PC Pro February 2021

PC Pro is the UK’s number one IT monthly magazine and offers readers a healthy variety of tech news updates, tests, reviews, best buys and even bonus software in every issue. The editorial team are experts in their field and they’re dedicated to creating the most authoritative reviews and keeping you up to speed on the latest technology developments.

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
intel and microsoft must take up arms or lose the war

DRAW UP YOUR CHAIRS and make yourself comfortable, because we’re in for one heck of a ride. The next ten years will see a total overhaul in computing as ARM usurps the Intel x86 architecture that has dominated for almost 40 years. The reason will be obvious the moment you turn to Jon Honeyball’s review of the new MacBook Air, powered by Apple’s M1 chip, on p40. If you still have any doubts, they’ll be mopped up by Jonathan Bray’s review of the M1 MacBook Pro four pages later. The M1 is a staggering achievement, brilliantly executed not only in hardware but in the level of integration with Apple’s software. This is just the beginning. Apple has started a war and Microsoft and its partners must step up to battle. If they…

1 min

David Crookes Pining for the DOS games that whiled away your youth? David travels back in time via a vast online archive. Join him in our Retro column on p123 Alan Martin The Covid-19 lockdown has given board games a new lease of life in online realms. Alan unlocks the next level of tabletop gaming from p30 Adam Shepherd In these crazy times, why shouldn’t Raspberry Pi build a computer into a keyboard? Adam reveals if the Pi 400 is ready for the mainstream on p58 Simon Hudson After wondering why he felt so tired after video meetings, Simon set out to investigate the truth behind Zoom fatigue – and how to fight it. See p26…

3 min
get the message: sms is too weak for 2fa

Two-factor authentication (2FA) needs a revamp, according to Microsoft, which believes that sending security codes via SMS presents an unnecessary risk. Mobile 2FA – where a one-time code is sent to the handset of someone trying to access an online account – is seen as far safer than using passwords alone, but inherent vulnerabilities in the system mean fraudsters could game security checks. Whether it’s via SMS or voice, Microsoft argues that multi-factor authentication (MFA) over phone networks should be stopped and replaced by dedicated apps because SMS is insecure. “These mechanisms are based on publicly switched telephone networks (PSTN), and they’re the least secure of the MFA methods available today,” said Alex Weinert, Microsoft’s director of identity security, in a blog post. That gap [between SMS and apps] will only widen as…

1 min
uk-japan trade deal is a data laundry

A rushed-through trade deal with Japan could undermine UK data rights and scupper any chance of a data-equivalence deal with the EU, which is key for many digital businesses trading between the UK and Europe. The data-protection flaws in the trade deal between Japan and the UK went largely unnoticed, but the agreement creates a significant problem for dataflows because it would mean any data shared with organisations in Japan could then be transferred to many of Japan’s other trading partners. The UK-Japan agreement, among other things, would create a gateway for your data to flow to other countries that also have ‘free flow of data’ trade arrangements with Japan,” said Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group (ORG). “Worryingly, this will permit UK data to be transferred to the…

1 min
google’s musical moves silence smart speakers

Google has become the latest company to be accused of effectively bricking smart speaker systems. Sonos angered consumers when it was accused of bricking ageing devices last year, but changes to the way Google handles music over its Home (since rebranded to Nest) speakers mean that users can’t even play their own music over working speakers unless they pay for a YouTube Premium subscription at £10 per month. “Google has been diabolical, I’ve spent hours on the phone, but there’s no way around it,” said Jon Stanton, a PC Proreader and web designer who flagged the issue. The issue relates to the closure of Google Play Music. As suggested by Google ahead of the closure, Stanton transferred his 7,000 tracks from Google Play Music to YouTube Music, where he hoped he’d have the…

1 min
apps against the law?

With app rollouts in schools often delivered to parents and pupils as a done deal, there are questions surrounding the legal implications of such services. While schools can collect and process data without consent because of the “public task” cause for data collection under data-protection laws, this only applies to the schools themselves. App companies lay out their credentials in privacy policies and terms and conditions, but they may not be able to rely on the school’s data-collection regime to process that data. “The delivery of educational services comes under public task’, but only covers processing which is necessary–that would absolutely exclude data-harvesting for profiling, consumer tracking, marketing, commercial trade and machine learning,” said Protecture’s Rowenna Fielding. “Those would require parental consent to be obtained separately to agreement to software licence terms…