to the extinction of relevant – free – over the air TV.

In fact so much has changed in the television landscape that Netflix is now almost seen as “old school” by networks like CBS and Disney. Ask yourself this question. Why should networks, with immense libraries of (old & loved) TV content and the resources to create new content sell to a “middle man” when they can create their own streaming services and reap 100% profits as opposed to sharing their earning with Netflix or Hulu.

The only question is can they do it – and be successful?

Patch Tuesday Brings Several Windows 10 Updates

Starting today Microsoft is rolling out a brand new cumulative update for Windows 10 that brings several new security updates and under the hood improvements and fixes. These updates are rolling out today as part of “Patch Tuesday”.

Patch Tuesday Updates for Windows 10 (Build 15063.540)

The updates include:

  • Addressed issue where the policies provisioned using Mobile Device Management (MDM) should take precedence over policies set by provisioning packages.
  • Addressed issue where the Site to Zone Assignment List group policy (GPO) was not set on machines when it was enabled.
  • Addressed issue where the AppLocker rules wizard crashes when selecting accounts.
  • Addressed issue where the primary computer relationship is not determined when you have a disjoint NetBIOS domain name for your DNS Name. This prevents folder redirection and roaming profiles from successfully blocking your profile or redirects folders to a non-primary computer.
  • Addressed issue where an access violation in the Mobile Device Manager Enterprise feature causes stop errors.
  • Security updates to Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Windows Search Component, Microsoft Scripting Engine, Microsoft Windows PDF Library, Windows Hyper-V, Windows Server, Windows kernel-mode drivers, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows shell, Common Log File System Driver, Internet Explorer, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine.

Microsoft provides one known issue for the cumulative update rolling out today: Installing this KB (4034674) may change Czech and Arabic languages to English for Microsoft Edge and other applications.

The update is rolling out to everyone on the stable version of the Windows 10 Creators Update (including Insider Release Preview) right now under the name KB4034674. Users on the Anniversary Update, November Update and original Windows 10 release are also receiving cumulative updates today too.

Saving Data Usage with Facebook

Are you a Facebook addict? Aside from needing to break the addiction as soon as possible (seriously, it’s not a healthy way to live your life), you should give some serious consideration to your data usage. Facebook like other apps just loves to use data – even when you are not looking at the app.

If you’ve had a few “shock” bills from your carrier, Facebook could be to blame. Between high-resolution images and auto-playing videos, the app can burn through data in no time.

Of course, you can turn off auto-playing videos by going to More (the three horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen) > Help and Settings > App Settings > Auto-play.

But there’s a better way: use the Data Saver tool.

What Does Data Saver Do?

Data Saver not only prevents videos from playing automatically but importantly, it also reduces the resolution of any images in your feed.

To set it up, head to the More menu in the top right-hand corner or your screen. Scroll down until you find Data Saver. It’s in the Help and Settings section.

On the next screen, make sure you slide the toggle next to Data Saver on into the On position. When you enable the setting, a new option will appear. It allows you to disable the Data Saver feature while you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Other Options to Save Data

To further reduce your data usage, there are a couple of other hidden settings you might find useful.

Go to More > App Settings and turn off the toggles next to Upload photos in HD and Upload videos in HD.

As a last resort, you can install Mobile Protect. Navigate to More > Mobile Data to get started.

Facebook Continues it’s Fight Against Fake News

Facebook on Thursday began offering additional links to news stories as another method to help users discern false news and misinformation.

Image result for facebook fake news

The changes are seen in Facebook’s “related articles” feature, and are meant to better restrict inaccurate news without requiring the social media site to censor material.

The change will affect Facebook pages in the United States, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook was criticized for failing to rein in the spread of deliberately false information on the social network. After first resisting potential changes, Zuckerberg acknowledged Facebook’s responsibility to deliver legitimate news stories.

Facebook has partnered with fact-checking website Snopes.com, which labels some stories as false from a Facebook-built database.

Also, Facebook said its machine learning algorithm has improved its efficiency, meaning it will now send more potential false news to fact-checkers.

Mastering Password Managers

It goes without saying that everyone needs to use stronger passwords, and the best way to do that is with a password manager. The truth is, passwords that are hard to hack are very hard to remember, however you really do need long and complex passwords.

Top 3 Password Manager Apps for Android

That’s where password managers come in handy. There are all kinds of password managers out there, including some as basic as your browser’s rudimentary list of saved passwords list and some as elaborate as entire cloud systems that work across multiple devices and platforms.

All of these models have some basics in common: they store your passwords, they auto-fill details on login forms, and they keep your passwords encrypted in databases. The differences are where those databases are kept, the types of encryption and recovery options available.

