* Posts by Mark Allen

215 posts • joined 19 Mar 2007

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Misfortune Cookie crumbles router security: '12 MILLION+' in hijack risk

Mark Allen

Hopeless list of affected hardware

What is the point of a list of "affected hardware" if they don't include the firmware versions?

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Microsoft fires legal salvo at phone 'tech support' scammers

Mark Allen

Re: From near front line...

@AC with the Retail Shop: One simple trick I have seen to pollute a host file is just leave a hundred empty rows after the standard text. That way when notepad is used to look at the hosts file it looks "fine". How often does one actually check the scroll bar on the right hand side of the screen?

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Mark Allen

Re: But what does the scammers EULA say?

You get down votes for not reading the article. This is a *phone* fraud\scam. They phone you up and tell you your perfectly working computer has a problem and then they talk you through installing remote control software. And yes - this does happen on Apple as well as Microsoft kit.

Most calls start with "we are from Microsoft" but I have also heard of ones from "Symantec" or "VirginMedia" as well as other official sounding names. At least one of my clients with a Mac was walked through a script that would have successfully taken over his Mac. (The only bit of the script the home user needs to follow is the installation of Remote Control tools... which is just as simple on a Mac as a Windows box)

What needs to happen next is Google need to stop promoting these same fake companies. So often I notice the AdWords have been bought up by these same scammers offering to "reset hotmail password" and other common phrases the average dumb home user types in. The phone calls are just the tip of the ice berg.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Mark Allen
Stop

HUGE headlines but less information

Visiting the site today I noticed that these huge font headlines for the blind now give us a lot less information. At this moment there is a headline of "Real Ale TWATS: In SPAAAACE, no one can churn your cream". In the past there was plenty of warning that this wasn't "news" but one of those "Something for the weekend" posts.

Please put the sections back with the headlines in some way. (And not just the tooltip)

Sub-headlines still have the section. So do the main news stories. It is just the selected GIGANTA-FONTED-HUGE-IMAGE-SEE-IT-FROM-SPACE headline item that is missing this handy information.

Personally I always avoid BONG\SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND as these are the wrong humour for me. Would be nice to be able to keep doing so.

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Mark Allen

Flashy Menu

Glad to see the pop-down menu has calmed down today. It is currently running at a much better reaction speed as now I can move my mouse over it without the manic strobes of yesterday.

IMHO I still think the images at the top of the pages are too big. We don't all have 4K monitors yet as I am still on a lowly 1920x1200. I assume the page designed had a big whizzy monitor and doesn't realise how much extra scrolling he now has us all doing.

Re: the all white glare. Any chance of having off white \ cream edges a bit like you see over on the BBC Sport pages? I end up having to zoom in to the El'Reg pages to try and get rid of the empty glaring border.

This one is only me... I realise this... but I often look at the site through an old Opera web browser and you seem to have killed the ZOOM option on the page. + on the keypad or the zoom option on my Logitech mouse is borked on this site now. (Yeah yeah, I know, stop using out of date Browsers...)

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Mark Allen
Thumb Down

Re: Hard on the eyes

Agree with the harshness of the white - far too bright. The old site was heavy on the all white everywhere.... this is getting worse. The huge areas of white are actually leading to headaches for me. I often find if I am trying to read El-Reg at the end of the day, the brightness of the screen eventually means I have to leave the computer.

Too many sites have been doing this lately. Going brighter with the white and shrinking the text. I'm going to have to learn some custom CSS I guess to try and tone down the glare.

(Ouch - I am already having problems on this page... I'm not actually going to be able to manage my end of day read...)

Also not a fan of the pop-down menus. They are a bit too fast as I keep having to move my mouse away from the menu bar as I accidentally sweep past it.

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BT Infinity ‘working to fix problem’ after three days of outages

Mark Allen

Re: Change DNS

@Billa Bong: That Parental Filter can be turned off in the router settings. Either per machine or in its entirety. Not as if it will stop the average teenager anyway - they just learn about Proxies and TOR to get round it. Joke is, in the average house, it is only the kids who understand how the filters work anyway.

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Mark Allen
WTF?

So what's up with all the DNS outages?

