New vulnerability endangers Internet Explorer users

By: Doug Zbikowski

iewarn

UPDATE (May 1, 2014, 1:30pm ET): Microsoft has released an emergency patch for the Internet Explorer vulnerability. In a surprise move, they also released an update for Windows XP! Head over to Windows Update to get it.

A new bug has been discovered that could put Internet Explorer users at serious risk. Until the problem is fixed security experts are calling on users to switch to an alternative browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. In a rare move, the US Government is advising to users to switch to another browser until Internet Explorer is fixed.

On April 26th, 2014, Microsoft announced that all versions of Internet Explorer are at risk for “drive-by” attacks from malicious websites. This new vulnerability, dubbed CVE-2014-1776, has the potential to give hackers direct access to your computer, allowing infected web sites to install malicious applications, create new Windows accounts, and change or delete data stored on the computer. Disturbingly, these attacks have actually been observed in the wild by Internet security firm FireEye, who started observing this type of attack as early as February. Microsoft says attacks seem to be coming from websites that feature advertisement feeds or user-provided content where an attacker could insert malicious code. At this time it is unknown whether Microsoft will release an emergency patch or wait until patch Tuesday on May 13th to fix the vulnerability. Read more of this post

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Using Windows 8? Windows 8.1 free upgrade is now available!

Windows 8. Love it or hate it, it’s what you can expect to be using if you buy a new PC these days. Microsoft stirred up more controversy with its latest operating system than anything in recent memory by completely changing the familiar Start button based interface we’ve come to love over the last 18-or-so years. In its place is a screen full of bright colors and big tiles, and with Windows 8.1 Microsoft’s flashy new OS is getting its first facelift. Overall, the changes are minor, but bring some much-needed options and tweaks to make Windows 8 more comfortable. Read more of this post

Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview now available to Windows 7 users

Microsoft posted a “preview release” of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7 on Tuesday, with hints that a final release will be made available in December.

The  “IE10 Release Preview,” as it’s called, appeared on Microsoft’s site early Tuesday and is only available for Windows 7. The newly released Windows 8 already has a full version of IE10 integrated, and the word on the street is Windows Vista (and obviously Windows XP) will not be supported for this release. If this proves correct, it will make Microsoft the first web browser maker to drop Vista support, just as it was the only developer to drop support for Windows XP when IE9 shipped last year. Read more of this post

Get Windows 8 for Dummies e-book for free!

Windows 8 for Dummies - Pocket EditionI freely admit it. I’m not the biggest fan of Windows 8. I tried out the beta test version and thought “Well, it’s not quite finished.” I tried the release candidate version and thought “Well, maybe they’ll fix it before release.” Now I’m running the retail version and saying “Ugh, this thing is a mess.”

If you’re not familiar with the changes in Windows 8, it’s essentially Microsoft trying to get everyone to start using touch-screen devices. Don’t get me wrong…the new OS works great on the new MS Surface tablets. But, using an operating system optimized for touch on a laptop or desktop computer is proving to be more frustrating than innovative. They even have touchscreen-equipped  laptops and desktops out now that allow you to “experience Windows 8 the way it was designed”. Read more of this post

Happy 11th Birthday Windows XP – Not Quite Dead Yet

Today Microsoft is in New York starting its festivities for Windows 8, its latest operating system that promises to merge tablet and PC computing into a brand new environment. However, in the back room Windows XP is quietly celebrating its 11th birthday. October 25th, 2001 was the day Windows XP was unleashed, becoming the most successful operating system in history.

I’m sure Microsoft hopes to have the same success with Windows 8, but its track-record has been hit and miss…history shows the “odd” number releases are usually the good ones. We’ll have to see if Windows 8 breaks that mold.

Windows XP was so successful because it solved a lot of pain-points for PC users at the time. Hardware installation, file limitations, memory management…all of these issues made computers more of a complicated tool rather than the appliance-like device it is seen as today. Windows XP is the product that made that possible. Its so well made that even 11 years after its introduction, XP is still used 41% of the world’s personal computers as of September 2012. Only the much newer Windows 7 has a larger share, and it didn’t surpass Windows XP until August! Read more of this post

Google Drive is Now Available: 5 Cool Things To Do

I had a nice 8GB USB thumb drive a few weeks ago. It had some large files on it that were impractical to email, some photos I was going to use on a web site, and a few other miscellaneous items. The little memory stick was a convenient way of moving information because it was small enough to fit in my pocket, and I could plug it in to any computer I happened to be in front of.

You’ll notice I wrote that sentence in the “past-tense,” because I lost it. I also had a portable USB hard drive that I carted around in my travel bag for the same reason…which died after I dropped it.

Two problems with storing information on a piece of hardware is if your hardware malfunctions or you don’t have it with you, your information is at best inaccessible and at worst lost forever.

Google Drive was recently released to everyone, Google’s new cloud storage product that gives you 5GB of free storage. Sundar Pichai, a lead Google Apps developer,  describes Google drive as “a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.”

He’s not kidding either. Google Drive is integrated into your email system (Click the Documents or Drive link at the top of your mail screen), and can be set up to work just like a virtual hard drive on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Once logged into your Drive, you can upload files, create and share documents, and manage the accessibility of your files. Photos and information I frequently use are now in a central location that can’t be lost or victimized by my butterfingers,  and I can access these files from any Internet connection.

To sweeten the deal, here’s 5 things you can do with Google Drive to make it even better: Read more of this post

Go Mobile or Stay Behind

In 2005, I received my first phone with Internet access: the Nokia 3650. I was at my son’s baseball game, and during a lull I decided to check out my work website. It took 2 minutes to appear and looked like one of those magazine clipping ransom notes you used to see in old TV shows. I tried using the Internet access a few other times with similar results: slow and completely unusable. I hoped for a day when I could use the Internet from a lawn chair just as easily as from my desk.

Of course, that day has since arrived. In fact, many of us can’t imagine a world where we aren’t able to check Facebook or read the news from our mobile devices. Sales of smartphones even surpassed PC’s last year, making them one of the most popular methods of connecting to the Internet. Mobile Internet is trending so quickly that many businesses are in danger of falling behind if they don’t start re-thinking their mobile strategies. Read more of this post

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