Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014

Posted on: August 6th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Wow, the new Windows XP! Blue taskbar, green start button and the Bliss wallpaper from a Californian landscape photo. How fresh it looked after the boring gray of the previous versions when it came out – can you believe it was 12 years ago?

And in April 2014, just 8 months from now, Microsoft will finally stop supporting the operating system that is still being used on 37% of all desktop PCs in the world. This means that more than half a billion computers are still running the oldest supported Windows version, and the operating system of these computers will no longer be supported by Microsoft after next spring.

So, if you or your company is still using Windows XP on the computers, it’s time to start considering an upgrade to a newer version. If the new Modern user interface of Windows 8 is too unfamiliar for you, then you can still choose Windows 7, which is just as reliable and will be supported for many years to come.

By Gergely Sumegi

5 Apps That Will Safeguard Your Browsing Experience

Posted on: August 5th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

 

Since its establishment for popular use, the Internet has changed enormously. Gone are the days when surfing the World Wide Web was a carefree process for the sake of entertainment – nowadays everything from restaurant reservations to personal banking takes place online. With so much information and so many processes available online, it has become easy pickings for hackers to weave their way into various parts of the internet and manipulate it to read your personal information. Luckily there are several apps available to protect the data your Internet use renders, no matter what your preferred browser is.

DoNotTrackMe: A cross-browser extension that blocks sites from tracking you, DoNotTrackMe is constantly updated to always be on top of the latest trackers.

Googlesharing: It wouldn’t be exaggerated to say the Internet wouldn’t be the Internet without Google. The problem with searching is that Google stores everything we search for in a user-specific profile. The Googlesharing app keeps that from happening by blocking Google from storing this information and keeping your searches private.

SecureGmail: No one wants sensitive information passed on by emails to be leaked to any unwanted sources. SecureGmail encrypts and decrypts emails sent through Gmail, keeping everyone but your recipient from reading your mail through a password system (which you’ll need to share beforehand).

SimpleWash: Social media has taken over everyday life by changing the way people connect. This means that anything you’ve shared with your friends is most likely on Facebook – the good, the bad, AND the very ugly. SimpleWash’s technology erases any potentially embarrassing or compromising information about you by delving into your Facebook/Twitter profiles. This app deals with things like tagged photos and status updates you’d rather never see again, ensuring your online presence is much more respectable.

Boxcryptor: It is becoming the norm to use cloud drives like Dropbox or Google Drive, simplifying file-sharing and making it easy to access your data wherever you go. Yet even cloud sharing requires some degree of protection. BoxCryptor works by grouping together and encrypting files on your hard disk before they are synced with the cloud service of your choice, thereby keeping your personal files personal.

Top 5 Apps for Windows 8

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Whilst it’s fair to say that Microsoft has been late to the game when it comes to apps – where Apple remains in pole position – they are certainly doing their best in trying to catch up. The Apple App Store was answered with the Windows App Store, which to date now contains over 100,000 apps. We’ve tried to narrow down five essential apps that any Windows 8 user should have.

 

 

 

News Bento: This nifty app presents an interface combining top US news sites, with constant updates always coming through. Story summaries are neatly displayed in various panels – clicking on any of these will take you directly to the content app, which means you don’t need to switch to and from an external browser.

 

 

 

IM+: IM+ combines all the major messenger tools available, including Facebook, Google Talk, AOL, Yahoo, and so on. Rather than having to switch between different clients, you get access to your contacts in one streamlined place.

 

 

 

Skype: Regaling in its status as a Microsoft acquisition, Skype’s new interface complements Windows 8’s design – meaning that it gets full advantage of W8’s latest features. Even if your PC is locked or the app is closed Skype continues to run in the background, so you never have to worry about missing important calls.

 

 

 

8tracks: Quite possibly the best radio app on the market, 8tracks has already proved popular on the web, as well as on iOS and Android platforms. The new Windows 8 app only enhances the 8tracks experience: with a smooth interface that makes transiting between different songs and playlists a synch.

 

 

 

Fhotoroom: Out of all the photo-editing apps available Fhotoroom is probably the most comprehensive one. It’s brilliant for any rookie looking to get started in editing, with the tools you’d expect out of more advanced software at a beginner’s level. Experiment with exposure, saturation, and even vintage-style filters for you Instagram addicts.

