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 / Tech & Gaming



Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
Read More
26 Issues


1 min.

EDITORIAL Group Editor Daniel Booth Deputy Editor Will Stapley Production Editor Graham Brown Art Editor Katie Peat Contributors Adam Banks, Dinah Greek, Jane Hoskyn, Jonathan Parkyn, Nick Peers, Nik Rawlinson, Wayne Williams ADVERTISING Group Advertising Director Andrea Mason Advertising Manager Alexa Dracos MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Subscriptions Rachel Hare Marketing Production Manager Gemma Hills For subscription enquiries ring 0330 333 9493 PRODUCTION Group Production Manager Stephen Catherall Production Controller Sophie Griffin MANAGEMENT Managing Director Dharmesh Mistry MD of Advertising Julian Lloyd-Evans Commercial and Retail Director David Barker Interim CFO Martyn Hindley Chief Executive James Tye Company Founder Felix Dennis…

1 min.
from the editor

What’s your favourite thing about computing? For me, it’s the anticipation of downloading a new program and exploring its features. I’m never satisfied with the software I use because I can almost always think of ways it can be improved. Every time I install a new program I hope it will provide these longed-for options. We applied this criteria when selecting the software for our Cover Feature. Each program we recommend does something its rivals don’t – or does the same thing but much better. They also serve a particular purpose for the year ahead, whether that’s keeping your Wi-Fi free of neighbours’ creeping interference or your files safe from the growing threat of ransomware. If we’ve overlooked your own favourite software, please let me know so we can include it in…

3 min.
ignore this windows ‘update’ – it’s devious ransomware

Scammers are sending emails that claim to contain links to an essential Windows update, but actually install ransomware on your PC. The attack, which infects PCs with the Cyborg malware, appears to have been timed to coincide with Microsoft releasing the genuine November 2019 Update for Windows 10. Like most scam emails, it has a subject line designed to panic you into action: ‘Install Latest Microsoft Windows Update now!’ or ‘Critical Microsoft Windows Update!’ (see screenshot). However, the email contains just one line of text: ‘Please install the latest critical update from Microsoft attached to this email’. This abrupt approach is unusual. Scammers normally use intricately worded emails that try to trick victims with persuasive phrases. Another unusual aspect of the attack is the attachment, which claims to be a.JPG file. However, it’s not…

1 min.
diamond-edged cutters help villages get broadband

Openreach has started to make 1Gbps full-fibre broadband available to some of the UK’s remotest villages and small towns, using new methods to lay cables in difficult terrain. For the first time it’s using a diamond cutter to dig trenches (pictured). This is a giant rotating circular blade embedded with diamonds at the edge, making it sharp enough to slice through carriageways and footways. It leaves a neat channel into which fibre-optic cables can be laid. The specialist equipment can install 700 metres of cables in a day, which is 20 times faster than traditional excavation methods. It’s also using a GeoRipper, a powerful digging tool that cuts narrow trenches across soft ground such as fields. In addition, Openreach has installed remote fibre nodes into existing roadside cabinets to ‘piggyback’ on the existing…

1 min.
police dogs sniff out criminals’ usb sticks and sim cards

London’s Metropolitan Police have trained dogs to sniff out phones, laptops, USB sticks and SIM cards in the battle against cyber-crime. Two springer spaniels, named Bolly and Murphy, can locate devices that police officers miss during searches. They’ve been trained to detect the chemical triphenylphosphine oxide, which is used to coat memory storage devices. During trials, Bolly used her sense of smell to find a laptop that a paedophile had hidden down the side of his bed. In other cases, the dog found a SIM card concealed under laminate flooring, and a camera’s SD card. Police in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset previously tested the technique in 2017. Bolly’s instructor PC Craig Calthorpe said: “Often suspects will give officers a laptop they claim to use to search the internet, but there’s a second ‘dirty’ one they…

3 min.
in brief

AMAZON MUSIC NOW FREE (WITH ADVERTS) Amazon has made its music-streaming service free, letting you listen to playlists and “thousands” of radio stations - though you’ll have to put up with adverts unless you upgrade to a paid-for version. As the company explains online (www.snipca.com/33360), the service is available through the Amazon Music app on iOS, Android and Fire TV, as well as on the internet at https://music.amazon.com. REVISIT OLD TECH IN ARGOS CATALOGUES Argos has published an online archive of its catalogues, featuring classic technology from years gone by. Called ‘The Book of Dreams’ (http://argosbookofdreams.co.uk), the collection contains every annual catalogue from 1974. Highlights include Atari games consoles from 1981/82 (www.snipca.com/33365) and the Vic 20 computer from 1983/84 (www.snipca.com/33366). TOMORROW’S WORLD Could this be the star striker at the 2050 World Cup? It’s one…