*Microsoft is patching Windows XP … again

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Microsoft stopped support for Windows XP three years ago. It has ceased to release security updates to help secure the operating system … until last month. The WannaCry ransomware was devastating to computer networks that still use the popular OS. Most individual computer users either upgraded their machines, or simply unplugged their XP box from the Internet.

I have a buddy that has a large storehouse of personal photos on an XP unit. He still uses it as a place to work at home, and build his personal/family library of photos and diaries. For that machine, he has no use for the Internet. All his other computers that need Internet access use a more recent operating system.

And there are many more like him still having a need for an XP box that is still very productive.

But last month Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP to help protect against the WannaCry ransomware, and its potential variants.

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*Ready to cut the cord on Google?

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People are beginning to realize that Google is recording and reselling their personal data. On top of that, that personal data is being sold to unknown (to us) advertisers, corporations, and government agencies.

How can they do that? Well I don’t know many people that read the User Agreements (EULA) that we are asked to approve every time we use a new online service. Next time … take the time. You’ll be surprised how much you are allowing other companies into your personal matters.

But that’s another story.

That being said, Google is the largest of the data collection companies we normally use, followed right after that by Facebook and Microsoft (through Windows-10). Many tech- conscious users are beginning to move away from Google, some are even cutting the cord completely.

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*Here is How to Decrypt Your Files If You’ve Been Hit By WannaCry

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If you were a victim of the WannaCry ransomware attack it may be too late for you. But if you weren’t, and you think you could be when the next wave of attacks hit, then here’s how to deal with the problem.

A group of security researchers have created a tool that can help those hit by the massive attack decrypt their files without paying the ransom or wiping their device.

The Wanakiwi tool, as it is called, is capable of defeating the WannaCry ransomware, which encrypts a user’s files and demands a payment made in Bitcoin in order for the victim to regain access to their machine.

WannaCry hit more than 300,000 machines in 150 countries earlier this month, including computer systems of hospitals in England and major corporations around the world. Those attacks have slowed since the first wave, but have not stopped entirely. As an example, we recently learned that the Russian Postal System was severely hit as well.

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*Nine tips for paranoid Windows 10 users

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Windows 10 is well known for its controversial collection of personal and private data. Many people don’t understand the big deal about keeping their personal lives personal. For instance, they share their recent purchases, where they eat, when they are on vacation and vacant from their homes, if they are cheating, their sex life, their spouse’s arguments, photos of their children, and even themselves in inappropriate or compromising settings … everything about themselves on social media, and think it’s harmless.

What’s more, Microsoft has now joined the ranks of personal data collection with Windows 10 as its most recent operating system. Many computer experts are even calling Windows 10 as ‘spyware’. To some degree that’s true whether it matters to you or not.

But if you are serious about wanting to protect your privacy, here are ways that you can avoid, remove, or turn off features that track you in Windows 10. Some of these tactics may seem extreme, but you can obviously pick and choose, depending on what level of privacy you’re comfortable with.

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*Massive Cyber-attack spreads across 74 countries

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Tens of thousands of ransomware attacks are targeting organizations around the world on Friday. The Cyber-attacks that hit 74 countries across Europe and Asia Friday, impacting the public health system in Britain, apparently involved a leaked hacking tool from the National Security Agency.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab has recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries in the past 10 hours, with many of the attacks targeting Russia.

The attack used ransomware, which is malware that encrypts data and locks a user from their data until they pay a ransom. The tool, which was leaked by a group known as Shadow Brokers, had been stolen from the N.S.A. as part of a wide swath of tools illegally released in 2016.

The ransomware, called “WannaCry,” locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. Researchers say it is spreading through a Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) Windows exploit called “EternalBlue,” which Microsoft released a patch for in March.

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*Microsoft threatened by class-action lawsuit for blocking Security Updates

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Why is Microsoft blocking newer PCs running Windows 7 and 8.1 from receiving legitimate Security Updates?

The consensus is that Microsoft is trying to force users – once again – to upgrade to Windows 10 whether they want to or not.

The update block has even prompted some users and businesses to call for a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft, for cutting off updates to Windows 8.1 “eight months before the end of mainstream support”.

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*Microsoft now warns users not to install its own Win-10 Creators Update

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Windows 10 has been from the very beginning an operating system (OS) totally unready for use. One of the reasons it was given away for free last year was to get a large number of users to upgrade and become unwilling beta-testers of the OS.

When that didn’t happen Microsoft began tricking users into installing the OS without it even being ready for distribution. And when even that didn’t create the user base that Microsoft wanted they start forcing the upgrade on user’s computers without their permission.

These unprepared and underhanded practices by Microsoft did not go over well with those who didn’t want to be unwilling beta-testers for someone else’s company. Eventually Microsoft took notice when the upgrade process faltered once again.

Their answer … was to force broken patches on a broken operating system in the hope that the patches would fix all the problems inherent in Windows 10. And we’re not even talking about all the data and telemetry collection that Win-10 does. Many of the new, so-called ‘Security and Quality Rollup’ patches actually caused harm to user’s computers.

When the broken patches were discovered, Microsoft claimed that users didn’t understand the new Windows Update process. Now imagine any other industry that forces you to use a product you don’t want, and then breaks it, and blames you for it. That company would be out of business immediately.

But the God’s of Microsoft must be smiling because they are getting away with it.

Now, here we go again.

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