BBC Computer Literacy Project available on iPlayer

Original article by Rob Thubron on https://www.techspot.com/news/75281-bbc-makes-computer-literacy-project-archives-available-public.html

In context: For many people in the 1980s, everything they thought they knew about I.T. came from War Games. In the UK, the BBC tried to change this with the ‘Computer Literacy Project,’ which included a series of TV programs that “inspired a generation of coders,” and led to the commissioning of its own computer, the Micro. Now, it is opening up the project’s archives to the public.
The project ran from 1980 to 1989, with the TV shows introducing much of the UK to the world of computers. Some famous guests included Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak, and there was plenty of coverage of machines such as the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.

But the most significant element of the Computer Literacy Project was its introduction of the 8-bit BBC Micro. Part of the UK government’s plans to place microcomputers in schools, Cambridge-based Acorn created the BBC-branded machine, which was released in 1981 and sold until 1994. It featured a 2MHz CPU and 16 – 32 KB of memory. Demand for the Micro was so great that the accompanying 10-part TV series was delayed for a month.

Steve Furber, who led the design of the BBC Micro and the first Arm chip, said: “The BBC Micro not only gave folk access to a computer, but it also gave them easy access to its inner workings, something that has been lost with most of today’s very sophisticated technology.”

The BBC Micro ended up in an estimated 60 percent of UK primary schools and 85 percent of secondary schools and was still being used up until the early 1990s.

Those interested in a piece of tech history can check out any of the 267 shows, the BBC Micro’s 166 pieces of original software, and over 2,509 clips for free right here. It will be available for the next three months, after which time the BBC will decide whether to turn it into a permanent feature.
https://computer-literacy-project.pilots.bbcconnectedstudio.co.uk/

ANDROID WARNING: Smartphone owners put on alert about terrifying FRANKENSTEIN virus

ANDROID smartphone fans are being put on alert about a terrifying ‘Frankenstein’ virus that cybercriminals are looking to spread.

Android users are being warned about a new ‘Frankenstein’ virus that combines the worst features of different malware to form a dangerous threat.

Dubbed MysteryBot, the malware blends features of ransomware, keyloggers and banking trojans to create a virus that can attack on many fronts.

Security researchers from ThreatFabric discovered the malware, and said it appears to be related to the well-known LokiBot Android banking trojan.

Speaking to Bleeping Computer, a ThreatFabric spokesperson said: “Based on our analysis of the code of both Trojans, we believe that there is indeed a link between the creator(s) of LokiBot and MysteryBot.

“This is justified by the fact that MysteryBot is clearly based on the LokiBot bot code.”

MysteryBot is capable of taking control of infected devices, with the ability to read messages, gather contact information and steal sensitive e-mails.

While Android malware tends to attack older versions of the Google mobile OS, MysteryBot can target recent pieces of software like Android 7 and Oreo.

It uses an overlay screen to display fake login pages on top of legitimate apps for the Google mobile OS, so cybercriminals can steal sensitive user credentials.

MysteryBot also has a unique keylogger feature.

Other malware takes screenshots the moment a user presses a key on the touch-based keyboard to figure out what the user is typing.

Whereas MysteryBot records the location of a touch gesture instead.

It then tries to guess what the user has pressed based on points users touched the screen and the positioning of the virtual keyboard.

MysteryBot also has a ransomware module which means it can encrypt files and then store them in a password protected ZIP archive.

Once encryption is complete a message pops up accusing the victim of having watched adult content.

It then demands that an e-mail address is entered so that a password can be sent out.

A victim will then presumably be asked for payment in exchange for the data to allegedly behanded back.

ThreatFabric researchers wrote: “The enhanced overlay attacks also running on the latest Android versions combined with advanced keylogging and the potential under-development features will allow MysteryBot to harvest a broad set of personal identifiable information in order to perform fraud.”

MysteryBot currently isn’t widespread and is still in development.

But Android users should be wary of any apps they download which ask for a lot of permissions.

ThreatFabric said the current versions of MysteryBot they have spotted have been designed as a Flash Player app for Android.

A ThreatFabric spokesperson said: “In general, the consumer must be aware that all of the so called ‘Flash Player (update) apps’ that can be found in and outside the various app stores are malware.

“Many web sites still require visitors to have support for Flash (which has not been available on Android for many years) causing Android users to try and find an app that will let them use that web site.

“In the end they will just end up installing malware.”

The news comes after Express.co.uk recently reported on popular Android apps that were found to collect users’ sensitive data.

Android smartphone fans were put on alert about apps found on the Google Play Store that can collect sensitive data from millions of users.

The data collection shock was discovered by Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard, who described it as a “huge spyware campaign”.

According to Meshkov’s findings, the data collection campaign affects Android apps as well as extensions for the market leading Google Chrome internet browser.

The security expert said once a victim is logged into their Facebook account the Chrome extensions scrape data immediately after the browser starts up.

