30 June 2017

Give blood. Sign up to be an organ donor. Not all superheroes wear a cape

If you needed an organ transplant would you have one?
If you had an accident, and needed a blood transfusion would you accept it?
Then please help those in need: by giving blood, and opting to donate organs and tissue.

Please do it now - the links are below. Don't put it off, you might forget.
Sign up & save lives. Not all superheroes wear a cape.

Amazon Prime: now with £20 off on your 1st year!

You'll save £20 on your first year's membership, get access to thousands of TV shows and movies with Prime Video, unlimited One-Day Delivery, Prime Music, Prime Reading and much more.

Available to new Prime members only. Offer ends 23:59 PM 3 July 2017. 
After your first year, your Prime membership will renew for £79/year. 
Cancel anytime.

29 June 2017

What operating system does a PC's PC run? It's XP!

The majority of PCs used by the London Metropolitan Police are still running Windows XP, which has been completely unsupported since 2014. The London Metropolitan Police are still using around 18,000 PCs powered by Windows XP which truly is a horrifying number. The police force has already started upgrading its PCs from Windows XP - but rather than upgrading to Windows 10, the force is upgrading the PCs to Windows 8.1 instead. The force was initially planning to get all of the Windows XP PCs to Windows 8 by March 2016 but that was a failed attempt.

Right now, more than 14,000 PCs are powered by Windows 8.1 at the London Metropolitan Police service. And what about Windows 10? Only 8 PCs at the police force are powered by the most secure version of Windows right now.

RansomWare can destroy your data. When did you last backup?

The criminals behind the RansomWare attacks that we have seen recently state that they will restore access to your data if you pay their "fees". However, I wouldn't recommend it.

1) What guarantee do you have that they will do anything at all other than take your money?
2) They have already had their malware in your PC - maybe something nasty is still there?
3) Are you perpetuating their criminal business model - showing that crime pays?
4) Have you just stuck a big target on your head, and said that you are willing to engage with these crooks & their schemes?

The best option is to prepare for disaster by regularly backing up your data, so it can be restored if the worst does happen. Of course, it isn't just RansomWare that can strike: Hard Disk Drives can fail, virus / malware infections, physical theft of a PC, power surges, etc...

PCs are relatively cheap, software can be reinstalled, but your data is generally irreplaceable. 

These two USB devices are ideal for backing up your data:
Kingston 64 GB Flash Drive at: www.amazon.co.uk
Western Digital 2 TB External Hard Drive at: www.amazon.co.uk
Just make sure that whatever you buy is big enough to store all of your data: 
documents, pictures, music, videos, etc - while allowing room for growth.

Contact Donline for help and advice on how to backup and protect your data.

28 June 2017

Arrests in UK over Microsoft scam calls

Four people have been arrested in the UK following an investigation into scams involving calls from fraudsters pretending to be IT support staff.

It follows two years of work by City of London Police and Microsoft, who teamed up to tackle the problem.

The perpetrators commonly pretend to be phoning on behalf of the US company.

The inquiry indicated that many of the calls originated in India but two men and two women in England have been accused of involvement.

They include a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman from Woking in Surrey, who were arrested on suspicion of fraud. Both have been bailed.

A 37-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were arrested in South Shields, Tyneside, on suspicion of fraud. Both were released pending further inquiries.

Britain’s brand new Aircraft Carrier uses Windows XP!!!

Britain’s largest ever warship is not “vulnerable” to cyber-attacks despite running on Microsoft Windows XP, a 16-year-old operating system, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

The Conservative minister defended the use of what many consider to be outdated technology on HMS Queen Elizabeth the day after it left its dockyard for the first time to begin sea trials. 

Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, meaning it does not receive updates to protect users from new types of attacks.

What could possibly go wrong?

RansomWare attacks: who wrote the original code? The answer might surprise you!...

EternalBlue, sometimes stylized as ETERNALBLUE, is an exploit generally believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). It was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacker group on the 14 April 2017, and was used as part of the worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack on 12 May 2017. The exploit was also used to help carry out the 2017 Petya cyberattack on the 27 June 2017.

