marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

In a weird twist, it's not HP recording your keystrokes on certain laptops - technically it's a Conexant audio driver that does the actual keystroke recording (it includes a debugging program that went a little haywire; whether that's by design or error is not yet known). HP has since released a security advisory that claims the driver's keystroke logging is "caused by a local debugging capability that was not disabled prior to product launch".

Because Conexant makes audio drivers for many computer brands, this privacy intrusion may ultimately affect many other computer, laptop and tablet makes and models, as well.

That means check your tablet, laptop or computer for this driver - no matter which make, model, device form factor or version of Windows you have.

You can follow these steps to find the Conexant audio driver on your device and to get a new HP driver without the keylogger in it:

  1. Using Cortana or a search tool like Everything, look for C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe (you can right-click, copy and paste these words right from here into either one of those tools).
  2. If either file turns up, right click the computer taskbar, select Task Manager and look for either MicTray.exe or MicTray64.exe. If either of these turns up, right-click it and select End task.
  3. Go back to the file you found in C:\Windows\System32, right-click it and delete it.
  4. Install the latest HP driver from here. [ed. note: requires FTP to download]
  5. Now search your computer for C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log or check C:\Users\Public\ for the file; if it turns up, open it and check for login names, passwords, banking info, and so on, then change your passwords at the affected websites. 

Microsoft says in this advisory that "Windows Defender AV detects and removes this threat" but also warns "[d]oing so also disables the keyboard short cut that turns the microphone on and off."

Affected laptop models the public has been made aware of [list]:

* HARDWARE PRODUCT MODEL(S):
HP EliteBook 820 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 828 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 848 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 640 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 650 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 645 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 655 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 450 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 430 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 440 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 446 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 470 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 725 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 745 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 755 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 15u G3 Mobile Workstation
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Tablet
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 with Travel Keyboard
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Advanced Keyboard
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 17 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation
HP EliteBook Folio G1 Notebook PC

Affected operating systems the public has been made aware of [list]:

* OPERATING SYSTEM(S):
Microsoft Windows 10 32
Microsoft Windows 10 64
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 32-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 64-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7 32
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7E 32-Bit

I'm pretty sure merely having one of the operating systems listed above - by itself - isn't enough to predict "MicTray.exe" or "MicTray64.exe" will be found on your computer, but any make, model or type of computer - such as your tablet, laptop or computer tower - could have it, so it still doesn't hurt to check.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
In my last exciting post on the topic, It's not that hard, really, so why use multcloud or mover.io or..., in which I got mad at myself for using a middleman (in this case, Multcloud) to move files I could have easily moved between cloud storage services myself, causing me to go into a Brain, where art thou sort of fit, I ended with the single uplifting thought that:

"The one upside to OneDrive's rate limits is they apply only to new uploads; after re-reading the details on Microsoft's 2015 blog post [...] and checking out the fine print on the current offer, it seems they won't delete previously uploaded files, nor deny access via downloading or sharing.".

That was a completely inaccurate conclusion to jump to. The truth of the matter is the polar opposite:

An email from Microsoft informing me I'll be denied access to my OneDrive files on Sept. 7, 2017

The body of the email featured in the screencap above reads, with emphasis mine:

Your [redacted]@live.com account is 5.8 GB over your storage limit of 5 GB.

You can no longer add or sync new documents or photos. Changes made to existing OneDrive files will not sync between devices or the web. If you remain over your storage limit, your account will be frozen on or after September 7, 2017, and you will not be able to view or edit your files.

Please remove 5.8 GB of files or purchase more storage to bring your account back to normal. [Right? Sure, let me hop right on that, you thieves. I mean, why can't I even access the files I'm entitled to keep on OneDrive after the time limit is up (5GB worth)?]

Luckily (well, I don't know how "luckily", since I don't like using any Google product besides search, but Google sure is coming in handy right now) I've got 15GB free storage on Google Drive - more than enough to keep what I've got going on and add a few files without having to pay M$ to "upgrade" to the still-limited storage they used to give away unlimited and for free.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

A chart of the Day on Alley Insider has, miraculously enough, not just gotten comments but a few hilarious ones, including this gem by "Steffen Jobs":

Microsoft has more money than brains but that's a good thing since it helps stimulate the economy which is important, too. Microsoft should spread some of its money around instead of piling it up in a bank. Microsoft will never run out of money since they're basically robbing consumers blind by endlessly rehashing the same Windows OS over and over. A few losses of online cash is a drop in the bucket for such a huge company.

When he got to the part about how "Microsoft will never run out of money" I almost fell over laughing - people don't realize how fast a spare $50 bil or so can go - especially in the wrong hands. Microsoft has been Loss Leader Du Jour for the last 10 years, but it's hard to get mad about that knowing Enterprise is the only lifeline they can safely cling to (tell me which business's computer systems their OSs are not on, besides Google's), and 2) knowing that at least they're not Google - which reminds me, this story about the so-called "Googleplex" does get me a bit hot - funny, isn't it, that most of Google's book scanners are of African-American origin, that they're segregated within the Googleplex, and that they get no perks whatsoever even when contractors (a group whom one might assume are of more than one color) do, all the time? Even funnier, isn't it, that the one person who tried to look into all this (not-so) funny stuff got instantly snuffed out?

Maybe not.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Microsoft came out with three new ads this week after their Seinfeld spots were rejected by our ignorant populace as "boring" and "weird". Ever the rebel, I found myself enjoying the first ad - not for Seinfeld's role, but for Bill Gates', who, despite his company's dismal track record for delivering buggy, malware-prone products, oh, 30 out of 30 times, melts my heart with that spontaneous goofiness of his.

The new ads star bright luminaries like Eva Longoria - or is that Eva Mendes? OK, so it doesn't matter who stars in the ads. I like them. Like others, I (almost) feel pride again in owning a PC after watching them. The one below is quite amusing - if only for the ending, which might remind you of a post title I stuck somewhere on this blog.

And on a very special note...

Ahoy! Yer Käpt'n's here to say it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! Avant, yer scurvy Papagei! (translate here and here)

I love Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I love that I'm German, and I really love that someday I might be a German pirate, so today combines the best of all possible worlds. The only way it could get any better is if I won Lotto and/or married a German pirate sometime before tonight's over. Hmmmm...am I more likely to marry a German pirate or to win Lotto?