MICROSOFT EDGE to receive independent updates from WINDOWS 10

MICROSOFT EDGE to receive independent updates from WINDOWS 10

MICROSOFT EDGE to receive independent updates from WINDOWS 10Online report indicates that Microsoft Edge will begin to receive feature updates through the Windows Store this autumn in a move to save the browser from shrinking share prices.

On Monday, Rich Woods of Neowin, cited a source at Microsoft as saying “Users will finally be able to get updates to the Edge browser via the Windows Store, which will allow Microsoft to add new features more frequently,”

Like Internet Explorer before it, Edge has been receiving monthly security updates to patch vulnerabilities.  There have been 4 full versions of Edge since its launch in July 2015, and each one has corresponded to when the operating system itself was upgraded.  The most recent iteration is April 2017’s version 15.  Woods went on to say that the change is expected to come about this September, which coincides with the next Windows 10 feature upgrade.

It’s not yet clear if the browser will continue to be bundled with Windows 10 feature upgrades or the Windows Store (the only legitimate store that offers “Universal Windows Platform updates) will be the sole source of Edge updates.

Businesses using Windows 10 Enterprise can lock their users out of the Windows Store to restrict what runs on company PCs, which may pose a problem if Edge updates are only available from the Windows Store.  Firms looking for a more stable environment and are willing to consider Edge may balk at the frequent Edge feature updates.

While making Edge updates available from the Windows store might play to the consumers who cherish change, and the same number of refresh opportunities as Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, the as frequent as every six weeks updates may well be precisely what corporations would like to avoid.  This could be easily solved by making the updates optional and sticking to the previously pledged twice-annual Windows 10 & Edge updates for businesses.

After almost two years, Microsoft has failed to convince customers to widely adopt their new primary browser, even after Internet Explorer was downgraded to receiving no new features and only security updates.  Despite promoting Edge as a legitimate rival to their established competitors, Edge has not yet won over a majority of Windows 10 Users.  In fact, Edge’s share has been on the decline since its initial debut.  According to analytics vendor Net Applications a scarce 1 in 5 Windows 10 users was using the browser, as shares fell to a record low of 21%.

While most Enterprises have yet to launch migrations over to Windows 10, there’s little motivation to IT administrators to inflict yet another change on employees by also switching them over from chrome to Edge.

Our Sci-Fi Future, Silly vs Terrifying

Our Sci-Fi Future, Silly vs Terrifying

Our Sci-Fi Future Silly vs TerrifyingThe future is upon us!  Modern technological developments are now strikingly similar to the science fiction of the past.  While we aren’t living in domed cities with flying cars, we’ve got buildings that reach for the heavens, drones delivering our packages, and self-driving cars are just over the horizon.

The media often likes to compare new advancements in technology to the works of like The Jetsons, Star Trek, and some  1980’s and 90’s Cyberpunk because in many cases, the new technology is a fairly easy comparison.  Lazy, but easy.

Flying cars, flat panel TVs, and video phones often are compared to The Jetsons, yet all of these innovations were envisioned decades before the TV show hit the airwaves.

  • In 1933, H.G. Wells speculated we might have small personal aircraft in his work The Shape of Things to Come – and we’re not much closer to having them now than we were then.
  • Flat panel TVs were already in development in the early 1960s (around the same time the show was on the air) but were envisioned much earlier.
  • The concept of videotelephony initially became popular in the late 1870s, and Nazi Germany developed a working system in the 1930s.

Star Trek is another show that’s dragged out for constant comparisons, this time whenever anything vaguely resembles its holographic or replicator technology.

  • Where a modern 3D printer is “replicating” the shape of an item, A Star Trek replicator was recreating an item on a molecular level. Try eating a 3D printed apple!
  • While German scientists have created a system of scanning an object and recreating it elsewhere, they’re not really “beaming it” anywhere, but are basically combing a fax machine with a 3D printer.

Cyberpunk tales are typically set in worlds where corporations control innovation, launch satellites to connect the world to spread information, and maintain private armies. That vision is much closer to our reality.

