Dewey Williams

May 10, 2018 – Scrubbing Your Computer – Archive Data – Delete Dust Bunnies – Organize Your Space

 General Meeting, Security, Software  Comments Off on May 10, 2018 – Scrubbing Your Computer – Archive Data – Delete Dust Bunnies – Organize Your Space
May 082018
 

Program topics

May 2018
Clean your computer

  • Scrub-a-dub the outside and inside of your PC, laptop, and/or devices.
  • Clean up your old data – archive or dump?
  • Clean up your OS – missing updates, orphaned registry keys, obsolete drivers, etc.
  • Clean up your apps – uninstall unused, check for updates (or not), update passwords.
  • Clean up your environment – organize passwords and bookmarks … .
  • Tweak your settings – check online privacy settings, tune your browser.
  • Clean up your workspace – pull out the recycle bin for those old printouts and AOL CDs.

Here are some things we may talk about. If you take any other actions such as blocking spam on your iPhone or organizing bookmarks in Chrome, please prepare to share your knowledge.

June 2018
Picnic

Yes, it’s time to get out of the kitchen and into the heat. But putting on a pleasant spread takes more effort than just shoveling BBQ onto your plate. Contact president@pc3.org if you can contribute to the effort.

And Later …

Here are some titles we’ve been bouncing around. If there are any you have interest or competence in any; please let us know, either at president@pc3.org or by coming to the Board Meeting next week (watch for announcement). And of course, our complete purview is personal technology; feel free to tell us how you use it.

  • Cut the cord – saving on your TV, phone (and maybe, Internet) bills.
  • What is Windows S?
  • Tweaking your home network.
  • Drones.
  • Raspberry PI and other 2-bit computing devices (meaning “25¢” – inexpensive – not “2-binary-units”)

If you are able to present a program or have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please contact any Board member or come to the Board meeting. (watch for Board meeting announcements at the general meeting or a special newsletter)


A Message from the Common Table
May 3, 2018

I hope all of you had a great month.

I have another reminder for all of you. Many of you found our new location at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church last month, but I want to repeat this information for the folk that have not been to our new location.

 We are back to being able to meet at Pritchard at South End (Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church). I have secured a meeting room for us that is right across the hall from the big meeting space we used for years. We can have our food here also. I hope some of our members will return to join us at this central Charlotte location, 1117 South Boulevard. But mark June 14 as a day not to come to Pritchard. It will be the picnic in Freedom Park.

At our May meeting, we are going to present to you “How to Clean Your Computer and Computing Stuff”. I will show how to physically clean your stuff with recommended cleaning techniques. Bill B will show how to clean or clean out the bits and bytes of your digital data. Bring some of your stuff and it might get cleaned up for you. windows version image

Microsoft just released the semi-annual “feature” update to Windows 10 on April 30. This time it is called the Spring 2018 update or Version 1803. (To determine whether you’ve gotten it yet, ask Cortana “winver” [right].) Everyone will be getting this update in the future. You may get the update before our meeting.

I hope to see all of you at the meeting.

Galen Bolin
President PCCC


In The News

Facebook: More than 2.5 Million North Carolinians Impacted by Privacy Breach

(RALEIGH) – Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that his investigation has determined that 2,521,064 North Carolinians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica and other third parties. Facebook provided this estimate as part of the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation.

“People aren’t expecting to trade their privacy for a Facebook page,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As a result of my investigation, we now know that more than 2.5 million North Carolinians may have been impacted by this breach. I will continue my investigation into Facebook’s policies to make sure that we are adequately protected in the future.”

Facebook estimates that it shared a total of 70,489,579 American users’ data.

More information on Attorney General Josh Stein and data privacy:

Net Neutrality In Congress Again

Net neutrality is back in Congress in an attempt to reverse the ruling of the FCC last year. In 2017, the FCC repealed the Net Neutrality rules, effectively allowing ISP’s to control how fast, or slow, data flows through their portion of the Internet infrastructure. This would allow ISP’s to give faster data speeds to preferred companies; those that pay more, or support the ISP’s corporate agenda. Several senators have introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to reverse the actions of the FCC and restore the Net Neutrality rules.


The PCCC meets at
Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church at 1117 South Blvd.

Maps and directions are below.
Join us with your bag supper at 5:30 or the meeting at 6:30.

The PCCC meets the second Thursday of most months at Pritchard in Dilworth. The location is 1117 South Blvd., Charlotte.

