Archive for December, 2012

 

5 Compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 8

 Windows 8 upgrades Perth WA

2013 is going to be a exciting year in technology thanks to the evolution of nano technology and Windows 8. Windows 8 (the next phase of human-machine interaction) has partnered with Intel to harness the power of nano technology in a new breed of computers (e.g. the Ultrabooks, 4″X4″ Next Unit of Computing). Windows 8 offers unified computing, a new generation of sensor technology and the signature Windows 8 UI.  Personally, I love Windows 8. From an everyday users perspective it’s a breeze to use, it’s interesting and fun. The app store has loads of free apps, useful apps, business apps, technical tools and utilities apps, entertainment, SBS TV -  you can connect via HDMI to large screens and TV’s, plug in high speed ethernet when your wifi streaming frustration peaks and enjoy the multimedia.

The apps all seamlessly integrate into the Windows 8 user interface shown in the image above.

Some of the most important developments in Windows 8 relate to security, personal identity protection, and safety of your data, and not without good reason. 2012 seen an unprecedented rise in cyber attacks, identity theft and stealing credit card details, according to cyber-industry experts in Australia. We can expect more of the same in 2013, its a profitable business.

Here in Perth, in the trenches, we sometimes discover viruses, botnets, and spyware or keyloggers (programs which record your key strokes looking for credit card strings) which users were unaware of. For some cyber crims it’s been easy pickings.

Windows 8 is going to be bad for business.

The new security features under the hood of Windows 8 will put a dent in the profits of cyber-criminals. These are seriously good and effective security protocols. We’ve shown our top 5.

1. Trusted Boot

while many viruses today are related to the mid 1990’s variants of Vundoo virus, they are far more sophisticated, utilising the vulnerability of the boot process for example. In Windows 8, for systems with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) enabled BIOS (most current generation computers), the boot processes interact with the operating system to test for valid digital certificates. If the boot codes have changed (i.e. infected) the process reverts the changes.

2. Antivirus program starts first

Windows 8 tweaks startup to give your antivirus priority at load time. Antivirus like Bitdefender performs a startup scan. If the virus or malware is attempting a runtime startup AV scan may be helpful.

3. Do Not Track

A few months ago I wrote about Googling the phone number of a dentist in my area from my mobile phone. The next day or two I received an email offering dental work on the cheap from a dentist in Phnom Penh. This might be an example of browser spying (or a coincidence) commonly known as user tracking for marketing purposes. The problem is this technology, dominated by cookies, is being used by cyber-criminals (read this post). The Do-Not-Track feature in IE10 applies to the immersive browser version in the Windows 8 UI.

4. Windows Smartscreen

Smartscreen is an app integrity safety feature using reputation-based technologies to check apps from the Windows 8 Store for malicious code. Smartscreen is also a feature of the new IE10 to offer a layer of protection against theft of passwords and usernames.

5. The Windows PDF Reader

PDF readers are commonplace in computing so it stands to reason it is also a common attack vector. Windows 8 comes with its own inbuilt PDF reader. Users typically forget to update reader software or don’t know how. The PDF Reader in Windows 8 will be updated with security updates and patches via Windows update. This is another example of good work and Microsoft’s committment to security outside of enterprise.

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The new Intel NUC – what’s in it for me?

buy Intel NUC in Perth WA

The new ultra small form factor NUC (Next Unit of Computing) has hit the market here in Oz. There is a red top box and a black box. The latter is for PC users and small office settings, the former is a media center PC. We are looking at the DC3217IYE or black model for simple home and small office use. Both models come as “bare bones” and need RAM, hard drive, and optional wifi card installed.

We installed Windows 8 on our test model, ran our own benchmark and network testing with the outcome as we expected from what is essentially an ultrabook in a desktop form factor. With the new Intel Ivy Bridge processor pushing the boundaries we were happy enough with the performance for what we wanted to do.

 The Intel NUC is not going to be a small form factor alternative for everyones’ PC but for those who use a computer to check and respond to emails, browse the web, and store the family photos – in a small office or home setting, this is a great way to save on space and at a lower cost than a tower or ultrabook. Vesa interface allows you to attach the NUC to the rear of Vesa enabled monitors, most are these days.

The Intel NUC comes as a bare bones kit. We have added tested 4GB Corsair RAM memory, and the Intel 310 Series 80GB SSD (solid state drive) which gives this platform a big performance boost. With Window 8 Pro this all comes in at $867 inc gst at time of writing. Please confirm pricing before ordering.

We provide full tech support for data transfer, install and setup onsite, plus each unit is setup with up to 25GB of cloud storage free.