  • There are now giant corporations that literally control how we access the Internet
  • We already have private citizens like Elon Musk who is a billionaire with a private space program, who also is developing new ways to harness solar power.

The point, is that perhaps it is too easy to see today’s world our old entertainment and ignore the fact that much of what The Jetsons “predicted” was completely wrong. We (sadly) don’t ever expect to see a flying car that can fold up into a briefcase.

Likewise, teleportation and warp speed likely will remain just part of the Star Trek mythos.

Perhaps when it comes to the darker side of science fiction, we should be cautious and alert about where we may be headed, and should regard it as a portent of what to avoid -not a future we should embrace.

As for Musk, let’s just hope he chooses to fight for good instead of building a secret mountain lair.

The way you hold your smartphone can “give away” passwords and PINs to hackers

The way you hold your smartphone can “give away” passwords and PINs to hackersBy analysing the movement of a device as the keyboard was used, Cyber Experts at Newcastle University say they were able to reveal just how easy it is for malicious websites and apps to spy on users using the motion sensors in smartphones and tablets.

The team were able to identify 25 different sensors which are standard on most smart devices and could be used to give information about the user, and were able to crack four-digit Pins with 70% accuracy on the first guess and 100% by the fifth guess.

Apps and website do not need to ask users’ permission to access sensors, such as GPS, cameras and microphones, explained the lead author of the study, Dr Maryam Mehrnezhad, a research fellow in the School of Computing Science.

This means malicious programs can “covertly ‘listen in’ on your sensor data and use it to discover a wide range of sensitive information about you such as phone call timing, physical activities and even your touch actions, Pins and passwords.” Dr Mehrnezhad continued.

They discovered that each touch action (clicking, scrolling, holding and tapping) created a unique orientation and motion trace; and if this was done on a known web page, a hacker would know what the user was clicking on and what they were typing.  If this were to be done on an online banking website – passwords could be compromised.

The study went on to explain that despite the industry being aware of the problem, no solution has been found; partly because there is no uniform way of managing sensors across the industry.

In the study published this month in the International Journal of Information Security, the team also found that if one of the malicious apps or websites remains open in a tab, it can spy on the details you enter.

Dr Mehrnezhad pointed out that even when phones were locked – if the tab remained open it could still be collecting data.

The team will next be looking into the additional risks posed by personal fitness trackers that are linked to online user profiles.

What is a VPN & Top VPNs 2017

What is a VPNs & Top VPNs 2017

What is a VPN?

What’s is a VPN & Top VPNs 2017 Virtual Private NetworkIf you’re concerned about online privacy and want to spies away, a virtual private network (VPN) is what you require.. We round up the best VPN services for you to protect your location and allowing you to access blocked content and blocked websites.

Why you need a VPN

Public awareness of VPNs has grown over the past few years, but there are still a lot of people using the web who know nothing about them.

We all like to watch catch-up TV, however, most of the content is to be watched in home territories. The BBC iPlayer and Sky Go, to name only a couple, are only meant to be viewed in the UK, and while Netflix is accessible around the globe, the content available varies across different countries.

This means you can’t watch your favorite TV shows while travelling overseas. More importantly, though, a VPN can help protect your identity online and keep you safe from prying eyes and protects your identity from websites.

How does a VPN work?

A Virtual Private Network creates a private data tunnel over the internet to a web server. This can be located in the same country as you or located somewhere else. This means that, in theory, you can watch your favourite UK show because that’s where it thinks you are. Crucially, all data traffic sent over the VPN is encrypted, so it cannot be intercepted.

To get started you’ll need to install software on your PC, Laptop, Mac or mobile device. Once you’ve logged in, choose a server in the location where you’d like to ‘virtually’ appear. You then just carry on as normal, safe in the knowledge that your activities are protected.

Are free VPNs any good?

There are plenty of free VPNs out there, but some of them have their drawbacks. They may be slow, unreliable or collect information about your web browsing habits, which of course defeats the object. Netflix is also now actively clamping down on VPNs both free and paid, so there’s no guarantee that they will work.

How a VPN can protect you

Your ISP will keep records of all the websites you visit and your online activity and if so ordered by the government will hand over that information. If you don’t like the sound of that, using a VPN makes sense good sense.