Weaponized Math: Encrypted Passwords

Your browser can save passwords, but that often isn’t very secure. One of the main appeals of a password manager is that it saves all of your passwords behind one password in a single database.

Of course putting all your plain text passwords in one place isn’t much of a security measure in and of itself. Instead, your passwords must be encrypted, which secures your passwords. But since the amount of control over password databases can vary, you’ll want to figure out which model works best for you.

When boiled down, encryption is the use of math to disguise your data. The key used to transform the plaintext is randomly generated, the strength of the encryption is based on this key size in bits. In layman’s terms: the more bits, the more security. This is because the more compelx the key, the more complex the resulting output is.

Depending on the algorithm, that substitution is repeated. In certain cases, they key is transformed to further obscure the output. This process is creates what’s called a hash, which often has added salt—additional randomization added to the hashing process. This ensures the original value is completely obscured without the correct starting input, key, and salt.

There are additional factors like block size, initialization vectors, and other more advanced concepts. If you’re interested in the gory details, check out our detailed breakdown of encryption

Local Safes: Keeping Control

The best way to keep a secret is to never tell anyone. If you don’t want your passwords anywhere other than on your hard drive, a local password manager is your best option. This keeps your data on a device that you physically control, leaving your security directly in your own hands.

One of the more popular password managers is KeePass, an open source Windows solution with ports on Mac and Linux. It offers a lot of flexibility and control, including the ability to select between multiple encryption algorithms.

best password managers 2016 keepass

And if you’re looking for a complete escape from passwords, you can even use key files to unlock your passwords. (You put key files on a USB drive or other portable storage, then use the physical device as a key to authenticate with the machine.)

The downside to KeePass is the same as its strengths: you control the keys to the kingdom, so if you lose your key files or master password, you’re out of luck. In such a case, your only option would be to start over from scratch and set up every password again.

Your file is also limited to where you save it, so you’re responsible for any backups you want to maintain. If you want mobile sync, you’re going to need to do it manually (or with a separate syncing service like Dropbox) and a compatible reader on your tablet/phone. And if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.

Local managers give you a lot of security and control, but you lose a rescue plan and out-of-the-box portability.

Syncing Systems: Multiple Devices

If you’re juggling multiple devices with many passwords, keeping a master file locked on a PC somewhere is not the best solution — especially if you’re trying to log into Amazon on your phone or check your bank balance on your tablet. Don’t weaken the password just to make it more memorable!

That’s where hybrid approaches like 1Password come in, which uses Dropbox or your local network to automatically sync your password between devices. This gives you the ability to keep everything working across devices, but you are still the only one with the key to your data.

Image result for 1password logo

But you lose some of the crunchier options, such as multiple encryption algorithms and key file logins.

This fixes a lot of the downsides of the local-only option, as you can keep your phone, tablet, and computer all in sync. You’ll also need to trust Dropbox as a cloud host, though 1Password does add an extra layer of security on top with its own strong encryption, so you can rest assured of any security worries.

If you’re really worried about interceptors and other vectors of attack, you can just use your local network to synchronize your passwords across devices. You won’t have any hope of recovering a lost master password if you choose this route, but it does ensure that 1Password won’t have access either.

Cloud Services: Any Device, Anywhere

Keeping all of your passwords in the cloud requires a certain amount of trust in a company to do things the right way. My favorite choice here is LastPass.

LastPass keeps an encrypted copy of your password database in the cloud, making it available on almost every platform and browser imaginable. You will need a premium membership for several of their features, but the basics are there for free.

Image result for lastpass logo

Your devices do all of the encryption and decryption, ensuring that your master password is not on LastPass’s servers. If you don’t have access to the Web, a copy is cached locally so you can still unlock. There is an additional layer of protection in two-step verification as well.

You have to trust their security is as robust as promised, as LastPass makes for an obvious target for hackers. However, with a good master password and two-step verification enabled, you should be confident about the security of your password safe. And if you ever forget your password, you can recover your safe.

Literally the Least You Can Do

If you’re a Mac and/or iOS user, you already have access to a password manager built into your operating system: iCloud Keychain. This is an extension of the OS X keychain that uses iCloud to keep all of your passwords synced across devices.

Windows has a similar feature called Credential Manager, but it does not have the same cross-device syncing.

This is pretty comparable in terms of security to LastPass, but it’s limited to Apple devices. Unless you’re only running exclusively on Apple products, you’re going to be missing your passwords on some of your other devices, which can be a huge nuisance.

Yet even if you’re a big Apple fan, you still may not want to lock yourself into the platform because you never know what kind of other devices you may get in the future.

