2020 Newsletter: 15/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Recent articles/videos on the coronavirus:

Referred by Committee Members and others:

Can Anyone Help with this Member's Computer Problem?

Trying to access the Foxtel website on both my computers whether via Chrome, Edge or Firefox I consistently received the message "Access Denied". The only access was via my phone on the same WiFi as the computers. Foxtel was NO HELP (surprise). There was the same message with any Foxtel URL with differing references.

Access Denied message from Foxtel
Access Denied to Foxtel upgrade offer (+ a Reference number).

Online suggestion was to open Chrome Settings, More Tools, Clear browsing data, Advanced, Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files, All time, no luck.


https:// [ Actual URL suppressed ] .../­windows/­how-to-fix-access-denied-you-dont-have-permission-to-access-on-this-server-error-in-windows-10/

Option One - does not work.

Option Two - Success with a difference, I opened Task Manager, highlighted Norton VPN, End task.

Option Three - Trying to uninstall Norton VPN from Programs & Features does not work as message "Program is running, close it" even when you have closed it. I did not need to try the rest of this as Task Manager did the job.

Option Four - Disable proxy server for LAN - I did not need this.

I also deleted my password for Foxtel in Chrome passwords and in Norton Vault, although these measures alone did not work.

I now leave Foxtel open on my browsers just in case. At least I now know what to do, not so sure why it happens.

Without Friday Forum we are on our own, although Bob has been very helpful.



Meeting This Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday Apr 4th - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

[ Check with the Penrith organisers. Meeting probably cancelled until further notice. ]

Meetings Next Week:


[ Normally the 2nd Friday would be for the Friday Forum and Communications SIGs but Friday 10th of April is Easter Friday. ]

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

23 2020/04/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Apr, Saturday — Penrith Group
24 2020/04/14 — 17:30-20:30 — 14 Apr, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley Room
25 2020/04/18 — 13:30-16:30 — 18 Apr, Saturday — Web Design, L3 Norman Selfe
26 2020/04/21 — 09:30-12:30 — 21 Apr, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley Room
27 2020/04/24 — 09:30-12:30 — 24 Apr, Friday — Digital Photography [ Discontinued ], L1 Woolley Room
28 2020/04/28 — 17:30-20:30 — 28 Apr, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael Room


Tech News:

“As more people work from home, Telstra's Penn makes silly plea”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese Tuesday, 24 March 2020 12:15.

In the midst of any national crisis, it is common to find people who want to make themselves heard somehow, even if they can only do so by making the most stupid statements possible. That is clearly the case with the utterance issued by Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn who has called on Australians to be more mindful of how they use the Internet.

Let this sink in: Penn's words of wisdom were uttered more than a week after a goodly portion of the country's workers were asked to go home and work from there. Exactly how they would work without using the Internet is unknown to me; perhaps Penn has an answer to that.

This garbage was dressed up as an exclusive and printed in The Australian. And the man behind it was no less a person than the publication's technology editor, David Swan.

Penn's logic (??) was that just as people were asked to moderate their behaviour in supermarkets and not indulge in panic buying, Internet users should lessen their impact on the network.

There have been any number of self-serving statements made ever since the coronavirus started spreading across the globe. One certainly does not expect the chief executive of Australia's biggest telecommunications company to contribute to the kind of nonsense that has been in evidence.

Yesterday, we had a government minister, Stuart Robert, claiming that a distributed denial of service had taken down the my.gov portal, something which was clearly a lie and something which he had no idea about.

And we have had umpteen statements from the US of A, which can only be classified as stupid, emanating from someone who is still called the leader of the free world.

Penn's statement is silly, because what he is advocating is simply not possible. His analogy that people could do something akin to what streaming companies like Netflix have been asked to do — and have done, by cutting down on the quality of streams — is all wonky.

How does an individual user do that? Perhaps Penn could ask some of his subordinates at Telstra to create a website with instructions.

Meanwhile, as people struggle to operate at anything like their normal productivity levels, the use of the Internet will only increase. Telstra would be better off trying to make its services more robust. This is what the Internet is for, but in Australia it has never been treated as a utility, in the same way as water, gas and electricity.

It is high time that the leaders of tech companies realised that, and adjusted their systems accordingly, rather than make silly statements. Of course, nobody will call Penn out on this. Therein lies the reason why people in charge continue down the same path as him.

Read more »

“Critical Security Flaw Hits Windows 7 and 8 Hardest”:

See the InfoPackets article by John Lister on March, 25 2020 at 02:03PM EDT.

Microsoft has warned users of a significant unpatched security flaw in Windows. It's offered some key steps to take while the problem is being fixed.

