As technicians, we often have a wide range of tasks, from estimates, invoices, and contracts, in addition to the actual tech work we perform. This involves customer relationship management solutions, billing solutions, software tool updates, and much more. If you haven’t given much attention to your workflow, you might be …
There are a huge response over the weekend and the products are flying out the digital door. If you didnt pick up any of the products over the weekend, you missed out on the deepest discounts. However, the savings remaining are still huge. Again, get them before they are gone! …
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals have arrived. This year 5 of us got together to deliver some deep discounts of our products. We have 50% off the Technibble Computer Business Kit and Business CLients book, MhelpDesk Annual Plans, Instant Housecall Yearly plans, CallThatGirls Remote Support book and Hosted …
Its that time of year again where retailers publish some sweet Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Of course, the computer business is no different. I would like to announce that this year, mHelpDesk, FoolishIT (creator of D7), InstantHousecall, CallThatGirl and us here at Technibble will be posting deep discounts …
If 2013 taught us anything about computer repair, it’s that our industry is changing, and changing fast. While traditional computer repair will not die for the forseeable future, as even the tablet craze hasn’t bumped users from their primary workhorse machines, technicians need to be forward looking so they don’t …
This guide was written by one of our forum members SilverLeaf and was originally written as a forum post. This guide is intended for people who are looking to do quality data recovery using free tools. This guide is fairly technical requiring you to deal with the Linux command line. …
Computer Technicians and System admins across the internet are hearing more and more about the Cryptolocker threat. If you havent heard about it, Cryptolocker is a nasty piece of ransomware that will seek out certain files on computers, attached drives and networks and encrypt them. Once it has finished encrypting …
‘What happened to that stack of hard drives I just had? I could have sworn I had three video cards in stock, but they’re nowhere to be seen!’ If you’re having issues tracking your inventory, or failing to track it at all, it will seriously hamper your efficiency and can …
Comodo Cleaning Essentials (CCE) is a fairly large, portable and freeware software that allows you to remove malware and unsafe processes from your client’s computer. Although there is no perfect solution when removing malware from a client’s system, having one more program in your toolkit never hurts. CCE is available …
Just as RSS feeds are a great way to keep up on Tech news, Twitter is another way to keep up to date with Tech news, reviews, and stories in the technology industry. As a Tech, though, why bother with Twitter? There are several reasons. First, it’s real time insight …
Everybody knows, or ought to know, about the risks of being hacked. But its easy to slip into a level of denial about an amorphous threat and get careless if you dont think anybody is out specifically to get you.
But what if a group of somebodies is out to get you, and you know they are and exactly who they are, because you arranged for them to try? That is what New York University Professor and PandoDaily editor Adam Penenberg did with Trustwaves advanced research and ethical hacking team, SpiderLabs. He challenged them to conduct a personal pen test on him.
And the answer, at least in his case, is that knowing that they were out to get him didnt stop them. He got hacked. As he wrote, in an account of the project last month, while conducting a class at NYU, without warning, my computer freezes.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks against financial firms and other industries have been mounting, so last week the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) announced it is establishing the Anti-Bot Working Group to help fight this threat.
The CSA, the organization formed to set standards for best practices and security in cloud-based services, has set up the Anti-Bot Working Group because crippling DDoS attacks launched against business websites and networks often originate within hosting facilities that have been compromised. It happens when attackers remotely take over the hosting providers servers in order to direct streams of destructive traffic at a target.
Shelbi Rombout, senior vice president and partnership executive for cybersecurity at US Bank, is chairing the CSAs Anti-Bot Working Group, and she describes it as an effort to raise awareness about the problem and push for ways to prevent attacks from occurring through cloud-based facilities.
Once upon a time some Carnegie Mellon University researchers came up with a scheme to use stories and pictures to help users live happily ever after by creating and remembering dozens of passwords and avoiding use of the exact same passwords for multiple sites.
The trick, though, is that users need to repeat and practice those one-sentence stories a lot at the start so that the tales and related images stick in their heads. The photos serve as mnemonic devices to trigger memories of the stories and words that can be used to secure multiple online accounts.
If you can memorize nine stories, our system can generate distinct passwords for 126 accounts, says Jeremiah Blocki, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellons Computer Science Department, in a statement regarding these naturally rehearsing passwords.
Recent successes for Windows Phone smartphones in the U.S. and Europe continue to be overshadowed by challenges the platform faces in China and elsewhere.