EternalBlue exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft's implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. This vulnerability is denoted by entry CVE-2017-0144 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) catalog. The vulnerability exists because the SMB version 1 (SMBv1) server in various versions of Microsoft Windows accepts specially crafted packets from remote attackers, allowing them to execute arbitrary code on the target computer.

Please ensure that you are running up to date, patched systems, 
Contact Donline if you need help & advice on protecting your systems & data. 

27 June 2017

Yet another RansomWare attack. Make sure those backups are current!

Companies across the globe are reporting that they have been struck by a major ransomware cyber-attack.

British advertising agency WPP is among those to say its IT systems have been disrupted as a consequence.

Ukrainian firms, including the state power company and Kiev's main airport, were among the first to report issues.

The international police organisation Interpol has said it is "closely monitoring" the situation and liaising with its member countries.

Experts suggest the malware is taking advantage of the same weaknesses used by the Wannacry attack last month.

This, dear readers, is why you need to be running up to date, patched systems, protected by quality antivirus software, and backup your data
Contact Donline if you need advice on protecting your data. 

Dark Side Of The Rainbow

Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video mashup-like experience comes from a combination of the album title, the album cover, and the film's song "Over the Rainbow." Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.

Google fined 2.42bn euros by the EC for favoring it's own shopping comparison service

Google has been fined 2.42bn euros ($2.7bn; £2.1bn) by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results.

The amount is the regulator's largest penalty to date against a company accused of distorting the market.

The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty.

The US firm said it may appeal.

Internet vs Web. What's the difference?

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mailtelephony, and file sharing.

The World Wide Web (abbreviated WWW or the Web) is an information space where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), interlinked by hypertext links, and can be accessed via the Internet. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He wrote the first web browser computer program in 1990 while employed at CERN in Switzerland. The Web browser was released outside of CERN in 1991, first to other research institutions starting in January 1991 and to the general public on the Internet in August 1991.

So, in one sentence: The Internet is what you connect to, to access information on the Web, etc...

BTW, please dont say to a techie that the internet is down - coz actually, it isn't. And if it was, we'd have MUCH bigger problems!

26 June 2017

Pink Floyd Exhibition - V&A Museum. Kim & I went on Saturday. Outstanding!

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has announced the first major international retrospective of Pink Floyd, one of the world’s most pioneering and influential bands. To mark 50 years since the band released their first single Arnold Layne, and over 200 million record sales later, The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Moral Remains experience will be a spectacular and unparalleled audio-visual journey through Pink Floyd’s unique and extraordinary worlds; chronicling the music, design, and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s through to the present day.

We loved this exhibition. Well curated, the artefacts were fascinating, the technology was innovative. Pink Floyd were a massive part of our musical upbringing, and so formative in rock & popular music today. Honestly, if you are a fan, do go and see this. The exhibition opened on 13 May 2017 and is only going to run for 20 weeks, so don't end up disappointed that you missed it - buy a ticket

BTW: There is a great book that goes along with this exhibition: Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains (Hardcover). Oddly enough, it's cheaper on Amazon than at the V&A!

23 June 2017

PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet...

Meet “Gary”, who once had an IT support ticket land on his desk stating that “the PC would reset every time the customer flushed their toilet.”!

Gary's first thought was that this was “probably static from the customer walking across their carpeted floor, touching the keyboard before sitting down, static discharge doing the rest.”

But then he read more closely and realised the PC was on a farm. Once he visited that farm he found that “the floors were all hard-wood, so that shot that idea to hell.”

The user then suggested Gary observe the PC as they walked to the bathroom. Gary heard the unmistakable gurgling that resulted and watched as the PC did indeed reset itself about two seconds later...

Read the full story at: www.theregister.co.uk

Winery tour: Three Choirs Vineyards, Hampshire

For my birthday, my dear stepdaughter Rosie bought me a couple of tickets for a tour and tasting at Three Choirs Vineyards, Shedfield, Hampshire. This, rather usefully, is "just down the road" from where we live! Kim isn't a huge wine fan, but Brian & I are, so courtesy of the "Tracy & Kim taxi company PLC" - off we went!

We had a great time: a good look at the vines, a potted history of the winery, a sampling of four excellent wines - paired with various cheeses. Our host, Sam was friendly and informative. Click here to view some photos of the lovely setting. 

