RIP iTunes – Apple Introduces Three New Apps

Apple is killing off iTunes after 18 years of faithful service.

Over the years, the app has grown beyond its music roots to include a multitude of other necessities we (apparently) can’t live without.

Today, it’s a creaking pensioner that’s trying to do too much. Therefore, iTunes, as we know it, is being put out to pasture. Fear not, that doesn’t mean your music library is suddenly going to become redundant. Apple wouldn’t do that to you.

Three new upstarts are usurping the old iTunes app.

Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV

These are the new kids on the block.

Apple Music will be lightning-fast and easier to use, simplified and improved. This app will be primarily focused on Apple Music with its 50 million songs, and so on. Users will have access to all their music here, whether the tracks were downloaded, purchased or ripped from CD.

If you prefer to have your own music, you can still use the iTunes Music Store as there’ll be a sidebar within the Music app to take you music shopping.

In the same way, you will be able to buy films and TV shows from the Apple TV app.

The iTunes app won’t be disappearing altogether, but it will just be a place where you can buy music.

The end of the iTunes era

iTunes changed the way we chose, listened to, and bought music. It was a game changer for the music industry and forced the removal of digital rights management that dictated how many devices to which we could save our tracks.

Even though it was innovative at the time, our world has changed. Technology has changed, and the way we consume products and services has changed. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that even the mighty iTunes has to succumb to change sooner for later.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: Forbes

 

 

Huawei Smartphone – Good Investment Or Dead As a Dodo?

Buying Huawei smartphones was seen as a good move.

Being cheaper than its rivals, it offered ‘you’d-be-made-to-pass-up’ value for money.

But then Google announced it was being forced to comply with the US government’s ban on the supply of technologies to Huawei. As a result, it has stopped providing software and support to the tech giant.

In other words, Huawei smartphones will lose access to Android software updates. Any phones sold outside of China won’t have popular Google apps such as the Play Store or Gmail.

Does that mean Huawei smartphones are now expensive doorstops?

The good news is that if you already have a Huawei handset, it will continue to work as usual. The US ban only relates to new smartphones.

What does it mean for the China tech giant?

Well, it’s going to make their push into the European market very difficult. The combination of powerful cameras, good battery life, and low price make them very attractive to the smartphone customer.

Huawei can continue to use the underlying Android operating system because it’s open source, although they’ll have to produce their updates.

The main problem is selling a smartphone without Google services and apps. Google has some 150 apps and services running on Android, so it’s going to make potential buyers think twice.

Despite the attractive price point, users have to ask themselves, can they cope without Google’s services and apps?

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BullGuard

Disable Your Laptop Touchpad

Do you want to disable your laptop touchpad?

Without a doubt, the touchpad is a Godsend.

It negates the need for a mouse, making working on the go a breeze. However, there can be a downside. Have this happened to you?

You’re working happily on your laptop only to brush the touchpad sending your cursor flying across your screen. Admittedly, it’s a small annoyance, but one that can get on your nerves after a while.

We’re here to banish life’s little annoyances, so here’s how you can temporarily disable your laptop’s touchpad.

Disable laptop touchpad

All laptops are different, so the method of disabling the touchpad will differ.

Some will have a physical switch that disables the touchpad. Others will offer a keyboard shortcut (such as pressing Fn and F7 simultaneously). So it’s best to check out your laptop’s handbook for the right method.

Disabling a touchpad in software

PCWorld also offers this advice if your manufacturer provides a way of customising and disabling your touchpad through software:

  1. Look for a touchpad icon in the notification area (lower-right corner). Double-click or right-click it to browse the touchpad options; disable the touchpad from here if possible
  2. If you don’t find a touchpad icon in the notification area, type control panel in the Windows search bar. Go to Hardware and Sound, and under Devices and Printers, click Mouse. The Mouse Properties window will open; you might find a tab in that window where you can disable the touchpad
  3. Look for a touchpad software entry in the Start menu if you can’t find it in the notification area or under Mouse Properties

If you don’t see a way to physically disable the touchpad or to disable it through software, you still have another option.

