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Protect your Windows devices against Spectre and Meltdown   

Microsoft is aware of new vulnerabilities in hardware processors named "Spectre" and "Meltdown". These are a newly discovered class of vulnerabilities based on a common chip architecture that, when originally designed, was created to speed up computers. The technical name is "speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities". You can learn more about these vulnerabilities at Google Project Zero.

Who is affected?

Affected chips include those manufactured by Intel, AMD, and ARM, which means all devices running Windows operating systems are potentially vulnerable (e.g., desktops, laptops, cloud servers, and smartphones). Devices running other operating systems such as Android, Chrome, iOS, and MacOS are also affected. We advise customers running these operating systems to seek guidance from those vendors.

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Published on January 9, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
The Best Linux Distributions for 2018   

It's a new year and the landscape of possibility is limitless for Linux. Whereas 2017 brought about some big changes to a number of Linux distributions, I believe 2018 will bring serious stability and market share growth for both the server and the desktop.

For those who might be looking to migrate to the open source platform (or those looking to switch it up), what are the best choices for the coming year? If you hop over to Distrowatch, you'll find a dizzying array of possibilities, some of which are on the rise, and some that are seeing quite the opposite effect.

So, which Linux distributions will 2018 favor? 

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Published on January 8, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Meltdown and Spectre chip exploits: What’s the difference?   

Multiple millions of computing devices worldwide are affected by two security vulnerabilities in processors, known as Meltdown and Spectre.

The fundamental flaws are present in chips manufactured by Intel, ARM and AMD, which are used in Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Linux and Lenovo smartphones, computers and operating systems, among others.

Both flaws exploit a specific processor performance feature called speculative execution, but do so in slightly different ways. They also have the potential to affect data centres and devices that connect to the cloud.

There is currently no evidence anyone has abused either of the exploits.

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Published on January 6, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
What Users Must Know About Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Impacting CPUs   

Meltdown and Spectre are two vulnerabilities that impact almost all computers, tablets and smartphones on the earth. Does it mean you can be hacked? What can you do about it?

If you think 2017 was the year of security nightmares, 2018 looks to be even worse. The year has just started and we already have two major vulnerabilities impacting almost all the processors made in the last 20 years.

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Published on January 5, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Codename Has been Announced   

Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Codename

Brief: This is a continually updated article to inform you about Linux Mint 19 release date, features and everything important associated with it. 

Linux Mint 19 codename has just been released. The first release of the upcoming Linux Mint 19 series will be called "Tara".

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Published on January 4, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
INTEL WARNING - Security flaw discovered, but fixing it could MAJORLY slow PCs down   

Windows 10, Apple Mac and Linux fans have been warned about a security risk that reportedly affects Intel processors.

A "fundamental design flaw" was allegedly discovered with Intel chipsets, and it will spark major updates from operating software creators.

The Register reported that Microsoft are readying a Windows patch to address the issue as are Linux.

The Redmond-based tech giant is expected to launch a Windows fix in an upcoming Patch Tuesday.

However, it's claimed these patches will have a massive impact on performance - with the updates slowing down PCs by up to 30 per cent.

It's also claimed Apple's macOS will need to be updated to address the issues.

Apple's line of MacBooks all boast Intel processors, with their MacBook Pros featuring the Kaby Lake chipsets.

While Windows 10 laptops invariably have Intel processors instead of rival AMD chipsets. 

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Published on January 3, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
Microsoft’s annual Laziness Tax on you   

Everyone hates taxes, but most people pay Microsoft's Laziness Tax every year.  Here's how to avoid paying extra.

Office 365 annual tribute fee for the Home plan is US$99.99 but you can pay around $75 for renewals.  The difference of around $25 is Microsoft's Laziness Tax.

It's the extra you pay for buying direct from Microsoft for Office 365 new and renewals without shopping around for a better price.

Renewals too

You don't have to renew direct with Microsoft.

Office 365 Home or Personal plans can be renewed by buying elsewhere and adding to your existing account.

Microsoft doesn't like to mention this, because they make too much extra from their Laziness Tax.  It's definitely allowed according to Microsoft's own Terms and Conditions for Office 365.

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Published on January 2, 2018 by Paul Illingworth
WhatsApp will ditch Blackberry OS and Windows Phone by New Year's   

WhatsApp is bidding farewell to older mobile operating systems as the year draws to a close. Specifically, it's ending support for BlackBerry OS (including BlackBerry 10) and Windows Phone 8.0 and older on December 31st. Although the Facebook-owned messaging app will continue to work on these platforms, users won't be able to create new accounts or re-verify existing accounts. Oh, and WhatsApp claims its app could stop functioning at any time, so maybe it's time for that upgrade.

In the past few months alone, WhatsApp has unveiled some handy features (like quick delete for sent texts, real-time location sharing, and new universal emojis). But, it seems older platforms don't boast the "capabilities" the company needs to expand its functions going forward.

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Published on December 27, 2017 by Paul Illingworth
Top 10 Microsoft Visio Alternatives for Linux   

Microsoft Visio is a great tool for creating or generating mission-critical diagrams and vector representations. While it may be a good tool for making floor plans or other kinds of diagrams it is neither free nor open source.

Moreover, Microsoft Visio is not a standalone product. It comes bundled with Microsoft Office. We have already seen open source alternatives to MS Office in the past. Today we'll see what tools you can use in place of Visio on Linux

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Published on December 26, 2017 by Paul Illingworth
Windows 10 WARNING - PCs vulnerable to hack after shock security risk discovered   

Windows 10 users have been warned about a new security risk which could open PCs up to an attack.

Microsoft's flagship operating system can be hacked into via the Windows Hello facial authentication system, cybersecurity experts have warned.

Windows Hello lets users unlock their device simply with their face or with a fingerprint.

But security researchers from German firm SYSS managed to defeat the face scanning feature with a printed picture.

The cybersecurity experts were able to defeat Windows Hello on Windows 10 systems that have not yet received the Fall Creators Update.

SYSS said on these systems a "simple spoofing attack using a modified printed photo of an authorised person" can crack open Windows Hello.

The researchers claim this attack works against multiple versions of Windows 10 and on different hardware, ZDNet reported.

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Published on December 25, 2017 by Paul Illingworth
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