It's Patch Tuesday time. Make sure to have auto updates paused.

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2020 07:11:00 -0700

If you want to join the ranks of the unpaid beta testers, please go right ahead. Don’t do anything and Patch Tuesday will find you. Make sure you tell us about any problems on AskWoody.com.

Every month we see the same pattern: Microsoft releases its Patch Tuesday regimen; the blogosphere flies into a frenzy about security holes that have to be patched right away; the patches bring bugs; the screams of imminent doom disappear as folks realize it takes a while – sometimes quite a while – for the security holes to turn into real, live exploits.

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Firefox gets next-gen anti-tracking defense, stymies 'bounce' trackers

Credit to Author: Gregg Keizer| Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:35:00 -0700

Mozilla today announced a new defense against advanced tracking tactics that it will be switching on in Firefox 79 starting immediately and pushing out to the remaining user base during the next few weeks.

Calling the improved technologies and techniques Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0 – Mozilla said that ETP 2.0’s primary job is to block redirect tracking, also known as bounce tracking.

Trackers have been exploiting a loophole of sorts to continue following users browsing with Firefox, which enabled its first-generation ETP by default in June 2019. ETP takes a hands-off approach for first-party cookies – those tied to the site being browsed – because to do otherwise would break many of those websites or require users to, say, log in each time they returned.

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Despite an unexpected monkey wrench, now is the time to install the July Windows and Office patches

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2020 09:01:00 -0700

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Microsoft Patch Alert: July 2020

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2020 11:49:00 -0700

July tends to be a leisurely month in Windows and Office patch land, and this one’s no exception.

We had a bit of a thrill July 15 when Outlook stopped working on millions of PCs all over the world, but Microsoft fixed the bug four hours later by updating its servers.

Folks who pay for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates felt rightfully miffed when the new .NET Framework 4.8 patch, KB 4565636, refused to install. Microsoft took nine days to fix the bug and re-ship the patch.

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Windows Update is a bifurcated mess

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:15:00 -0700

This week’s “Preview” patches led to some bizarre, unexplained, and self-contradictory behavior. Here’s what we’ve been able to piece together, based on what actually happened – not on what Microsoft says is supposed to happen.

Two general sets of “Preview” patches arrived on Tuesday:

  • Optional, non-security, C/D Week Cumulative Updates for Win10 versions 1809, 1903, 1909, and various Servers, but not Win10 version 2004. Microsoft stopped distributing the C/D Week patches in March because of the “public health situation,” but started pushing them again this week.
  • July 21, 2020 Cumulative Update Previews for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 on various versions of Win10. These are optional, non-security Preview patches released later in the month. Microsoft pushes Previews for .NET patches on Win10 infrequently; this year we’ve only seen two, one of them in January, the other in February.

They’re Previews, which means the fixes on offer are still in testing. Normal users shouldn’t go anywhere near them. 

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At Microsoft Inspire, the new Edge browser took center stage

Credit to Author: Rob Enderle| Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 07:31:00 -0700

Disclosure:  Microsoft is a client of the author.

In the new Microsoft, Azure has – to a certain extent – taken over the center stage from the company’s Windows Server platform, and the new Chromium Edge Browser has taken center stage from Windows. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this result as the market rapidly turns from focusing on local hardware to using the Cloud as its primary place to do computing. 

As a result, each new browser update now feels a bit like what the old Windows refresh cycles used to feel like – but without the old compatibility drama. 

Microsoft Inspire took place this week, so let’s talk about the browser’s new features, mostly focused on business users (now mostly working from home) that look compelling. 

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Microsoft releases some 'optional, non-security, C/D Week' Win10 patches. Avoid them.

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 07:20:00 -0700

I’ve always detested Microsoft’s “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches because they’re confusing, easy to install accidentally, rarely solve any pressing problems, and potentially introduce yet more bugs. 

Guess what? They’re back. 

As promised last month, Microsoft has started pushing them out again.

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How to get one of iOS's best new privacy features on Android

Credit to Author: JR Raphael| Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700

Apple’s latest iOS update may have taken plenty of inspiration from Android — to put it mildly — but iPhone owners will soon enjoy one important feature that isn’t anywhere to be found here in the land o’ Googley devices. And it’s connected to a subject that’s increasingly near and dear to many of our hearts: privacy.

The iOS 14 beta includes a new system that shows a visual alert anytime an app is using a device’s microphone or camera, even in the background. It’s a smart bit of added privacy protection, especially since traditionally — on iOS as well as on Android — once you’ve granted an app access to those parts of your phone, the app is technically able to tap into ’em anytime, with or without notifying you that it’s doing it.

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