Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 506

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
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

For years my password strategy was a hacker’s dream. Every time a site asked me to update my password, I simply added another number to the name of my first teacher. I thought I’d be fine, unless someone in Mrs Boyle’s class, nearly 40 years ago, had grown up to be a hacker. Over time I strengthened my passwords, adding upper-case letters and obscure punctuation from keyboard buttons I otherwise barely bothered with. These days I use a password manager, but often feel that I’m making mistakes that hackers will exploit. Many readers have told me the same. So this issue’s Cover Feature tells you all you need to know about guaranteeing maximum password safety. Last year we invited readers to try a Wi-Fiboosting powerline kit from devolo in their home. I’m…

2 min.
next w10 update to boost ransomware protection

Microsoft has said that the next major update to Windows 10 will contain new tools to protect computers from ransomware attacks. It plans to add to Windows Defender a tool called ‘Controlled folder access’, which will keep track of changes programs make to “certain protected folders”. With this setting switched on, you’ll receive a notification if a program “blacklisted” by Microsoft attempts to change files within these folders. It’s expected to arrive in the Fall Creators Update of Windows 10, scheduled for September. Writing on Microsoft’s blog (www.snipca.com/24912), software engineer Dona Sarkar said that you won’t be able to change the default list of protected folders, which includes Documents, Pictures, Movies and Desktop. However, you will be able to add other folders. Sarkar said this would be useful “if you don’t store files in…

1 min.
trump backtracks on us-russia security

President Trump has backtracked on plans for an “impenetrable” joint cybersecurity unit with Russia after harsh criticism from fellow Republicans, who said Vladimir Putin couldn’t be trusted. Trump discussed the idea with Putin in their first face-to-face meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. He suggested it could be used to prevent the hacking of elections, keeping them “guarded and safe”. But two days later he tweeted: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cybersecurity unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t [see screenshot].” The proposal had been widely ridiculed by US politicians, who asked why they should cooperate with Russia after it allegedly interfered in last year’s US election. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said: “It’s not the dumbest idea I have ever heard but it’s…

1 min.
about time! microsoft phone scammers arrested in uk

Police have arrested four people in the UK following a two-year investigation into phone scammers who pretend to be part of Microsoft’s IT support team. Victims are usually told that their computer has a fault, and that they need to give the callers access so they can fix it. If they gain access, the scammers install malware, or download images that seem to show evidence of an infection. In most cases the scammers demand a fee from their victim, or simply steal money from their bank account. Sometimes scammers phone the victim again to say they are due a refund for the earlier theft. If they hand over their bank details a second time, more money is stolen. The inquiry, conducted by the City of London Police with Microsoft’s help, indicated that many…

1 min.
are virgin’s ‘cancel early’ fees fair?

Ofcom is investigating the fairness of Virgin Media’s policy to charge customers on fixed contracts earlytermination fees when they move home. The regulator said it will examine whether Virgin’s contracts for broadband, phone and TV packages comply with the Consumer Rights Act (CRA), following complaints from customers, including many Computeractive readers. Broadband companies are allowed to charge earlytermination fees as long as they are ‘fair and reasonable’. This lets them recoup lost revenue. But unlike other providers Virgin charges customers even when they move to an address where its service isn’t available. Virgin runs its own cable network, instead of relying on BT Openreach like other companies, limiting the number of homes it can provide broadband to. Should Ofcom decide that Virgin’s terms are unfair under the CRA, it will mean they aren’t legally…

2 min.
in brief

GOOGLE NEWS GETS MORE LOCAL Google has redesigned its News pages ( news.google.com), making it easier for you to find local stories. It has added a ‘Local’ tab to the top of the homepage, as well as a ‘For You’ tab which shows stories you’ve told Google you’re interested in. There’s also a Fact Check box that investigates claims made in news stories. Read more on the company’s blog: www.snipca.com/24809. WI-FI KIOSKS REPLACE BT’S PHONE BOXES BT has started to replace telephone boxes with ‘kiosks’ providing free Wi-Fi hotspots with speeds up to 1Gbps. They contain touchscreens showing city maps, transport updates and weather forecasts, though they don’t allow web browsing. The kiosks, called InLinks, also let you make free calls and charge your phone. They are being installed first in Camden, London,…