29 March 2019

The clocks go forward one hour on the 31st March!

In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST). There’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).

When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

28 March 2019

Don't be an April Fool: it's almost World Backup Day 2019!


A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.

Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.

What do I need - to do a Backup?
1) Something to backup to: a quality hard drive.
2) Instructions: contact Donline.

Hackers hijacked ASUS software updates to install backdoors on thousands of computers

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab say that ASUS, one of the world’s largest computer makers, was used to unwittingly install a malicious backdoor on thousands of its customers’ computers last year after attackers compromised a server for the company’s live software update tool. The malicious file was signed with legitimate ASUS digital certificates to make it appear to be an authentic software update from the company, Kaspersky Lab says.

ASUS, a multi-billion dollar computer hardware company based in Taiwan that manufactures desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, smart home systems, and other electronics, was pushing the backdoor to customers for at least five months last year before it was discovered, according to new research from the Moscow-based security firm.

The researchers estimate half a million Windows machines received the malicious backdoor through the ASUS update server, although the attackers appear to have been targeting only about 600 of those systems. The malware searched for targeted systems through their unique MAC addresses. Once on a system, if it found one of these targeted addresses, the malware reached out to a command-and-control server the attackers operated, which then installed additional malware on those machines.

Kaspersky Lab said it uncovered the attack in January after adding a new supply-chain detection technology to its scanning tool to catch anomalous code fragments hidden in legitimate code or catch code that is hijacking normal operations on a machine. The company plans to release a full technical paper and presentation about the ASUS attack, which it has dubbed ShadowHammer, next month at its Security Analyst Summit in Singapore. In the meantime, Kaspersky has published some of the technical details on its website.

Reading for today - God is our Rock and our Salvation!

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from Him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Read all of Psalm 62 at Bible Gateway

26 March 2019

Britons get 'bad deal' from broadband giants

Britons who get their broadband from the UK's biggest suppliers are the "most likely" to be getting a bad deal, reports Which?

The consumer group's latest broadband satisfaction survey places the big providers at the bottom of rankings for service.

Customers complained about slow speeds, poor value for money, connection dropouts and general service problems.

TalkTalk and Sky are the two firms at the bottom of the satisfaction survey.

The UK's four big providers, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, supply 90% of the UK's net-using homes with broadband.

The Which? results put TalkTalk at the bottom of the table for customer satisfaction and say it "failed to score well in any category".

Which? figures suggest that TalkTalk customers are most likely to experience slow browsing speeds and connection dropouts. In a statement, TalkTalk said the results were "disappointing".

Fed up of poor service from your Internet Service Provider? 
Contact Donline to find out about a better way:
Utility Warehouse and Zen Internet.

McDonald's - from Big Mac to Big Data!

Mention McDonald’s to someone today, and they're more likely to think about Big Mac than Big Data. But that could soon change: The fast-food giant has embraced machine learning, in a fittingly super-sized way.

McDonald’s is set to announce that it has reached an agreement to acquire Dynamic Yield, a startup based in Tel Aviv that provides retailers with algorithmically driven "decision logic" technology. When you add an item to an online shopping cart, it’s the tech that nudges you about what other customers bought as well. 

Dynamic Yield reportedly had been recently valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars; people familiar with the details of the McDonald’s offer put it at over $300 million. That would make it the company's largest purchase since it acquired Boston Market in 1999.

Massive hack attack? More like an act of war - apparently!

June 2017 saw one of the world’s most costly malware outbreaks ever. The NotPetya ransomware, initially spread via a malicious automatic update to a popular Ukrainian accounting software tool, hit companies around the world including advertising giant WPP, household goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, FedEx subsidiary TNT Express, and international shipping logistics company Maersk.

Shipping conglomerate Maersk later estimated that the NotPetya ransomware cost them as much as $300 million in lost revenue. Reckitt Benckiser, the firm behind such brands as Nurofen and Durex, blamed the malware attack for a $100 million loss in revenue.

One of those organisations hit by NotPetya was multinational law firm DLA Piper. The business, with a presence in over 40 countries, reportedly had a “flat network structure globally”, allowing every data centre and Windows-based server on its network to be impacted by NotPetya.