  • Click Start
  • Type device manager into the Search box. In the Device Manager, expand Mice and other pointing devices
  • Right-click the touchpad’s entry. In the menu that pops up, click Disable
  • Confirm your choice in the pop-up window

If you find touchpad software installed on your laptop, you might be able to adjust the settings and eliminate the touchpad’s annoying behaviour without disabling it. For example, some touchpad software allows you to change the sensitivity of the touchpad, ignore palm presses, and automatically disable the touchpad when the system detects an external mouse.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: PCWorld

Another Data Security Breach As Instagram User Details Are Exposed

There’s been another data security breach. This time it’s the turn of Instagram.

According to a recent post by BullGuard, a vast database containing the contact information of millions of Instagram influencers’ accounts has been found online.

They reported that:

  • The database, hosted by Amazon Web Services, was left exposed and without a password allowing anyone to look inside. At least 49 million records were allegedly vulnerable
  • Each data record contained public data from influencer Instagram accounts, bio details, profile picture, number of followers and the influencers’ city and country location
  • The data also contained personal contact information, such as the Instagram account owner’s email address and phone number

Once discovered the data breach was discovered, a security researcher traced it back to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox, which pays influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts.

On top of the information above, the records also showed data that calculated the worth of each account, based on the number of followers, engagement, reach, likes and shares they had.

Once the discovery was made Chtrbox pulled the database offline. Instagram also investigated and said it found that no private emails or phone numbers of Instagram users were accessed.

This is yet another worrying case where a database containing important information was left unprotected on the internet.

Sadly, it’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. That’s why you must be vigilant at all times with how you share your personal data.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: Bullguard

Keeping Your Children Safe Online

Internet safety is always a big news story. The anonymity of the web has proven to be an issue when it comes to our children safely enjoying the social side of our technological world.

In a recent blog by BullGuard, they look at a specific app called Yolo, which is used as a way for users to anonymously ask questions to Snapchat users.  People who receive the questions can then post them on their Snapchat Stories. This allows followers to see the responses and helps encourage the spread of the app.

They go on to say that: “…the NSPCC warns that such anonymous apps can be easily misused to send abusive messages to others or by those looking to exploit young people.

“It added that these types of apps are becoming increasingly popular among children, yet their very anonymity is a magnet for predators and bullies and those who want to send abusive of upsetting messages.

“The NSPCC is calling on the UK government to establish an independent regulator that will have the powers to make tech companies consider the risks that their services pose for children.

“The Yolo app, which is an acronym for ‘You only live once,’ was developed using Snap Kit, a piece of software provided by Snapchat that enables app developers to integrate their products with the popular social network.”

Children and social media

Last year the NSPCC surveyed 2,059 children and 2,049 parents for a young people’s social media guide.  It asked children and parents about violent, bullying or adult content on social networking sites and games used by children and young people. The research revealed:

  • 1 in 4 young people have been contacted over social media by an adult they didn’t know. A  third of those contacted were children under 13
  • Facebook, YouTube and Grand Theft Auto: San Andrea were the only sites to be ranked high risk for all three of the categories violent, bullying and adult content
  • Twitter and Reddit also ranked highly for inappropriate content
  • The top 15 risky platforms included lesser-known sites, such as Sarahah, Omegle and Yubo
  • Two in three young people know how to perform safety functions, including reporting, blocking users, and changing privacy and location settings.

These alarming stats show that the threats for youngsters on social media are real.

It’s hard for parents to keep up to speed with everything their child does online, the sites they visit and the social platforms they use. Facebook no longer holds an appeal for them. Now they prefer the likes of Instagram and Snapchat.

Internet safety

The use of parental controls is a must to help parents filter what their children are exposed to. If in doubt, get in touch, and we can recommend the right product to keep your family safe online.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BullGuard

‘Smart’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Unhackable’

Many vendors will tell you that their smart device is unhackable. However, in reality, that’s unlikely to be true.

