Apple disables FaceTime until security bug is fixed

Update: Apple released iOS 12.1.4 on February 7, 2019 to fix the FaceTime issue.   FaceTime is now available at the Apple System Status page.

USA Today and the Washington Post have reported that some iPhone FaceTime users have been able to listen to people they are calling before the call is answered.   FaceTime runs on iPhones and iPads running iOS 12.1 as well as Macs running macOS Mojave.

Apple is currently working on a fix for this security issue.   FaceTime has been temporarily taken down as noted on the Apple System Status page.

End of support for Windows 7 and other Microsoft products

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 after January 14th 2020 and will no longer provide security updates.  For volume license customers, Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for a fee through January 2023. A future option may be Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) for Windows 7, which was announced in 2018 but not yet available in Preview mode.

Update: paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for businesses of all sizes through January 2023.

Office 2010 will no longer be supported as of October 13th 2020.   Microsoft is also ending support for Windows 10 Mobile OS for smartphones on December 10th 2019 and recommends that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device.

Internet Explorer 11 will be the last release, and Microsoft has released more information at its Internet Explorer FAQ page.

Support life cycle dates for Microsoft products can be found at support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search.

HaveIBeenPwned website checks for emails and passwords included in data breaches

Security researcher Troy Hunt recently published his findings about a huge store of 773 million email accounts with some password information that had previously been stored at a location available to hackers. 

To verify if a specific email address was included in his list of data breaches, enter it at Troy Hunt’s website haveibeenpwned.com.  Passwords can be verified separately at haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords.

Apple AirPlay allows wireless communication between compatible devices

Apple AirPlay is a wireless protocol that allows MacOS computers, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs to wirelessly send content to compatible TVs and speakers.  Each device must meet Apple’s system requirements in order to use AirPlay.

Apple AirPlay is currently at version 2.0 and uses Apple HomeKit technology.  This wireless protocol functionality was originally developed under the names Apple AirTunes or Apple AirPort.

Smart devices and media centers that are not Apple products can communicate using Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) or Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standards.

Companies that track U.S. consumer data

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency that enforces federal consumer financial laws, publishes a list of companies that track data of U.S. consumers.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires companies to give consumers copies of their personal data reports.

Some of the more relevant companies on this list include:

LexisNexis has a free personal report available which shows data compiled from various public sources.

An online dispute can be filed with Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and LexisNexis if there are errors in a credit file.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is hosting its annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from January 8th – 11th 2019 in Las Vegas.

Some of the future products that were displayed include:

A full list of new products introduced at CES 2019 may be found at www.ces.tech/Media/New-Product-Launches.aspx.