Wiping its systems and starting again must have been costly, even before you start counting the 15,000 hours of extra overtime it reportedly paid its IT staff. So, it’s no surprise to hear that DLA Piper is interested in claiming back some of that expense from its insurers, Hiscox.

As The Times reports today, DLA Piper has started proceedings against Hiscox, saying that the insurance firm has failed to pay out for the damages and costs associated with the NotPetya attack - a claim which may amount to several million pounds.

From the sound of things, Hiscox is refusing to pay up because of the “act of war” exclusion clause commonly found in insurance policies. The UK government, you may recall, has officially stated that the Russian military was “almost certainly” behind the NotPetya attack.

Google fixes Chrome 'evil cursor' bug abused by tech support scam sites

Google has patched a Chrome bug that was currently being abused in the wild by tech support scammers to create artificial mouse cursors and lock users inside browser pages by preventing them from closing and leaving browser tabs.

The trick was first document back in 2010, but only recently entered the arsenal of tech support scammers --in September 2018, when it was spotted by Malwarebytes analyst Jerome Segura. Called an "evil cursor," it relied on using a custom image to replace the operating system's standard mouse cursor graphic.

A criminal group that Malwarebytes called Partnerstroka operated by switching the standard OS 32-by-32 pixels mouse cursor with one of 128 or 256 pixels in size.

A normal cursor would still appear on screen, but in the corner of a bigger transparent bounding box.

The trick was that users would think they'd be clicking where the cursor would appear, but they would actually click in another area of the screen, preventing them from closing popups and browser tabs due to inaccurate clicks.

The "evil cursor" fix is currently live for Google Canary users, and is scheduled to land in the Chrome 75 stable branch, to be released later this spring. FYI: Chrome is currently at v73.

25 March 2019

The church where drugs and knives are left at the altar: SPAC Nation

A church in south London is saving people from a life of crime by using former gang members to show others a different way of life. So, how does SPAC Nation work?

It is not a scene you would expect to find in a church. Lead pastor Tobi Adegboyega asks members of the congregation to make their way to the front with any weapons they may have in their pockets. It is a system based on trust but such amnesties have proved successful. "We've had times where people are coming to the altar and dropping their knives and drugs," explains fellow minister Connor Callaghan.

Watch the documentary on BBC iPlayer: Escaping Gangs: Death, Jail or Redemption. Former gang leader, Kevin, has just become a pastor. He is now trying to persuade high ranking gang members to leave their gangs and turn their lives around. 

May God Bless this ministry! All too often we hear in the news of gang violence and stabbings in inner cities, but no-one in authority seems to know what to do about it.
Here we have Godly folks reaching out to their communities, and giving gang members a real opportunity to transform their lives. 
Please lift up these good people & their work in your Prayers.

20 March 2019

Google hit with €1.5bn fine by EU - over blocking rival online search advertisers

Google has been hit with a €1.49bn (£1.28bn) fine from the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers.

It is the third EU fine for the search and advertising giant in two years.

The case accuses Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

In response, Google changed its AdSense contracts with large third parties, giving them more leeway to display competing search ads.

Google owner Alphabet makes large amounts of money from advertising - pre-tax profits reached $30.7bn (£23bn) in 2018, up from $12.66bn in 2017.

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.

"This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules," said EC commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Google: how the mighty have fallen.
Remember when their corporate motto was "Don't be evil"?

19 March 2019

Amazon: Enjoy £5 off any qualifying order of £25 or more with promo code BIGTHANKS

Enjoy £5 off any qualifying order of £25 or more with promo code BIGTHANKS

This offer ends at midnight on 19th March 2019. 

One per customer. The offer applies to items dispatched from and sold by Amazon only. It does not apply to items sold by third-party sellers, including items Fulfilled by Amazon. Full details below:

18 March 2019

Reading for today: God wants you!

You ask ‘for what’ God wants you. 
Isn’t the primary answer: that He wants you

We’re not told that the lost sheep was sought out for anything except itself [Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7].

Of course, He may have a special job for you: and the certain job is that of becoming more and more His.

Compiled in Yours, Jack

Do you use WinRAR zipping tool? Better update now - to close this security vulnerability

After being a staple on PCs for so many years, last month it was discovered that WinRAR, software used to open .zip archive files, has been vulnerable for the last 19 years to a bug that’s easily exploited by hackers and malware distributors. Fortunately, the software has been patched with the recent release of version 5.70, but after being unchecked for so long and installed by so many people, a new wave of malware is taking advantage.

