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5 Best Budget Monitors Of 2019

We buy our own products and put them under the same testing methodology so that you can easily compare them. Unlike most websites, we do not get our products directly from the manufacturers, which means our units aren’t handpicked and actually represent what you would buy yourself. We spend a lot of time comparing the products side-by-side to validate our results and we keep them until they are discontinued so we can continually go back and make sure our reviews are always accurate.

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to get a decent monitor. Whether you’ll be using it for schoolwork, the office, or gaming, there are budget monitors that can fit any need. Cheaper monitors are usually smaller, though, and most of them have 1080p resolutions, which isn’t ideal for everyone.

We’ve reviewed 71 monitors, and below you’ll find our picks for the top 5 budget models that are available for purchase in 2019.

Dell P2417H: The best cheap monitor

Dell P2417H

Dell P2417H – RTINGS.com

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Type: IPS

Resolution: 1920×1080

The Dell P2417H is the best budget monitor that we’ve tested so far. This 24”, 1080p monitor delivers decent picture quality, and has a great response time and low input lag, perfect for casual gaming. This is also a good monitor for office use, as it has great ergonomics, so it’s easy to place in an ideal viewing position and it looks great when viewed at an angle, thanks to the IPS panel.

This is a pretty bare-bones monitor, with very few additional features. There is a built-in USB hub, with two ports on the back, and two ports on the side, which can be very convenient. It doesn’t have any extra gaming features, like FreeSync, but it has low input lag and a great response time, so it’s still a good choice for casual gamers.

Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, the Dell P2417H doesn’t look as good in a dark room, and it can’t get very bright, which might be an issue if you’re in a bright room.

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Dell P2217H: The best compact budget monitor

Dell P2217H

Dell P2217H – RTINGS.com

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Type: IPS

Resolution: 1920×1080

Variable Refresh Rate: No

Size: 22″

If you like the Dell P2417H but want something even smaller and more portable, check out the Dell P2217H. This monitor is a slightly smaller variant of the other Dell, and it offers nearly identical performance.

The small size of this monitor is great for mobile professionals, as it’s relatively compact and easy to carry. There’s no quick release on the stand, though, which isn’t ideal. This monitor has the same inputs as the larger model, including the useful built-in USB hub.

Unfortunately, it has slightly worse black uniformity than the P2417H, which isn’t great for dark room viewing. Otherwise, this is a decent monitor for most uses.

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ViewSonic XG2402: The best cheap gaming monitor

ViewSonic XG2402

ViewSonic XG2402 – RTINGS.com

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Type: TN

Resolution: 1920×1080

Variable Refresh Rate: FreeSync

Size: 24″

If you want better gaming performance than the Dell P2417H and Dell P2217H offer, the ViewSonic XG2402 is the best cheap gaming monitor that we’ve tested so far. This monitor delivers decent overall picture quality, and it has excellent motion handling and low input lag. This monitor also has a great selection of inputs, and has a built-in USB hub on the back, similar to the two Dells.

This monitor delivers a great gaming experience. It has an excellent 144Hz refresh rate, and it has an impressive response time, so your favorite games have very little blur behind fast-moving objects. This monitor also supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card.

Unfortunately, this monitor’s TN panel isn’t great for dark room viewing, and the image degrades when viewed at an angle. Overall, though, this is a great budget gaming monitor that should please most gamers.

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Samsung C27F398: The best budget gaming monitor for a dark room

Samsung C27F398

Samsung C27F398 – RTINGS.com

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Type: VA

Resolution: 1920×1080

Variable Refresh Rate: FreeSync

Size: 27″

If you want a larger monitor with good dark room performance on a budget, check out the Samsung C27F398. This 27”, 1080p monitor delivers decent overall picture quality, with very good motion handling and great low input lag. The VA panel on this monitor delivers much better dark room viewing than the ViewSonic XG2402, as it produces deep, uniform blacks.

This monitor delivers a good overall gaming experience. It supports AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, even when connected via DisplayPort to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. This monitor is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, though, which might disappoint some gamers.

Unfortunately, like the ViewSonic, the image on this monitor degrades when viewed at an angle, which isn’t ideal for some uses. Overall, though, it’s a good budget gaming monitor.

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Dell U2415: The best budget office monitor

Dell U2415

Dell U2415 – RTINGS.com

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Type: IPS

Resolution: 1920×1200

Variable Refresh Rate: No

Size: 24″

The Dell U2415 is the best budget office monitor that we’ve tested so far. It delivers decent picture quality, okay motion handling, and low input lag. The 1920×1200 screen is a bit better for multitasking, and the stand has great ergonomics, so it’s easy to place the screen in the ideal viewing position.