 

Source: iOS App Store

Ground-breaking research to stop reverse-engineering

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

A professor at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and his team of computer scientists have designed a system that encrypts software so that it can run in that encrypted state.

Why is it such an important breakthrough? Whenever a security patch comes out for your operating system or software on your computer, hackers start to reverse-engineer it to find out the vulnerability it is intended to fix. With this knowledge, they are able to attack vulnerable computers before the update gets applied.

The researchers at UCLA, the university that has given the world 12 Nobel laureates, have developed a system that goes one step beyond the everyday encryption we all use when communicate or pay online. With their “mathematical jigsaw puzzle” approach they are able to accomplish the task to actually run the software while still being encrypted, which has never been possible before.

Software developers can write their software in the usual way, and then feed it to the system. It will output a fully functional but mathematically transformed piece of software. This is achieved by a new type of multilinear jigsaw puzzle that returns a jumble of numbers impossible to reverse-engineer. The new technique paves the way for functional encryption, offering a much more secure way to protect information.

By Gergely Sumegi

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Internet Security – What is MAPP?

Posted on: July 30th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

The Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) was launched in 2008 to give antivirus vendors a head start against malware developers. Vendors can get information from Microsoft bulletins before it gets shared with the public, and release their signatures immediately after the bulletin is published. Microsoft is now planning to introduce some major changes to MAPP, according to the latest progress report of MRSC, the Microsoft Security Response Center.

MAPP will be renamed MAPP for Security Vendors and become a part of a larger program, and some trusted vendors will get a three day window to come up with their signatures for vulnerabilities instead of the current one-day one. A new program, called MAPP for Defenders will concentrate on threat intelligence where incident responders will get critical intelligence but are required to share theirs. Microsoft will contribute by sharing malicious URLs and other threat indicators.

A new cloud-based service, MAPP Scanner will allow participants to scan Office and other files and URLs to find out if they are malicious or not. The service will use virtual machines with all Windows versions to run its scan. This is a new way for Microsoft to discover new attacks and unknown activities.

By Gergely Sumegi

New NATO video about vulnerability market

Posted on: July 30th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

In a recent video, titled Hackers for Hire, the world’s most powerful military organization looks at the life of hackers who search for vulnerabilities in operating systems and software products, for a bounty paid by their vendors. These hackers find security holes in systems, and tell the developers about them, giving them time to fix the bug and come out with a patch before telling the world about it.

Some other hackers choose the less ethical way, and sell these vulnerability details to the highest bidder on the open market, who may then use these details to exploit the weaknesses. One way or another, there is certainly an increasing market for vulnerabilities, as these bugs are worth a lot of money, according to the video.

The leader of Microsoft’s Security Outreach Team is an ex-hacker, who regularly seeks skilled IT security specialists to improve the company’s research efforts, using a huge talent pool of white hat hackers.

By Gergely Sumegi

Internet security tips – What is Microsoft EMET?

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

As the everyday PC user has more and more software on their computer originating from vendors big and small, the likelihood of an exploitable vulnerability remaining unpatched is ever growing. The developers of your anti-virus software or the vulnerable program might not be able to patch the vulnerability as quickly as they get discovered, but there are some helpful tools to make these vulnerabilities as hard to exploit as possible. One of these tools is Microsoft EMET.

Microsoft EMET stands for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, and it is a utility that helps preventing software vulnerabilities from being exploited. EMET is using security mitigation technologies to achieve this goal to make exploitation as difficult as possible, as a possible attacker will face extra obstacles to get through. It can be used with any software, regardless of when it was written and who the author or vendor is; it doesn’t need to be a software product of Microsoft.

EMET can be downloaded from the Microsoft TechNet page, and requires the Microsoft .NET Framework to operate, which can be downloaded from the Download section of Microsoft’s website. The latest version, EMET 4.0 has got a Certificate Trust feature to detect man-in-the-middle attacks leveraging the public key infrastructure.

After installing, EMET must be configured to protect the piece of software you want to be protected. For this, you need to provide the name of the program and its location on your PC. The above mentioned Certificate Trust will need you to provide the list of websites you want to protect. For a detailed introduction please visit www.microsoft.com/emet where you can download the latest version that comes with a detailed user guide.

