Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Processor Flaws Give Hackers Access to Your Data

Episode 1452

Processor

2018 brought about the news that every processor built in the last ten years have a flaw in them that could give hackers access to sensitive data. Initially believed to affect just Intel processors, the latest is that this affects every single processor made, regardless of platform.

The flaws utilizes a technique called "processor speculation," which enables the processor to speculate what the user will do next in order to accelerate performance. But the feature also gives hackers access to sensitive L2 cache data like passwords. It's especially true for networks.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1451

Dick DeBartolo

The first gadget of the year by Dickie D is the Raphycool Selfie Light Ring. And it has a great additional feature — a built-in power bank. That means if your phone is running low on battery as you're shooting pictures or videos, you can plug your device into the Selfie Ring's 1500mAh battery. The selfie clip on light has 3 levels light: Low, Medium and High. The company says it works for 12 hours on low, 4~6 hours on medium, and 2 hours on high when fully charged. That of course will be less if you're also using the built in battery to charge your device.

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning hard drives?

Episode 1451

Gary from Buffalo, NY
SSD

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning drives? Leo says yes. They are very robust and much faster. Will they wear out? Leo says SSDs use a technique called "wear leveling" to keep the drive consistently wearing and to extend the life of the drive. That's why Leo recommends using an SSD as the main drive, and storing data on a spinning data drive. Let the hard drive handle the constant read-write cycles, while the SSD handles all the performance.

Processor Hack Affects All Computers Made in Last Ten Years

Episode 1451

Processor

The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.

Why can't I access USB in my Virtual Machine?

Episode 1449

Steve from Upland, CA
VirtualBox

Steve has a Windows 10 machine that he also runs Hyper-V Virtual Machine on, but he loses access to his USB ports in doing so. How can he access USB through Virtual Machine? Leo says it could be in the settings. VMWare has that access. He should look in the settings and see if he has to enable and assign it.

The chatroom says that Microsoft wants you to use Remote Desktop to pass it along. That seems counter-intuitive, but it may be that Microsoft didn't want to compete with VMWare.

How can I hack my Echo?

Episode 1449

Bill from San Carlos, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Bill wants to know if he can hack the Echo to make it more powerful. Or would he be better off going with Google Home? Leo says that both are good, so he should pick one and stick to it. Leo advises buying the cheaper Echo Dot. It has Bluetooth and line out, so he can connect it to a really nice powered speaker. He can also do a party mode where they are linked and synced together. He can then create zones for different music, or have them all play the same thing.

What is the Fingbox?

Episode 1449

Ken from Pennsylvania
Fingbox

Ken wants to know about a new hardware gadget called Fingbox. Leo says that Fing is a good company, but this is their first internet of things hardware offering. The key here is, will it be kept up to date? Will it be maintained in the long term? It looks like a cool Echo type of device, but only time will tell.

How can I transfer Windows 10 to a new hard drive?

Episode 1449

Bill from Upland, CA
HP Pavilion Power Desktop

Bill has an HP Pavilion Power Desktop that he just got a new SSD for. He wants to know how he can transfer over his Windows 10 to it. Leo says he should make a recovery drive with a USB thumb drive. Then he can put the new drive in, and use that recovery drive to reinstall Windows. Leo would also recommend keeping the old hard drive as a data drive.