We had VirginMedia having DNS problems only a short time ago as well. Add in 1&1 and this current BT issue. No doubt there are others not as loudly reported. So what has suddenly happened that all these big ISPs are having coincidental DNS problems. Is there some new security protocol being implemented that means more complexity for the support guys? Or is this just plain cock-ups all round?

Personally I use OpenDNS (208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.200) which, like the 8.8.8.8 Google servers can either be put into the router settings for handing out via DHCP or into each desktop client by hand. (This also helps if your cheapo router gets hacked and the DNS settings compromised like so many of the cheapo routers at the moment... see old El'Reg articles)

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Home Wi-Fi security's just as good as '90s PC security! Wait, what?

Mark Allen

The default IP Addresses just as bad

Most routers sit on 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 by default. A small number are on 192.168.1.254. And Belkins are (used to be) on 192.168.2.1

This makes it trivial to send commands to the routers from a web page from the User's own PC from within the LAN. Visit a website, and it could well be issuing a command to your router using plain old HTML.

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Plusnet customers SWAMPED by spam but BT-owned ISP dismisses data breach claims

Mark Allen

Makes phishing emails easy to spot

This can also be done with email aliases. Which is how I do it. It makes it easy to spot phishing emails as an email from my "bank" which has been sent to my ebay email address is clearly bogus. It also keep my personal mailbox a lot clearer meaning less junk on my phone.

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DEAD STEVE JOBS accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Mark Allen

Putting music onto an iDevice needs iTunes

So many ways to read this. I thought the main complaint was that you *have* to install iTunes to be able to put music onto an iDevice. Whereas almost all other MP3 players allow you to use multiple programs to put music onto them as most other MP3 players have an option to present themselves as a dumb USB hard disk.

You own the device, so you should be able to choose where to buy your music from.

The earliest iPods were capable of being accessed without iTunes. This meant that Real Networks and *any* other company could sell you music and put it onto the device.

Winamp is a classic example here as they can put music onto only the first three(?) generations of iPods. Then there is a point in time that iPods were locked up solid. Meanwhile almost every other type of MP3 player does have a plugin written for it for Winamp to allow you to copy music on to your device.

Don't quite understand the comment "Otto is a bear" made: "My Sony, Nokia 6210 and Blackberry phones all came with propriety software interfaces, as did my Palms"

I owned that Nokia - and you could not play music on it.

I also have a Blackberry. And this can certainly be managed by Winamp. Just attach to a computer like a USB flash drive drag and drop music into the correct folder. Or even simpler - the way I actually put the music on the phone is using Drag and Drop to the SDCard in the phone.

Yeah, most phone companies supply propriety software to access all the features of their phones, but every phone I've come across also allows you to access the memory card without the software.

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UK.gov mulls three-point turn on three-point turn thanks to satnav. Weeeeeeee. THUD

Mark Allen

Re: Old Style?

Paper map books never run out of battery, instant boot-up, larger screen, can survive being thrown from car window at speed, no screen glare, easy to update (biro\pencil), don't get nicked.

The best part of map books is you get to see the whole route from A to B before you set out. Letting you then pick the nicer back roads option. Or use your own brain to avoid the traffic past the football stadium.

So if the new driving test includes a SatNav section, does this mean every new learner driver will have to buy a sat nav? Do I assume this idea was brought in by TomTom to help their flagging sales?

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Dropbox sees rival file-piles merely as dots in rearview mirror

Mark Allen

Dropbox is Hoover

The clever trick that Dropbox has pulled off is being the name the average ID.10T user associates with cloud services. There may be better and more controllable services out there, but some how dropbox is the name that people go to first.

Just like many people call all vacuum cleaners "Hoover", even when made by another brand. Or all tablets being referred to as "iPads" even when the user is really talking about an Android

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Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

Mark Allen
WTF?

Apple Sense

This is where Apple has one thing right. They *never* let their computer OS run on under powered crud hardware like that.

It always frustrates me when I see computers sold in high street stores like Walmart or PC World which are just crud. Junk. Put into a box to look like a computer, but sold as such trivial prices it is clearly trash inside. Scrapped to the bone. And, of course, the average home user doesn't know the difference. They listen to the salesman and thinks this cheap pile of junk is what the Microsoft OS is about.

