Flawed Microsoft updates from Tuesday pulled

Microsoft has pulled one security update and one non-security updates and recommend that they be uninstalled from your system.

The first one is for KB2982791 as part of MS14-045. The second one [would you believe] is an update to the Russia ruble currency symbol [those dastardly Russians!]. You can find this one as KB2970228 but also in the August “roll-up” for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

The updates are available in some form for all supported versions of Windows. The updates themselves have been pulled from Microsoft’s web site. There have been some workarounds but are not guaranteed to work.

Failure to not uninstall them could result in a rare [well for recent versions of Windows] blue screen of death with the code 0x00000050.

To remove each update [based on the Windows 7 setup but will work very similarly in others], go to Control Panel. Then Programs and Features. Then View Installed Updates on the left. Let it load the updates [unless you see it right away]. Find KB2982791 and click the Uninstall button at the top. Wait a minute or so and then it will ask if you want to reboot. You don’t have to do that right away. Repeat for KB2970228.

Google and more privacy issues

Seems that Google has opened up a can of worms. Google alerted the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) when they detected that possible evidence of alleged child pornography being sent using a user’s Gmail account.

The NCMEC contacted the Houston police department who arrested a man previously convicted of sexual assault on possessing child pornography.

Not surprised there are two camps.

One camp saying it was good of Google to do this to get rid of pedophiles.

A second camp says while they despise pedophilia, a question of violating everyone’s right to privacy comes up.

Google’s Terms of Services states that “You may use our Services only as permitted by law, including applicable export and re-export control laws and regulations. We may suspend or stop providing our Services to you if you do not comply with our terms or policies or if we are investigating suspected misconduct…. we may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law.”

Google’s privacy policy informs users “We collect information to provide better services to all of our users — from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful or the people who matter most to you online…. when you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.”

As well, Google’s policies states that “we will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.”

So by using Google’s services, you are giving them the right to notify authorities if there are any illegal usage.

Most people by now know that Google reads all Emails electronically. They use it primarily for advertising purposes. [For example, if you have many messages related to dentistry, expect to see dentistry related ads more often than others.] But was this to be used for anything other than advertising purposes? They are electronically reading your Email –which could be anything from legal issues to financial issues.

David Drummond, the Chief Legal Officer of Google, hinted at the possibility of certain scanning algorithms “that trawl other platforms for known images” that are then verified as illegal content by human inspection on a web site last year.

Will the police come barging down your door if you say the word bomb a few times in an Email.

I am not saying other services are better or wouldn’t do this but at what point does something trump privacy?

Microsoft denies Update 2 on Tuesday for Windows 8.1 and some rumors

This is starting to remind me of the days when the iPhone was “king”. You would hear all kinds of rumors about the next iPhone or maybe the next iOS. [I think somewhere in my blog I list rumors of what was to be in an iPhone a couple of years back].

Now, it seems Microsoft is taking a cue from Apple as rumors continue to fly about Windows 8.1 updates. Strange, since Windows 8.1 still isn’t that popular.

Well, a Microsoft official has stated there will be no Update 2 for Windows 8.1. He doesn’t know where all this started from. Maybe that’s why the first update was called Update and not Update 1. I do find it odd that only days before Patch Tuesday did the official deny the rumors.

OK. So instead of the dead/rumored Update 2, expect the same monthly updates that have been coming out since Windows 8 was released.

In addition, more rumors that Office 2015 will be released next year. This is probably more likely since whenever a computer OS release comes out, an Office release comes out about the same time or shortly after.

The most interesting rumor – but this has been flying around for a while – is that Microsoft may give out Windows 9 free of charge to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users.

OK. I can see this for Windows XP users but if you take a look at some of the older machines, few of them have the resources [i.e. meet or barely meet the minimum requirements for Windows 9 – assuming similar to Windows 8]. Even if they did meet the minimum requirements, they will be sluggish.

If Windows 9 requirements don’t change much from Windows 8, then technically all Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems will be able to upgrade – although those cheap models would still be an issue.

Finally the rumored Start menu coming back [or a variation of] still persists. Who knows.

Computer tip: Disappearing network connection adapters

Once in a blue moon you may get a weird issue such as this one.

You have an exclamation flag over your network connection – yet you do have Internet connectivity.