Room and Parking information:
We are meeting in a different room in the same building as the big hall. Come in the atrium and look for us in the first room on the ground floor down the hall to your left. If the parking lot closest to the building is full, park in the deck directly across the street. Do not park in the upper lot!
If you are lost, locked out, or wish an escort from the parking deck, call 704-607-6461.

Click on map for Google directions (https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2167865,-80.8507889,18z) .
Find it at What3Words (https://map.what3words.com/chef.pens.with)


MEMBERS: send your free, non-commercial ad to editor@pc3.org. Commercial advertisers: contact treasurer@pc3.org to join the appropriate membership level at https://pc3.org/membership.

Contact us: Get more information at https://PC3.org or email editor@pc3.org.


April 12, 2018 – Returning to Pritchard, Returning Members, Tech News, Hacking Cars

 General Meeting, New Technology, Security, Social Networking  Comments Off on April 12, 2018 – Returning to Pritchard, Returning Members, Tech News, Hacking Cars
Apr 092018
 

Program topics

This week’s news
  • We might talk about the Facebook debacle, the possible end of OSX, and, of course, zombie cars.
Upcoming programs:
  • Using our technology

If you are able to present a program or have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please contact any Board member or come to the Board meeting. (watch for Board meeting announcements at the general meeting or a special newsletter)


A Message from the Common Table

I hope all of you had a great month. I think Spring is finally here. It has been rather cool today and the rain helped knock down all the pollen in the air.

I have big news for our club. We are back to being able to meet at Pritchard at South End. I have secured a meeting room for us that is right across the hall from the big meeting space we used for years. This was an old classroom when we were there previously, and it is now a conference room and it is perfect for our use. We can have our food here also. We will have our April 12, 2018 meeting there and going forward. I hope some of our members will return to join us at this central Charlotte location. I would like to thank Maryanne Dailey and the Better Business Bureau for hosting us for the last year or so at their office. Maryanne will be out for our next meeting. Maryanne, we wish you safe travel to the West coast for your conference.

One of our members, Alex Albl, is graduating from East Carolina University this May. Many of you will remember Alex coming to our meetings with his dad, Ludwig. He was in middle school when he joined us and had a real passion for computing and technology. He has written a theme paper for his school work and we are presenting it in this newsletter. We can all learn a thing or two about our vehicles and technology.

I hope to see all of you at the meeting.

Galen Bolin
President PCCC


How Hackable are Modern Cars

Alex Albl
East Carolina University

Abstract

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as devices of all types are becoming connected to the Internet. Modern cars have complex networks of computerized controllers, and there have been no concerns about the cybersecurity of them until relatively recently. Cybersecurity researchers have demonstrated a wide variety of exploits on cars. As the complexity and number of onboard computers increases, hackers gain a greater attack surface and more vulnerabilities to exploit. A discussion of the history and development of electronic control units (ECUs), controller area networks (CAN), the exploits, and how automakers are responding towards the news of such exploits will be covered.

How Hackable are Modern Cars

In the 1980s, electronic control units (ECU) started to become common on cars. At that time they managed basic engine functions, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering emissions (Currie, 2015). They were implemented on cars to comply with emissions requirements created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the 1970s (Wojdyla, 2012).  Before ECUs were invented all the functions of a car were controlled mechanically. ECUs receive input from sensors and send commands to controllers for common automotive components such as fuel injectors, ignition, and the throttle (Eyal, 2007). In the early 1980s only key engine components were computerized, as technology advanced more and more components of cars were managed by ECUs. Nearly every component on a modern car is computerized, this includes the radio, doors, and even seats (Wojdyla, 2012).  Nearly all automotive innovations since the mid-1980s were possible because of the inclusion of ECUs.

One of the first cars to include an ECU was the 1978 General Motors Cadillac Seville. A feature made possible by ECUs included a display of speed, fuel, miles travelled, and engine information. By 1981, GM was using computerized engine controls running around 50,000 lines of code across its entire line of passenger cars (Charette, 2009). Other manufacturers quickly caught up. Today the onboard electronics account for over half of a new car’s cost (Goodman, 2015). The average modern car has around 100 million lines of code running on around 100 ECUs (Charette, 2009). More line of code, means that more vulnerabilities exist for hackers to exploit. A study done by Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, revealed that commercial software on average has around 30 bugs for every one thousand lines of code (Goodman, 2015). This means that hackers have around 3 million lines of code to potentially exploit in a modern car. In contrast Windows 7 has around 50 million line of code (Goodman, 2015).  An F-35 fighter plane has around 8 million lines of code. The number of lines of code, illustrate just how complicated and computerized modern cars really are.