So - what kind of bundled crudware is on this tablet? Is it like the same cheapo crud computers that come with the same crudware bundle that the top end machines have? So it just kills the poor device before it even boots up.

I can just see this being sold in PC World along with a copy of Norton...

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Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG

Mark Allen

won't last long

Looking at the thing on the kickstarter page, I can't see it even staying in the holder for long. After a few months use it will become loose and just fall out when you turn a corner. That perfect situation where your phone then ends up in the footwell whilst driving.

Especially as steering wheels aren't flat, there is that big bulge to hide the explosives behind.

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Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'

Mark Allen

Re: One leg in the air?

> It is looking for a lamp post to pee on -- wouldn't you be after 10 years ?

>

Isn't that going to pollute the samples they want to take? I would have hoped the lander was told to go before landing.

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Mark Allen
Headmaster

One leg in the air?

In the air? Really? Where did it find some "air"?

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Mark Allen
WTF?

What is is about Version 8 of an OS?

Why don't people like a number 8 in their OS versions?

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Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors

Mark Allen

Bambi Stew

We should certainly be eating more venison. The animal is a pest as they breed so many in the wild. No predators. It makes a lot of sense to sling them in the pot. Such a healthy meat too. (I made a big pot of Bambi Stew last weekend... yum!)

It sounds very sensible that this zoo makes good use of their excess animals. I bet there are just as many mice being breed on site that are fed to the snakes.

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Is Apple incubating a Macbook, iPad bastard child?

Mark Allen

Apple Touchscreen?

Is there really still not touch screen enable Apple Computers yet?

Can you even buy a touch enabled monitor and use it with an Apple Computer?

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Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

Mark Allen
WTF?

Copyright

What about the copyright on the eBooks themselves? Surely this is Adobe stealing copies of the books and transmitting a copy to their own server without the permission of the original author?

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Mark Allen
Pint

Funny article

Even on an old Blackberry 9780 with £40 Sennheiser headphones the difference between FLAC and MP3 is noticeable. It all depends on the music being played.

This article is funny. It doesn't seem as if the writer wants to find a real result, just trying to defend his Apple\Sonos\iTunes preference. Seeing a set of Beats headphones in there just made me laugh and not actually bother reading the thing. I knew there would be more interesting comments than detail in the article.

Personally I have gone through those wasted hours of ripping 300+ CDs to MP3 320kbps, and then I replaced the HiFi setup. Annoying. Spent £1500 and MP3s then sounded underwater to me compared with the CDs. This is how I discovered the wonders of FLAC and have never looked back. I'd rather spend a little bit more on my storage space than compress my music to death.

I also find it hard when I listen to someone else's music system where they are playing MP3s. Or the worst crime of burning a CD from MP3s.

What is encouraging is that FLAC support is spreading. Even Sonos now handle FLAC (as long as you ignore iTunes). Every non-Apple phone plays FLAC. It is starting to creep into online sales (just waiting for Amazon to go FLAC).

Last month I finally swapped my car stereo to a FLAC one and yes the difference is noticeable, even with the road noise. I find it surprising the difference when an MP3 album comes on as the music goes back underwater when compared with the album that was on before

It's all personal choice. Life would be so boring if we all agreed and we the same.

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Mark Allen

Re: The Cat Test

I once bought a record player on the recommendation of the previous owner's cat. I was buying second hand and had taken Pink Floyd's Granchester Meadows as a test track. When the birds started chirping the cat attacked the speakers. If the audio was good enough for the cat, it was good enough for me.

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Attackers tapping on SNMP door to see if it's open

Mark Allen

Home Routers

I've found a few home routers with insanely simple "passwords" on the SNMP side. I don't understand why SNMP is in a home router, and especially not why it is on by default with "public" as the SET community string. So it is part of my standard lock-down to mash a very long string into there, save, then turn SNMP off totally.

If the TTL can be set, then so too can the DNS Servers be changed to ones controlled by the hacker.

There are going to be a lot of routers out there that have been installed in the past few years that this attack is going to pick up.