You Really Need a Password Manager

Unless you have an iron-clad memory, using different passwords across all of your accounts is going to prove difficult. Doing so with hard-to-crack passwords? Near impossible. Getting a password manager ensures that you can keep all of your accounts safe and secure using a single master password.

Find the model that works best with you and find the product that works best for your devices. Almost every manager has a free trial or free tier that you can try out. Once you’ve made your choice, go through all of your online accounts and update the passwords to be more complex.

That’s really all there is to it.

Has Your Password Been Exposed ?

You know by now that you should be changing your passwords regularly. I have have been strongly recommending password managers for several years now. This is because every day there seems to be another cyber security crisis. If you haven’t changed your passwords recently, it’s now officially time: a massive database containing login credentials is floating around the internet.

Image result for password hack

We don’t know who’s behind the breach, but over 560 million leaked emails and passwords — 243.6 million unique email addresses — are compromised. First uncovered by the Kromtech Security Research Center, the leak has been confirmed by security researcher Troy Hunt, who created the “Have I Been Pwned” website.

What kind of information does it have?

The good news is, there hasn’t been a new hack: the trove of credentials is a collection of data from previous breaches at LinkedIn, DropBox, LastFM, MySpace, Adobe, Neopets, Tumblr and others. Some of these breaches are years old.

What makes this database troublesome from a security standpoint is how accessible it makes sensitive information. It basically compiled private data from various prior hacks to create one convenient database for hackers to illegally access.

Who is at risk?

Essentially, anyone who never updated their credentials at the time of the original breach. If you haven’t stayed on top of every hack and checked your status each and every time, then you could be at risk.

How to check if your credentials are compromised

The easiest way to see if your credentials are vulnerable is to go to Hunt’s site — Have I Been Pwned. Here, you can type in your email and find out if your email and password are safe or not.

Image result for pwned

You may have changed your password at the time of a given breach, but let’s be real: you may not remember. If you scroll below the results, the site shows you which breaches you were impacted by. To view information on sensitive breaches, subscription is required. If this is your first time on the site and you get the dreaded “Oh no—pwned!”message, then it’s best take a screenshot of the result and change your password immediately.

Why a screenshot? The site tells you how many “breached sites” it’s on (in other words, how many unique incidents took your credentials) and if there are any “pastes” — a paste is when the information is shared on a public website. Saving this information (you can also jot it down somewhere safely) can let you know in the future if you’ve been breached again if the information in the results change.

Don’t understand what’s going on? It’s okay. Just go change your email password to be safe. And be sure to create a strong password.

Google Looks to Block Ads

Earlier this year, Google was rumored to be working on a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser. The new ad blocker inside Chrome won’t block every ad you see on the web — instead, it’ll only block ads that are considered intrusive and go against the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads.

Image result for google blocks ads

Google has started testing the new built-in ad blocker for Chrome today on the desktop and Android devices. The latest canary release for Google Chrome includes a new option under Chrome’s Settings where you can enable the new ad blocker inside Chrome. Users can enable the new feature by going to the Content options inside Chrome’s settings page (chrome://settings/content/ads).

The built-in ad blocker should automatically block ads that are considered “intrusive”. But Google Chrome also lets you strictly block ads on certain sites, and you can also choose to allow ads on certain sites if you’d like. Here are the types of ads that will get blocked on desktop sites with the ad blocker enabled on Chrome:

Google deciding to integrate an ad blocker right into its own browser in very interesting. Google’s AdSense business will certainly be affected by the ad-blocker as it could potentially block ads provided by Google on sites that could be abusing the ads that result in an intrusive experience. Google also has a service which lets users subscribe to certain sites in order to hide ads, so it will be interesting to see how the new ad blocker works with that. Google is yet to officially announce the new ad-blocker inside Chrome, and we’ll likely have the answers to our questions once it’s officially and available to all Google Chrome users.

New Google Earth on iOS

Google on Wednesday released its major Google Earth update for iPhone and iPad users.

The new version of Google Earth includes 64-bit processor support, a redesign, and its new Voyager feature for flyover views. Google is including 64-bit processor support just in time for iOS 11, which won’t support 32-bit apps.

Image result for google earth ios

Voyager allows users to interact with guided tours of popular tourist destinations and famous landmarks, providing more context of the location and the ability to virtually fly through it.

Google has included multi-day intineraries for 17 cities under the Travel category, including “Paris with Kids” and “Beyond the Beaches of Rio de Janeiro.” Google said there are more than 140 stories in eight languages available. Knowledge cards also provide interesting facts about a location.

The big Google Earth update was first available on Android and web browsers in April. For iOS users, the update is now available to download on the App Store.