Check Point, the security researchers that revealed the WinRAR bug, explain that the software is exploited by giving malicious files a RAR extension, so that when opened they can automatically extract malware programs. These programs are installed in a PC’s startup folder, allowing them to start running anytime the computer is turned on, all without the user’s knowledge.

So: if you use WinRAR - check what version you are using. If anything less than v5.70 - then go here - download the latest version & install the update. Or better still, do what Donline does: use 7-Zip.

13 March 2019

Intel CPU shortages to worsen in 2nd quarter 2019

Shortages of Intel's CPUs are expected to worsen in the second quarter compared to the first as demand for Chromebooks, which are mostly equipped with Intel's entry-level processors, enters the high period, according to Digitimes Research.

Digitimes Research expects Intel CPUs' supply gap to shrink to 2-3% in the first quarter with Core i3 taking over Core i5 as the series hit hardest by shortages.

The shortages started in August 2018 with major brands including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Lenovo all experiencing supply gaps of over 5% at their worst moment.

Well that's not helpful: with the imminent death of Windows 7 & subsequent high demand for replacement systems... Don't wait too long - start planning for replacement / upgrade of older systems now. Contact Donline for advice.

12 March 2019

3 cyber fraud horror stories and how they could’ve been prevented

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to business owners, both large and small. In most cases, ransomware can be prevented – yet it’s often not, due to a number of factors (which we’ll explore).

Writing for Business Advice, cyber security expert Robert Dale showcases three of the worst cyber fraud horror stories you’ve ever read, and what could’ve been done to prevent them.

The WWW is 30 years old today! What now? A Contract for the Web

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information space where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, such as https://www.donline.co.uk/), which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible via the Internet. The resources of the WWW may be accessed by users via a software application called a web browser

30 years ago today (12th March 1989)Tim Berners-Lee coded the foundational technologies for the World Wide Web.

The web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the web serves humanity. By committing to these principles, governments, companies and citizens around the world can help protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone.

Read more, & sign up here to make the Web better for everyone:

Shocking news (not!): Adobe killing off Shockwave 9th April 2019

Adobe isn't just putting Flash on ice, the software giant has signalled that it will discontinue Shockwave for Windows on April 9th, 2019

It won't surprise you to hear why Adobe is ramping things down: the internet has moved on. Shockwave use has "declined" as technologies like HTML5 and WebGL have taken over, the company said.

You might not miss it too much on most websites, but it could still cause problems. Many older web games and media experiences were built around Shockwave, which enabled visually exciting web apps at a time when HTML wasn't up to snuff and powerful, consumer-friendly smartphones were just pipe dreams. When many of the developers ended support long ago, the death of Shockwave is likely to make those apps unusuable.

11 March 2019

Web browser plugins - how do they get there?

Malicious quiz apps were used to harvest thousands of users' profile data, according to Facebook - who are suing their authors.

The firm says anyone who wanted to take the quizzes (by Andrey Gorbachov and Gleb Sluchevsky, of Ukrainian company Web Sun Group) was asked to install browser extensions, which then lifted data ranging from names and profile pictures to private lists of friends.

These were installed about 63,000 times between 2016 and October 2018, it says. In total, defendants compromised approximately 63,000 browsers used by Facebook users...

Rogue Web Browser extensions are frequently used to compromise PCs. Donline has had to rescue many clients from systems infected in this manner. Be careful what websites you visit, what software that you install. If in doubt - contact Donline.

Microsoft to start selling Windows 7 add-on support April 1

Microsoft plans to start selling its Windows 7 add-on support beginning April 1.

Labeled "Extended Security Updates" (ESU), the post-retirement support will give enterprise customers more time to purge their environments of Windows 7. From Windows 7's Jan. 14, 2020 end of support, ESU will provide security fixes for uncovered or reported vulnerabilities in the OS.

Patches will be issued only for bugs rated "Critical" or "Important" by Microsoft, the top two rankings in a four-step scoring system.

ESU will be dealt out in one-year increments for up to three years and support will be sold on a per-device basis, rather than the per-user approach Microsoft has pushed for Windows 10 licensing. Costs for ESU will start out low - $25 or $50 per year per device - but will double each year, ending at $100 or $200 per device for the third and final year. (The less expensive prices will be for subscribers to Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365 Enterprise.)

