School’s out! Reinforce your PC security

The end of labor means a lot of things… the end of summer, a commemoration of workers day, a time to celebrate some time off with your family. For parents, it is usually a reminder that school is about to start. You can see it coming in from the horizon. You begin to make a couple of changes, such as enforce earlier bed times and buy all the necessary school supplies.

On the other side, schools are also preparing for students to arrive. IT professionals are busy at work trying to make many things happen in order to ensure the safety and security of the school network. We’re talking putting anti-virus software, anti-malware, locking down the WiFi and hardwired internet, restricting network usage, among others. After all, a school ground is just a breeding ground for curious students who can, at the click of button give the IT department serious problems. 

There are some instant recovery software that have been designed for problems in schools and other public environments.  One example of this is drive vaccine. It is a software program that functions outside of the Windows operating system, and will load prior to Windows booting up at all. This is a failsafe so if Windows itself gets corrupted, one could simply load up the program first and get the computer back up and running in seconds.

This program is meant to be used and abused and provide true data protection. It will stand up to most anything you throw at it: deleted registry keys, vicious malware and viruses, even ransomware.

Another program that is similar but more advanced in providing desktop security is Rollback Rx. This a PC time machine creates and stores multiple snapshots. You can choose whether you want it to automatically create them on every boot, schedule, certain event, or manually. For example, you can  choose to snap between these images in seconds, so even if you were working on a document and the PC crashes, you could quickly revert to an older snapshot. From there, you can virtually open the state you were just working on, grab your documents to your clean snapshot, and continue your work. 

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How to keep your Windows XP secure

By now it is old news that Microsoft has issued a Windows XP support lockdown. They will no longer offer support for users with Windows XP: no more bug fixes, no more security patches and no more Windows Updates. If you remember a couple of weeks back, Microsoft had to issue an out-of-band security update to fix the problem with Internet Explorer. This will not be very common in the future however.

This is actually a big issue for Microsoft given the number of individuals who still rely on Windows XP. Net Applications, a web analytics company that is dedicated to, among other things, determining operating system usage, has released their 2014 figures. The results for April 2014 are surprising. Windows XP has 27% of the total market share while Windows 8 only has 12%.

This leaves a question: What will millions of these Windows XP users do when their computer faces a security threat? A lot of corporate users on this operating system face losing billions of dollars with their information at the mercy of hackers. Is there an alternative recovery software for Windows XP? Is switching to Windows 8 their only choice?

Thankfully, no.

Software to protect one’s computer against the Windows XP lockdown is out there. Rollback XP is one example. And there always will be. If I remember correctly, when Microsoft discontinued their SteadyState, substitutes quickly surged as a replacement for it. Reboot Restore RX is an example of a SteadyState alternative. It received lot of downloads from users who needed a simple thing such as a restore upon reboot functionality.

Like I mentioned previously, given the high number of users who are still on Windows XP, a software like this will most definitely be needed.

Windows 7 & Vista at more risk than XP: Microsoft

(Article taken from technotification)
Computers running either Windows7 or Windows Vista operating systems are more likely to be infected by malware than Windows XP machines, according toa recent report by Microsoft.

The company’s biannual Security Intelligence Report (SIR) included figures showing that in the last quarter of 2013, Windows XP computers had an infection rate of 2.42%, compared to 3.24% for Windows Vista and 2.59% for Windows 7.

Microsoft said the data had been “normalized” to account for the different numbers of computers running each version of the operating system, with Windows 8 machines showing a 1.73% infection rate and Windows 8.1 (the latest version) just 0.08%.

The software giant credited the apparent insecurity of Windows 7 and Vista with a new threat from ‘Rotbrow’ malware targeting internet browsers, but security experts say this doesn’t mean that XP is more secure than more recent operating systems.

Speaking to The Independent, Graham Cluley pointed out that users of more modern versions of Windows could be exposing themselves to greater risks simply by using the internet more.

We’re hopeful that the number of Windows XP computers is rapidly diminishing, and that fewer and fewer of them are being used to regularly access the internet,” said Mr Cluley.

“If you think about it, if you have an old creaky computer still running Windows XP and a Windows 7 computer – which one are you more likely to be using regularly?”

Mr Cluley also notes that the statistics from Microsoft’s report cover a time period when Windows XP was still receiving regular security updates – fixes that Microsoft stopped issuing at the beginning of April this year.

Microsoft is also soon to issue its latest release of security patches on May 13 (an event referred to as Patch Tuesday) which, for the first time, will no longer include updates to Windows XP but will highlight vulnerabilities to the operating system.

Users of more recent Windows operating systems are recommended to download Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) to block malware and, if still running Windows XP, to upgrade as soon as possible.