My Infopackets Gazette articles

Most of my computer related articles will be published in the Infopackets Gazette. I’ll put the date, title and the first paragraph on this page when they’re published. This page will be updated on a regular basis. To read the article just click on the title.

 

11/19/10

Internet ‘Mediation Service’ Proposed by UK Gov’t

Ed Vaizey, Britain’s Communications Minister, believes that people should be able to demand that inaccurate data is deleted from the Internet. Speaking to the House of Commons, Vaizey said that a mediation service would help make it easier to remove misleading information.

 

09/22/10

New Intel Chipset Integrates GPU, CPU on Single Die

World’s largest chip maker Intel Corporation has reportedly unveiled what it believes is the chipset of the future. Code-named “Sandy Bridge,” the new chipset integrates the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) onto a single silicon chip and is designed to cut the time it takes to process images.

 

08/10/10

Your Smartphone App May be Watching You: Report

Computer users aren’t the only ones who need to worry about their privacy and security. A new report from San Francisco-based Lookout Inc., a mobile phone security firm, reveals that smart phone applications may be closely monitoring users and relaying that information to others. (Source: yahoo.com)

 

07/30/10

NSA Brings Domestic Surveillance to Fruition

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has a new domestic surveillance project in the works called ‘Perfect Citizen.’ It’s reportedly built to monitor and protect national infrastructures such as power grids and transport systems.

 

07/15/10

WinXP Downgrade Rights Extended to 2020

The Windows XP operating system (OS) is still the first choice for 74 per cent of businesses, according to Microsoft. Because of that popularity, the Redmond-based firm has decided to extend Windows XP downgrade rights to 2020. (Source: techrepublic)

 

07/13/10

UK Opposes Sanctions for Illegal File-Sharing, Copyrights

A recently leaked document (PDF) by La Quadrature du Net reveals that European Union (EU) negotiators want criminal sanctions introduced into the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Chapter 2 of the proposed ACTA treaty states that “each party shall provide for effective proportionate and dissuasive penalties” which would include “imprisonment and monetary fines” for those caught in illicit activities such as music file-sharing. (Source: laquadrature.net)

 

06/25/10

FCC to Hold Secret Meetings on Net Neutrality

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is holding ‘closed-door meetings’ with industry insiders to broker a deal on Net Neutrality — controlling the Internet over the people that use it.

 

06/08/10

New AT&T Mobile Plans Include Heavy Caveats

Just in time for the launch of a new iPhone model, AT&T Inc. is reportedly reigning in data usage by its customers using smart phones and iPads. A recent AT&T press release introduced new wireless plans, which says will make it much “more affordable” to enjoy the benefits of mobile Internet.

 

05/26/10

Most Browsers Leave You History Behind, Study Says

Research conducted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) suggests that more than 8 in 10 of web browsers have unique signatures, creating identifiable “fingerprints” that can be used to track almost any user that browses the Internet.

 

05/17/10

School Absolves Itself of Student Spying Laptops; IT Dept Blamed

A ten week investigation into the Lower Merion School District’s (LMSD) use of webcams to spy on students with school-issued laptops has found that the school did nothing wrong — aside from taking 58,000 images without consent.

 

05/07/10

Digital Photocopiers Store Everything They Scan: Report

The digital photocopier in your home or office could offer a hacker a gateway to your personal or sensitive data. Unbeknownst to many, nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive — similar to the one in your personal computer — that stores images of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.

 

04/29/10

Movie, Music Piracy Claims Overstated, Gov’t Report Says

A year-long study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that claims by Hollywood and the music recording industry about the devastating effect of piracy have been overblown.

 

04/26/10

School Issued Laptops Spy On Students, Capture 56,000 Images

The Lower Merion School District (LMSD) laptop spying saga continues to unfold.

 

04/13/10

ID Theft: A Victim’s Step-By-Step Recovery Guide

We recently reported on a story in which the identities of 3.3 million loan borrowers were hacked, including the names, addresses, social security numbers of these individuals. Now, figures from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggest that more than 347 million records have been breached since 2005.