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Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen

Mark Allen
Happy

Re: wow!

Nah - Churyumov and Gerasimenko should sent the Rosetta team a bill for parking\rent.

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Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Mark Allen

Re: You get what you pay for

What P2P blocking? Don't seem to get any issues here on the South Coast.

The biggest problem VirginMedia seem to have is that different areas behave in totally different manners. Even within the same city. So a grip for one area of VM does not affect others. I haven't seen any You Tube issues here.

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General Motors to intro HANDS-FREE DRIVING tech by 2016

Mark Allen

What about my 1990s Honda?

Does this mean GM won't know I am driving towards them in my low-tech 1990s Honda?

Or will this open up a market for a Google App which will mimic these systems letting me drive down the road shouting "Get out of my way" in the various car languages.

Now if this App could just be combined with an App to turn all the traffic lights to green as I approach... I think I may have just designed the next "must have" driving app.

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Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies

Mark Allen

Re: Confused

Yeah, I realised this. My sarcasm font didn't stick correctly.

What I find odd with these tiles is that they keep wanting to change around. Would make more sense if they could just be pinned up there permanent, but then that is what the StartPage add-on does as mentioned earlier.

I find it funny when people let their web browsers tell 'em what to do. Even more comical is when a forum like El Reg has people complaining about something which they can easily fix themselves. I thought this place was inhabited by geeks and technical people? Or doesn't anyone look into the options and plug-ins any more?

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Mark Allen
Facepalm

When I installed Pale Moon it set the Home Page to http://start.palemoon.org/ which is a collection of links to Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBC, Facebook, etc.

So Pale Moon by default points to a page which links to way MORE than just a few tiles. And has that same "advert" idea to it.

But just like with my copy of Firefox, I just change the Pale Moon home page.

At least with the Firefox Tiles you can turn off the ones you don't want, unlike that Pale Moon start page.

Doesn't every change their home page to what *they* want?

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Mark Allen

Confused

So... you open the new Firefox and see a bunch of tiles you don't like the look of. You hit the X on each of these naff tiles until the sponsored ones are gone. And you are then back with your own tiles.

Or am I missing something? Are these sponsored tiles locked and undeletable?

I don't get what the fuss is about. Surely the average user of Firefox can hit an X?

What is more interesting is that the tiles that are being pinned up are ones that Mozilla have chosen. Which implies to me that no one is buying these sponsored tiles yet. That's when it could get interesting. Lets see who Mozilla will take cash from.

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Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

Mark Allen

Maybe... but only if it gets localised

Trouble is with Siri and dumb assistants like that they are going to be too biased to the American OS they are installed on. Would you trust Siri to get you there via Apple Maps? Or rather open up Google maps instead?

If you can tell Siri which app to use to get reliable information, then maybe it would be of some use. Trouble is, Siri doesn't work for you, she works for her masters at Apple.

An obvious error I see appeared in your article:

"Want a weather forecast for Gloucester? I could ask Siri instead of firing up the BBC weather app."

Try comparing the Accuweather App with the BBC weather app. I'd trust the constantly updating local Met Office data over the US Accuweather data any day. Have done a few tests comparing them and the difference in quality is noticeable when compared with what *actually* happens outside..

Phone Assistants need to be localised to their market. Under the control of the user of the device. Allowed to trust sources that are not Apple. Trouble is, I don't think Apple would really like that.

(Same would be said for Android or Microsoft Assistants)

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The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

Mark Allen

Re: 20th century

@LDS: Stop trying to put a sensible comment in reply to a news item which is a Rant Magnet.

So many hardware companies send out buggy "It runs, so ship it" drivers. Drivers clearly not fully following the correct rules in the MS manuals. Then add in the whole rafts of extra weird apps theses same hardware manufacturers throw into the Startup as services or sitting down by the clock in the Task Tray. Add in dozens of other "helper apps". No wonder this then becomes a minefield for OS updates.

Some of the crud I find running on client PCs is unbelievable!!

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

Mark Allen

Re: I was amazed at how SMALL these aircraft were

It was the guys in the less fashionable seats of the Vulcan I was thinking about. The three of them in an ordered queue trying to get down a narrow stairwell and out of that hatch. All while the aircraft was likely to be a bit windy if the front two had already banged out. And where would they be landing in their parachutes if they did jump out?

