Monthly Archives: November 2012

New Intel Based Computers Permanently Hackable?

Several friends and associates have asked me about the “New Intel based PC’s are PERMANENTLY hackable” article available here: (Note: you’re likely to get a little confused if you’re not familar with some of the terms in the article, so make sure you have a dictionary handy).

First of all, as noted in the title of that article, not all Intel CPUs are vPro enabled.

Secondly, for vPro to work it requires not only a compatible CPU, but also a compatible motherboard.

Third, there is a deployment/activation phase required for all this to work (although some computers might come enabled from the factory).

Fourth, the statement in the above article that “Core vPro processors work in conjunction with Intel’s new Anti Theft 3.0, which put 3g connectivity into every Intel CPU after the Sandy Bridge version of the I3/5/7 processors. Users do not get to know about that 3g connection, but it IS there.” is inaccurate. Intel’s Anti Theft technology can take advantage of 3G connectivity (3G: Abbreviation for third generation, it refers to the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology, like the technology that allows your cell phone to send and receive emails or access a website) only if the laptop has a compatible 3G connectivity card installed.

So what do all the above mean? Basically that the contents of the article are alarmist by not giving enough specifics, so it becomes a generality. The vPro technology, if enabled and in the wrong hands, sure, can be a security/privacy concern. But that’s hardly the conclusion one would reach if it only read the above mentioned article.

But just in case I’m off to polish my tin foil hat. 🙂

For a list of vPro ready computers (That could be subverted given the right set of circumstances) visit


Holiday Season Email Scams


Unfortunate as it is, it’s a fact that email scams pick up over the holidays, so here’s a reminder to keep you safe.

These scams and malware campaigns may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Electronic greeting cards that may contain malware
  • Requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams and may originate from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities
  • Screensavers or other forms of media that may contain malware
  • Credit card applications that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts
  • Online shopping advertisements that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts from bogus retailers

Use extra caution when dealing with these types of emails. Refer to this article on basic good practice points on accessing websites and handling emails. Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus program. Keep your computer and all its different programs up-to-date for minimum vulnerability to attacks.

Happy Holidays from the Remote Help Expert.

This Month in Computers Updates

This coming Tuesday the 13th – second Tuesday of the month as usual – Microsoft is releasing 6 updates affecting the different operating system plus Microsoft Office. Two of the six updates don’t affect Windows XP, but only Windows Vista and 7, and the other four affect all supported operating systems.

Four of the six updates are classified as “critical”, Microsoft’s top severity rating. One is classified as “important”, the next severity down, and one as “moderate”. Three of the updates will require a restart of the computer to finish the updates, the other three may require a restart.

On related news, Adobe, the makers of software such as PDF reader, Flash, and others, has announced that it will, from now on, match their update schedule to Microsoft’s. So from next month on, expect Adobe updates at the same time as Microsoft’s – on the second Tuesday of every month.

Finally, Google has released Google Chrome 23.0.1271.64 for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Chrome Frame (a plug-in for Internet Explorer)  to address multiple vulnerabilities.