 

03/31/10

Massive ID Theft affects 3.3M Student Loan Borrowers

The names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of 3.3 million people were stolen in what is believed to be the largest-ever breach of personal information amongst university students. The issue could affect as many as 5% of all federal student-loan borrowers.

 

03/19/10

Latest Malicious Facebook Email Steals Passwords

If you receive an email with the message “Facebook password reset confirmation customer support” in the subject line, don’t click the link. Doing so would cause you to fall victim to the latest password-stealing virus targeting Facebook users.

 

03/12/10

ACTA Treaty: Can Seize, Destroy Your PC, Electronics

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a far-reaching proposal that the U.S. government has insisted was too sensitive to be exposed to the public. Now that the 44-page document (PDF) has been leaked, it’s easy to see why the U.S. wanted to keep it a secret. (Source: die-linke.de)

 

03/04/10

Spy Issued Laptops Bundled with Remote-Spy Cameras

A recently filed 17-page lawsuit (PDF) alleges that laptops issued to high-school students in a Pennsylvania suburb feature webcams used by school administrators to invade the privacy of almost 1,800 students and their families. (Source: zdnet.com)

 

03/02/10

Judge Tosses Out Windows Viata-to-XP Downgrade Lawsuit

A Seattle judge has dismissed a “downgrade” from Windows Vista to Windows XP fee lawsuit that alleged antitrust violations. The class-action suit was filed by Emma Alvarado of Los Angeles in February 2009 after she was charged $59.25 to downgrade the operating system (OS) on a newly purchased Lenovo laptop.

 

03/01/10

MS Shuts Down Whistleblower Site after ‘Spy Guide’ Leak

In response to claims of copyright infringement, web site “cryptome.org” was recently (and temporarily) shut down after the site posted an internal document outlining details on how Microsoft manages logs of user activity. (Source: sfgate.com)

 

02/11/10

NSA to Help Google Fend Off Cyber Attacks

According to reports, Google and the National Security Agency (NSA) are teaming up in the name of cyber security. Under the agreement, the NSA would help Google defend against attacks like the one that targeted the search company (along with Adobe and several other firms) from China several weeks ago.

 

02/02/10

Report: IE8 is Now The World’s Most-Used Browser

Recently, Net applications released their January browser market share report and it appears that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) version 8 now has a 22.37% usage share, making it the most-used browser on the planet. (Source: netmarketshare.com)

 

02/02/10

Win7 Upgrade: Battery Life Reduced, False Warnings

Laptop owners who upgrade their Windows XP and Windows Vista machines to Windows 7 are complaining that Microsoft’s new operating system (OS) is severely reducing their available battery life.

 

01/15/10

Airport Full Body Image Scans can be Transmitted, Stored

Contrary to U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assurances, full body scanners used in U.S. airports can store and transmit digital strip search images of people.

 

01/05/10

New Slimline Tablet PC Unveiled by OLPC

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) group has reportedly revealed the design for a new computer aimed at connecting children in the developing world.

 

12/30/09

Facebook Blamed for Surge in Divorces, Study Says

Facebook, one of the world’s largest social networking sites, is reportedly being blamed for an increasing number of divorces.

 

12/23/09

FTC Targets Intel with Antitrust Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently filed a lawsuit against Intel Corporation, alleging that the computer chip manufacturer waged a systematic campaign to shut out its rivals by cutting off their access to the marketplace.

 

12/18/09

Australian Gov’t Approves Internet Censorship Plan

Australia’s federal government has announced it is proceeding with controversial plans to censor the Internet after government-commissioned trials found that using a blacklist of banned sites was accurate and would now slow down web use.