If anything I think the Lanc guys almost had an easier time of it!

(Now off to read accounts of the people who *did* try and get out of that daft hatch... this thread has had me off reading all kinds of reports :))

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Mark Allen

Re: I was amazed at how SMALL these aircraft were

Lanc or Vulcan cockpits - don't know which is the scariest! Tiny little dark spaces to sit in. Especially when you think of the distance you would have to cover when flying one. And if things went wrong, it wasn't exactly easy to get back out again.

Reading this thread I am realising how lucky I was to have been in a small Air Cadet Squadron in the late 1980s which meant I got to experience so many of these classic aircraft. And can only be amazed at what the crews of these craft had to go through.

Though the true heroes that I met in those years were the members of the Guinea Pig Club. Men were really made of something different back then.

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Mark Allen

Re: Love that noise

Starfighters - F104G. Can't remember if it was Fairford or Greenham Common. Was a RIAT show. We were at the far end of the runway when the pair of Starfighters did a pass. One going as slow as possible, when his partner came screaming through at high speed underneath.... and then he pulled up right in front of us... and crack!! Naughty boy broke the sound barrier!! Loud Plus!! (And no doubt a certain pilot got a bit of a bo11ocking when he landed)

For fans of those silly flying coffins it is well worth tracking down Bob Calvert's album "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Lockheed_and_the_Starfighters

Even though my post is about Startfighters... I'd much rather have the noise of any other of the aircraft being mentioned here. From Mossies to Lightnings... it is such a pity we will never hear those awesome soundtracks ever again.

I now have to go and book some tickets for an airshow to see those two Lancs together. Two lancs, Spitfire, Hurricane makes ten Merlins. Still doesn't quite out roar the Spitfire flypast of a RIAT of the past where there were at least 15 flying together! (Some time in the 1980s)

A BIG thank you to all those enthusiasts who keep these historic aircraft in the air.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

Mark Allen

Re: My opinion

This is a thread about ranting... surely bad form to mention the good guys who do it right?

A couple of years back I had a client who needed a short contract. Eclipse were going to be charged £60 by BT to install the kit. So they passed this on to the client as part of the monthly contract. Want to leave six months in? Then they'd ask for £30 of that £60. 8 months in they'd ask for £15 to leave. Once you got to the end of the 12 months, they'd ask for nothing. Seemed sensible. No contract renewal - just on going service.

Even better, you could just pay the £60 connection fee up front and then take a monthly contract.

Far too much common sense at Eclipse. Could be why they keep winning those awards for customer service.

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AVG stung as search revenue from freebie scanners dries up

Mark Allen

Ad revenue down?

That annoying toolbar that AVG install was one of the (many) reasons I stopped using it with my clients. Even the paid for edition did not let you control the tracking in the bar.

Is there any coincidence that sites like ninite.com disable this toolbar in their installers? (And we'll quietly not mention the security bugs found with this toolbar...)

Over the past years AVG seems to have been heading the route of bloatware like Norton. Adding in more and more "features" which then bring the older PCs to a crawl. For some reason, AVG don't get their head around the fact that people who are using "free" anti-virus tend to have old, slow, underpowered PCs. AVG only makes these worse.

Funniest thing I have seen AVG do in the past couple of years? Their "PC Tuneup" product that they try and sell did a "tuneup" on one of my client's PCs. It correctly identified what was slowing the PC down badly and disabled it. Yes - you have guessed right - the Tuneup software disabled AVG!!

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50,000 sites backdoored through shoddy WordPress plugin

Mark Allen

Re: Where is line 91?

A compromise I saw hit some of my client's Wordpress sites last year involved a single line of code added to the PHP files for each page, which then launched more code from a single page of script. In our case it was quickest to just restore from backups as too many little changes were all over the place.

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L33t haxxors compete to p0wn popular home routers

Mark Allen
Facepalm

Re: And bad advice...

Eh? Is that the Virgin Cable Router with the default password of "changeme"? Which then insists on being changed the first time you use the admin control panel?