Like most IPS monitors, this one has great wide viewing angles. This is great for sharing your screen with someone else, like clients or coworkers. This monitor gets decently bright and has good reflection handling, so there shouldn’t be any issues seeing the screen in a bright room.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as good when viewed in a dark room, as it has mediocre contrast and bad black uniformity. Overall, though, it’s a good office monitor for most people.

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This guide may have been updated. To see all measurements and the current recommendations for budget monitors, please go here.

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RTINGS.com RTINGS.com

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Source: 5 Best Budget Monitors Of 2019

 

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Microsoft Confirms Change To Windows 10 Passwords That Nobody Saw Coming

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Ask a bunch of security professionals what makes a secure password and you’ll get a bunch of different answers. Some will argue that it’s all about length, others that randomness and complexity are king while everyone will agree that password reuse is never acceptable.

Some will still argue that giving passwords an expiry date, after which they must be changed, is an essential part of the business security policy picture. It would appear that, with the arrival of the Windows 10 May update, Microsoft is finally no longer going to be amongst that latter group. According to Aaron Margosis, a principal consultant with Microsoft, Windows 10 will no longer recommend “ancient and obsolete” periodic password expiration in the security baseline settings starting with the May update.

While being most welcome, it has to be said nobody I have spoken to in the information security business saw that coming. Not least as the arguments for password expiration have been comprehensively dismantled for some years now yet Microsoft has not shown any inclination to jump from this particular sinking security ship.

The security baseline configuration has been part of the Windows staple diet for organizations wanting secure operating system settings out of the box for many years. It is actually a whole set of system policies that make good sense as a starting point for secure postures for many and as the default positioning for some. Things become problematic for organizations when they undergo an audit which uses the Microsoft security baseline and penalizes them for non-compliance if they have something other than the current 60 day Windows password expiration default maximum.

Yet, as Margosis writes “recent scientific research calls into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices such as password expiration policies, and points instead to better alternatives such as enforcing banned-password lists and multi-factor authentication.”

The United States National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has been recommending password expiration is dropped from security policy since 2016. Now it seems that Microsoft has finally caught up and will be dropping the requirement starting from Windows 10 (1903) and Windows Server (1903) onward. This makes perfect sense to me as someone who has been following information security trends for the best part of three decades.

Things have changed over those years, not least the technology that now enables threat actors to crack simplistic passwords in the blink of an eye. Forcing users to change passwords over relatively short timeframes inevitably leads to those users choosing the simplest, and therefore most memorable, passwords possible. Stand up everyone who has never seen incremental numbering of short passwords in a corporate environment. I’m guessing everyone is still sitting down.

The days of simplistic passwords changed often are long gone, replaced by longer and more complex ones which don’t expire but rather are reinforced with those banned password lists and multifactor authentication for example. “While we recommend these alternatives, they cannot be expressed or enforced with our recommended security configuration baselines,” Margosis says “which are built on Windows’ built-in Group Policy settings and cannot include customer-specific values.” What Microsoft isn’t doing is changing baseline requirements for minimum password length, history, or complexity.

It also isn’t stopping organizations from configuring password expiration if they must, for regulatory compliance reasons for example. “The password-expiration security option is still in Windows and will remain there,” Margosis says, adding “by removing it from our baseline rather than recommending a particular value or no expiration, organizations can choose whatever best suits their perceived needs without contradicting our guidance.”

Please follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find more of my stories at happygeek.com

I have been covering the information security beat for three decades and Contributing Editor at PC Pro Magazine since the first issue way back in 1994.

Source: Microsoft Confirms Change To Windows 10 Passwords That Nobody Saw Coming

Asus Just Gave You 1 Million Reasons To Switch From Windows To Linux

Cyber-security and antivirus company Kaspersky dropped a bomb on Asus laptop users this week, revealing that malware was distributed through the Asus Live Update utility. It masqueraded as a legitimate security update, and even boasted a “verified” certificate — hosted on Asus servers — to make it appear valid. Kaspersky has deemed this attack “one of the biggest supply-chain incidents ever.” Such attacks spiked 78% between 2017 and 2018. This shouldn’t raise alarms for just Asus users. It should prompt you to seriously consider whether you want Windows on your PC. Because the possibility of this ever happening on a desktop Linux OS like Ubuntu is minuscule.

My own Asus Republic of Gamers laptop — now running Linux

Jason Evangelho

How Serious Is ShadowHammer?