Controller Area Networks (CAN) using a bus topology, are how the ECUs communicate with each other. (Currie, 2015). CANs are similar to Ethernet networks in that they include functions such as message prioritization, error checking, and reception acknowledgements (Currie, 2015). Unlike Ethernet networks, the CAN bus in cars is not segmented and was not designed with any cybersecurity in mind, as all components can communicate with each other. As an example, the engine controllers can communicate with the entertainment system and airbags, when there is no reason to do so (Currie, 2015). Before the development of the CAN bus technology in the mid-1980s, ECUs were connected via point-to-point connections to a single ECU. This design was more costly, as more wiring was required (A Brief, 2015).  The advent of the CANBus, lead to the development of the On-Board Diagnostics protocol (ODB). This allows anyone to plug a scanner into a port and receive error codes for specific problems with the car. There are software packages such as CANdo which allows for anyone to send messages to ECUs (CANdo, 2015). Mechanics use similar software to diagnose issues quickly and hot-rodders use them to increase an engine’s horsepower (Wojdyla, 2012).

Being able to send messages to the ECU allows someone to take over the system, as is possible with any other computerized system that accepts input data. Hackers have demonstrated loading malware into an ECU, using an infected audio file on a CD, flashdrive, or a malicious smartphone, app connected via Bluetooth.  A disgruntled mechanic or user that is unaware that media they are using contains malware, could easily infect their car (Greimel, 2016).

More components in cars are being connected to the Internet, such as the onboard GPS, in vehicle Wi-Fi, and entertainment systems (Greimel, 2016). Connecting cars to the Internet allowed for many innovative services such as GM’s OnStar, which automatically calls an ambulance when the airbag inflates and remotely reporting automotive issues to dealers before they result in major damages. Insurance companies use this technology to keep track of drivers’ habits and to charge them accordingly (Goodman, 2015).

Rogue employees are a large cybersecurity threat to car industry, as is the case with all other technology-dependent entities.  In 2010, a former employee at a Texas Auto Center caused the horns of more than 100 cars to honk uncontrollably and made them temporarily inoperable.  This attack was carried using WebTecKPlus, an application that manages the black boxes built into vehicles.  The rouge employee used another employee’s account to carry out the attack, this attack required minimal skill. Fortunately, the rouge employee’s IP address was traced and he was later arrested. Disconnecting a cable in each vehicle was required to stop the horns from honking (Goodman, 2015). This was one of the largest attacks on cars that did not require technical skills to carry out.

In 2015, a group of cybersecurity researchers remotely took control of a Jeep Cherokee travelling at about 70mph on a highway. Andy Greenburg, a senior writer for WIRED magazine, was driving the jeep at that time. When he pushed the brake pedal, there was no response. Other things done by cybersecurity researchers included activating the windshield wipers, air-conditioner, and the radio. All of these attacks were possible, because of a weakness in the onboard entertainment system. This attack was only done as a demonstration and the terrified driver called the researchers, begging them to stop. Thankfully the researchers stopped tampering with the Jeep and nobody was injured (Greenburg, 2015). These attacks illustrate the need for auto manufacturers to take cybersecurity as seriously as other industries have done so for many years.

The way that auto manufactures have been responding to incidents of cars being hacked are very mixed. Lawmakers from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, have written letters to several major auto manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NSHTA) about the attacks and asked what the manufacturers are doing to prevent similar attacks (United States House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, 2015). As early as 2010, Autostar a company based in Germany has been working on creating open cybersecurity standards on cars. In 2015, the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center was formed as a response to the hacks (Greimel, 2016). The NSHTA and most auto manufacturers with the exception of Tesla and BMW have taken few actions to address these issues. BMW, provided cybersecurity updates wirelessly to 2.2 million cars that were determined to have cybersecurity vulnerabilities.  Tesla hired a cybersecurity professional from Apple to implement secure code in its cars (Goodman, 2015). More automakers are following in suit.