By Gergely Sumegi

Help! I’ve lost my files

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

We’ve all endured the horror of losing a file. Be it due to a PC freeze-up, an all-out crash, or the Blue Screen of Death (whose name is enough to inspire horror), we’ve all been forced to deal with the fright of losing a file.

An accidental deletion often means you’ll be lucky enough to find the file in question in the Recycle Bin on your PC, which means restoration is not a problem. For more serious cases than that, read on.

AutoRecover: Most software these days offer an AutoRecover function. Microsoft Office is automatically set up to save files every 10 minutes. You can easily check your settings by accessing the save menu (File – Options – Save Tab). You can specify how often Office autosaves, as well as opt for a function that keeps unsaved files if you close the programme without saving in the first place.

Global automatic backup: You can set your PC to automatically create backups. In Windows 8, you can access your backup settings through the System and Maintenance tab in the Control Panel. You can also manually create a backup by accessing this panel. You can go through this same process to find the Restore my files function, which opens up a wizard to trace any lost files.

Specialised software: If all else fails, there is a plethora of software available that are specially designed to search drives to recover missing files.

It all sounds boring and preachy, but always try to save anything you’re working on every few minutes or so. External drives and USB sticks are always handy to keep around for the simple purpose of keeping precious files backed up, as well as apps like Dropbox for cloud storage.

Why Creative Cloud Is So Unpopular

Posted on: July 25th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com 2 Comments

Back in May, Adobe announced that Creative Suite 6 would be the last time licenses would be on offer for sale, and that Creative Cloud would be replacing the license concept as a whole. This means that, rather than a one-off purchases, Adobe users now have to pay a monthly subscription in order to use the applications they know and love.

In theory, the idea is quite remarkable. As described on the Adobe website and on the Creative Cloud Facebook page, Adobe users now have every application in the CS suite at their fingers – gone are the days of purchasing separate suites depending on whether you’re a designer or a photographer or a developer. One of Adobe’s ideas is to nourish and develop new talent – so if you’re a photographer interesting in dabbling in the world of web design, then subscribing to Creative Cloud makes it that much easier. Purchasing CC also gives unparalled access to the latest software updates and features, without having to wait for the next version of CS to come out.

However faithful Adobe users are understandably disgruntled by the latest mandatory development. Whilst it’s easy enough for Adobe to claim that they are, quite simply, granting global access to their applications at a slashed fee (let’s face it, Adobe software is unbelievably pricey), it is very apparent that subscribers will be paying more than what they once did in the long run. If you’re a graphic designer and you just want access to Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, chances are you’re not entirely interested in the package Creative Cloud offers. The fact that Creative Cloud isn’t available for multi-computer use only adds to frustrations, which are quickly piling up.

If Adobe had listened to its clientforce – and maybe introduced Creative Cloud at a slower speed, rather than catch everyone unawares – then maybe it wouldn’t be facing the negative backlash it is being forced to endure. The fact that Creative Cloud has already been pirated – one of the vulnerabilities Adobe was hoping to quench by phasing out CS – speaks volumes, and only goes to show that it won’t be long before they will be forced to address this issue.

Microsoft patches Office 2010 for one last time

Posted on: July 25th, 2013 by SoftwarePatch.com No Comments

Good news everyone: Microsoft has just released the latest and probably the last service pack for the three-year-old Office 2010 suite. Service Pack 2 is available to download from Microsoft’s Knowledge Base or through Windows Update. The patch is intended to improve the compatibility of the Office and SharePoint 2010 products with other Office and SharePoint versions, Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. The service pack contains some previously unreleased minor fixes, such as improvements in stability, performance, and security.

The service pack contains improvements for some annoying problems in Excel 2010, such as an issue in which file sizes become larger when additional built-in styles are copied between different Excel instances. In Word, the patch fixes issues regarding bookmarks, templates, tables, autocorrect options just to name a few. Some errors in Outlook will get fixed too, such as the one occurring when you perform a spell check before sending an email. An important update in PowerPoint fixes an issue in which Mozilla Firefox crashes on a Mac computer when viewing a presentation in PowerPoint Web App.

The beta version of SP2 was available for public testing in April this year, and there were no reports of major problems with the patch. While there is no urgent security-related need to download this latest update pack, Microsoft will possibly turn Service Pack 2 into an automated update in three months’ time.

By Gergely Sumegi