In the long tradition of scary codenames for such attacks, Kaspersky has labeled the attack “ShadowHammer.” The company says that according to its statistics, more than 57,000 users of Kaspersky Lab products (such as Kaspersky Anti-Virus) have already installed it. However, they estimate that its true reach extends to 1 million Asus computers.

To my knowledge this is only eclipsed by the infamous CCleaner attack, which was distributed to 2.7 million Windows PCs.

The motivations for the malware attack are unclear, but it apparently targeted only 600 specific MAC addresses. Once found, the attack would escalate to install more software to further compromise the system. There doesn’t seem to be a reason that the attackers couldn’t have activated this on every single computer affected.

For an informative and detailed discussion on this attack, listen to TechSnap Episode 400.

What’s even more frightening is that Kaspersky discovered the same type of technique used against the Asus Live Update software was also leveraged against three other vendors. The company promised to reveal more substantial information at an upcoming Security Analyst Summit in Singapore.

When contacted by Kaspersky, The Verge reports that Asus evidently denied the attack originated from its servers. In a follow-up press release, however, Asus did acknowledge that this was a “sophisticated attack” on its Live Update servers.

No apology was issued. This is not how you build trust. (Especially since this is far from being the first security blunder Asus has made.)

Asus has since patched the Live Update software and issued a tool for users to determine if they owned one of the specific computers targeted. Given the circumstances, I’m not even going to link to it, but it’s available via this press release page.

An FAQ posted alongside the press release has a stinging piece of advice for users who were affected by the malware attack: “Immediately run a backup of your files and restore your operating system to factory settings,” it states. “This will completely remove the malware from your computer. In order to ensure the security of your information, ASUS recommends that you regularly update your passwords.”

What really rattles my cage about this situation is the fact that Kaspersky uses the word “teaser” in the URL associated with its ShadowHammer post, as if this is some kind of movie trailer. Then the company warns that three other Asia-based software vendors were attacked using the same method without revealing who they are.

But all of this information is just background for the real point I’m trying to make.

Why Ubuntu (And Linux In General) Is Safer

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Dell put forth considerable effort into making the popular XPS 13 the perfect Ubuntu laptop

Jason Evangelho

Consider how many companies have independent control over the software and hardware inside your Windows PC. Intel, AMD, Dell, Nvidia, Realtek among several others. The vast majority of the code they use running on your computer is not open source. That means it’s not subject to inspection by the hundreds of millions of people using it. The code can’t be independently verified. The code comes from multiple locations across multiple update utilities.

On Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, my firmware updates, software updates and security updates come from a single source: the operating system’s built-in software center.

This next part is important: only a select few individuals at Asus are responsible for ensuring the software and firmware being sent through the Asus Live Update utility is safe. And it’s almost certain no one at Microsoft saw the code before it before it went out to those 1 million Asus laptop users.

Rather than base my entire argument about Linux being safer on personal experience or subjective opinions, I reached out to Alex Murray at Canonical. Murray is the Security Tech Lead for Ubuntu, a Linux distribution used by hundreds of millions. It powers everything from IoT devices to home desktops; supercomputers to the web servers delivering the majority of your experiences on the internet. Netflix is powered by Ubuntu, as is Amazon Web Services. Outside your home, Lyft and Uber are powered by Ubuntu.

My question for Murray was straightforward. Can something like ShadowHammer happen on Linux?

Murray admits that while this sort of attack is a possibility on Linux, it would be a lot harder to pull off.

Ubuntu is based on Debian, one of the the largest and most mature Linux distributions available. “Many of our source packages originate from Debian where we add Ubuntu-specific patches on top,” Murray says.

As such, Murray explains that there are “many, many people who can detect any possible malicious changes to a software package.” That’s the beauty of open source. Changes are submitted publicly, and every line of code can be scrutinized.

Of course, there needs to be a more elaborate system of checks and balances that doesn’t rely solely on community.

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Alex Murray, Ubuntu Tech Lead at Canonical Ltd.

Alex Murray

“Various teams of Canonical employees are responsible for maintaining the packages in the ‘main’ section of the Ubuntu software archive, and as such we provide further review and oversight of the source code in these packages,” Murray says. “Importantly, only trusted individuals are allowed to publish software package updates, which again raises the bar to prevent this kind of attack. Finally, we have a strong and dedicated community of developers and users who help to provide an even further level of ‘community’ oversight as well – which gives us a good defense in depth approach to detecting this kind of attack.”

In a nutshell, this means even if a trusted developer is compromised, there are various other individuals who will likely take notice.

But even that isn’t enough, so Canonical takes things a step further.