Alternatively (& better!) upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, or (better still!) get a new computer c/w a modern operating system. Contact Donline for details.

08 March 2019

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

At the end of February, MIT Technology Review emitted a pithy rundown of a 34-page research paper from maths-modelling boffins at Brandeis University in the US; the paper essentially posited that in a bid to make that all-important "countercultural statement", hipsters can end up looking alike. For groovy models of how random acts by hipsters "undergo a phase transition into a synchronized state".

Accompanying the article was an edited stock image of a generic millennial chap in plaid shirt and standard-issue beanie, or "trendy winter attire", as Getty put it.

"We promptly got a furious email from a man who said he was the guy in the photo that ran with the story. He accused us of slandering him, presumably by implying he was a hipster, and of using the pic without his permission. (He wasn't too complimentary about the story, either.)"

The stock photo giant checked the model release and lo! The guy in the image wasn't even the same dude who was complaining. "He'd misidentified himself"!

"All of which just proves the story we ran: hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other."

04 March 2019

Booking.com - get away, have fun & save!

Each day, more than 1,200,000 room nights are reserved on Booking.com platform. So whether travelling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal accommodation quickly and easily with Booking.com, without booking fees and backed up by our promise to price match. Via our customer experience team, customers can reach Booking.com 24/7 for assistance and support in over 40 languages, any time of the day or night.

This is how Kim & I do most of our adventures: road trips by motorbike or car. We will often have a rough plan of travel and book hotels as we progress. Booking.com makes travel so easy & fun - highly recommended! 

Use this link, spend over £40 and get 10% off your next trip!

Arrest of Christian street preacher & petition to support free speech

On Saturday 23 February, Oluwole Ilesanmi, a Christian street preacher and former dentist, was arrested outside Southgate tube station in London for ‘breaching the peace’. The police have said that they were called by a member of the public who had complained that the preacher was being ‘Islamophobic’ as he shared the gospel with passers-by. The video of the preacher’s arrest has caused outrage, not just in the UK, but across the world and has gone viral.

If you want to make a stand for the freedom of Christian street preachers to preach on the streets of our nation without suppression, please sign this petitionStand for something, or fall for anything.

Lent starts this week. Fasting: what does the Bible say?

Scripture does not command Christians to fast. God does not require or demand it of Christians. At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial. 

The book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions (Acts 13:2; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are often linked together (Luke 2:37; 5:33). Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food. Instead, the purpose of fasting should be to take your eyes off the things of this world to focus completely on God

Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God, and to ourselves, that we are serious about our relationship with Him. Fasting helps us gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God.

01 March 2019

Calli - from bear to sleek thing in one morning!

Calli hadn't been for a haircut since before Christmas.
She looked enormous (all fluff)!
Really cuddly, but in great need of pampering at the poochie parlour...

Pam has worked her magic on our dear dawg.
Calli once again looks like a pup!

Amazon stops selling Dash buttons - HORRAY!

Amazon says it has stopped selling its Dash buttons because shoppers are using other methods to buy products. The plastic Dash buttons were designed to be stuck around the home and pressed to reorder specific products on Amazon.

Amazon said product subscriptions and automatic reordering had since grown in popularity making the buttons unnecessary.

The Dash buttons were designed to make it easier to reorder products such as laundry detergent or toothpaste. People could stick the brightly coloured buttons on the washing machine or in the bathroom cupboard, and press the button when products were running out. The button, connected to the home WiFi, would then place an order on Amazon.

The buttons cost £4.99 to buy, or $4.99 in the US, although this was deducted from the first order.

Horray for that! Dash buttons have always struck me as entirely useless & a waste of resources to manufacture these "one trick pony" electronic devices. Good riddance!

Alien: Isolation - Watch the Full Digital Series Now on IGN

The story of Amanda Ripley is being expanded in a major way - and being brought to a new audience - thanks to a brand new Alien: Isolation digital series, which is being distributed exclusively by IGN.

Intended to allow fans of the 2014 game to revisit their favourite moments from this instalment in the Alien lore and also allow those who never experienced the game to go on Amanda's horrifying adventure, this first-of-its-kind digital series can be binged in its entirety in the seven episodes HERE.