One of the really exposed and unsafe areas of using the internet is via a public network, These are notorious for problems and you should never do online banking unless running a reliable VPN.

Five Eyes

It’s important to know where your VPN is located. Some countries have got together to agree to exchange information freely, nominally in a bid to enhance everyone’s security. However, many groups are critical of this behaviour believing that mass surveillance impinges on our freedoms. These countries are known as the Five Eyes: USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. If you want complete privacy you will need to pick a VPN provider based outside of one of these countries.

VPN logs

Many VPN providers have different levels of logging. Some choose to log connection time, IP address and bandwidth used. Others choose to log nothing at all. Needless to say you have to trust the VPN provider that it is NOT monitoring your traffic, otherwise you are not protecting yourself.

What should I look for in a VPN?

Most VPNs support all the major platforms but some offer more unusual platforms such as Kindle or Google Chrome. Also look out for restrictions on usage – some ban P2P, while others are fine with it. Free and trial versions normally have speed restrictions, while paid-for versions should have none. Note that encryption can slow down connections. OpenVPN provides more protection, while PPTP is faster but less secure. You should be able to switch between them depending on need.

Also if you’re connecting to a server that’s geographically far away, you are less likely to get the full speed that your ISP provides. Look out for server speed claims and make sure that you conduct tests to check whether you are happy early on, so you can get a refund within the time limit if you’re not.

Top VPNs to check out

CyberGhost www.cyberghostvpn.com HIGHLY RECOMMENDED…!
Free and paid for

NordVPN www.nordvpn.com
Paid

IPVanish www.ipvanish.com
Paid

PureVPN www.purevpn.com
Paid

ExpressVPN www.expressvpn.com
Paid

Buffered www.buffered.com
Paid

ZenMate www.zenmate.co.uk
Free

StrongVPN www.strongvpn.com
Paid

Total VPN www.totalvpn.com
Free

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN www.hidemyass.com
Paid

Private Internet Access www.privateinternetaccess.com
Paid

HideIPVPN www.hideipvpn.com
Paid

TorGuard www.torguard.net
Paid

An Introduction to Cloud Computing

The term Cloud computing is the delivery of hosted services and applications over the internet.

An Introduction to Cloud Computing, Cloud Computing explainedCloud computing enables people and businesses to use a computer resource, such as storage or an application, without having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in house. So you won’t need to set up a server and start a coding for the next 3 months.

There are many benefits form Cloud computing, here are a few:

Latest Updates

The provider of a cloud service or application will continue to update their system with the latest functions and facilities and provide security updates.

Do more with less

Having data and software running in the cloud, companies and end users can reduce the size of their own data centers or eliminate their data center altogether. The reduction of the numbers of servers and software can reduce IT costs without impacting businesses and their IT capabilities.

Flexible costs

With cloud computing the costs are more flexible because companies only need to pay for what they need or use. Most cloud provider’s offer different levels of services at different sign up fees which can depend on the requirements and number of staff etc.

Availability

Cloud computing providers maintain a 99.99% uptime. Normally if you are online the service is available to use whenever and wherever. Some applications work off-line and will update and synchronise when you are next connection to the internet.

Mobility

Your applications and data are available to you or your employees no matter where they are in the world. Staff can take their work anywhere via smart phones and tablets or can work from a laptop. As well has Jordan IT Services I also own a graphic design business. Jordan IT Service needs an office with staff, however the design business can be run from a laptop from anywhere. So, I find myself taking my laptop everywhere with me, even on holiday.

Finally – Cloud computing security, is it safe?

Security is a major concern for any business sending data out to a cloud service. Many businesses and organizations are bound by complex obligations and government standards and have a fear of loss or theft. With more reliable data encryption and security tools available, things are slowly becoming more and more cloud based.

5G is on its way!

Fifth Generation – 5G is on its way….

5G Explained 5G Arriving? Fifth GenerationMost phones on the market are running 3G and 4G. The 5G wireless network is expected to roll out in early 2020, and an increasing number of businesses are already investing to prepare for the new mobile wireless network.