Upon investigating, you see that you have no network adapters listed.

Seems the cache of network adapters get corrupt. Somehow.

To fix the problem, open the registry editor. Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Network

In right-side pane, look for the binary key Config. Select it and delete it. Do not delete any other key.

When you open Network Connections folder or restart your system, Windows will automatically re-creates the Config key. The configuration cache was cleared by deleting the key.

You should now see your network adapters in Network Connections.

Unethical politics

Picture this scene:

A federal politician walking into a mosque in his own riding, shaking hands, chatting with people, etc. The things most politicians do in their riding.

Except this is Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau – before he was the leader of the party.

Fast forward to this week. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney put out an odd press release accusing the Liberal party leader of associating “with a group that allegedly radicalizes Canadians to join Al-Qaida and engage in acts of unspeakable violent extremism.” The Prime Minister’s office echoed similar remarks.

Blaney, in a press release, accused the Liberal leader of “pandering for votes amongst religious extremists in our own communities.”

A leaked U.S. Department of Defense document from 2008 claims that the mosque in the Montreal riding of Papineau is an al-Qaida training centre.

Trudeau visited the mosque prior to the report that became public from the New York Time in 2011.

The news report linking Trudeau to the mosque came from Sun News, a news media organization known for its pro-Conservative government leanings. That report failed to mention that Trudeau visited the mosque before the report came out.

This brings up a few questions.

Would we be hearing this if it wasn’t Trudeau – the biggest threat the Conservative government has had to keep running a government after next year’s election? Since taking over as leader, the Liberal party’s popularity has increased quite a bit while Stephen Harper’s popularity as well as his government’s popularity has declined.

If they are going to do this association maybe they’ll find other unpopular associations. Maybe someone will find out that Trudeau had a friend in university who was later arrested for being a pedophile. Will they then claim that Trudeau is a pedophile as well?

This isn’t the first time the Conservative party has released press releases claiming something without including all the facts.

Another Microsoft blunder

Here’s what I would call a bit of a blunder by Microsoft. Just 3 months after the end of support of Windows XP, Microsoft decided to update the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit [EMET] to version 5.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, EMET is an application that can help secure Windows XP. A reminder that about 25% of the computer population is still using Windows XP.

I sent off a message to Tim Rains, Director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. He was the one that announced it in the TechNet blogs. Never received a reply.

[If you are a Windows XP user, maybe leave him a comment as well.]

Part of the reason why I complained is that Microsoft went against their own rules when they released a security update for Internet Explorer in Windows XP after the support for Windows XP died.

If they can release a security update why not release this to include Windows XP?

[Note: It is Microsoft’s policy not to release any updates for a product that is out of support – unless you have a contract with Microsoft to extend the support which costs in excess of $100,000.]

I am not saying that EMET should be continued to be supported on Windows XP, but at least this last update.

Here is my original blog on EMET 4.1.

 

When free isn’t so free

I had b?tched to DivX Networks in April how they could bundle Conduit malware [as most people call it] with their free DivX player. [Malwarebytes as well as other anti-malware software consider any from Conduit software to be malware.]

I finally got a response back from them – 3.5 months later. The guy who responded claimed there was an issue with their mail system. Got lost somewhere – so was claimed.

It seems that DivX received many complaints that the Conduit crapware was causing problems. It has since been removed from further installations and their new policy states that they will only bundle software that is beneficial [as was called by a product manager] and no search related software.

It’s bad enough if you use a single web browser, but if you have three browsers, you have a doozy of a job to remove the crapware off each web browser. [I guess a reason why you shouldn’t have too many browsers. One to use and a second one in case the first one has an issue with a web site.]

If there is a way to block out Conduit? I’m doubting it. In most cases, it is included in the free software you are installing.

This is what I tell people: If it is free, definitely do a custom installation. Otherwise crapware like this gets installed. One free software I downloaded had 4 separate installations if you chose a custom installation.

Know of any other software that have [or had] Conduit crapware included in the installation?

I have always suggested that when something is free off the Internet, always choose a custom installation [or equivalent]. Unlike the standard/complete installation [or whatever they may call it], in many cases the custom installation will actually allow you to see what is installing and what changes will be made during the installation [additional programs, changing the default home page in your browser, changing the default search engine in your browser, etc.].

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