Unfortunately not all automakers are placing a high priority on cybersecurity. Many still prefer to keep cybersecurity obscure, which has not proven successful in other industries.  While they do usually implement proprietary messaging systems on the CAN Buses in their cars, they do not implement encryption, as is the case with most IoT devices (Currie, 2015).  Fortunately, Trillium, a Japanese company, creates SecureCAN. This encryption software which generates new encryption keys when the ignition is turned on and changes the cipher text at random intervals (Yoshida, 2015). Authorization is more difficult to implement as it requires additional hardware; automakers will be hesitant to implement the additional hardware due to increased weight and costs (Currie, 2015).

The increasing prevalence of self-driving cars presents even more opportunities for criminal hackers. Self-driving cars are only more difficult to secure, the increased number of sensors, cameras, and controllers on them provides hackers an even greater attack surface compared to cars, without self-driving features.  Most auto-manufactures are expected to have autonomous vehicles by the 2020s, when there will be a larger number of autonomous vehicles on the road. This would require upgrading the transportation network as extensive vehicle-to-road, vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-satellite communications (Rosenfield, 2017). Securing a transportation network would be a massive effort. In addition, non-autonomous cars will still have a presence for many years later. In September 2017, the House of Representatives passed the SELF DRIVE Act. This is a bipartisan bill which gives the NSHTA power to set basic standards for self-driving vehicles (Clerkin, 2017). As technology progresses, legislation needs to be passed that will ensure that it is implemented in ethical ways.

Fortunately, the legal and technical aspects of automotive cybersecurity are being addressed, though just as with computer network cybersecurity, securing cars will require cooperation between auto manufacturers, engineers, governmental agencies, and information cybersecurity professionals. Even with the cybersecurity standards in place, there will still be vulnerabilities and auto manufacturers may find ways to building their products adhering to cybersecurity standards. Updates will need to be automatically applied to cars, as software has done for many years. Automotive cybersecurity must be taken with as much if not more seriously than network cybersecurity, after all many of the same issues are present, except lives are at stake.

Works cited

A Brief Explanation of CAN Bus. (2015). Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://sewelldirect.com/learning-center/canbus-technology

CANdo. (2015). CANdo CAN Bus Analyser. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from  http://www.cananalyser.co.uk/index.html

Clerkin, B. (2017, September 21). How Will We Ensure Cybersecurity in a Self-Driving World? Retrieved April 03, 2018, from  https://www.dmv.org/articles/cybercybersecurity-and-self-driving-cars

*Charette, R. (2009, February 01). This Car Runs on Code. Retrieved February 02, 2018, from https://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/systems/this-car-runs-on-code

*Currie, Roderick. “Developments in Car Hacking.” Edited by Manuel Santander, SANS Institute InfoSec Reading Room, SANS Institute, 5 Dec. 2015,  www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/ICS/developments-car-hacking-36607

Eyal, N. (2007). Vehicle Lab – Engine Control Unit. Retrieved Aril 2, 2018, from http://www.vehicle-lab.net/ecu.html

Greimel, H. (2016). PLAYING CATCH-UP. Automotive News, 90(6748), 24. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.jproxy.lib.ecu.edu/docview/1832903801?accountid=10639

Greenburg, A. (2015, July 21). HACKERS REMOTELY KILL A JEEP ON THE HIGHWAY—WITH ME IN IT. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/

Rosenfield, H. (2017, June 27). Self Driving Vehicles The Threat To Consumers. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from  http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF17/20170627/106182/HHRG-115-IF17-20170627-SD020.pdf

United States House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce. (2015, May 28). Committee Leaders Seek Information on Auto Cybersecurity [Press release]. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from  https://energycommerce.house.gov/news/press-release/committee-leaders-seek-information-auto-cybersecurity/

Wojdyla, B. (2012, February 21). How it Works: The Computer Inside Your Car. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from  https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/a7386/how-it-works-the-computer-inside-your-car/

Yoshida, J. (2015). CAN Bus Can Be Encrypted, Says Trillium. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1328081


The PCCC meets at
Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church at 1117 South Blvd.

Maps and directions are below.
Join us with your bag supper at 5:30 or the meeting at 6:30.

The PCCC meets the second Thursday of most months at Pritchard in Dilworth. The location is 1117 South Blvd., Charlotte.

Room and Parking information:
We are meeting in a different room in the same building as the big hall. Come in the atrium and look for us in the first room on the ground floor down the hall to your left. If the parking lot closest to the building is full, park in the deck directly across the street. Do not park in the upper lot!
If you are lost, locked out, or wish an escort from the parking deck, call 704-607-6461.

