Sunday, May 09, 2021

Reload Windows on Your New PCs

Now, Dell is not my favorite PC vendor. It probably has something to do with the smoke that came out of my coworker's office as her new Dell laptop burned up.

But I'm not going to jump on Dell in this post. You can do whatever you want.

This post is about what you should do as soon as you buy a new PC.

But first, I will mention what cranked me up on this.

Since 2009, Dell has been distributing "nice" utilities on all of its PCs that updated their firmware. These packages were variously called Dell Command Update, Dell Update, Alienware Update, Dell System Inventory Agent, or Dell Platform Tags.

The problem is that these packages installed Dell's DBUtil.


In December 2020, SentinelOne notified Dell of five vulnerabilities in this utility.

DARKReading described it:
The bugs give adversaries a way to bypass security products, wipe a hard drive, or install a malicious driver on a domain controller. "The attacker is effectively the system administrator."
What I don't want to do is suggest that this is exclusive to Dell. Lenovo has had similar issues on its products.

So, what should you do?

Format and reload Windows on ANY PC you get before you do ANYTHING with it. Get the bits from Microsoft here. Don't worry. Windows Update will install all the drivers that you need. You'll save significant disk space and won't have any bloat-ware the vendor installed.

You can thank me later.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

iOS 14.5 Fake News

Now that I've got your attention, iOS 14.5 really isn't "Fake News." It's just that the news around it was so over-hyped.

Here are a few headlines from early April:

iOS 14.5 is making the biggest change to apps in years - here's how
Apple Now Rejecting App Updates That Defy iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency Rules
Apple reminds developers to prepare for App Tracking Transparency ahead of iOS 14.5 release

Then iOS 14.5 was released on 04/26/21.

I approached it cautiously. First on my iPhone, then my iPad, then my iPad Mini, ...

But I haven't seen any of these predicted pop-ups.

Why?

Business Insider has a good explanation here.
However, some people who've updated to iOS 14.5 haven't seen any permission pop-ups.

Mobile-advertising experts suggested three possible reasons. 

1. The 'allow apps to request to track' privacy setting is toggled off
2. Some users might not have the option to toggle 'allow apps to request to track' on
3. Some apps haven't rolled out the prompt yet
What should YOU do?

Go ahead and install iOS 14.5. Then go to Settings, then Privacy, then Tracking. Make sure the slide for "Allow Apps to Request to Track" is to the left.


That'll turn off all of those pop-ups.