Meltdown! Kaiser! Spectre! How bad are these security threats? How much will they slowdown YOUR PC? We’ve got more info on these issues, and links to press releases and industry analysis. Buckle up folks! 2018 is off to a rocky start for the entire computing industry!
A terrible start for 2018 and Intel. A security flaw was discovered in Intel hardware, and the fix could be VERY costly. Depending on what processor is in your computer, you might see performance losses anywhere from 5% to 30%. Yikes. And yes, even you Mac users will be affected. Here’s the scoop on Intel’s Kernel Security flaw. Pretty sure my next PC build will be an AMD…
It’s kinda sad how far ASK has fallen. From the cute Ask Jeeves to now being considered malware by Microsoft.
And with good reason. The Ask toolbar is an insidious little piece of software which hijacks your search options and adds an ugly bar to your browser. I once reinstalled an OS just to completely rid a system of browser add ons, of which Ask was one.
It’s exceedingly rare to find knowledgeable computer users who intentionally use it. That was likely Ask’s problem. Not enough people using their search engine, so they partnered with other companies to try and sneak their software onto your computer. The frustration of clicking through a program installation, and having to pay close attention to make sure no crapware is included.
Thankfully Microsoft Security Software will now scan for and remove search hijacks like these. It’s a long overdue move, but a welcome one. Microsoft’s free security software is actually quite good, and this makes it a little better at helping users with a very common security concern.
Not a lot of info on this one just yet, as the story is just breaking, but if you use the game streaming service Twitch, you might want to switch out your password.
A very brief announcement on the Twitch Blog, describes some “unauthorized activity” was discovered, and as a safety precaution, they’ve disabled accounts and sync to Twitter and Youtube. You can read the full press release below.
SuperFish has been an ugly security black mark for Lenovo. It’s often been a criticism in my reviews of their gear that they include too much “value added” software (bloat), and removing a lot of it will noticeably improve system performance.
SuperFish however was a piece of adware. If a Lenovo owner opted into the “service”, SuperFish would analyze images and searches to insert ads for similar products and to do cost comparisons. While that doesn’t sound terrible, behind the scenes SuperFish would install its own security certificates which allowed the service to intercept encrypted traffic.
It’s doubtful that Lenovo or SuperFish seriously wanted to peek in on your private and secured data, but such a gaping hole could easily have been exploited by another attacker.
Lenovo detailed that this adware package was only installed on consumer systems, not on Thinkpads and business systems. Today they’ve published details on removing the service, and they’ve released an app to aid in the removal.
I still find supremely frustrating that we don’t have a kill switch option on our phones. A self destruct setting. Something that would make our glowing rectangles FAR less attractive to thieves. In the meantime, services like this help move us in the right direction.
Android Device Manager was built into newer releases of the Android OS, but that didn’t help folks on OLDER versions of Android. Now you can grab it as a standalone app, and that makes me really happy. Again, we’re seeing Google side step manufacturers and carriers which aren’t updating older phones, and offering more of their OS services as standalone apss they can update and control. Wise move.
Android Device Manager allows you to track a lost phone, reset your password, and in the event you can not retrieve the device you can wipe it out to prevent your data falling in the wrong hands. We still don’t have a hard lock/brick setting, but at least we have better, officially supported tools to protect our Android phones and tablets.
Go get at folks. It’s compatible with Android 2.3 and newer models!
Data and device security is something we should all be on top of.
I used to work for a company which sold gear to Department of Energy facilities, and we dealt with a number of products designed for data protection. In this day and age though, I think we’re all getting a little more concerned with our data security. Honestly a little digital paranoia might not be such a bad thing come to think of it.
Let’s take a quick look at a USB Flash drive from Kingston which aims to lock down your information and protect it from any prying eyes should it fall into the wrong hands.