• Microsoft Pushes Emergency Out-of-Band Patch for Critical Internet Explorer Vulnerability

    A dangerous flaw in Internet Explorer has prompted Microsoft to issue an emergency out-of-band security update.

    In an advisory posted last Thursday, Microsoft informed the public about a newly detected security vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Here, they warned that the vulnerability affects all versions of Windows – from Windows 7 to 11, including 8.1 and Vista.

    According to the company, the vulnerability was already exploited and is rated as critical on client operating system and moderate on all server operating system.

    The advisory explains that the CVE-2105-2502 has the potential to hi-jack control of your computer via Internet Explorer. They also warned users that vulnerable computers can be exploited by simply visiting maliciously-crafted websites.

    Attempts would be made to redirect potential victims to booby trapped websites by tricking them into opening an unsolicited email attachment or by using spammed out links.

    Once the computer has been compromised, it may grant the attacker administrator level privileges on the target device. This kind of vulnerability may allow attackers to see personal information. The good news is, they won’t be able to choose what they see.

    If the user has administrative capabilities, the attacker would be able to take complete control over their device and do certain things such as install a program or modify a file. Attackers can do the same thing even if users do not have administrative privileges, but may be slightly better off.

    Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, is not listed on the page and is not at risk through the vulnerability. However, since it also ships with a copy of Internet Explorer 11 installed, they included it in the update as well.

    Microsoft urged Windows users to update their machines as soon as possible to protect their devices from security vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer.

    For those that have an automatic updating turned on, Microsoft is delivering the update via its automatic Windows Update. For others, these patches are already available via Microsoft’s Download Center.

  • Mozilla Slams Microsoft on Default Browser Choice in Windows 10

    Browser maker Mozilla isn’t happy with Microsoft’s decision about resetting the default browser.

    A week ago, Mozilla CEO, Chris Beard, has taken his exasperation in public. He decided to write an open letter to Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft, taking aim at the company’s policy on handling changes that were made to the default applications in Windows 10. He called it “disturbing” and slammed the tech giant for making an aggressive move of designating its Edge as a default browser.

    Beard was referring to the Windows 10 upgrade setup process. Here, users who simply clicked on the “Next” button in the express setup will automatically have Edge as their default browser even if they have previously used Google Chrome of Mozilla Firefox.

    This rubbed Beard the wrong way since most users will choose the express settings just because it’s easier. Although users are eventually given the chance to re-assign Firefox of Chrome as their default browser, many of whom will be unlikely to bother. This task would be difficult for majority of users and would just end up abandoning the process.

    Beard said in the letter, “I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10. Specifically that the upgrade experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience and they want, and replaced it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”

    Beard also said that his company has reached out to Microsoft to address this problem prior to Windows 10 release, but this attempt of opening communication lines has landed on deaf ears; hence this letter.

    To make it easier for users to change their default browser, Mozilla posted a tutorial which includes step-by-step instructions on how to restore Firefox as their default browser. The same instructions can also be used by users who wish to assign Chrome or Opera as their default.

  • Powerful Built-In Windows Tools You Might Not Know About

    Windows contains a variety of systems that are well-hidden. You might be surprised to know that there are a number of powerful tools that can help you troubleshoot or monitor your system. Some of them are buried deep in the start menu, that it’s almost impossible to launch them unless you their names.

    If you are a serious Windows fan, you’re probably familiar about these hidden gems, but if you’re an ordinary person who happens to be using Windows 7, Windows 8 or an older version of Windows, we bet you haven’t heard of these tools before.

    System information

    System information allows users to view all the relevant information about the computer – startup programs, configured environment valuables, Internet settings, driver and application details, hardware resources etc.

    The system might not be able to provide the slickest information, but it does display all the necessary information without forcing users to install any extra tools.

    Registry editor

    Some of you are probably familiar with the registry editor, but we opt to include it on the list since it is hidden. You can use the registry editor to import or export keys for reference or backup, restore the registry from a backup or to default values or to add and edit registry keys and values.

    To launch the registry editor, you need to type in “regedit” on the Start screen or Start menu. If you see a UAC dialog box, click “Yes” to open the registry editor.

    Performance monitor

    Windows comes with a number of tools for monitoring performances, but when it comes to isolating performance issues, this tool is the king.

    With the help of this tool, you can find out how your system performs over a period of time and what you can do to improve the performances.

    Windows memory diagnostic

    Memory problems are often hard to isolate. But if errors are found, the Windows memory diagnostic will attempt to determine which memory module is causing the problem. This process is done by running a set of tests.

  • The Pros and Cons of Microsoft Office 365

    Microsoft Office has been a productivity mainstay for individuals and businesses for decades. A couple of years ago, Microsoft introduced a huge change to the Office suite of products with Microsoft Office 365. While in many ways, Office 365 is the same as earlier versions of Microsoft, there are a few important differences. Continue reading

  • Adobe Acrobat XI vs. Nuance PDF Create 8

    Though many software applications these days have the native ability to save to PDFs, using a specialized software package for this purpose is still the most beneficial way to go when it comes to accurately converting documents into industry-ready PDFs. Many capabilities, such as advanced searching/redacting, markup, layering, among other functions, are only available in software designed specifically for processing PDFs. For businesses or people who need to create PDFs for commercial use, having software capable of these functions is imperative. Continue reading