2021 Newsletter: 82/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

New Date Set for Our 2020/21 AGM

Regarding the continued lockdown due to COVID and in discussion with our group's committee, it has been decided to defer our AGM until Tuesday, 23 November 2021.

— Ron Ferguson

SMSA Closure Update

SMSA will remain CLOSED until at least Monday, 4 October, as per NSW Health orders. Further details on reopening to be advised on our website.

For enquiries during this time, please contact:

Library: library@­smsa.org.au

Venue Hire / Administration: venue.hire@­smsa.org.au

SMSA Events: tkc@­smsa.org.au

Our staff are working from home during this period. The SMSA phone has been diverted to a mobile, and we can assist you over the phone if needed: 02 9262 7300.

We encourage everyone to regularly check the list of hotspot locations and alerts on the NSW Health website and follow their advice.


Meeting This Week

Penrith Group - Saturday, 4 Sep - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Penrith City Library

The meeting starts typically with a Q&A session around the table to enable members to share problems, advice and computer tips.

The group will then discuss any other technology or computer topics of interest.

— Jeff Garland

Meeting Next Week

Friday Forum - Friday, 10 Sep - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We'll have the usual Q&A and other discussions. [ SMSA CLOSED, see above. ]

— Tim Kelly

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

64 2021/06/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Sep, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library
65 2021/09/10 — 10:00-12:30 — 10 Sep, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room Cancelled
67 2021/09/14 — 17:30-20:30 — 14 Sep, Tue — Programming via Jitsi
68 2021/09/18 — 13:30-16:30 — 18 Sep, Sat — Web Design via Zoom
69 2021/09/21 — 09:30-12:30 — 21 Sep, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room Cancelled
70 2021/09/24 — 09:30-12:30 — 24 Sep, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom
71 2021/09/28 — 17:30-20:30 — 28 Sep, Tue — MAIN Meeting via Zoom

‡ As decided after assessing the Members' wishes (resumption of face-to-face meetings) via the latest Online Survey.

Tech News:

38 Million Users' Data Exposed by Microsoft Power Apps

See the How-To Geek article by DAVE LECLAIR | @davegleclair | AUG 23, 2021, 12:00 pm EDT.

Microsoft's Power Apps portal service is designed to make the development of web or mobile apps easier. Unfortunately, due to an issue with the default security setting, 38 million users' data was publicly available when it shouldn't have been.

What Happened With Microsoft Power Apps?

Essentially, the Microsoft Power Apps platform defaulted to making data publicly accessible instead of keeping the data private by default, as discovered by Upguard and reported by Wired. Unfortunately, this meant that anyone looking to quickly get a web app up and running with these APIs would need to enable security, rather than the other way around manually.

The UpGuard Research team can now disclose multiple data leaks resulting from Microsoft Power Apps portals configured to allow public access to a new vector of data exposure, Upguard said in a blog post.

Microsoft Power Apps are used by a wide range of companies and government bodies. Because it's quick and easy to get a website or app going, it was used quite frequently for COVID-19 tools such as contact tracing, vaccine sign-up forms, and so on. The platform was also popular for storing job application portals and employee databases.

These tools could contain sensitive user data, and a shocking number of them didn't have the security measures turned on. That means data such as phone numbers, home addresses, social security numbers, and Covid-19 vaccination status were exposed to anyone who happened to be looking for them.

A few examples of affected organisations are American Airlines, Ford, J.B. Hunt, the Maryland Department of Health, the New York City Municipal Transportation Authority, and New York City public schools.

Is There a Fix?

Fortunately, the situation has already been addressed by Microsoft. The company has now made it so that the default settings do not allow API data and other information to be publicly available. Instead, developers will need to enable this setting manually, which is probably how it should have been from day one.

There's always going to be data that developers want public, so they'll have to go through the extra step of making select data available rather than going through the extra effort to make it hidden. This is a better way to go for people using these web apps, as it lets them rest assured that their private data is kept confidential. However, the damage is done in this case. We'll need to wait for the fallout to see how bad it is.

Read More »

Aussie parents say they want online safety taught in schools

See the iTWire article by a Staff Writer Tuesday, 24 August 2021, 1:00 pm.