“From an end-user point of view, Ubuntu uses a signed archive approach where each package is cryptographically hashed and the list of hashes signed in such a manner that our package manager will not install packages which fail the signature and integrity checks,” Murray explains.

This means that even if an Ubuntu mirror (an external software source not directly managed by Canonical) was compromised and someone uploaded malicious copies of packages there, it would fail the signature check and would not be installed.

“We offer digital signatures to verify the integrity of the installation ISO images as well,” Murray says. “So together with the repository signatures, users can be confident that the software they are downloading and installing is what is published by Ubuntu, and with all the various reviews outlined above, we have many opportunities to detect any possible malicious changes to the software packages being published.”

Beyond these methods of ensuring security for its users, I’d recommend this article which explains in detail how Ubuntu delivers system updates and why it’s a more elegant and less frustrating experience than on Windows.

Securing Firmware Through The Blockchain

Firmware updates are an often overlooked — but easily manipulated — potential attack source. One of my favorite Linux distributions, Pop!_OS, uses the power of blockchain to ensure that the firmware updates being delivered to its users have no possible way of being manipulated. And they take an amazing approach to their server setup.

“Firmware updates are delivered using a build server, which contains the new firmware, and a signing server, which verifies that the new firmware came from inside the company,” writes parent company System76. “The two servers are only connected via a serial cable. The lack of a network between the two means that one server cannot be accessed if entry is achieved through the other server.”

System76 sets up multiple build servers alongside that primary one. For a firmware update to be verified, it must be identical on all servers. “If even one build server contains a compromised firmware update, this update cannot proceed to signing and will not be delivered to our customers,” System76 says.

This is very similar to how cryptocurrency mining works, and is arguably a more useful and forward-thinking implementation of blockchain.

Choose Linux

The bottom line is that Windows has too many potential attack points, most of which are not directly overseen by the very company who develops the operating system. The vast majority of the code cannot be audited by the community. There are less checks and balances in place to ensure that these attacks are prevented. After seeing how Ubuntu and various other Linux distributions ensure the security of their users, the Microsoft Windows approach starts to seem a lot less sane.

And if you’re wary of Linux because you think its archaic and not user-friendly, here are some articles that may change your mind, including one to help find the perfect OS to suit your needs:

Talk to me on Twitter | Listen to my Linux Podcast

Since joining Forbes in 2012, I’ve contributed to gaming and technology features on PCWorld and Computer Shopper. You can also find me on Jupiter Broadcasting where I h…

Source: Asus Just Gave You 1 Million Reasons To Switch From Windows To Linux

How to Lower Business Costs Using VOIP Technology

Image result for How to Lower Business Costs using VOIP Technology

If you are looking for a way to lower your business costs it may be worthwhile to consider how much you may be able to save if you make the switch from standard telephone systems to VOIP service.

For many people they may have heard the term VOIP but may be unaware of what it means and how it can benefit them. Here is what you, and they, need to know

What is VOIP?

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It sends the packets of digital information that make up what you are saying in your call through the Internet instead of through traditional phone lines.

Not only does it make it possible for a company to lower your rates there are many different additional functions that can be possible using VOIP technology. A VOIP setup may allow you to send and receive messages that would otherwise not be possible under a standard telephone set up.

How can VOIP save your business Money?

Employing Voip can save you money in a number of Ways:

There are several different ways that using a VOIP system can save you money. The first is that they can often allow users to get rid of using a cellular phone and a desk phone. Because calls can be sent to a cell phone quite easily with VOIP there may not be the need to use both of these communications devices. Because you are not paying for both lines your monthly billswill automatically go down.

Also there is the saving on your phone calls using VOIP. The rates for using VOIP are normally substantially cheaper than standard fixed telephone providers. You can obtain price packages that can include all local, national and even international calls for a fraction of the price.

Even without a price  package sometimes these national & international calls can be for free as they avoid using the normal phone network where the charges are incurred.

Another reason is that the cost of VOIP service is much lower than comparable services from a standard telecommunications provider. If you are just starting up you will not need to add the same wiring and infrastructure that can increase start up costs to the point where some companies are unable to afford them.

Part of the savings comes from the fact that there is no longer a need to establish wiring for data and telephone.

Using VOIP for your business can also increase your productivity. Not only can you access your telephone calls from your computer whether you are in the office or not you can also access things such as phone messages and faxes that you may receive at the same time as you are accessing your email.

This means that regardless of whether you are actually in the office or not you will be able to continue to deal with business decisions quickly and effectively. There are many reasons to choose VOIP for your business. Choosing the right provider is only the first step in getting the flexible and affordable telecommunications system that your business needs.

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