A new variant of malware based on the Chromium project has come to light – and it’s trying to trick users into thinking it is Google Chrome. The troublesome part of this ‘efast’ product is that it is doing a really good job of it. The purpose of the malware is to inject ads into otherwise harmless pages; and further could take end user data and sell it to nefarious advertisers among others. When downloading free software always remain vigilant of the source of your download as well as any ‘free’ offers that are bundled with the installer. Simply reading the steps during what many people like to skip over during the license agreement will reduce the pervasiveness of their malware.
It’s been noted before that Windows 10 has been downloading in the background for users of Windows 7 and 8. Now it appears that the update is selected by default – allowing for accidental deployment of a massive update. The aggressive nature of the Windows 10 roll out is causing a lot of grief for users in all kinds of scenarios. It’s a large download – which would slow some networks and connections. This could also cause issues with available space on machines with little to spare (like some with smaller SSD’s). It’s a really good idea to pay attention to the optional updates on the list as you run them.
Microsoft’s quote on the matter:
As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.
Microsoft has pumped out yet another laptop/ultrabook replacement in the form of the Surface Pro 4 / Surface book. A great idea and specifications has met it’s match in the demand department. The device sold out during pre-orders in the first three days for the ‘Book’ model, in all variants.
It’s no surprise that the device is a hot ticket item with the specifications it has. Sporting the 6th gen Intel processors, 12 hours of battery life, optional dedicated Nvidia graphics, SSD and a 3000×2000 resolution makes it a well powered machine. The Surface Book model has an attached keyboard base – which is flexible and allows you to bend it backwards to use the device like a tablet.
A nice gift from the big heads at MS is that the device supports the previous dock models and power adapters from the Surface 3 models. Here’s hoping they have fixed some of the other complaints I had in the previous model – the noise and heat on the Surface 3 was awful…
‘Why can’t I use the WiFi in the boardroom to get my work done?’ I get this question at least once a week. The simple fact of the matter is that WiFi was designed as a solution to the problem of drilling holes in marble floors. Technology like this is wonderfully convenient – but seriously lacking in real world performance for medium to heavy use tasks. The name for the technology may have changed from B to G, N to AC over the years but it is still inherently the same ethereal signal.
Clients such as mine are used to stable office environments that can perform through the worst of user errors. WiFi still remains the bane of my existence in answering questions and complaints. Even with the best of off the shelf technology today, you still don’t even get half of what a cable can do reliably. The average in this round up (albeit these are consumer grade devices) is about 17MB/s to a max of 60MB/s variable. You will want to note upper case on the second letter – MegaBytes per second. WiFi advocates like to measure in Mb/s which is an aggravating metric for users that interact with a PC that reports all data transfer speeds in MB/s. Eight bits in a Byte people.
Why would I get so riled up about WiFi performance? On a bad day, awful configuration and a slow disk at either end of the transfer wired performance hits about 30-50MB/s sustained. Average around my office, home and clients work place is 110MB/s. Peak performance in perfect environments is up to 140MB/s. These metrics come from run of the mill devices too – nothing that costs a fortune to buy. Another important point to note from the article is the real world aspect of all their tests. Everyone’s house and set up will be different. The faster the WiFi technology – the smaller the wavelength. That means a significant performance drop for every wall or object you have to travel through.
All of this to say that they are not bad devices. Quite the opposite – each of them has some really neat features and their performance of their predecessors technology is vastly improved. The big point to take away here is that WiFi is not meant to replace a wire. It is a tool of convenience for simple tasks – web browsing, occasional data transfer between devices, gaming, streaming video. So when IT rolls their eyes about using the WiFi around the office to get anything important done; or supplies a lame excuse as to why they don’t want to discuss it with you – remember that getting the job done right will require a wire.
This won’t be news to anyone in the technology industry – but Adobe Flash has a vulnerability that has been exploited in the wild again. At this time there is no patch available from Adobe to cover all affected versions, but users should keep an eye out for updates if you are running it in your browser. Firefox and Internet Explorer require updates to be done manually (or via the optional automated updater software from Adobe, installed to your desktop). Google Chrome users will automatically update when a flash update is released, but may need to restart the Chrome application.
It’s a good time to note that adblockers and noscript are always good options for the security conscious. A small learning curve to the latter, it’s a great tool to prevent websites from running content without you deliberately clicking on it first.
Check back with Adobe for an update as soon as this latest exploit is patched.