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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, May 23, 2016

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Orwellian: Is your computer acting strangely?

For the record: Wonder Wife and yours truly are quite happy using the Windows 7 operating system. Nevertheless, those computer geniuses at MicroSoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, want us to "upgrade" to Windows 10. In fact, they are trying to force Windows 10 down our throats.

As Mac users are eager to point out, the history of MicroSoft upgrades is, at best, checkered. For example, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 offered a different way of interfacing with users of Window XP that proved virtually unfathomable. Fortunately, part of that problem could be solved by downloading a program from a different provider that made the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 interface look like the tried-and-true Windows XP interface. A case of one step forward and two steps back.

Given that computer hackers are constantly trying to infiltrate computer operating systems, it is necessary for MicroSoft’s engineers to send out "upgrades" designed to defeat those attacks. And that’s fine. Usually, these "upgrades" arrive just before bedtime with the warning to not shut down your computer. So, one turns off the computer monitor and goes to bed, trusting the engineers in Redmond to do their thing and shut down your computer when they are finished.

But now, after weeks of receiving messages from Redmond that it is time to download Windows 10, our computers began, unbidden, to download Windows 10. Our immediate reaction was to go to Google and seek help from other users of Windows 7. "How to stop Windows 10 from downloading" had already been asked by who knows how many other Windows 7 users? Half-dozen articles on how to stop Windows 10 were already on Google ready for reading.

Turns out, the fix is relatively simple. People who do not want Windows 10 can download a program called: Never10. If your computer has yet to be "attacked" by Windows 10, Never10 will prevent Windows 10 from downloading, unbidden. If, during the night, Windows 10 has already been inserted onto your computer, Never10 will find Windows 10 and delete it.

Moreover, computer users with monitors that have built-in cameras need to be aware that hackers can and have captured the faces of innocent users and attached their faces to porn actors plying their trade and mounted them on the Internet. A simple fix is to place a Post-it note over the camera lens.

Users should also be aware that even if you turn off your computer, it is possible for expert hackers to turn your computer on, steal your data, and modify any of your programs. A few years ago, at various aviation conferences attended by members of our aero-space industry, vendors were giving flash drives away as an attendee favor. Turns out, the unwitting vendors were giving away flash drives that came from Red China bearing a hidden program that would allow Red Chinese hackers easy access to computers that had been infected by the simple insertion of the flash drive into any computer’s USB port. The objective, of course, was to steal precious aero-space engineering secrets.

From news reports, it appears then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was either unaware or heedless of these kinds of threats.

Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the Army Language School, the George Washington University, the Infantry School, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.

©2016. William Hamilton.

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©1999-2017. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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