The Windows Phone operating system still ranks third globally, far behind Android and iOS, yet most experts say it will have staying power for years to come. Thats because software giant Microsoft has deep pockets and clearly wants to keep the OS durable. Microsoft and Windows Phone will also get boosts as the company converges the mobile OS into the Windows operating system.
Smartphones running the Windows Phone OS took nearly 5 percent market share in the U.S. in the third quarter ending September 30, and topped 10 percent in the combined five-biggest European countries, according to data released Monday from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The momentum for Windows Phone comes from low-cost handsets, such as the Nokia Lumia 520
On any given day cybercriminals and nation states are in possession of as many as 100 zero-day software exploits known only to them, NSS Labs has calculated using the commercial vulnerability market as a baseline.
NSS found that iDefenses Vulnerability Contributor Program (VCP) and HP TippingPoints Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) have from birth to late September 2013 published a total of 2392 vulnerabilities with an average time from purchase to public disclosure of 133 days for the VCP and 174 days for the ZDI.
In Freis view, this confirms the conventional wisdom that serious zero-day flaws are remaining private and potentially exploitable in attacks for long periods of time; if legitimate vendors take an average of 153 days or five months to make flaws public, cybercriminals are surely able to keep them secret for even longer.
Touch-ready notebook PCs will account for about 11 percent of all laptops shipped this year, an improvement over 2012 when customers had few choices if they wanted to smudge screens, a market research analyst said today.
But touch remains a tough sell, said Richard Shim of NPD DisplaySearch.
Customers think, I shouldnt have to pay extra for touch, I get it free on my smartphone and tablet, said Shim of the premium prices that still dominate touch notebooks. And there are really no apps that are forcing or encouraging consumers to adopt touch.
Microsoft is wrapping up the years Patch Tuesday bulletins next week with 11 more fixes, pushing the total for 2013 to 106, up from last years total of 83.
Five bulletins ranked critical all hold the potential for enabling remote code execution on victimized machines and affect a wide range of platforms including most versions of Windows, Windows Server, Internet Explorer, SharePoint and Exchange.
The patches will include a remedy for the .TIFF zero day vulnerability, a flaw in Microsoft Graphics that leaves Microsoft Office and Lync apps and Windows open to attack. Common exploits of the vulnerability include a Word file containing a malicious .TIFF image that leads to the attacker gaining control of the machine with current user rights. In this vulnerability, an attacker needs to convince a user to preview or open a bad TIFF image for exploitation, says Paul Henry, a forensics and security analyst for Lumension. Because we know persuading users to click isnt always that hard to do, a patch for this one is definitely welcome.
The problem and exploits in the wild were discovered last month, but Microsoft didnt deem it worth an out-of-band fix.
The chip industry is in for major changes in the coming years, according to Broadcom Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Henry Samueli. In 1991, he co-founded the communications chip giant, which today brings in annual revenue of more than $8 billion from components for all manner of network, business and consumer products. At a pre-CES event in San Francisco earlier this week, Samueli visited from the companys Irvine, California, headquarters and sat down with IDG News Service to talk about devices, mobile networks and the uncertain future of silicon.
This is an edited transcript of the conversation.
IDG News Service: Is Broadcom working on 5G cellular yet?
Henry Samueli: Just from a conceptual stage. We dont have any active development programs, but we have people in the standards bodies. In fact, now that weve acquired Renesas Mobile, there was a whole team as part of that Renesas Mobile team that was focused on advanced standards. Many of those folks are looking at different flavors of LTE-Advanced, but then also looking at whats even beyond that and in the so-called 5G space, where you have these ultra-dense small cells, and beam steering antennas. So its more exploratory front-end work but no actual product development, of course.
Users are again reminded to select strong passwords and update often, as almost 2 million stolen website and email login credentials were found on a botnet command-and-control server. Most of the compromised accounts belong to Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and other popular services.
Security vendor Trustwave discovered the C&C server, which was located in the Netherlands. Creators of the botnet, comprised of more than 93,000 compromised personal computers, used malware and management software known as Pony.
The credentials were not stolen directly from the sites, but from the compromised personal computers, John Miller, security research manager at Trustwave, said Wednesday. The PCs were infected with the Pony malware, which had been installed when the computer users clicked on a malicious link sent via spam.
Even though theyre accounts for online services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google, its not a result of any weakness on those companies networks, Miller said.
Modern games deliver awesome graphics, but the visuals are only half of the gaming experience. Studies have shown that audio quality can shape your perception of the entire gaming experience. When a high-quality soundtrack reaches your ears, your brain will also perceive the game's graphics to be of higher quality.
