fbpx

Microsoft warns Windows 7 users of looming end to security updates

windows-7

Microsoft has rolled out a patch that will warn Windows 7 users that security updates will soon come to an end.

The patch rolled out Wednesday warning users of the impending deadline, January 14, 2020, when the software giant will no longer roll out fixes for security flaws and vulnerabilities. The deadline comes some 10 years after Windows 7 first debuted in 2009, more than half a decade before Microsoft’s most recent operating system Windows 10 was introduced.

Microsoft’s move to stop issuing security updates is part of the company’s ongoing effort to push users to its latest software, which stands on a greater security foundation and improvements to mitigate attacks.

Starting April 18, users on Windows 7 will begin receiving warnings about the approaching cut-off.

Windows 7 still commands some 40 percent of the desktop market, according to Net Applications. With exactly 300 days before the deadline, the clock is ticking on consumer security support.

Enterprise customers have the option to pay for extended security updates until 2023.

For years, Microsoft allowed Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free to try to encourage growth and upgrades. With those incentives gone, many only have the lack of security updates to look ahead to, which will put business data and systems at risk of cyber attack.

It’s almost unheard of for Microsoft to patch end-of-life software. In 2017, Microsoft released rare security patches for Windows XP — retired three years earlier — to prevent the spread of WannaCry, a ransomware strain that piggybacked off leaked hacking tools, developed by the National Security Agency.

The ransomware outbreak knocked schools, businesses, and hospitals offline.

Windows 7’s successor, Windows 8, will continue to receive updates until January 10, 2023.

2019 Color Trends

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

2019 Color Trends

When Pantone announced its 2019 color of the year as the bright and vivacious “living coral,” designers and artists all over took notice. And since color and culture go hand in hand, we’ve also seen a few new colors with even more vibrancy now emerging on the scene.

The Impact of Color

Color has always played a huge role in our lives. We all know our favorites, and it’s not uncommon for us to share a few. Each hue transmits a particular feeling, energy and mood, and by learning more about these trends we’ll be able to explore exciting inspirations we might otherwise ignore.

So let’s take a look at a few more emerging color trends for 2019.

Gold

Minimal Black and Gold Flyer Template
Minimal Black and Gold Flyer Template

In the creative, makeup and beauty worlds, the color gold is the champion of luxury brands. Models adjust their selfies with that perfect golden-hour glow, artists attach gold leaf to their canvases, and jewelry designers go in on fantastic gold designs.

And with an ever-growing global economy, it’s not a total shock that our tastes are becoming more expensive. The color gold is, in fact, driving this trend as we find ways to exude a sense of confidence in all areas of our lives. Psychology tells us that gold can make you feel glamorous while also inviting courageous feelings of passion and wisdom. Pretty cool!

Gold Inspiration

Are you feeling a little fancy today? Try out one of these gold design tutorials. I myself have already used this color a few times this year! Not only is it applicable across a variety of projects, but it also ranks as the top searched color on both Envato Market and Envato ElementsHow’s that for gold standard?

How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles
How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles

Recreate the metallic sheen and luster of stunning gold letters with this text effect tutorial! Join Enrique Elicabe as he explains how to use Photoshop layer styles to achieve realistic gold textures and colors.

More Gold Tutorials

Want more gold tutorials? Jump to a few of our favorites.

Natural Greens

Natural Magazine
Natural Magazine

Artists have always been connected to nature—and therefore, the color green. Green is the color of life. It’s associated with feelings of growth, harmony, renewal, and balance. It’s the circle of life all in one color, really. We notice it throughout the seasons, and now that we’re becoming more conscious of our environmental impact, natural green colors are dominating our work spaces, creative activities, and lifestyle designs.

Natural Green Inspiration

Hunter green is one of the most common greens designers are excited by, although you’ll also find many variations. Naturally, it inspires many creative projects with nature-infused themes, but it’s also associated with wealth and finance. So you’ll find it most prevalent in design topics like stationery, websites, and more.

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop
Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

You can also use these colors for a brilliant text effect! Recreate this look with stellar stock images in Adobe Photoshop. Ed Lopez shows us how in this awesome tutorial above.

More Green Tutorials

Unwind and relax with a nature-inspired tutorial. Jump to a few of our favorites.

