July 2019
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Microsoft cranks up Windows 10 1803-to-1903 forced upgrades

Microsoft has started automatically updating Windows 10 computers running the April 2018 Feature Update (version 1803) and earlier. These forced updates began in late June 2019 to help ensure that “these devices in a serviced, secure state”.  This could be disruptive, as the feature update will just happen when you log in and could take an hour or more – if it goes smoothly.

Here is the schedule of updates, and supported versions.

As mentioned before, you can check your version of windows by typing “Winver” from a command prompt:

If you haven’t recently updated your Windows 10 PC it is time to plan for it – before it is forced on you. The April 2018 update will reach its end of service on November 12, 2019 for Home and Pro Editions of Windows 10. As mentioned, forced updates began in June.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update, or version 1903 is now 2 months old. The company released the second cumulative update for version 1903 earlier this month. Microsoft still has not stamped it as “Ready for Business” but major bugs are now fixed. Contact us to help you get updated if you need to update in order to avoid being forced into it.

Users on the Windows 10 May 2019 Update will be able to more easily upgrade to the next new release (probably around October 2019). It will install as a regular monthly update rather than a “Feature Update”.  Older (prior to May 2019) versions will need to follow the regular “Feature Update” upgrade process, which is essentially a reinstall of Windows. This is a change, and probably indicates that there will be fewer significant changes in the October 2019 release.

You may want to sign into your personal Microsoft account at least annually to preserve it.
Microsoft considers accounts inactive if no sign-in happened in a two-year period, and they will be deleted. Microsoft accounts are used for a variety of purposes. Windows 10 (digital) licenses may be linked to the accounts. Accounts linked to active products won’t be deleted. Home computers may have been registered with a Microsoft account when they were initially set up.

Office 365 ProPlus (Office 365 subscription) is officially supported on Windows Server 2019. Microsoft has added new features to Outlook, OneDrive and Microsoft teams to improve usability in a virtualized environment.  This makes it an appealing upgrade for Remote Desktop Server users.

To prevent wildfires, California may need to endure power blackouts. Details from PG&E.

Be sure your business is prepared for an extended power outage.

Apple’s new iCloud for Windows app will now allow you to access your iCloud Drive directly from your file explorer, without using up space on your PC. You will be able to choose what files you want to store on your computer and which ones you would like to be stored on the cloud.

If you currently own a 2018 MacBook Air with power issues Apple will replace the logic board at no cost.

Amazon Prime Day will kick off July 15 after midnight PT and last 48 hours until July 16.

You must be an Amazon Prime subscriber.

Try CamelCamelCamel to see if the Prime Day sales are really a bargain. It’s a free Amazon price tracker that monitors millions of products and serves up their price history.

Amazon confirms Alexa customer voice recordings are kept forever

if you wish to manually remove what you can from Alexa audio recordings, access the Alexa app and go to Account – > History, as well as Privacy – > Manage how your data improves Alexa.

AT&T will soon have its first 5G phone: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. It will only be available for business customers. The phone was previously exclusive to Verizon, which is currently live with 5G in certain parts of 19 cities. It will be a while before 5G reaches Visalia.

Google is Changing how Google Drive and Google Photos work together.

The Federal Communications Commission today voted to let phone companies block robocalls by default even when consumers have not opted in to robocall-blocking services.

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 6Making the iPad experience more like a laptop does not, however, turn it into a laptop replacement.

Kabbage, which loans up to $250,000 in a single deal to small and medium businesses, has built a platform that uses AI algorithms to search the web for data about the applicant and then determine whether to provide the loans, and at what rates. The whole process takes mere minutes. This is the beginning of a trend toward AI algorithms taking over traditional decision-making systems.

This is how companies use your phone to track you, and this information is all for sale.

SECURITY

MacOS malware includes a zero-day exploit and other attack code.

Microsoft warns 1 million computers are still vulnerable to a major Windows security exploit. Just a reminder to keep your PC fully patched.

US Cyber Command issues alert about hackers exploiting Outlook vulnerability:

Once the hacker has legitimate credentials (from data breaches such as those listed below), they identify publicly accessible Outlook Web Access (OWA) or Office 365 accounts that are not protected with multi-factor authentication.

There is a zero-day vulnerability that has been found with Mozilla Firefox. If you have not updated to Firefox version 67.0.3 or Firefox ESR 60.7.1 please do so, The update should install automatically when you restart Firefox. Call us if are having issues updating.

Computer controlled door locks using Zipato SmartHubs are vulnerable to hacking.

D-Link to undergo security audits for 10 years as part of FTC settlement over poor security on their devices.

Recent Data Breaches:

ORVIBO, a Chinese manufacturer of smart home devices, left an unprotected Elasticsearch database accessible online through a web interface with no authentication. …makes it possible for a malicious party to change the owner’s login data, taking over the device and locking the owner out of it. This could lead to major privacy breaches, for example in the case of smart home cameras.

By Tim Torian

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