I always tell my clients to never trust the guy who installs the kit. I have heard some "interesting" advice from these people before.

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Mark Allen

Re: Security changes with cost

"Screw Buffalo" for their lack of firmware updates. Agree with that.

Funnily enough, while dealing with the TP-Link router replacements I found a client with an old-ish Buffalo router. Clearly had the same identical hardware and firmware as the TP-Links I was swapping out. Admin pages were identically laid out. All except for the colour and company name in the corner.

They were so identical that the exact same DNS compromise was visible. Hacked from the WAN in the same way. Yet trying to locate updated Buffalo firmware was impossible. So that Buffalo router was upgraded with a large hammer and then replaced with a different brand.

I get a feeling many of these big brands have low end routers all from the same basic cheap source. So basic that they can't even have a Tomato put on them. I then assume that the manufacturers don't like fixing them as it looks like "wasted" money to them. Yet the actions of TP-Link honouring that three year warranty has me buying more and more of them.

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Mark Allen

Security changes with cost

Good to see this exposure going on. Though I don't see the point in bricking or denial of service as this just makes the owner replace them with a new one. It is the hijacking that is sneaky. I had some TP-Link routers out with (home user) clients, all sub-£50 kit. At the start of the year they had DNS settings changed from the WAN side even though they were "secure" with no external ports open. Access to Facebook or Google would get redirects to ask them to "install a Flash update". Clever little hacker.

In this case, TP-Link had new firmware out within a month for the current models. For the older models, they happily swapped them on their 3 year warranty. Surprisingly good service. (I don't work for TP-Link)

@Ragarath: Don't avoid *manufacturers* if you can't change the Admin Username. This is often a model specific thing. Pay more, get more features. Those basic ADSL routers I mentioned above had fixed usernames, but only a tenner more up the range and the username can be edited.

Worst are the ISPs who supply routers that are "password protected" to their clients and then refuse to let the client have access to the router. You have no way of checking if they have been hit or not!

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EE in giant VoLTE-face as it tries voice calls over Wi-Fi... again

Mark Allen
Trollface

Re: I thought EE had the .......

Hello troll. Because even the "best" 3G coverage doesn't work in a basement where installing WiFi is usually trivial.

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Mark Allen

Blackberry Bold 9780 and UMA

Okay, so I am still using an "old" phone from 2011, but UMA Calling is why I will not let this phone go. 3G coverage in my house is patchy at best, but since I got the UMA enabled phone I can make calls anywhere. And it does not have to be over an EE ISP as I use Virgin Media. The phone connects to my own WiFi access point.

The hand-offs between Wifi and 3G are surprisingly good. I can walk from my home wifi, down the street on 3G, and then into my friends house and jump onto their wifi without dropping the call. It "just works". Which is brilliant.

There is nothing funnier than being in a deep basement and answering a mobile phone. :D You see the confused look of the person standing next to you looking at their iPhone wondering why they get no signal....

This UMA implementation is 100% Blackberry. The only EE part is that I need an EE Sim to make it work. If I swapped to O2/Vodaphone/etc I would loose UMA. Yet my phone is not Orange branded.

Previously Orange made a UMA app which would work on some Android Phones. But it was too locked down as it would only work on an "Orange" phone and not an unbranded phone of the exact same model. Orange's own attempt at UMA is probably what make UMA not as successful as it should have been.

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: Too complicated

Totally agree with this one - employ a human.

* Less hassle to run.

* Will interact with far wider range of different products.

* Takes voice commands - both local (shout) and remote (phone).

* No special tags needed on the products.

* Has special sensors like "smell" available to tell when the milk is off.

* Will handle Asda and the Farmer's Market to the same quality level.

* Knows when nipping to local shop for a pint of milk it more sensible than ordering online to be delivered by diesel burning lorry.

* Can handle cupboards as well as fridge.

* Will be multi-tasking so can actually cook the food for you as well instead of needing to buy a special Cooker, Bin, Sink, Plate.

* Will not become obsolete (see Smart TV features)

* Will not burn lots of excess electricity. In fact, will still operate during a power cut.

* Will not have advertising screens plastered over the front telling you what to buy.