The problem affects all currently supported versions of Windows, though Windows 7 and 8 machines are affected 'critically' according to the Microsoft advisory bulletin. Attacks on Windows 10 machines are considerably more constrained due to its enhanced security features.

Microsoft says it's currently only aware of targeted attacks on Windows 7 machines, though that could change now the bug has been made public. (Source: microsoft.com)

Adobe Type Manager is the Problem

The problem is with the Windows Adobe Type Manager Library, which handles typefaces. The vulnerability could allow attackers to remotely execute code on the machine, which constitutes a "critical security risk."

In this case, the malicious document can be programmed to download a malicious program onto the system, then execute it with the highest privileges. In turn, this can grant cyber criminals unrestricted access to the system using remote access.

Once a remote connection is enabled, cyber criminals (or "bots") will infiltrate the system and network, where a payload (typically ransomware) is delivered. Once ransomware is on the system, all files are encrypted and the only way to get it back is by paying cyber criminals thousands of dollars or by using a backup to restore data, if available.

Windows 7 Users: Read Carefully

Since Windows 7 has officially reached its end of life in January 2020, this exploit is particularly worrying for those who continue to use the operating system despite it being no longer supported by Microsoft. This means that Windows 7 will no longer be receiving security updates to patch bugs, like those mentioned in this article.

How the Attack Works

The attack works in two ways: by the victim opening a specially crafted document, or by the victim viewing the document in the Preview Pane feature of Windows Explorer or File Explorer.

Fortunately such attacks are more limited in Windows 10 thanks to its sandboxing feature, which means the attacker could only run code in a restricted "area" of the computer, rather than accessing other resources as with Windows 7 machines, for example.

Temporary Workaround: How to Protect Against Attacks

One option for users of older systems is to find and rename a file called ATMFD.DLL, though this solution is for particularly confident users only. Instead, Microsoft recommends the best option is to disable the Preview feature.

Read more »

“Microsoft Confirms Unprecedented Changes To Windows 10 For 1 Billion Users”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the Forbes article by Davey Winder.

[ The following few words of the article are from Flipboard. The actual Forbes page demands that you disable your Ad Blocker, Sorry! — Ed. ]

Citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft is putting non-security updates on pause for all Windows 10 and Windows Server users. On March 10, Microsoft corporate vice-president, Yusuf Mehdi, proudly announced that more than a billion people were now using Windows 10. That was, it must be …

Fun Facts:

“Fold a Rectangle into a Pentagon and find its area”:

Last week's puzzler:

Find the area of pentagon ABMND'
Find the area of the pentagon ABMND'.


Hint 1: Prove that triangles ABM and AD'N are congruent. Check parallel lines and use ASA (angle, side, angle).

See parallel lines BM and AN. Angle BMA is equal to angle MAN.

See also parallel lines AM and D'N. Angle MAN is equal to angle AND'.

Therefore angles BMA and AND' are equal. In triangle ABM and AD'N we also have right angles at B and D'.

All three angles are correspondingly equal, plus the equal sides AB and AD' (both equal to 4 cm) prove that the two triangles ABM and AD'N are congruent (ASA).

Hint 2: Let length AN = x, then length ND' is 16 - x, since these two lengths add to 16 cm. Use Pythagoras to find x. This lets you get the area of triangle AD'N.

We get the Pythagorean equation: x2 = (16 - x)2 + 42 or x2 = 256 - 32x + x2 + 16.

This gives: 272 - 32x = 0 or x = 8.5 cm. ND' is therefore 16 - x, or 7.5 cm.

This means that the areas of triangles ABM and AD'N are each 1/2 × 4 × 7.5, or 15 square cm.

The original area of the rectangle is 4 × 16 or 64 square cm.

That makes the area of AMN = 1/2 × (64 - 15 - 15) or 1/2 × (34) which is 17 square cm.

The final answer to the area of pentagon ABMND' is therefore 15 + 17 + 15 = 47 square cm.

“An Interesting Value”:

Nested square roots starting sqrt(1 + sqrt(1 + etc
Nested square roots sqrt(1 + 2sqrt(1 + etc.

Some partial values (truncated at successive '1's):

Treat these as nested square roots like the pic, above. [ HTML, unfortunately, won't let the square root signs be easily nested — Ed. ]

√1 = 1.0

√1 + 2√1 = 1.7320508075688772935…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.112842070562244978…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.2859755337983147268…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.3604980549868346488…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.3918603868064016452…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.4049367504391468486…

They seem to be converging very slowly, but can you find what value they tend to?

Hint: Try making an equation with the value = x, say.

And what happens if you replace each 2 with an a?

— Ed.

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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