Wednesday Newsbytes:  Windows 11 Copilot Learns Useful New Tricks; New Chrome Feature Protects Home Networks; 9 Ways to Tell If You’ve Been Hacked… and more

By | February 21, 2024
Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Wednesday Newsbytes:  Windows 11 Copilot Learns Useful New Tricks; New Chrome Feature Protects Home Networks; 9 Ways to Tell If You’ve Been Hacked… and more

Every day we scan the tech world for interesting news in the world of technology and sometimes from outside the world of technology. Every Wednesday, we feature news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s  ‘Wednesday Newsbytes’ informative and interesting!

Microsoft finally teaches Copilot AI some new tricks – but is this enough to stop Windows 11 users getting impatient?

Don’t look now, but Copilot is becoming more useful – slowly…

Windows 11 just received improvements in testing to make its Copilot AI more useful with implementing changes in the actual OS environment – in other words, the features that we’re all waiting for.

Copilot has a pretty limited repertoire in terms of what the AI can do for manipulating Windows settings (as opposed to its standard tricks in terms of replying to queries, image creation and so forth).

However, the bag of settings tricks just got considerably heavier, with a raft of additions having just been made to preview build 26058 of Windows 11 (in the Canary and Dev testing channels).

That build was actually released a week ago, but Microsoft just ushered in these extra improvements as Neowin noticed.

So, what can Copilot do for you now? There are a number of important accessibility changes, so for example the AI can be instructed to turn on Narrator or Live Captions, or voice functionality (Voice Access or typing).

And you can get Copilot to take out the trash (empty the Recycle Bin), turn on battery saver mode, or even tell you the IP address of your device.

Here’s the full list of the new capabilities of Copilot when it comes to engaging with Windows settings:

Ask for available wireless networks
Ask for system or device information
Ask for battery information
Ask to clean storage
Ask to empty Recycle Bin
Ask to toggle Battery Saver
Ask to show startup apps
Ask for your IP address
Ask for system, device, or storage information

And the new accessibility features are as follows:

Ask to turn on Narrator
Ask to open Voice Access
Ask to turn on Magnifier
Ask to change text size
Ask to start Live Captions
Ask to turn on high-contrast
Ask to start voice typing

This expands on Copilot’s existing powers to tweaks settings, which already includes taking a screenshot, or changing between the dark and light themes, for example…

Read more at TechRadar.

New Google Chrome feature blocks attacks against home networks

Google is testing a new feature to prevent malicious public websites from pivoting through a user’s browser to attack devices and services on internal, private networks.

More simply, Google plans to prevent bad websites on the internet from attacking a visitor’s devices (like printers or routers) in your home or on your computer. People usually consider these devices safe as they’re not directly connected to the internet and are protected by a router.

“To prevent malicious websites from pivoting through the user agent’s network position to attack devices and services which reasonably assumed they were unreachable from the Internet at large, by virtue of residing on the user’s local intranet or the user’s machine,” Google described the idea in a support document.

Block unsafe requests to internal networks

The proposed “Private Network Access protections” feature, which will be in a “warning-only” mode in Chrome 123, conducts checks before a public website (referred to as “site A”) directs a browser to visit another site (referred to as “site B”) within the user’s private network.

The checks include verifying if the request comes from a secure context and sending a preliminary request to see if site B (e.g. HTTP server running on loopback address or router’s web panel) permits access from a public website through specific requests called CORS-preflight requests…

Read more at Bleeping Computer.

9 Ways To Know if You Have Been Hacked

Hackers use many different tactics to steal your personal information. Before you know it, your bank accounts can be empty and your credit ruined.

Fortunately, there are clear ways to tell if you’ve been hacked so you can stop it before it ruins your financial life. I’ll walk you through those signs and share several steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you.
Have You Been Hacked? Here’s How To Know

Let’s talk about some “symptoms” you may notice if you are a victim of hacking.

Running Slowly

There are many reasons why your computer, tablet or smartphone may run slowly, but one reason can be a malware infection. If a hacker installs malware or a keylogger on your computer, tablet or phone you may notice that it is running much more slowly than normal.
Freezing, Crashing and Lockups

While these kinds of issues can happen for reasons other than hacking, go ahead and run a thorough scan with your antivirus software as part of your troubleshooting.

Webcam Behavior

If you notice that the light on your webcam turns on and off when you are not using it or it turns on at specific times — maybe when you launch your web browser or another program — that could be a sign that someone has hacked your webcam.

Other indicators: Your webcam security settings have changed, or you find audio or video files saved to your computer that you did not create…


Edge got a new sidebar button and users are not happy, here is how to turn it off

Microsoft Edge users, have you noticed a new button in the upper-right corner of the browser? Following the recent updates, those with Copilot turned off are now dealing with a button that toggles on or off the browser’s sidebar. And unlike the previous iteration, where the sidebar button in the bottom-right corner would disappear after disabling the sidebar, the new one is permanent. Moreover, it moves the menu button to the left, thus messing up your muscle memory.

Of course, people on Reddit and X are not having it, so there are already plenty of complaints.

Sadly, there is no apparent option to hide the new sidebar button, and the only easy method to get rid of it is to turn on the Copilot button (how convenient for Microsoft). Still, Edge users are not left dead in the waters, and there is a command you can use to remove the permanent sidebar button. The solution is not as elegant as a regular toggle, but at least you can make it work…

Read more at Neowin.

Adobe Brings Conversational AI to Trillions of PDFs with the New AI Assistant in Reader and Acrobat

Today, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) introduced AI Assistant in beta, a new generative AI-powered conversational engine in Reader and Acrobat. Deeply integrated into Reader and Acrobat workflows, AI Assistant instantly generates summaries and insights from long documents, answers questions and formats information for sharing in emails, reports and presentations. AI Assistant is bringing generative AI to the masses, unlocking new value from the information inside the approximately 3 trillion PDFs in the world.

AI Assistant leverages the same artificial intelligence and machine learning models behind Acrobat Liquid Mode, the award-winning technology that supports responsive reading experiences for PDFs on mobile. These proprietary models provide a deep understanding of PDF structure and content, enhancing quality and reliability in AI Assistant outputs.

“Generative AI offers the promise of more intelligent document experiences by transforming the information inside PDFs into actionable, knowledge and professional-looking content,” said Abhigyan Modi, senior vice president, Document Cloud. “PDF is the de facto standard for the world’s most important documents and the capabilities introduced today are just the beginning of the value AI Assistant will deliver through Reader and Acrobat applications…”


Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope these articles were informative, interesting, fun, and helpful. Darcy & TC

Help us help you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *