Microsoft ends Windows 7 support

Microsoft ends Windows 7 support

Microsoft is going to stop supporting WIndows 7 so that it can focus on newer technologies. As a result, Windows 7 users will no longer receive the all-important security updates and patches that keep their machines safe.

Cyber-security experts are urging Windows 7 users to upgrade their operating systems as without continued software and security updates, the machines are more likely to be infected with viruses and malware. Computers running Windows 7 will still function but will become less and less secure. It is possible to install Windows 10 on old PCs but Microsoft warns that it may not run smoothly. In order to run Windows 10, PCs must have a 1GHz processor, 16GB of hard drive space, and 1GB of RAM memory. Windows 7 users do not need to upgrade if they use their PC offline.

UK authorities have warned Windows 7 users not to do internet banking or send emails after Tuesday. The warning was issued by the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ. They urge people using the software to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts. They even recommend accessing email from a different device.

Businesses can pay Microsoft if they want to continue getting updates for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise. The Windows 7 Extended Security Updates will be available until 2023 for businesses of all sizes. (13th Jan 20)

Should you have any queries about Windows 7, please call us at ADECS-Maple for a chat on 024 7699 5930 for free and friendly advice

‘Sadfishing’ social media warning

‘Sadfishing’ social media warning

At a recent conference, head teachers of private schools announced how ‘sadfishing’ is a growing behavioural trend where people make exaggerated claims about their emotional problems to generate sympathy. It means that those with genuine problems are often overlooked or even bullied.

The term was coined after a number of celebrities, such as Kendall Jenner, were accused of teasing details about personal issues on their social media site to drum up publicity and attract more likes and shares. The charity Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), says that vulnerable children who face genuine distress, are turning to the internet to find support, where they may be bullied as a result. For those who fail to receive the support they were looking for, emotional and mental health problems are made worse.

There also fears that groomers could be preying on vulnerable children by providing sympathy to gain their trust.

Earlier this year, a study (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) of 250,000 teachers in 48 countries, suggested schools in England had the highest incidence of problems with online behaviour. It indicated that 27% of head teachers in England had to deal with problems related to online bullying every week – compared with an international average of 3%.

Chris Jeffery, head teacher of Bootham School, in north Yorkshire, who chairs the HMC’s wellbeing working group, said social media and mobile technology were now an “inescapable aspect of the landscape of the lives of young people”.
“Given the nature of that technology, trends are fast-moving and it is crucial that educators and parents have regular insights into how young people are using their devices,” he said. (1st October)

Instagram hides number of likes in international test to ‘ease pressure’

Instagram hides number of likes in international test to ‘ease pressure’

Instagram is hiding the number of likes on posts in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil. Users will see a user name ‘and others’ below posts, instead of the number, on their feed. Instagrammers will still be able to view the number of likes their own posts receive. This is in an attempt to reduce ‘pressure’ on users after concerns were raised that social media platforms can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in young people. Studies have suggested that instant feedback on content can boost people’s self-esteem but bring others down if they do get as many likes. The aim of the trial is to make users feel less judged and hope that people will be able to focus less on likes and more on telling their story.

“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement.

The number of likes is also the way to put value on a post for the business side of Instagram. Influencers who get paid for the content they showcase in their posts are measured by the number of likes their social media activity draws.  (18th July 2019)

Anaesthetic devices are ‘vulnerable to hackers’

Anaesthetic devices are ‘vulnerable to hackers’

It has been found that a type of anaesthetic machine used in NHS hospitals can be hacked and controlled from afar – if left accessible on a hospital computer network. Cyber-security company, CyberMDX, reported that a successful attacker would be able to change the amount of anaesthetic delivered to a patient, as well as being able to silence any alarms designed to alert anaesthetists to danger.

Research by CyberMDX suggested the Aespire and Aestiva 7100 and 7900 devices could be targeted. Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust has said that these devices are being phased out, but also pointed out that these anaesthetic machines are not connected to the internet or the NUH network – so the risk is very little.

GE, who make the machines, said there was no ‘direct patient risk’.

The likelihood of harm being caused to a patient through any hacking of the devices was “incredibly small” said Dr Helgi Johannsson, consultant anaesthetist and Royal College of Anaesthetists Council Member.
“Patients should be reassured that their anaesthetist will be monitoring them constantly, and will have received many years of training to rectify immediately the situation of a device failure.” (10th July 19)

Instagram hides number of likes in international test to ‘ease pressure’

Instagram takes on the bullies

Instagram has added a new anti-bullying tool which prompts users to pause and consider what they are saying. It will also soon offer the targets of bullying the ability to restrict interactions with users who are causing them distress. Instagram has been under pressure to deal with its bullying problem after high profile cases.

Adam Mosseri, chief executive of Instagram, said ‘we can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.’

Instagram said it was using artificial intelligence to recognise when text resembles the kind of posts that are most often reported as inappropriate by users. In one example, a person types “you are so ugly and stupid”, only to be interrupted with a notice saying: “Are you sure you want to post this? Learn more”.

If the user taps “learn more”, a notice informs: “We are asking people to rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported.”

The user can ignore the message and post anyway, but Instagram said in early tests that “we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect.”

The tool is being rolled out to English-speaking users at first, with plans to eventually make it available globally.

The company said it will soon roll out an additional tool, called Restrict, designed to help teens filter abusive comments without resorting to blocking others.

“We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life,” Mr Mosseri said. “Some of these actions also make it difficult for a target to keep track of their bully’s behaviour.” Once a user has been restricted, their comments will appear only to themselves. Crucially, a restricted person will not know they have been restricted. (8th July 2019)