5G (Fifth Generation) according to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), to qualify for a 5G a connection should meet with most of these eight criteria:

  1. One to 10Gbps connections to end points in the field
  2. One millisecond end-to-end round trip delay
  3. 1000x bandwidth per unit area
  4. 10 to 100x number of connected devices
  5. (Perception of) 99.999 percent availability
  6. (Perception of) 100 percent coverage
  7. 90 percent reduction in network energy usage
  8. Up to ten-year battery life for low power, machine-type devices

Mobile wireless generations gave us the following features:

  • 1G gave us our first phone calls
  • 2G gave us text messaging
  • 3G gave us reliable internet access and email
  • 4G gave greater speeds for smart phones and Applications
  • 5G will give us speed and capacity for a more rapid arrival of everything we need.

What are the advantages of 5G

5G will be significantly faster than 4G and allow for higher productivity across all supported devices and of with greater bandwidth comes faster download times and the ability to run more complex mobile internet apps.

Currently 5G is still being developed and is not in use, however there are a companies that are already creating 5G products. These companies include BT, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Ericsson, with a growing number of companies forming 5G partnerships and investing in further research.

Security and Choice of Password

Security and Choice of PasswordChoose your passwords carefully…

According to recent report by Verizon which you can read here , the biggest issue regarding data security is your choice of password and the steps you take to protect it.  With “63% of confirmed data breaches involved weak, default or stolen passwords”.

The report outlines the fact that we can still be naive with respect to phishing attacks, …almost a third (30%) of phishing messages were opened up from 23% in 2014. And 12% of targets went on to open the malicious attachment or click the link about the same as 2014 (11%). So with almost a third of unsafe emails being opened we really do need to make a serious effort to train all our staff in a few fundamentals.

Laurance Dine, a Managing Principal for the Investigative Response Unit at Verizon, commented that, “user security awareness continues to be overlooked as organisations fail to understand that they need to make their employees the first line of defence”

So what can business owners and managers do?

Security and Choice of Password Security and Choice of Password Firstly create strong passwords. Take a look at Splash Data’s list of Worst 25 passwords and cringe slightly if any of them is yours!

password
12345678
qwerty
12345
123456789
letmein

football
1234
1234567
baseball
welcome
monkey

1234567890
abc123
111111
1qaz2wsx
dragon
master

login
princess
qwertyuiop
passw0rd
starwars

Secondly, once you have created a strong password, don’t share it or use it again. It won’t matter if it is the strongest password in the world if the whole world knows about it!

Thirdly, make yourself and your staff fully aware of the risks of data breach. There are plenty of recent examples, and none of us wishes to be added to the ever growing list and serious breaches of the Data Protection Act carries with it the likelihood of serious fines by the information commissioner (ICO).

Secure Digital SD Cards

Secure Digital SD ABCSD Cards

Universally used across a spectrum of digital hardware buying the right SD card can be confusing. The three main considerations when purchasing are:

A) Which Size?

Well you will of course need to check your device but basically there are three physical sizes. The original SDSC standard size of 32 x 24mm and it has nine copper pins. These are most likely to be found in digital photography equipment . Next there is the smaller (and mostly obsolete) miniSD which measures 21.5 x 20mm with 11 pins which will be found in older model smart-phones, or the smallest and now most common microSD which comes in at 11 x 15mm and has eight pins. This size is now the most widely used as it is used in the latest smart-phones. You can however, by using an adapter, use the smaller cards in a standard SD card slot – but it doesn’t work the other way round – you can’t use a standard sized card in a device originally designed to take a smaller card.

B) Size Matters

How Much Storage do I need? The first cards were standard SD with a small 1-2GB capacity. The newer SDHC – Secure Digital Standard Capacity cards depending of course on how much you are willing to spend, can store anything from 2 -32GB. There are also SDXC – Secure Digital eXtended Capacity cards but these have a different file format and cannot be read by older devices with a standard SDHC slot. (SDHC cards use FAT32 file unlike SDXC which use the exFAT file format). Your device will identify which cards are compatible – if in doubt contact the retail outlet where you bought it.