List could go on an on... technology is not always the answer. Look at our "Smart TVs". Now, I like my Smart TV. I use features like iPlayer, YouTube, DLNA, etc. But there are umpteen gazillion extra "features" and "apps" that are just clutter and of no use. And even the apps I do use get "upgraded" and loose features (I'm looking at you iPlayer - where did my radio go?)

My last fridge lasted 20 years. How long will a Smart Fridge last before I have to replace it with something new? We spend our time talking about "saving the planet" and "going green" yet we are making more and more pointless tech for the sake of making pointless tech to burn up resources.

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AV for Mac

Mark Allen

Re: OS version?

The lack of old OS Version support in AV products for a Mac can be a headache. I have one client who is using an old Apple Mac stuck on OS 10.5 with no upgrade options. As he tends to spend a little too much time on dodgy sites the only way we've found of keeping him clear of viruses is good backups. A total reset seems to be the only simple way out of problems he walks into.

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Yes. Facebook will KNOW you've been browsing for smut

Mark Allen

Re: Pointless adverts

@PerlyKing - I also hate adverts, but to be fair to Amazon you can turn all of the email trash off. Go into your settings on Amazon and change the Communication Preferences. It can all be disabled so you only see info on transactions. Same with EBay\Papal.

I am always amazed when I see other people's inboxes full of this kind of "spam". It is all opt-outable. You can get rid of the lot. Buy something from Tescos and forgot to opt-out? Then hit the unsubscribe link and say bye-bye to their trash.

Some of my clients have mailboxes full of this kind of ham\spam. They must waste hours a month wading through it instead of hitting unsubscribe. Madness.

On another similar thread, I never understand when you buy a new computer it has the home page set to the manufacturers website where they try and sell you a new computer....

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Security bods mop blood, sigh: NEW CryptoLocker zombies? We don't see their kind

Mark Allen
Facepalm

Bizarre 14 day challenge

Didn't the the daft people who said "You have 14 days to secure your PC" realise that they are just issuing a challenge to the scammers to get a new version out quicker than that? Take down one network, and four others will spring up in its place.

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Swiping your card at local greengrocers? Miscreants will swipe YOU in a minute

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: So...

Not all POS terminals are the same quality POS. Some POS are real POS terminals built on XP Embedded. Wheras other POS terminals are real cheapo hacked together PoS just built using the cheapest components and standard Windows XP Home slung together by a clueless droid just trying to maximise profit. The PoS is then installed in a shop and during setup this ID-10T "installation engineer" will then disable all the security while you are not looking, and then go onto the main Office Admin PCs and setup a file share on the whole C: drive open to everyone just to get their crud software installed.

With some suppliers, POS describes every part of these systems as some of them come from companies with a scary lack of interest in security. And when a real IT Engineer is brought in to fix problems, the POS suppliers tend to get a little upset when challenged over their POS practices. Even more frustrating when they think it is okay to put free editions of AV products on the PCs to "protect" them (ignoring the "not for business use" licences).

Some of the POS that is sold to shops is terrifying. The suppliers know the shop owners rarely know what they are getting, so the supplier can get away with murder. Overcharging for the privilege. And try and ask these suppliers why they were still shipping XP based tills in 2012 and what they plan to do to protect them... and you get all kinds of BS replies. Whereas the truth would be that they are just plain incompetent rip-off merchants.

Experience of POS may vary... and I am not naming clients or suppliers here. But down at the shop level of suppliers it is a stunning mess of scams. And that is even *before* they have been drawn into botnets.

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Bing's the thing in Microsoft's push for cheap Windows devices

Mark Allen

Bing already default on kit

Am I missing something here? By the time most Windows based computers are turned on and updated Bing is usually the default on it by one means or another. Dell, Sony, HP, Acer, Toshiba seem to leave the search defaults alone. Which mean they tend to still be Bing.

I know when I setup a new computer for a client I am nearly always having to remove a home page from the supplier which is trying to sell another new computer, and setting that search default to Google as it is rarely there by default.

If anything it is the anti-virus companies who try and hijack the search more than anyone else. (AVG being a good example. Don't understand why a "security" tool needs to butt in and take over your search...)

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