In a blog post, Meshkov said all Facebook data is scraped and it even tries to go through a victim’s purchase history.

Other data that is targeted includes posts, sponsored posts, tweets, YouTube videos and adverts a victim has seen and interacted with.

This data is then collected and sent to a third-party firm called Unimania who it is claimed then sells the data to other parties for revenue.

Adguard said a number of Android apps on the Google Play Store have been found to operate in the same way as the offending Chrome extensions.

The ad blocker in their research pinpointed two Android apps with millions of installs.

One of these is an alternative Facebook client called Fast which has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

The other app is Fast Lite, run by the same developers, which the Google Play Store says has over one million installs.

Both apps mention Unimania in the privacy policy.

These apps, in the aftermath of Meshkov’s findings being published, have been removed from the Google Play Store.

Original article by DION DASSANAYAKE https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/974906/Android-warning-malware-virus-alert-keylogger-banking-trojan-ransomware

Sir Clive dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

A fresh war of words has erupted over at ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd – this time over the corporate involvement of legendary British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair himself.

The latest squabble over the company boils down to a three-way shareholder fight between former MD Paul Andrews and former CTO Chris Smith, current chairman David Levy, and Sinclair Research Ltd (SRL), which is Sir Clive’s corporate presence. Each shareholder owns a quarter of the company, with Andrews and Smith acting in lockstep.

This is a bitter tug of war with Sir Clive, daddy of the original ZX Spectrum console of the 1980s (as well as 1985’s heroic ‘leccypedalo Sinclair C5), serving as the rope.

RCL, as regular readers know, is the company that was supposed to have delivered a ZX Spectrum-themed handheld game console, called the Vega+, to about 4,500 people who paid money for the product via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo two years ago. Since then the firm has delivered nothing, amid excuses and recriminations flying back and forth over what happened to the £513,000 paid to RCL by its customers.

What should have been a retro-themed product that sold like hot cakes and brought joy to greybeard gamers all over Blighty has descended into a horrible, stinking mess that sullies the Spectrum legacy. The struggle for control of RCL is a marker not only for thousands of customers’ monies, but the very business model behind crowdfunded products – and for what happens when that crowdfunding process goes wrong.

A pile of cash, Sir Clive, and that console
Andrews and Smith are trying to remove Levy as a director of RCL, along with those Levy appointed as directors after the former pair quit the company in April 2016. They want to do this by calling a shareholders’ meeting and voting Levy off the board. Naturally Levy is resisting this attempt to topple him.

With Andrews and Smith controlling 50 per cent of the company, and Levy controlling 25 per cent, the crucial question is who does Sinclair, with the remaining 25 per cent stake in the firm, support? Whoever keeps Sir Clive on their side will be in control of RCL – and the £513,000 that is supposedly still in its bank account.

If SRL opposes Andrews and Smith’s attempt to replace Levy, then the status quo remains.

A press release issued a week ago by Andrews and Smith stated that SRL was backing them. RCL, however, has hit back with a statement of its own, with Levy telling El Reg yesterday:

For the avoidance of confusion and doubt, we are pleased to report that Sinclair Research Ltd have advised us that their company is NOT intending to vote for removing the existing directors and that the position of Sinclair Research Ltd is NOT as stated in the “Joint Press Release” of April 27th, 2018.

Furthermore, Andrews and Smith simultaneously issued a notice to the current board signed only by Smith and Andrews, equating to 50 per cent of the shareholding. Their notice stated the business of the shareholders meeting would be to remove all of the current “members”, i.e. the shareholders of the company and not in fact the Directors.

Andrews and Smith insisted last week’s statement about receiving support from SRL was accurate when they issued it.

We have asked the SRL company secretary what Sinclair Research Ltd’s position is on this squabble but have received no reply at the time of writing. SRL itself has three directors listed at Companies House: Sir Clive; his partner Elaine Millar; and Robert Freestone, the company secretary.

It appears likely to El Reg that a behind-the-scenes battle to secure the hearts and minds of Sir Clive and Millar has been taking place between Andrews and Levy.

Who’s trying to do what here, and why?
The Register understands Andrews (and Smith’s) position is that RCL’s current directors, under Levy, are trying to mislead customers about whether the Vega+ will ever be delivered, with the duo wanting to take back control of the firm they helped found in order to closely examine its books.

Some of RCL’s customers have filed small claims court cases against the company to try and get their money back, as The Register knows.

For his part, Levy disputes Andrews’ allegations and has consistently insisted RCL will deliver, blaming Andrews and Smith for the previous missed delivery deadlines. He has claimed they are trying to destroy the company as revenge for Levy forcing one-time RCL retail distributor Cornerstone Media into liquidation and bankrupting its sole director, Nick Cooper – a personal friend of Andrews’.

Despite public fears that RCL would fold and deliver nothing, the company has repeatedly insisted it will make and distribute the consoles. Its latest pledge is that it will ship some of them by 12 May, though previous self-imposed deadlines have repeatedly sailed past with no action being taken.