I do hope that you too will be able to enjoy a visit, and partake of some of their marvelous wines. Our favourites were:
Classic Cuvée (sparkling).
Wickham Dry 2014.
Wickham Rosé 2014.

Got a Virgin Media Super Hub 2? Read & action this ASAP!

Virgin Media has told 800,000 customers to change their passwords to protect against being hacked.

An investigation by Which? found that hackers could access the provider's Super Hub 2 router, allowing access to users' smart appliances.

Virgin Media said the risk was small but advised customers using default network and router passwords to update them immediately.

22 June 2017

Reading for today: Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The top 1000cc bikes for around £1000 - bag a bargain!

Thank exchange rates, the economy or spiralling R&D costs but new bikes are getting ever more expensive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some jaw-dropping deals on the secondhand market.

These days, £1000 the sort of figure some people will pay for an iPhone that they’ll ditch in a couple of years. But for the same money you could get a bike that, within relatively recent memory, was somewhere near the top of the range. And unlike an outdated smartphone, they’ll still do much the same job as their brand-new equivalents.

We’ve checked out verifiable, recent sold prices for useable bikes to compile this list, focussing only on machines with long MOTs and no serious problems. At the sub £1000 level, you can expect them to be scruffy – with scrapes and maybe some cracked plastics – but you should be able to get a reliable, road-legal example of any of these bikes if you’re prepared to hunt them down.

Read more on what to buy: www.visordown.com
Big bikes @ bargain prices: www.ebay.co.uk

Criminal gang says that they shut down Skype, says Steam is next

An online gang calling itself CyberTeam has claimed that it orchestrated an attack which saw Skype users in multiple countries around the globe unable to use the service for some hours earlier this week.

The popular video chat app suffered a serious outage from 7pm GMT on Monday, which prevented many users from successfully logging into the service.

The CyberTeam gang, which has the motto “We are Cyber Team. We do not forget. We do not forgive” – has previously engaged in website defacements, and has threatened to be “even more ‘aggressive'” than the notorious LizardSquad that infamously disrupted websites belonging to the likes of Activision, EA, and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

The CyberTeam group, which claims to be based in Portugal, has posted images on social media suggesting that the online gaming service Steam is its next target for a DDoS attack.

21 June 2017

"Personal" cooling solution. Certainly works for me!

Strewth, it's hot in England!
OK my readers in "sunnier" parts of the world might scoff, but it's hot for us!
I saw a "lifehack" that showed an electric fan blowing on a frozen bottle of water, thought I'd give it a go: little or no difference. Meh...
While thinking about that, I thought I'd try ice packs in my shorts pockets - it works!
Just freeze the ice packs (of course!), pop them in the side pockets, and feel the relief!
You might experience condensation wetness on your pockets, but hey: I can live with that!


2000 years later, Christ's church is "still" here!

When the Sanhedrin heard Peter speaking, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 

But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 

Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! 

For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Read more at: www.biblegateway.com

Before you repost "that" story: check that it is true first!

Sadly, these are so prevalent in this Internet age.
They are easily & readily spread through social media & email: like a wildfire!
PLEASE fact-check that story before you "copy it to all of your contacts".
This will save spreading potentially damaging, or dangerous messages.

These are the two fact checking website that I use & trust:
Use them, and stay safe out there people!

20 June 2017

South Korean hosting company pays $1m ransom to end eight-day outage

A South Korean web hosting company is forking out just over US$1 million to ransomware crooks after suffering more than eight days of nightmare.

Nayana first announced the attack on June 10, saying customer video files and its database had been encrypted, and promising to work to recover the data.

More than 150 servers were hit, hosting the sites of more than 3,400 mostly small business customers.

After a lengthy negotiation with the hackers, a demand for Bitcoin worth 5 billion won (nearly $4.4 million) was trimmed to around $1 million (397.6 Bitcoin), and the company paid up. The ransom was demanded in three instalments; so far, two have been made.

This dear readers is why you should backup your data!
Contact Donline if you need advice on protecting your data.

Deal of the day: High end 6" TomTom SatNav with WORLD maps, lifetime updates, traffic & speed cameras. Sim Card and Unlimited Data Included!