C) Speed

This is probably the most confusing bit and the SD Card Association has created a set of logos which manufacturers have to use to identify the different classes of cards.

Standard class cards have a number displayed within the letter C such as 2 being a minimum of 2MBps, 4 being 4MBps,6 being 6MBps, and 10 for 10MBps (bear in mind this is a minimum – these often run much faster and these cards will also generally be marked with the faster speed in large letters) Again, if you refer to the manual and verify your devices specifications it should tell you the speed at which it writes data to an SD card – match this to your cards and everything will be fine.

Ultra High Speed cards are also available for high end digital photography equipment.

For more you can link here to the Wikipedia entry for SD cards https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital

Understanding Phishing and the need for Cyber Essentials

Understanding Phishing and the need for Cyber EssentialsPhishing

Understanding Phishing and the need for Cyber Essentials Russian high-tech crime investigating company Group-IB have recently reported that cyber criminals have stolen £18.7 million from banks in Russia between August 2015 and February 2016 using spear phishing emails.

Phishing has been defined by security software giant Symantec (Norton Antivirus) as an email that appears to be from an individual or business that you know. But it isn’t. It’s from the same criminal hackers who want your credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, and the financial information on your PC.

Staff training

But it is not just banks and other financial institutions that need to guard against this threat. With these phishing attacks aggressively being aimed at your staff, as an employer you need to look at how to identify possible phishing attacks, and how to effectively pass this information on to your employees.

How do you tell?

Well, you can’t always, scam artists will do their utmost to perfectly re create logos and familiar headers and footers in emails but there are a few things that you can do to guard against this threat.  It is not a bad idea to train your staff to get into these habits for all email traffic.

What to look for

For starters, before opening any emails check the senders address/domain and not just the familiar looking senders name. For example an email pretending to be from a familiar energy company should have a recognisable email address john@energycompany.com rather than john@465msl.co.uk. This is a simplistic example, but you get the general idea. If you are unsure, then go directly to the company website or call them and check if the email is genuine.

The really important bit…

Phishing emails contain a document link that needs to be opened in order for the malware to infect your system NEVER OPEN A LINK unless you are expecting it! Always check with the original company if you have any doubts whatsoever. It may take a few minutes but it could be well worth it.

Artificial Intelligence, should we be worried about AI?

Artificial Intelligence should be we worried about AIArtificial Intelligence

Should we be worried?

It was only a couple of years ago when the majority of industry professionals believed that we were still decades away from seeing a computer win at a high level playing the ancient Chinese game GO, but for two straight days now AlphaGO has beaten ten time GO world champion Lee Sedol. Demis Hassabis, CEO of Googles DeepMind Technologies and developer of AlphaGO stated in his twitter feed that AlphaGO used some “creative moves”. Also on Twitter the Go master says he was stunned by some of AlphaGO’s moves. “It placed the stones in such unconventional places.”

So why GO and not Chess?

Simply, computers have been playing chess and beating masters for many years, but the game of Go long remained unbeaten at anything other than a basic level. Go is widely held as a far more complex game than chess with the possible moves reportedly numbering more than the number of atoms in the universe. Chess is an almost entirely left brain analytical game whereas GO uses both left brain analytic as well as right brain artistic and pattern recognition.

Stepping toward Singularity?

Well Billionaire Elon Musk Founder of SpacEx and co Founder of Tesla seems to think we may be. Alonside some of Silicon Valleys big hitters he has formed OpenAI not to see a return on his $10 million investment but “to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.” He believes that by opening up the field of AI to everyone they will “counteract large corporations who may gain too much power by owning super-intelligence systems devoted to profits, as well as governments which may use AI to gain power and even oppress their citizenry” There have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator; there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad.

We Shouldn’t be Worried. Yet.

Dr Simon Stringer, director of the Oxford Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence, believes that the sort of intelligence shown by the AlphaGO model is quite narrow and that if you want to solve consciousness you’re not going to solve it using the sorts of algorithms they’re using, he is however aiming to produce the first prototypical conscious systems, something very simple, somewhere between a mouse and a rat, within the next 20 – 30 years.