Lurking in the background of all this is Indiegogo itself, which is trying to limit the PR damage caused by RCL to its own business model after Luton County Court ruled that the platform’s terms and conditions weren’t relevant and that “backers” were actually customers with a legally enforceable contract of sale. If RCL fails to deliver by the end of May, Indiegogo has pledged that it will send in a debt collection agency on customers’ behalf.

None of the current maneuvering appears likely to bring forward deliveries of the original Vega+. Recently RCL has begun alluding to the delivery of a Vega+ V2 instead of the plain old Vega+, which suggests the product that will appear may not be the same as the one originally offered and paid for. ®

Original Article:- Gareth Corfield 4 May 2018, sourced from,
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/04/sir_clive_sinclair_has_been_dragged_into_the_zx_spectrum_reboot_battle/

Windows 10 April 2018 Update Now Available 

Microsoft has begun to deliver the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to users. On some of my computers, the April update – called the “Feature Update for Windows 10, Version 1803” – was already available for download via Windows Update, and we were able to successfully download and install it.

The most convenient and safest way to install Windows 10 April 2018 Update is via Windows Update. With the new version, the large function update installs noticeably faster than in the past, because the corresponding files are already being exchanged in the background during the download, However it does at the same time mop up your internet so if possible keep internet use to a minimum & don’t try to update numerous computers at once.   Afterwards the update will be carried out within a few minutes.

The new April Update (1803) for Windows 10 not only brings new features, but also deletes some features.  For example, Windows 10 version 1803 stops supporting the Groove Music Pass. It has been known since October 2017 that the app will only be used for playing and streaming purchased music via OneDrive. To buy or stream new songs, users should switch to other music streaming services, such as Spotify.

Anyone who processes e-mails via a Microsoft account also received unsaved contacts from non-Microsoft accounts before the Windows 10 April 2018 update. Since Redstone 4, Windows 10 no longer provides such suggestions, so users should save their contacts themselves.

Another abolished feature concerns changes to the voice control in the Control Panel. If you want to activate the voice control, you will find it under the application settings in the menu item Language setting.

In addition to all the features removed, Microsoft also lists functions on the official website that have been frozen for development. These include, but are not limited to, the Software Restriction Policies in Group Policy. In these, users could set who has access to applications and is allowed to execute codes. .

Free up space after Windows creators updates.

Microsoft recently released the latest major update for Windows 10 but you may not know that Windows keeps a copy of the old operating system after it does feature updates, mainly to make it easier to roll back the update if issues are encountered, but that it means that the old installation of Windows takes up numerous Gigabytes of space on your HDD that can slow the system down.

It is recommended to remove the old installation files only if you are confident that you don’t need to roll back to the previous version. If you are in doubt, create a backup of the main Windows partition so that you may restore it should the need arise to roll back the Windows version.

Whenever you update your system, Windows will automatically cache all its Windows update install files. Though this may seem strange, this does help if ever you are needed to roll back the Windows updates. Using the cache, Windows does the updates without needing to download them again. downside is that the Windows update folder can grow in size and take up GBs of hard drive space. If space is limited, clearing the Windows update cache can help you regain that lost hard drive space. Moreover, clearing the update cache also helps in situations where the update files are corrupted. Here is how you can clear the Windows update cache in Windows 10.

There are a few ways to do it, but this should be the easiest to follow for all users.

Hit the Windows key, then type “disk cleanup”, and select the drive where Windows is installed (usually C:).
look for “Previous Windows installations”.  If it is not there click on “Clean up system files” & follow the prompts
You can also check other entries to free up more disk space if you wish.
Hit “ok” once you have checked all entries to start.
Confirm “are you sure you want to permanently delete these files”.
Windows will remove files and frees up the disk space in the process.
Close the dialog box to return to windows.

The latest version update to Windows 10  comes with an automatic clean up option that you may wish to activate. Windows 10 will usually delete previous versions of Windows 10 ten days after installation of the update. This gives you more than a week to determine whether the new version is stable and functional before the old version gets deleted.  The main advantage of this method is that it is automated. Set it once, and you never have to worry about cleaning up disk space manually again. The downside is that the previous installation files are deleted after exactly ten days. This means that you only have ten days to test the new version, and also that disk space won’t be freed up earlier.

Clearing the update cache in Windows is easy, but probably not as straightforward as it should be in some cases. Although we can use the Disk Cleanup Utility, it may not clear the update cache completely, so if you are going to use the manual method, you may also need to stop the Windows update service before clearing the update cache. To do that, search for “Services” in the Start menu and open it. If you are using your system as a standard user, then open it as an administrator using the right-click menu.  Once you have done a cache clean it also makes sense to a defrag of your drive if you are using an IDE or SATA based system as opposed to an SSD in a more modern or updated PC or laptop.