Neon Green

Green House Logo
Green House Logo

Remember the 90s TV show, Double Dare? Now you can relive all your favorite slime fantasies with one of the boldest fashion statements to hit the catwalk: UFO green. Daring and slightly unusual, this bold color choice has already been favored by fashion giants like Gucci and Versace.

So how do you stand out when everything is already so saturated? Many looking to this bright neon trend might be trying to do just that: stand out.

Neon Green Inspiration

From the catwalks of the spring 2019 runways to the fictional paradises seen in digital art, neon green is definitely a stunner. At the forefront of what you’ll see from this trend are vibrant vacation clothes, graphics, and colorful photography. But you can also check out our tutorials to find out how to use this cool color.

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate
How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

Procreate is the go-to digital painting app for many new artists. And now you can create epic, neon-colored hair with this tutorial from Maria Dimova. Learn how to use different brush settings and layer styles for a vibrant hairstyle.

More Neon Green Tutorials

Try out this wild color out yourself! Check out these helpful tutorials.

More Neon Colors: Pink, Orange, & Purple

Neon Sign Photoshop Effect
Neon Sign Photoshop Effect

Neon green isn’t the only psychedelic color to emerge for 2019.

And last year we called it! Many fan favorites come in the form of electric neon pinks, oranges, and even some unique purple flavors. Neon colors, after all, are an ode to the eclectic retro ambience of the 1980s. Everything certainly pops with them, and if used effectively, they can bring creative, spunky energy to any piece.

Neon Color Inspiration

Fashion designers like Jeremy Scott are also going full-on construction worker with bright, neon yellow accents for jumpsuits and other quirky designs.

Need some neon inspiration? Try your hand at a bold photo effect like the one below.

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect
How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

In this tutorial, Abbey Esparza shows you how to add a punk-rock pop art vibe to your portraits in Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to create the perfect neon glow and how to bring more vibrancy and brightness to any portrait.

More Neon Color Tutorials

Excited to try your hand at these colors? Check out these amazing tutorials.

Cobalt Blue

Blue Polygon Backgrounds
Blue Polygon Backgrounds

Will we ever grow tired of blue? Blue is a color you can feel and also design with. And the cobalt version refers to the extraordinary pure blue pigment discovered by chemists at the turn of the 19th century.

Cobalt Blue Inspiration

Cobalt blue was a favorite among legends like Vincent van Gogh. It also inspires a magical energy you might find in many neon-themed designs. Try out the one below for a cool text effect.

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

This insightful Photoshop lesson comes from designer Laura Keung. Follow along as she shows you how to use layer blend modes and multiple brushes for a unique neon look.

More Cobalt Blue Tutorials

Looking for something to make with cobalt blue? Check out these tutorials.

Try These Trends

How will color guide you in 2019? Explore these trends and test out new color palettes to improve your skills.  For more help, find exciting new tutorials to try over on Tuts+.


About the Author Melody Nieves

I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+!

How to hear and delete Alexa conversations

alexa

Did you know Alexa records everything you say? Here’s how to delete it all

Navigate to the Alexa app you use to control your Alexa device. It’s probably on a mobile device you have, and the icon is a light blue with a white circle. Open up the app, and sign in using your Amazon account password if necessary. If you’ve never used your Alexa app before, or if it’s been a very long time since you’ve used it, Alexa may run you through a quick setup procedure first. This only takes about a minute or so to get through.

When you arrive at the home screen, look in the upper left-hand corner and select the icon that looks like dashed lines, or the main menu. Look down to the bottom of the menu and select the option that says Settings.

Alexa Voice History

From here, look at the top of the new menu and select Alexa Account. This will take you to yet another menu. At the bottom you should see an option that says Alexa Privacy. Select this to begin.

STEP 2: SORT AND GO THROUGH YOUR RECENT ALEXA HISTORY

Alexa Voice History Screen

The Alexa Privacy section will give you several different options for reviewing the sensitive information that Alexa has collected. You may want to spend some time here. But for this particular task, you will want to go to Review Voice History. This will open a new screen with all your recorded Alexa conversations.

