iPhone Update Includes COVID-19 Contact Tracing And Mask Detection

iPhone Update Includes COVID-19 Contact Tracing And Mask Detection

The latest release of iOS and iPadOS (13.5) is out, and contains the usual variety of bug fixes and modest improvements. In addition to the usual fare though, it also makes an important change to the way FaceID works for users wearing a mask. Also, it contains an important new COVID-19 Contact Tracing feature. Some months ago, Apple and Google announced a partnership that saw the two tech giants collaborating on a number of projects related to the pandemic. This new feature is an outgrowth of that partnership. It enables a contract tracing API that health official can use to build apps designed to help fight the spread of COVID-19. As to the new feature itself, it provides you with an anonymous way to alert others that you’ve come in contact with over the last 14 days, should you contract the virus and test positive. The changes to FaceID will immediately prompt you to enter your PIN if the software fails to recognize your face, as opposed to making you jump through that hoop multiple times before finally displaying the PIN prompt. It’s a small change, but a welcome one, especially since wearing a face mask often causes the facial recognition function to fail. The latest update is available right now. If you don’t have it yet, just open up your Settings app, then go to General  Software update and follow the prompts from there. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that we’ll be rid of COVID-19 anytime soon, so we’ll be seeing more enhancements like these in the weeks and months ahead. With any luck, one of the vaccines...
New Chrome Feature Stops Ads That Use Excessive Resources

New Chrome Feature Stops Ads That Use Excessive Resources

Recently, Google announced a change that should be a welcome relief to many users, especially those who surf primarily on laptops or handhelds. Beginning in late August, the browser will automatically unload ad iframes that soak up an excessive amount of computing resources. Advertising is, of course, ubiquitous on the web. There’s little you can do to avoid it, so this is an excellent step. Marshall Vale, Chrome’s Product Manager, had this to say about the coming change: “In order to save our users’ batteries and data plans, and provide them with a good experience on the web, Chrome will limit the resources a display ad can use before the user interacts with the ad. When an ad reaches its limit, the ad’s frame will navigate to an error page, informing the user that the ad has used too many resources. If users click the Details link, they will see a short message explaining why the ad was unloaded and saying that ‘This ad uses too many resources for your device, so Chrome removed it.'” In terms of the criteria Google will use to make the determination, it is as follows: Uses more than 4 megabytes of network bandwidth Uses the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30-second window Uses the main thread for more than 60 seconds in total Vale went on to explain that only about 0.3 percent of ads displayed on the web exceed these thresholds, but that they are responsible for a staggering 26 percent of all network data and 28 percent of all CPU resources used by online advertising. If you...
Update WordPress Pagebuilder Plugin To Avoid Potential Hack

Update WordPress Pagebuilder Plugin To Avoid Potential Hack

Do you use SiteOrigin’s Pagebuilder plugin for WordPress? If so, you’ve got plenty of company. The intuitive, widget-based plugin has been installed more than a million times and is used by webmasters all over the world to create responsive grid pages for websites. Unfortunately, a pair of security flaws in the plugin’s code recently came to light that would allow hackers to inject malicious code into the plugin and use it to take complete control over your site. The good news is that SiteOrigin responded quickly to the discovery and has already issued a patch to fix both of those issues. The bad news: As of this moment, only about 200,000 webmasters have installed the update, which leaves nearly 800,000 websites vulnerable to the hacks. Many security flaws are found and fixed before there’s any evidence that hackers are using them in the wild. In this case there’s evidence that hackers are actively employing both of these exploits in ongoing campaigns. So if you haven’t been good about keeping your plugins up to date, you’re probably at risk, and given the fact of an ongoing campaign, it’s just a matter of time before the hackers find you. The latest version is 2.10.16, and it’s well worth your time to take a few minutes to log into your Admin panel just to make sure you’re using the latest. If not, update the plugin to be sure you’re protected. Not only will it give you peace of mind, it will secure your data, and the data belonging to your customers. That will keep you from being just another statistic as you...
Bandwidth Limits For Updates Coming To Windows 10 Soon