Click on map for Google directions (https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2167865,-80.8507889,18z) .
Find it at What3Words (https://map.what3words.com/chef.pens.with)


MEMBERS: send your free, non-commercial ad to editor@pc3.org. Commercial advertisers: contact treasurer@pc3.org to join the appropriate membership level at https://pc3.org/membership.

Contact us: Get more information at https://PC3.org or email editor@pc3.org.


Feb. 8, 2018 – Office Productivity Software

 General Meeting, Software  Comments Off on Feb. 8, 2018 – Office Productivity Software
Feb 062018
 

A Message from the Common Table

February 4, 2018

We had a lively discussion last month about how to approach buying a new computer. I can’t wait to see what Maryanne purchased when she went shopping.

I still have an Apple MacBook Pro notebook that has been on my dining room table for over 10 years now, not the same one, it has been replaced a time or two. I have always used the free “Office” software on it. At first it was Open Office and when it was not updated a few years ago to work better with Microsoft Office, I switched to LibreOffice. I have written this column with Writer (LibreOffice) for many years. This writing is different; I have access to a Microsoft Office 365 account. I have installed the latest Word 2016 and that software is in use at this very instant. I could have used Notepad on a Windows computer, but that would not be adventurous at all, maybe WordPad? Do all of you remember that program?

This month we will be discussing all things about office productivity software. We will cover Google Docs, all the Microsoft products and my favorite “free to use software” such as LibreOffice and Open Office. Please bring all your questions about “Office”.

We also will discuss the issue about Spectre and Meltdown. I’m sure by now the news has you very afraid to even turn any of your computing devices on, much less to use them. Don’t be too afraid, just come to the meeting and find out why.

I hope to see all of you at the meeting.

Galen Bolin
President, PCCC
pc3.org


Kaspersky and the KGB?

I thought I had recently heard comment from reputable resources in reference to specifics that Kaspersky Labs was actively providing inappropriate support to the Russian government. In attempt to confirm my memory, this has become a snipe hunt for hard information. The most recent media reference I could find was an article* in early January from The Wall Street Journal.

Most of the specific incidents of Kaspersky interfering with US government activities were along the line of exposing NSA-created software as malware. It’s incidental that those items do appear as malware and exposing it is the task of antimalware software. This included reporting on the Stuxnet virus and tracing it to the clandestine group that created it.

In 2015 Israeli intelligence shared with their US counterparts that, by invading Kaspersky’s networks, they discovered it was scanning computers for classified content. In fact, an NSA worker had copied the information to his home computer where a Kaspersky product identified it as new malware and copied it to be analyzed. When its nature was confirmed, Eugene Kaspersky himself ordered it deleted from the company’s computers.

The rest of the story follows along the line of “we don’t want Russians (any Russians) in the government, so ban their products (no more Smirnoff or Stoli at the White House).

The most damning implication from the reports goes along the line of: “Kaspersky Labs makes most of its money from foreign sales. They are based in Moscow and have mostly Russian coders. Surely the Russian government can put pressure on the company to do their dirty work as a requirement to stay in business.”

Kaspersky antimalware products regularly receive high ratings. If you are, or are considering, being one of their clients and have the same reservations some in Washington do; there are many other comparable products. The PCCC president has recently discovered that Sophos has a free version for home users and is recommending it. And, of course, there’s always the adequate, efficient, and conveniently pre-installed Windows Defender (Win 7 users have to explicitly install Windows Security Essentials). As always, remove your existing antimalware before activating another product.

References:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-kasperskys-software-fell-under-suspicion-of-spying-on-america-1515168888

For more in the media, see the footnotes at the end of the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaspersky_Lab</>

Bill Barnes, PCCC


The PCCC meets at the BBB in Matthews.
Maps and directions are below.
Join us with your bag supper at 5:30 or the meeting at 6:30.

The PCCC meets at the BBB, in Matthews. The location is 9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 300, Matthews. Northeast Parkway runs behind Windsor Square Shopping Center on Independence Blvd. The BBB is in a new office condo which may not be well marked; approximately across from Kohl’s back entrance.

 


MEMBERS: send your free, non-commercial ad to editor@pc3.org
Commercial advertisers: contact treasurer@pc3.org to join the appropriate membership level at https://pc3.org/membership.