Australians believe schools should teach online safety curriculum. A new study shows that many parents had not taken proactive security measures to protect their family/home when distance learning was introduced to their lives, despite being concerned that their children could be exposed to scams or illegal content.

The study by global security firm McAfee shows that even after almost two in five Australians had a household member start online learning since the start of 2020 — 56% of which were under the age of 18 — over a third of parents saw no increased risk to their children's online safety.

And as such, almost half (48%) of Australians didn't take any proactive security measures to protect their family/home when distance learning was introduced to their lives.

McAfee says, however, there is a concerning discrepancy between Australians' concerns and behaviours, with respondents citing they are apprehensive about exposure to scams (43%), sharing personal information (43%), illegal content (35%), cyber-bullying (40%) and misinformation (31%).

McAfee says one explanation could be that 80% of Australians believe that children should be taught about digital wellness and online safety in the classroom. Only 8% believe it to be their own responsibility.

"The snap return of online learning signalled the start of another particularly stressful time for Australian parents. We're now tasked with not only keeping the household running and working from home ourselves. And also with making sure our kids are logged in ready for their Zoom class and able to complete their online schoolwork," said Alex Merton-McCann, Cyber Safety Ambassador and Cybermum ANZ at McAfee.

"While there are understandably lots of distractions at the moment, something as important as our children's cyber safety shouldn't slip off the list! At McAfee, we know the importance of digital wellness and want to help parents and teachers educate themselves and their children."

McAfee says that parents need to continue educating themselves and their families even when schools are teaching digital wellness as part of the curriculum. The security firm has put together its top tips for parents to get their children prepped for going back to school safely:

Get your devices ready:

Refresh passwords:

Access from home securely:

Teach personal responsibility:

Discuss digital wellness around the dinner table:

Read More »

Recent Update Glitches Windows 'Alt-Tab' Shortcut

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on August 23 2021, at 12:08 pm EDT.

A recent Windows 10 update appears to have broken the Alt-Tab feature. Thankfully there's a simple fix that doesn't involve compromising security or performance.

Holding down the Alt button and then hitting Tab is a more long-standing and valuable Windows keyboard shortcut. For those who've somehow missed out, it lets users quickly switch between open windows, including those not currently visible in the foreground.

In later editions of Windows, including Windows 10, the shortcut displays a small image of every open window showing its current content. That's useful when running two or more windows of the same application, such as having multiple documents open in a word processor.

Full-Screen Windows Fail

Unfortunately, the feature appears to be broken for some users by two recent updates, including the main August update codenamed KB5005033 by Microsoft. The affected users find that if they try to cycle through tabs that include a window running in full-screen mode, they'll either wind up with a blank screen or on the desktop. (Source: lifehacker.com)

One way to get around this is to uninstall the latest update, which can be done in the "Update & Security" section of the Windows Settings tool. That's not an ideal solution as this also removes any benefits from the update, which is particularly significant given KB5005033 includes security fixes.

News And Interests Behind Blip

Another option involves the new News and Interests feature in Windows, which seems the best bet for the root cause of the problem. It's designed as a personalized display of live news, weather, traffic and other information and appears when hovering over a weather icon in the taskbar. (Source: techradar.com)

To remove the feature, users can right-click on the taskbar (at the bottom of the screen). The next step may vary depending on the setup, but 'News and Interest' will appear either as its own entry or under 'Taskbar Settings'. From here, users can choose the 'Turn Off' option.

Read More »

Interesting Member-provided Computer Link

The 5 Best Apps for Sharing a Mouse and a Keyboard Across Multiple Computers

— Jeff Garland

Serious Facts:

COVID-19 Map

According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map, Australia has had 48,815 COVID-19 cases and 991 deaths up until the 28th Aug 2021.

That compares with the World totals of 214,890,686 cases and 4,478,754 deaths.

COVID Cases and Deaths

Australian COVID Cases and Deaths

Some very sobering statistics.

— Ed.

Meeting Location & Disclaimer

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

Information for Members and Visitors:

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1st Floor, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney.
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