Bandwidth Limits For Updates Coming To Windows 10 Soon

Some Windows 10 updates are big. Most of them range in size from 200-500MB, but some are even larger. This month’s, for example (May 2020), is more than 2GB in size, which is big enough that downloading and installing it can hog all the bandwidth you’ve got. That can easily bring your system to a grinding halt, keeping you from getting anything done until the updates have finished installing. Under normal circumstances, this might not be that big a deal, but these are not normal times. With so many people working from home right now, getting a big update in the middle of trying to get something done for work can be a genuine pain. Microsoft has heard the growing chorus of user complaints and has done something about that. Since the Fall Creators Update (Windows 10, 1709), the OS includes a little advertised Delivery Optimization feature that allows users to specify a percentage of the available bandwidth to use when installing updates. To activate and configure it, here’s all you need to do: Go to “Settings” From there, click on “Update and Security,” and then “Windows Update” Once that page opens, click on the “Advanced Options” tab At the bottom of that window, you’ll see “Delivery Optimization” You’ll find another “Advanced Options” tab here. Click that and put a checkmark in the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background” Doing the above allows you to adjust the sliders for both of those options. Just set the sliders to indicate the amount of bandwidth you want to allocate for that purpose, and when you...
Preview Now Available For Microsoft’s New Family Safety App

Preview Now Available For Microsoft’s New Family Safety App

Family safety features have been a part of the Windows 10 experience since its release, and those tools were made available on the Xbox in tandem with the release of Windows 10. You may, in fact, already be using them on your home computer and your Xbox. Unfortunately, similar protections were simply unavailable from Microsoft for users of Android or iOS devices, until now. Recently, Microsoft unveiled their new Family Safety App, available for both Android and iOS users. The new app is currently in limited preview mode for anyone who wants to check it out, and will be more broadly available in the weeks to come. Here’s a quick preview of what it can do for you: Create Safe Surfing Spaces For Your Kids: If you don’t want your children to even accidentally view adult content, you can enable age-based filters to create a subset of kid friendly content that will define your child’s web surfing experience on mobile devices. Web Tracking Protocols: You can also access a summary of how much time your children are spending online, which websites they most frequently visit, and what search terms they’re entering. In addition to that, you can set the app up to send you a notification when one of your children tries to download a more mature game or app from the Microsoft Store. Location Tracking: In addition to monitoring their web activity, the app enables parents to track the location of their children. Setting Limits: Finally, the app allows you to set usage limits for your children, so if you only want them to be able to access...
Hackers Are Demanding Extra Ransomware Payments From Victims

Hackers Are Demanding Extra Ransomware Payments From Victims

Hackers who use ransomware to conduct their attacks have a new trick up their sleeves. A ransomware family has begun employing the tactic of not only demanding payment to unlock infected systems, but also demanding an additional payment. They’re demanding an extra payment to keep them from publishing copies of the files they stole before encrypting everything. Hackers have been making the claim for years that they were doing more than just encrypting files, but actually exfiltrating data too. It wasn’t until recently, though (November 2019) that a group actually published stolen data as proof that this was, in fact, occurring. Although this tactic is only currently in use by a hackers deploying the Ako Ransomware, you can bet that the idea will spread like wildfire. After all, there’s no real downside as far as the hackers are concerned, and they can coax a bit more money out of the companies, individuals, and organizations they successfully attack. Bleeping Computers recently interviewed an Ako operator, who confirmed that the tactic was in use and had been successful. The operator said that the tactic was only used on certain victims, depending on the size of the company and the type of data that was stolen. They were very upfront and matter of fact about it. This underscores two important points: First, ransomware attacks are data breaches. The hackers aren’t just encrypting your files, they’re making off with copies too. Second, backups are incredibly important! Having up to date backups won’t prevent a hacker who successfully breaches your system from releasing the data they stole if you don’t pay. At the very...