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2018 Program Index

21 Jan 2018

Begone, Vile Telephone Spam and Scams! “Hi! This is Dave from the fulfillment department!” You probably receive calls like that every day – calls that are nothing more than scams. The problem seems to be worsening, but there’s some hope for mobile phones and most voice-over-IP systems. Spam fighters are needed because the federal Do Not Call list isn't working.

Short Circuits: Beware Fake Patches for Spectre and Meltdown: Online crooks are nothing if not inventive. By now your operating system (MacOS, Linux, or Windows) has probably been updated to reduce hardware dangers associated with attacks called Spectre and Meltdown, but now there's another threat: Fake updates that install malware.

The Terrible Terrifying Cookie: You've doubtless noticed that many sites now display a message that says the site uses cookies. These have become increasingly prevalent in the last year or so, mainly as the result of a law in the European Union. In fact, the EU has been driving most advances in privacy and security matters as the United States continues to fall behind. Cookies can be helpful, but it's not a bad idea to block some types of cookies.

Spare Parts (only on the website): The Banking and Securities Department in Pennsylvania has released an electronic booklet that has some useful tips to avoid being scammed on-line and it's available no matter where you live. • New docking stations that have been designed and built by companies that don't make computers have a worthwhile feature that computer manufacturers don't include in their docks: They work with both Windows and MacOS computers.

14 Jan 2018

Net Neutrality: Political or Not? An effort exists to cast Net Neutrality in a political light, but it seems that most people, regardless of their political affiliation, reject that and prefer to have the protections offered by Net Neutrality remain in place. Although the Federal Communications Commission has voted to terminate Net Neutrality, one option remains, but the timer is running.

Short Circuits: Spectre and Meltdown Flaws and Fixes (and More Flaws): Spectre and Meltdown are hardware design flaws that expose millions of PCs, phones, tablets, and servers to attack. By allowing attackers to get around system protections and read information from memory, the flaws could reveal passwords and other sensitive data. Some of the fixes that have been put in place are creating their own problems.

Windows Update Removes Word's Equation Editor & Fixes Bugs: The equation editor that has been included with Word for nearly 20 years is being eliminated by this month's Windows patch. The equation editor will not return and Microsoft recommends that those who need to edit or create equations in Word use MathType instead. The releases that were pushed out on Tuesday correct nearly 60 bugs. Not all of the bugs are security related, but most are.

Planning to Buy a New Router this Year? Maybe a new router is in your plans for 2018. If so, you might want to wait for a few months because some significant changes are coming. Most of the routers you'll find now comply with the 802.11ac standard, but a few have already been released with 802.11ax. For devices that support the new standard, data transmission should be considerably faster.

Spare Parts (only on the website): Toyota showed off its Mobility Ecosystem that's designed to make vehicles for specific uses at this week's Consumer Electronics show. • Electric cars can be dangerous if batteries aren't monitored and controlled precisely. One company says that it has an inexpensive part that can make batteries safer.

07 Jan 2018

Your Computer or Network Needs a Robust Defense: The final program of 2017 looked back at some of the primary security challenges of 2017. Now it's time to take a look at what we might reasonably expect in 2018. Sam Curry, the chief security officer at Cybereason, says that he hopes this will be the year of defense. In an hour-long conference call, he explained and today's program will cover the main points.

Short Circuits: Your Computer Probably Has a Security Flaw: If your computer has an Intel CPU and runs Windows, it probably has a security flaw. If your computer has an Intel CPU and runs the MacOS, it probably has a security flaw. If your computer has an Intel CPU and runs some version of Linux, it probably has a security flaw. Perhaps you've noticed a pattern here. Be sure to obtain the latest security updates for your operating system.

Are Light Bulbs High Tech? Incandescent light bulbs are on the way to extinction. If you're still hanging on to bulbs that get hot, burn out all too often, and increase your electric bill, there are better options. Light emitting diodes are being used in bulbs now and these bulbs could significantly lower your electric bill.

Spare Parts (only on the website): The music streaming service Spotify plans to go public in the first half of 2018 and will use an unusual method for its IPO. • If you have a teenager, how many social media accounts does he or she have? There's a good chance you don't know about all of them. • We'll reveal the second half of Dashlane's top 10 worst password offenders for 2017 and explore the 3 things we can do to avoid being password bunglers.