When we talk about smart devices in this context, we’re not talking smartphones, but rather the myriad devices that make up the Internet of Things. All those gadgets we can’t possibly live without.

All of these smart devices have one similar characteristic; they all have poor security.

Alarming security issues

A recent article on BullGuard’s blog highlights the myth of the unhackable smart device. They wrote that:

Two of the world’s largest car alarm manufacturers recently proved this point, albeit inadvertently.

Viper, known as Clifford in the UK, and Pandora Car Alarm Systems have something like three million customers between them. Some security researchers recently tested these smart car alarms.

The results don’t inspire confidence. They discovered straightforward vulnerabilities in both alarms’ APIs, which knit together a vehicle’s existing smart features with the smart alarms.

The researchers probed these vulnerabilities and were able to tamper with existing smart parameters, reset user credentials, and hijack accounts and more.

  • The vehicle type and owner’s details could be stolen, a car could be unlocked, the alarm disabled, the vehicle tracked, microphones compromised, and the immobilizer hijacked. 
  • In Viper’s case, a security flaw in the API parameter led to improper validation, which provided attackers with the ability to compromise user accounts. The research team found that the same bug could also be used to compromise the vehicle’s engine system. 
  • The Pandora alarm can be used to make SOS calls in cases of emergency. This is why it is fitted with a microphone. But because of the flaw, the microphone could be used for snooping. 
  • In Pandora’s case, cyber attacks could also result in the car engine being killed during use.  It’s designed for use if a car is stolen, which makes sense, as long as it isn’t hacked. But in the hands of an attacker, it could be deadly. Imagine hurtling down a motorway, the engine suddenly cuts out, and there’s a 44-ton truck sitting right behind you.

To the misfortune of Pandora, it claimed on its website that its smart alarms were unhackable. That said once the researchers informed the company it swiftly deleted this grandiose claim from its website.

Also, both companies responded quickly and fixed the vulnerable APIs as soon as they were informed, which is encouraging.

We may not be seeing real-world cyber attacks on cars yet, but given the pace of smart device adoption, it’s something any sensible person wouldn’t bet against.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source:BullGuard

Data Breaches – What Do They Mean To You?

Data breaches are happening all the time. Every month another story breaks.

How do you react when you hear them?

Do you shrug and think ‘it won’t happen to me’, or does it make you sit up and think about your data security?

Here’s an interesting post we found on BullGuard’s blog that we wanted to share with you.

Data breaches are real

Mega data breaches come so thick and fast and the numbers are so large they become abstract. It’s reached a point where we can’t help but glaze over and often because the numbers are impossibly huge.

It’s easy to visualise 100, 5,000 and even 50,000 hacked data records because we can picture that many people.

Verifications.io data breach

The latest data exposure affected 808,539,849 records and while the preciseness of the number is helpful it’s still an impossibly large number for most people to make sense of.

But wait for it; the exposure figures were revised and now it is believed that 2,069,145,043 total records from all over the world were exposed. That’s over two billion.

The exposed data belonged to a company called Verfications.io. Four databases were compromised. Verfications.io describes itself as an email marketing firm with a particular specialisation in circumventing spam traps and bouncing emails.

We can also describe it as one of those companies that operate in the shadowy data economy, trading in huge quantities of personal user data.

Why it happened

The exposed data breakdown figures from just one database are as follows:

  • Email records – 798,171,891 records
  • Email with Phone – 4,150,600 records
  • Business leads = 6,217,358 records

The records were not encrypted but stored in plain text, and it appears the data, from multiple clients, had been pooled. At the time of writing, Verifications.io website is unavailable which isn’t too surprising.

While it is a leak, rather than a hack, the data could well have been downloaded for future devious use such as phishing emails, scams and payment fraud scams. The data could also be sold on hacker forums in a couple of months from now.

Two billion is still an impossibly large number to grasp but the moral of this data exposure is that cyber security is still far too much of an afterthought for many organisations.

What can you do to protect yourself?