Audio quality can affect your gaming experience in other ways, too. Without good audio, you wont hear enemies approaching or hiding behind cover. You might not hear your teammates as they try to coordinate with you or give you instructions, and they won't hear you clearly, either. And you'll lose that sense of immersion in the game world that turns a good gaming experience a great one. A high-quality headset is just as important as a good graphics card, keyboard, and monitor.
Audiophiles want the best quality they can get, and gamers need the best tech available. Top-of-the-line headsets deliver both. Whichever camp you're in, the first choice you need to make is between a stereo headset and a surround-sound headset. Stereoindependent sound from the left and right channelsis the more common option, but it can't match the realism of surround sound.
Headsets that use surround-sound technology simulate realistic room acoustics through digital signal processing. They trick your brain into thinking that sound is coming from specific locations in the environment. Its a great sensation and can be really helpful in gameswhen it works. If the designer handles the encoding poorly, however, it can create myriad artifacts and distortions that make audio enthusiasts cringe.
AT&T wants to silence a shareholder proposal that it disclose the government requests it receives for customer information, rejecting a step that Google, Microsoft and other Internet companies have already taken.
The proposal calls on AT&T to publish semi-annual reports about the information requests it receives from U.S. and foreign governments. Under the plan, the reports would be subject to existing laws and omit proprietary information. The language was submitted by the New York State Common Retirement Fund and other AT&T shareholders after recent revelations about telecommunications and Internet snooping by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other U.S. agencies.
On Thursday, AT&T asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to agree that the company can leave the shareholder proposal off its proxy statement, which shareholders will vote on at its 2014 annual meeting. The request came in a letter to the SEC, which The New York Times reported on Friday.
AT&T argued that it can throw out the proposal for several reasons, the central one being that it relates to its ordinary business operations. In addition, AT&T said the proposal relates to ongoing litigation and doesnt focus on a significant policy issue, among other things.
Yahoo may soon be broadcasting more concerts following its acquisition of live music streaming startup Evntlive.
Yahoo has acquired the young company as part of an effort to expand its entertainment offerings, a Yahoo spokeswoman confirmed Friday. It didnt say how much it paid for Evntlive, which launched a beta of its service only this past April.
Eight Evntlive employees will join Yahoo at its Sunnyvale, California, headquarters. The service will be shut down, however, and it remains to be seen how Yahoo will use the talent it has acquired.
The Nasdaq computer index Friday hit its highest point since November 2000, in the wake of the dot-com bust, despite mixed reports this week from the hardware and components sector.
The Nasdaq computer index closed Friday at 1989.89, up 8.86 points for the day. Though analyst reports this week said PC and server sales continue to look grim, optimism about other aspects of the IT market and glimmers of good news about the economy in general boosted tech stocks and, more broadly, the major exchanges and indexes.
For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which last week closed above 16,000 for the first time, rose 198.69 points Friday to close at 16,020. All four tech stocks included in the DowIBM, Microsoft, Cisco and Intelrose for the day.
The recent stock market milestones are in nominal termsthey are not, for example, adjusted for inflation. But there has also been a string of reports that the U.S. economy is picking up steam. For example, the Labor Department said Friday that employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October. Novembers job gains helped bring the unemployment rate down to 7 percent from 7.3 percent in October. The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in five years.
The U.S. Department of Defense may have found a new way to scan millions of lines of software code for vulnerabilities, by turning the practice into a set of video games and puzzles and having volunteers do the work.
Having gamers identify potentially problematic chunks of code could help lower the work load of trained vulnerability analysts by an order of magnitude or more, said John Murray, a program director in SRI Internationals computer science laboratory who helped create one of the games, called Xylem.
DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has set up a site, called Verigames, that offers five free games that can be played online or, in Xylems case, on an Apple iPad.
Verigames is set up in a manner similar to other online crowd-sourcing projects, such as SETI@homel, which has users computers scan for extraterrestrial signals, and Fold.it, which invites participants to play online puzzles for protein folding.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will aim to conduct auctions to sell spectrum now held by television stations to mobile broadband providers in mid-2015, the chairman of the agency said Friday.
Its important to release more spectrum for new, flexible uses, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in a blog post. The FCC will balance demands for more commercial spectrum with the time the agency needs to run a successful auction, he said. The so-called incentive auction will involve a complicated process in which the FCC will auction off spectrum voluntarily turned over by TV stations in exchange for a cut of the winning bid.
