Friday, August 18, 2017

Chrome will show security warnings on your website.

Google it appears have decided that any data input by a user should be encrypted from the users computer to the server. As a result, Google Chrome version  62, come October will show any web page with a text or email field that is on a http site, as being non secure.

Here is an example of the message received from Google.

Chrome will show security warnings on <website>

To owner of <website>,

Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

The following URLs on your site include text input fields (such as < input type="text" > or < input type="email" >) that will trigger the new Chrome warning. Review these examples to see where these warnings will appear, so that you can take action to help protect users’ data. This list is not exhaustive.

Like many developers I have a number of websites that are hosted and use http. Personally I don't think there's much security risk for many of my sites. For example sites that convert inches to cm, allow a person to enter a postcode, or the many different calculators I've created. None of that information really presents a risk to a user. However Google is dictating what developers do by pushing them to have sites using https.

We'll have to wait and see how intrusive the non-secure message is, but at this stage it looks like it will appear as an information message in the address area. If it becomes intrusive by blocking what users do, that could be a concern.

Appropriate security is definitely a good thing. Having secure sites where there is little to no reason for security, that's almost bordering on dictating and that's a concern.

The good thing is people generally have a choice and if they're not happy with the path taken by Google, they can simply stop using the Google Chrome browser. If people are happy with Google's direction, then they'll probably stop using sites that don't conform. Either way the choice is yours.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

iiNet advertising Superfast internet in many cases has the same speed as today's internet.

I've noticed ads with the term Superfast to promote internet using the NBN and I feel this can mislead people into thinking they're getting faster internet speeds than they already are getting.

The base NBN plan from iiNet is for a service with a speed of 5-12Mbps. The next level of plans at 5-25Mbps.

The current ADSL2+ service in theory can achieve 20,000kbps or 20Mbps. However, measuring the speed of services people are using, a typical speed is more around 10-14Mbps. The basic NBN service compared to a well functioning ADSL2+ service is actually slower. For iiNet to call their basic NBN based service Superfast, if it makes people think they're getting a faster service, is misleading.

For those on Optus cable it is not unusual to get up to 30Mbps. This is faster than ADSL2+, but not what I'd call Superfast. In fact, since all the iiNet services that I saw on their page have a maximum speed of 25Mbps, I don't consider any of the plans offered to be Superfast at all.

The NBN can deliver speeds of 50 and 100Mbps. If iiNet were promoting these speeds which are typically above the current speeds consumers are getting, then perhaps using the Superfast term could be considered OK.

Don't be misled by the advertising for the NBN service. The basic plans which most people will more than likely take up are actually around the same speed or slower than ADSL2+ services people currently use, if they have a good ADSL2+ service.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Get an extra month on Office 365 subscription for free.

If you're a home user and don't use Microsoft's Office 365 that much, but still want to have access to the programs, here's a couple of tips to save money on your renewal.

You'll get warned that your Office 365 is about to end. Let it end if you're a Windows user. You'll then be nagged for the next month (roughly 30 days) to reactivate your licence. That gives you a month's free use of Office 365. If you don't need to use Office 365 you can continue with Office 365 where you can only read but not edit documents. This of course doesn't work for Outlook users, but if you have a backup mail client such as your mobile phone, you may be able to skip using Outlook as well for some time.

Now don't just renew the subscription. If you do that you pay the full subscription fee. Head into Officeworks and purchase an Office 365 subscription card. The price at Officeworks is $96 for the Office 365 Home 5 device product. Keep the licence ready for when you really need to use Office again. See how long you can go without using Office 365. The longer you wait the more you save money as you're delaying the next time you need to pay for the subscription. For Australians the price for the Office 365 renewal is $119, so buying a renewal from Officeworks saves some money.

Apple Mac users, unfortunately once Office 365 expires you don't get the extra month. But of course Apple Mail is very good and you have other Apple software you can use, so perhaps you can delay renewing the new licence.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hey Siri? What are you and the rock up to?

An ad appeared on the TV tonight to get people to say "hey siri, what are you and the rock up to", which I suspect will then display the video Apple created featuring the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and Siri.

If you think about this ad it should be a concern. There's an implication how easy it is for Apple to add whatever commands it wants to, to direct people where Apple wants them to go.

When the technology we use is biased to work in a particular way to the benefit of the provider, it can mean you never know if you're getting impartial or biased results. That's when we can start to lose confidence in the technology.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.