TomTom GO 6100 6 inch World Maps Sat Nav 
with Sim Card and Unlimited Data Included 

6-inch interactive touchscreen
Free lifetime World Maps
Free lifetime Speed Camera Alerts
Lifetime Live Traffic Updates
Sim Card & Unlimited Data Included

List price: £239.99 - save £40.01!

Connected cars - still connected after you've sold them! IOT gone wrong...

Charles Henderson loved his "awesome" convertible, particularly the fact that he could start, lock and unlock it remotely via his mobile phone.

It was one of the first connected cars that synchronise wirelessly with smartphones for entertainment and work purposes.

But after he sold the vehicle, he was astonished to discover that he could still control it using the associated smartphone app. "I could have found out where the car was, unlocked it remotely, started it and driven off with it," he tells the BBC.

Mr Henderson, from Austin, Texas, is global head of X-Force Red, IBM's offensive security group, so he knows a thing or two about security. He tests companies' defences, both physical and digital.

Original article: www.bbc.co.uk
Read more on Internet Of Things (IOT) issues: 

19 June 2017

Keeping cool & safe during the hot weather

During a heatwave there are a few groups of people who are at higher risk of suffering from severe health effects. These include babies and very young children, older people, people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or renal problem, Parkinson’s or severe mental illness.

Click here to read more & stay safe in the heat! 

Elon Musk on how to get humanity to Mars

Last year, billionaire SpaceX founder and space-fan Elon Musk delivered an expansive, hour-long presentation, outlining his ambitious plan to get humanity to the Red Planet. Musk has recently published a research paper adapted from that presentation entitled "Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species".

The 15-page paper, published in the journal New Space, and available for free until early July, doesn't offer a great deal of new information that wasn't presented last year, but it certainly reads like a solid manifesto from a man who is very serious about colonizing our solar system.

"So how do we figure out how to take you to Mars and create a self-sustaining city," asks Musk, "a city that is not merely an outpost but which can become a planet in its own right, allowing us to become a truly multi-planetary species."

The paper is certainly a compelling read, covering in reasonable detail the engineering challenges in getting to Mars and the realistic costs per person. Musk also reiterates several exciting benchmarks in his timeline that will take us to Mars, with the first unmanned payloads being delivered to the Red Planet within the next two years.

Computing in schools - alarm bells over England's classes

Computing education in England's schools is going through a revolution, but there is evidence that too few pupils want to be part of it.

Figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) show only a modest rise in students taking the new computer science GCSE.

The British Computing Society warns the number studying for a computing qualification could halve by 2020. The organisation - which is the professional body for the IT industry - says that would be a disaster for the economy.

The old ICT course, which was the main way school students learned about computing, is being scrapped, with the last GCSE entrants taking the exam next year. The subject, which was described by critics as teaching little more than how to use Microsoft Office, is being replaced by the more rigorous computer science GCSE.

But figures from Ofqual showing entries for the exam rising to 67,800 this year from 61,220 in 2016 have set alarm bells ringing. With 58,600 still taking the ICT exam, the overall number getting a GCSE computing qualification has fallen slightly.

The British Computing Society says that when ICT disappears, the computer science exam will fail to fill the gap.

17 June 2017

Ghost bike caught on video near Paris

A bizarre video of a “ghost motorbike” cruising along a motorway outside Paris with no rider has sparked much confusion among freaked out motorists.

Footage showed the riderless motorbike driving in a straight line, a little too close to the central reservation on the A4 outside Paris.

One driver, who asked his friend to film the surreal scene, said: “On the video, we can clearly see the two-wheeled … without a biker. A ghost.”

But the mystery of the ghost rider may have been solved, with Le Parisien reporting that the motorbike was involved in a collision seconds before.

The rider, who was in his 20s, was knocked off his bike and injured his arm in the crash with another vehicle.

According to reports, the driver of the car picked up the rider and took him to try and find his bike, but there was no trace of it.

The driver then took the motorbike rider to hospital.

Stunt motorcyclist Jean-Pierre Goy, who has appeared in James Bond films, said riderless motorbikes can run for more than 600m, especially with cruise control.

“The pilot may have fallen, and in view of the motorcycle, with a very low centre of gravity, it was possible to continue its journey,” he said.

“I’ve seen motorcycles ride like this even longer, especially with the cruise control blocked.”