Everybody needs more storage for their computer systems. You may use an external drive for backup purposes or as additional storage for music and photos. PCWorld rated several external drives and gives its suggestions for the best pieces of hardware to ...

 

Best External Drives and more...




Best External Drives

Everybody needs more storage for their computer systems. You may use an external drive for backup purposes or as additional storage for music and photos. PCWorld rated several external drives and gives its suggestions for the best pieces of hardware to purchase. It really depends on what you intend to do with the drive, but here are the top three recommendations.

As is expected, the Thunderbolt 3 drive is pretty pricey. My best "bang for the buck" drive is the Western Digital My Passport model line, which is what I use for backup.

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Another Reason NOT to Use a Fingerprint to Unlock Your Phone

Using a fingerprint to unlock your phone is certainly a lot faster and easier than typing in a password or PIN. There is a reason not to configure a fingerprint to unlock your phone. You may be compelled to unlock your phone using biometrics, but generally not if the device is locked with a password or PIN. The legal thinking is that a PIN or password is knowledge whereas biometrics is something you have. As many readers know, I have always recommended only using a password or PIN to unlock your phone.

Hot For Security reports that biometrics is not a good idea, especially if you own a Samsung Galaxy S10 phone. It is alleged that the fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S10 can be bypassed with any finger just by using a cheap gel screen protector. Ouch! This is not the first time vulnerabilities with smartphone fingerprint implementations have been identified. The iPhone has suffered its share of fingerprint bypasses too. The technology is getting better, but this is another example of why not to trust fingerprints to unlock your phone.

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Where Did iTunes Go?

Apple finally made good on its promise to kill iTunes. At least it's no longer available on Apple products running the latest version of macOS Catalina. If you are a Mac user, your iTunes media library is now available in the Apple Music app, Apple TV app, Apple Books app, and Apple Podcasts app. In other words, there is no longer a single application to manage your content. Apple has "retired" iTunes and organized your media type in dedicated apps. From my foxhole, dumping iTunes is a good thing. iTunes is one of the most bloated and poorly written software programs I've seen in several decades of dealing with technology.

Windows users are still stuck with iTunes for the time being. Apple has just released an update for a zero-day used to spread the BitPaymer ransomware according to a Naked Security post. Apparently, the flaw is with the Apple Software Updater and should never exist given the how heavily documented the vulnerability is for an 'unquoted path class' is. So much for qualified programmers and quality control testing. If you are running version 12.10.1 you are good to go. If not, make sure you update your installation as soon as possible.

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Is Your Old Router Still Supported?

Failure to apply updates is the number one reason for a security incident. The bad guys are turning to computer bots that continuously scan for vulnerable systems. Hopefully, updates are being applied to your computer systems automatically. Mobile devices should be receiving automatic updates as well. Unfortunately, most people forget about other computing devices they use. Your router/firewall is one of those often forgotten pieces of equipment. How do you even know if the manufacturer is still providing updates for your router?

How-To Geek has a post that tells users why it is so important to keep your router up to date and if it is still supported. There are instructions for various manufacturers of routers such as Linksys, D-Link, Asus, Apple, Cisco and more. Generally, you have to go to the vendor's website to see if there is a firmware update or if your device is at the end-of-life. The short advice is to immediately replace your router if it no longer supported. A modern router will get you security updates and probably a faster, more reliable connection too.

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Determine Wi-Fi Strength using Windows

There will be a time when you will want to connect a device to your Wi-Fi network and it goes horribly bad. Suppose you just bought a new Ring doorbell and it keeps dropping off the network. Do you need to replace your Wi-Fi router or switch from 5.0GHz to the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network? In order to help you with troubleshooting, it sure would be nice if you knew the strength of the Wi-Fi network where the device is located.

It turns out that is pretty easy on a Windows computer. Tech Viral has much more detail in its post, but the short version goes like this. Connect your laptop to the Wi-Fi network and go to where you are having trouble. Open a Command Prompt (in Windows 10 click the Start icon and type CMD). Type the following command: netsh wlan show interface. Towards the bottom of the output list will be the value for Signal, which is your signal strength. There's some other good information returned as well.

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