Jan. 11, 2018 – Tech Toys

 General Meeting, New Technology  Comments Off on Jan. 11, 2018 – Tech Toys
Jan 102018
 

A Message from the Common Table

January 5, 2018

 

I hope all of you and your families had a great Holiday Season and a good New Year. We had a great Holiday dinner at the CrownPoint Family Restaurant. It was good to talk to all of you and your spouses or significant others. And it was especially good to see some folks who haven’t been around for a while. If you missed this chance, we’ll do it again soon Or you can come any second Thursday and renew our camaraderie.

At our September meeting I talked about how to recover data from a failing hard-drive and Bill B. talked about how to try to avoid that happening to begin with. I did not do what Bill talked about and on Christmas day my video editing computer crashed. I did not loose any data (I do backup my data), but I did lose the OS on the computer along with all the installed programs. If I had just made that image that Bill said we should all have. If I had that image, I would just get a new hard-drive and restore everything as if nothing had happened. What did happen is that I got a new hard-drive and reinstalled Windows 10 and now I have to reinstall all the programs that I use. This is a major pain to do.

This month we will talk about all the new tech stuff you got. You did get at least something tech related? We have a member or two that will be buying a new computer soon. We will discuss the best way to approach this task and discuss ways to get the best computing device for the money.

I will also ask you if the club would like to do a road trip to the Microsoft Store at Southpark for a look around the store. Maybe we can get a Microsoft person to give us a program while we are there?

I hope to see all of you at the meeting.

Galen Bolin
President, PCCC


We meet the second Thursday of the month at the Better Business Bureau in Matthews (directions below). Please bring your healthy bag supper and join us about 5:45 to chew the fat or come for just the program promptly at 6:30. Join us also for the Board meeting, which is generally the Tuesday after the General meeting and announced at the General meeting and in a special newsletter.


Scare of the Week

Are you having a Meltdown over the Spectre of the moment?

Those are the names of a couple possible computer risks that have hit the popular press in the last week. They are real vulnerabilities that could impact not just Windows; but also Linux, MacOS, and even portable devices. The flaw is not totally in the operating system, but is baked in the circuitry of the primary computing chips.

Details at the moment are spotty (some of what I think I know was reported before they even had the cute names); but here’s my take for now:

What does it do?

It might be possible for unprivileged malware to ascertain the contents of memory it shouldn’t have access to. This may represent data such as encryption codes like those for HTTPS. It may also give allow malware to directly use snippets of OS or applications’ code to perform tasks that would normally be blocked.

Who is vulnerable?

Depending on reports; every CPU from all major manufacturers since 2005. Or every Intel chip since 1995 – AMD products are immune.

EDIT – Earlier reports were for Intel chips only but now it looks like AMD CPUs, along with processors in tablets and cellphones could be at risk. OEM manufacturers are waiting for updates from the chip makers for fixes. In some cases a fix will require not just patches to the Operating System, but updates to the firmware of many devices. Stay tuned to your favorite tech site and check the support sites of all your devices.
In the mean time – stay safe out there!

How can I be safe?

Don’t use any computer with a chip designed between 1995 and 2020. That includes the computers at Google that power half of the internet and those at Amazon that power the other half.

Seriously, the flaws may be ameliorated, if not eliminated by making changes to the operating system. As always, ensure that you accept all the updates to your system and major apps and practice safe computing. Unfortunately the current fixes have been reported to impact performance with slowdowns that might be 1% or as much as 30%.

Should I worry?

Unlike some other highly publicized vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed (https://fromthehelpdesk.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-power-of-notoriety.html), this does impact your computer, so you should take the best precautions you can.

But don’t meltdown over this spectre. The likelihood of your having a loss is far greater from ransomware or any other phishing attack. As always, be careful what you allow into your system; both as “useful apps” or unknown links you might click. And always pay attention to the warnings your OS and browser give you before they’ll perform a risky action.


The PCCC meets at the BBB in Matthews.
Maps and directions are below.
Join us with your bag supper at 5:30 or the meeting at 6:30.

The PCCC meets at the BBB, in Matthews. The location is 9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 300, Matthews. Northeast Parkway runs behind Windsor Square Shopping Center on Independence Blvd. The BBB is in a new office condo which may not be well marked; approximately across from Kohl’s back entrance.

 


MEMBERS: send your free, non-commercial ad to editor@pc3.org
Commercial advertisers: contact treasurer@pc3.org to join the appropriate membership level at https://pc3.org/membership.