I have often defined the complexity of this multi-part simultaneous process as being like a Rubiks cube, Wheeler wrote. As part of our auction system development, we will check and recheck the auction software and system components against the auction requirements, and under a variety of scenarios replicating real life conditions.Only when our software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested, will we start the auction.
Mobile carriers praised Wheelers plan, which would auction spectrum in the 600 MHz band, one of the best bands of spectrum for providing mobile broadband service.
An estimated one in four user applications sent from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HealthCare.gov to insurance providers have errors introduced by the website, including missing applications, an official with the agency said Friday.
The HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is working with insurance providers to fix the errors, said Julie Bataille, communications director for CMS. On Jan. 1, many of the people who applied for insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov will be eligible for coverage.
The 25 percent error rate in so-called 834 transmissions is a preliminary estimate of the websites performance between its launch Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, Bataille said during a press briefing.
The errors include missing forms, duplicate forms and incorrect information in the applications, such as wrong information about an applicants marital status, she said.
The U.S. National Security Agency has been spying on Italian communications from installations on the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the countrys consulate in Milan and even mounted an operation to capture information from inside the Italian embassy in Washington, D.C., the Italian weekly magazine LEspresso claimed Friday.
In a cover story titled The Americans Spy on Us From Here, the left-leaning magazine published photographs ostensibly showing a concealed collection system on the roof of the Rome embassy and top secret documents, apparently provided by the fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that give details of the activities of the NSAs Special Collection Service.
The allegations are likely to prove embarrassing for the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who last month assured parliament there was no evidence that the security of Italian communications had been compromised, neither those of government leaders, nor of our embassies, nor is there any evidence that the privacy of our citizens has been violated.
A 2002 document cites in the article describes the function of the Special Collection Service as: Covert SIGINT [Signals intelligence] collection abroad from official U.S. Government establishments, typically US embassies and consulates. It says the NSA partners with the CIA for the program, with NSA employees operating under diplomatic cover. Special Collection Sites provide considerable perishable intelligence on leadership communications largely facilitated by site presence within a national capital.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced on Wednesday that it had finalized a new type of connector for USB cables that would fit into your PC no matter which way the cable is oriented. But if a USB 2.0 cable will do the job, you dont have to wait. Tripp Lite has been shipping reversible USB 2.0 cables for several months.
The connector on the host side of the cable is in the middle of the shell and has electrical contacts on both sides, so it doesnt matter which side of the cable is facing up when you plug it into your PC. The other end of the cable that plugs into the device youre connecting, on the other hand, hasnt changed. It still needs to be oriented a particular way, but the frustration most people encounter is at the host end anyway, especially when youre plugging the cable into a USB port on the back of your PC.
Tripp Lite sells 22 reversible USB 2.0 cables with reversible Type A male connectors on one end and a variety of connectors on the other, including Micro-B male (used with many non-Apple smartphones), Type B male (commonly used with printers and some USB audio devices), and Type A Female (for extension cables). Tripp Lite does not manufacture any of these cables with Apples Lightning connector.
The takeaway from recent revelations of widespread NSA spying is even the best security software is unlikely to keep out elite hackers. One frequently offered defense is to use a separate PC to access the Internet, but thats hardly practical. So short of disconnecting your computer, how can you protect yourself?
Thanks to the low price of RAM and availability of fast solid-state drives (SSDs), an increasingly appealing solution is to set up a virtual machine (VM) just for working with emails and browsing the Internet. This requires less hassle but offers heightened security by accessing the two likeliest attack vectors from what is effectively a security sandbox. Heres how to set up your own VM.
Pick a product
There are a number of virtualization products available for PC users. If budget is your main concern,Oracle VirtualBox is a completely free general-purpose virtualizer, and VMware Player is free for personal non-commercial use. If you use Windows 8Pro or Enterprise, you can also take advantage ofHyper-V virtual machine manager. It isnt installed by default, though, so you will need to go to Control Panel, Programs, and Programs and Features. Click on Turn Windows Features on or off, and select the checkbox under Hyper-V. A system restart is necessary to complete the installation.
In the race to deliver online shopping purchases faster, drones dont impress eBays CEO.
Were not focusing on long-term fantasies, were focusing on things we can do today, John Donahue said in a televised interview with Bloomberg TV Friday morning.
He was reacting to a television interview Jeff Bezos, CEO of e-commerce rival Amazon, gave last weekend in which he said Amazon is investigating the use of drones for package delivery. Bezos told CBS 60 Minutes that he hopes to have a drone-based delivery service ready by 2015, when he anticipates the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will have formulated rules for civilian drone use.