In the face of this relentless deluge, we have to protect ourselves because clearly many of the myriad organisations that hold our personal data don’t do enough to keep it safe.

With this is mind BullGuard Premium Protection is the best form or protection available. It safeguards all your personal information, notifying you immediately if it appears on the internet.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BullGuard

Windows 7 – Support Is Coming To An End

Support for Windows 7 is coming to an end. D-day is January 14th 2020. From that date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support.

There’s nothing to stop you from continuing to use Windows 7 after this date. However, once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. It’s also worth noting that support for Internet Explorer on Windows 7 will also be discontinued at the same time.

Now would be a good time to start thinking about moving across to Windows 10.

Can I upgrade my existing PC to Windows 10?

Yes. Upgrading compatible PCs is possible. However, they must fulfil the following requirements:

  • 1GHz processor or faster
  • 1GB RAM for 32-bit; 2GB for 64-bit
  • 800×600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
  • Internet access
  • Microsoft account required for some features

Can I get a free upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft 365 Business comes with a free upgrade for users with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Pro license on their device. By buying Microsoft 365 Business, your users can upgrade all of their old Windows Pro licensed devices at no additional cost.

What alternatives are there?

If you use Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise, you can buy Extended Security Updates through January 2023. For an in-depth FAQ about these Extended Security Updates, please download the Microsoft End of Support FAQ

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

HP Expands Its Worldwide Voluntary Safety Recall

Back in January 2018, HP started a worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement programme for certain notebook computers and mobile workstation batteries.

In January 2019, HP announced this programme is being expanded. The potentially affected batteries may have been shipped with the following HP models:

  • ProBook (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series, 4xx G4 (430, 440, 450, 455, and 470)),
  • x360,
  • ENVY m6,
  • Pavilion x360,
  • 11 Notebook Computers
  • ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3)
  • Mobile Workstations sold worldwide from December 2015 through April 2018

Additionally, these batteries may have been sold as accessories or replacement batteries for the following models, or for any of the preceding products from December 2015 through December 2018 through HP or an authorised Service Provider:

  • ProBook 4xx G5 (430, 440, 450, 455, and 470),
  • ENVY 15,
  • Mobile Thin Clients (mt20, mt21, and mt31),
  • ZBook Studio G4 Mobile Workstation

These batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers.

Customers must recheck their batteries, even if they did so previously and were informed they were not affected

Customers should cease use of affected batteries immediately. As many of these batteries are internal to the system and are not customer replaceable, HP is releasing an update to the BIOS for batteries affected by this programme expansion that will discharge the battery and disable future charging until the battery is replaced. HP customers affected by this programme will be eligible to receive replacement battery services for each verified, affected battery at no cost.

Customers who have already received a replacement battery through the recall programme are NOT affected by this expansion.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Has your iPhone Or iPad stopped charging?

Technology is great when it works. However, now and then it likes to throw a curve ball to remind us how much we rely on it.

Take smartphones as an example, specifically the iPhone (the same applies to iPads).

You may have experienced this situation: your iPhone won’t charge, or charging can be a bit hit and miss.

Your first reaction is probably to head off to town and buy a ridiculously expensive replacement charging lead (aka a Lightning connector). Or, you may decide to get your handset repaired.

Stop.

Before you go down either of those routes, you need to know that there’s a good chance the connectors have become clogged due to small areas of corrosion. So small you can barely see them.

You can easily clean them by:

  • Applying a little WD40 (other specialist contact cleaners are available) to the contacts
  • Using a soft tipped brush or even a pencil eraser to clean the contacts.
  • Gently cleaning the contacts using light pressure

And that’s it. It works and brings device charging up to full throttle. However, don’t use an acidic based fluid to clean the connector, such as lemon juice or vinegar; as this could increase corrosion and drip into the device creating a bit of mess on those finely engineered, expensive electronics.

If you have an iPhone loaded with music that isn’t playing through your speaker dock, or only intermittently, clean the speaker and device contacts using the above method.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Thanks for the tip Bullguard