At the top of the screen, you will see an option to change the Date Range. You can choose options for seeing today’s commands, yesterday’s, and so on, all the way to viewing your entire history. If you really want to weed through all your recordings, you need to choose All History. This will display all your conversations with Alexa when they occurred, and on what device.

STEP 3: DELETE YOUR HISTORY AS YOU WISH

Alexa Conversations

As you view your recordings, you will notice that some have the text of your conversations, like, “Alexa, is it gonna snow today?” but that other recordings say, “Text not available – audio was not intended for Alexa.” These recordings happen when Alexa is still listening for a second after answering your question (it’s caught me mocking it before), or if nearby conversations sounds like someone said “Alexa” but the voice assistant determines that no one was really talking to it. You can click on these recordings to play them and see what they are if you are curious.

To the left of each recording, you will see a checkbox. Select the checkbox of every recording that you want to delete. Then go up top and choose Delete Selected Recordings to remove them all.

STEP 4: DELETE YOUR WHOLE HISTORY AT ONCE IF YOU NEED TO

If you don’t want to take the time to review all your recordings, or don’t really care what they say, you can also delete them all without looking. Simply look at the top of the Review Voice History menu and select Delete All Recordings for All History.

Delete Alexa Conversations Through Alexa

You can also delete your entire history from your computer without going to the Alexa app. Simply go to Amazon’s Manage Your Content and Devices site, and make sure that you are in the Devices tab. Here you will see all the devices connect to this Amazon account. Select an Alexa device, and then look below the name of the device to see an option that says Delete Voice Recordings. Select this, and Amazon will pop up a quick warning screen. Select Delete, and you should get a message that says Your deletion request was received. All done!

FINAL NOTE ON DELETING ALEXA RECORDINGS

Deleting Alexa recordings is an important part of your privacy, and Alexa recordings have made their way into prosecution cases before, although there’s not a lot of precedence for this sort of thing so far. We understand if you don’t want your recordings existing out there in the cloud. However, there is an important caveat to deleting your messages: Alexa uses your recordings to help improve the accuracy of its listening functions. In other words, the more you talk to Alexa, the smarter it becomes at recognizing your voice and understanding what you’re saying. When you delete all your recordings, you’re getting rid of Alexa’s “memory” of your voice, so Alexa may have more trouble recognizing your commands. It’s a small price to pay, but worth noting. You can always build the recognition back up again with new voice commands.

Google Says Upgrade To Windows 10 After Critical Flaws Found In Chrome And Windows 7

windows7

GETTY

Earlier this week Google released an update for the Chrome web browser that it urged users to ensure was implemented immediately. That was because the Threat Analysis Group at Google had uncovered a critical zero-day vulnerability that was already being exploited in the wild. Now a Google security engineer, Clement Lecigne, has warned that another zero-day vulnerability that is also being exploited, impacting Windows 7 users, was being used together with the Chrome exploit to take over Windows systems. Google is now urging all Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10, as well as make sure their Chrome browser is up to date, to escape the attention of the combined threat.

The Windows zero-day is a local privilege escalation in the win32k.sys kernel driver that allows it to escape the security sandbox. The vulnerability can be used to elevate system privileges by an attacker who might then be able to execute remote malicious code. “The vulnerability is a NULL pointer dereference in win32k!MNGetpItemFromIndex when NtUserMNDragOver() system call is called under specific circumstances” Clement Lecigne said, adding “we strongly believe this vulnerability may only be exploitable on Windows 7 due to recent exploit mitigations added in newer versions of Windows. To date, we have only observed active exploitation against Windows 7 32-bit systems.”

The Google Threat Analysis Group disclosed the zero-day to Microsoft who have said they are working on a fix but, as of yet, there is no indication of how long this might take. Currently, the status of this vulnerability has to remain as a critical and unpatched one. For this reason, Google is advising users of Windows 7 should upgrade to Windows 10 and apply patches from Microsoft as soon as they become available. “Not all vulnerabilities are created equal, and many, if considered on their own, are not cause for undue concern,” says Jim O’Gorman, president of Offensive Security, who continues “if they were flagged by the organization’s security solution, they likely would not have been prioritized in patching. It’s when a group of seemingly minor flaws are chained together that they can be used to devastating effect.”

You can follow Davey on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn and find more of his stories at happygeek.com