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used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Steve Symanovich

You’re probably no stranger to those little pop-up windows. They tell you software updates are available for your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

You might be tempted to click on that “Remind me later” button. Don’t do it. Or, at least don’t put off updating your software for long.

Software updates are important to your digital safety and cyber security. The sooner you update, the sooner you’ll feel confident your device is more secure — until the next update reminder.

Why are software updates so important? There are a lot of reasons. Here are 5 that show why it’s important to update software regularly.

1. Software updates do a lot of things

Software updates offer plenty of benefits. It’s all about revisions. These might include repairing security holes that have been discovered and fixing or removing computer bugs. Updates can add new features to your devices and remove outdated ones.  Read more...


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Update: Microsoft has stopped deploying build 1809 due to reports of lost data. At this time there is not a new release window. More information can be found at this link.

Microsoft Windows runs 87% of the world’s computers.

Windows 10 is the latest version and keeps evolving to bring you the best experience when it comes to your phone and PC.

In October 2018 the latest update to the popular software is rolling out and there are even more changes. But which features are really worth your while and which are just fluff?

Here are five of the most exciting Windows 10 features new in October.

Dark Mode

One of the most simplest yet biggest updates to Windows is Dark Mode.

But why is dark mode so popular? There are three main reasons.

One reason is a dark screen will extend your battery life, which is always welcome. Another reason is that less blue light has been proven to help your sleep cycle.  Read more...


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used with permission from Microsoft, by Elana Pidgeon

Did you know there’s a new feature in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to help you easily find what matters to you across your devices?

It’s called Timeline, and it lets you go back in time to past activities you’ve worked on across your devices, so you can jump back into them like you never left. So, if you’re looking for a specific document, image, or video you worked on yesterday or a week ago, Timeline makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for. You can even pick up what you were doing on your iOS or Android device on your Windows 10 PC when you’re ready to get back to it.

Here’s what you can do with Timeline:

  • Go back and forth in time. Easily scroll back in time to find things you were working on earlier today or a few weeks ago.*
  Read more...

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At the end of May the Cisco Talos security team released information on a new attack on consumer network infrastructure. The attack affects dozens of models of routers commonly used in home and small business networks. It is estimated that over 500,000 devices have been infected and the threat is significant enough that the FBI released a public service announcement (Read Announcement)

New information on this malware has been released indicating that it has additional functionality for persisting through a reboot, as well as for stealing user data. Disinfecting a device will require a factory reset as well as flashing the latest firmware. SpireTech is scanning the networks of our Managed Services customers (VIP Support Program) to identify any potentially vulnerable devices and perform the necessary remediation. If you are one of our Basic Support customers (which does not include our proactive services) we would be happy to work with you to create a plan to identify if you have any vulnerable devices.  Read more...


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Microsoft released their latest update to Windows on April 30th and will be pushing it out through windows update starting May 8th.  This is the most recent major update after the Fall Creators Update was released last October. Spire Tech strives to be proactive with our VIPsupport clients, so we will be conducting testing, before deploying this update, both for general installation problems and issues with software that was previously identified as problematic with the Fall Creators Update.

Once testing has been completed by our technicians we will determine a schedule to roll out the update to our clients.  Managed Services clients who wish to get more information about their update schedule are encouraged to contact their Technical Client Manager (TCM).

With the new update comes new features that Microsoft believes enhances the Windows 10 experience. To hopefully keep from overwhelming you, here is a selection of 3 new significant changes.  Read more...


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What are they and can they affect you?

These are two computer security vulnerabilities that were publicly disclosed on January 3, 2018.  Due to technical issues involved with modern processors, each of these vulnerabilities pose a potential risk for theft of sensitive user and system data that had previously been believed to be secure.  Both vulnerabilities take advantage of a feature of modern Intel CPU’s called Speculative Execution, this allows the processor to speed up branching operations by starting to execute what it thinks is the most likely outcome before the results have returned. In modern Intel processors this technique is beneficial as it significantly increases execution speed in most workloads. However, Meltdown specifically allows an attacker to exploit Speculative Execution and see the contents of Kernel space memory.  Spectre allows programs to execute code they should not be able to, and view data within other user-space programs. Any system that allows arbitrary code to be executed is potentially vulnerable to these types of attacks including javascript executed within your web browser.  Read more...


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Microsoft regularly releases annual updates to their current operating system, this year it is known as the Fall Creators update (Build 1709).

As more machines are being updated with this release SpireTech’s support specialists have noticed a trend in calls reporting Windows 10 system instabilities.

Some of the concerns that SpireTech is aware of include:

  • Update causes Remote Desktop (RDP) to stop functioning
  • AutoDesk software becoming unstable after the update and frequently crashing
  • Various printer vendors are working to update drivers to support Microsoft’s changes
  • Microsoft .Net Framework packages have become unstable and seem to be causing software crashes
  • Microsoft Office365 Users have reported being unable to install some other software applications if the Office suite software is running at the time

SpireTech’s VIP Managed Service customers, who have their patches managed by Spire, don’t need to be concerned about these issues as this update patch will be deferred until it can appropriately be applied.  Read more...


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When was the last time you thought about software updates and hardware upgraes? For many, updating software and hardware is not a priority because “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However, it’s clear that today’s cyber attacks prey on vulnerabilities present in old software and hardware. (This holds especially true for operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.)

It may not be “broke”, but it’s still old. “Working” does not mean “secure”. Old software and hardware simply do not have the latest defenses like security patches and advances in firmware to keep you safe from new and ever-evolving threats.

Update your software

It’s not uncommon to see people working on outdated, unpatched Windows operating systems or other software that is sometimes 6 or more years old. You’ve probably heard this before, but it always bears repeating: Keep your software updated and patched regularly and automatically, and upgrade to newer software versions as frequently as you can.  Read more...


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As many Windows 10 users have found out, the new update procedures can cause massive problems for users. No longer can you delay updates until it is convenient – only reboots. Now windows will run updates as soon as Microsoft decides you need them, and worst of all this latest round of updates seems to be slowing even the most powerful machines down to a crawl while the updates are applying.   Hopefully Microsoft will see fit to add control over updates back in.

Here at SpireTech we have firsthand experience with just how crippling it can be to have many of the machines in an office become unusable at once. Last week several of the Windows 10 machines in our office started responding slowly at first, but within minutes we were unable to perform most basic tasks.

Things like the control panel and task manager would take upwards of 10 minutes to load. A little digging revealed that it was the Delivery Optimization process, this process handles the Windows 10 feature that allows it to send and receive updates from other machines on your network.  Read more...


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After so many warnings about the end of support Windows Server 2003 (and last year, end of support for Windows XP), it might be easy to think that IT professionals are alarmists. How can the end of support for Server 2003 be that serious? Unfortunately, it is as dramatic as it sounds. It is, literally, the end of support for this Microsoft product: if something goes wrong, there is no help.

Now that support for Server 2003 is over, as of July 14, 2015, these are the three major issues businesses and organizations face if they continue to use Server 2003.

  1. Security vulnerabilities.
    Businesses that fail to migrate to a new version of Windows Server are opening the door to cybercriminals and welcoming hackers. Businesses running Server 2003 are sitting ducks without protection from future attacks, and cybercriminals know it. Microsoft will no longer provide security patches or critical fixes. There is no doubt hackers are already at work preparing attacks.
  Read more...
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