 

12/14/09

ISPs Remain Silent on Lucrative Wiretap Business

A barely-noticed letter from Yahoo to the U.S. Marshals Service has revealed surveillance policies that allow the US Justice Department to request wiretaps of its users. The 12-page letter (in PDF format), in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, claimed that Yahoo couldn’t provide the information on their policies because their pricing scheme would ‘shock’ customers. (Source: rawstory.com)

 

11/19/09

Windows 7 Activation Bypassed by Hackers

Hackers have managed to bypass one of the key antipiracy protections built into Windows 7, the latest operating system (OS) from Microsoft.

 

11/17/09

SimplicITy PCs Built Specifically for Seniors, New Users

A new, simplified desktop computer aimed at older people unfamiliar with PCs and the Internet has been unveiled. SimplicITy only has 6 buttons that direct users to basic tasks like email and chat. It comes preloaded with 17 video tutorials from Valerie Singleton, a television presenter.

 

11/11/09

MS Evidence Extractor ‘COFEE’ Leaked via File-Sharing

Software designed by Microsoft to help law enforcement individuals access encrypted data has been leaked onto the web and available to the public via file-sharing services. The software, which is illegal for unauthorized people to use or download, brings together a number of common digital forensics capabilities into an easy-to-use automated tool.

 

11/09/09

MS Report: Worms Outpace Rogue Software Infections

A recently released security report from Microsoft warns that cyber crooks are digging deeper into computers in order to steal and control data. The Security Intelligence Report reveals that rogue security software (“scareware”) was the biggest threat during the first half of this year.

 

11/06/09

Win7 Spinoffs to Boost Global Economy: Report

Microsoft says that not only will they benefit from sales of its new Windows 7 operating system (OS), but the local economy could benefit from it too.

 

11/04/09

UK to Spend $330M a Year to Track Citizens Online

According to reports, Britain will spend 200 million British Pound Sterling per year (equivalent to $330M US Dollars, or $627 per minute), in a massive expansion of its surveillance networks. The new funding is intended to give officials access to details of every Internet click — on top of the email and telephone records that are already available — made by every British citizen.

 

10/26/09

5 Reasons Why Win7 Should be a Success

Windows Vista was perhaps the biggest disappointment in Microsoft’s history. So, what did the Redmond-based company do to improve upon their past mistakes, and how is Windows 7 better than Windows Vista?

 

10/23/09

ISPs: Internet Usage-Based Pricing ‘Unavoidable’

Some cable and telecommunications providers are trying to return to the days of usage-based pricing for Internet connections. AT&T and Time Warner are two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who say they may alter their pricing schemes due to the surge in bandwidth use.

 

10/15/09

Survey: Majority of PC Buyers Plan to Wait on Win7

A recent survey conducted by online retailer Retrovo reveals that the majority of PC buyers will take a “wait-and-see” approach before buying Windows 7. Microsoft insists that many of the problems plaguing Windows Vista have been fixed with Windows 7, but that remains to be seen.

 

10/05/09

New Malware Takes Hacking to a Whole New Level

New malware being used by cyber criminals takes hacking to a whole new level: it hides evidence of a fraud victim’s dwindling bank balance by rewriting online bank statements on-the-fly.

 

09/23/09

FCC to Formalize Net Neutrality Laws, Draws Fire

The U.S. government is considering a plan that would prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from banning actions online that ‘hog’ bandwidth. The government’s proposal would change how Internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast manage their networks and profit from them.

 

09/21/09

Facebook: Turning Profits, Boasts 300M Active Users

Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, recently announced that it has 300 million active monthly users around the globe. Facebook was not expected to turn a profit until 2010 but has also announce their cash flow is started to trickle in.

 

09/11/09

‘Real-World’ Stats: Only 30% of PCs Running Vista

Ever wonder how poorly Windows Vista fared after reading all the bad press since its launch? Real-world PC usage data from the exo.performance.network (EPN) suggests just how much of a flop Windows Vista has been for Microsoft.

 

8/31/09

Nokia ‘Fresh Perspective’ Netbook: Win7, 12hr Life

Nokia, the world’s top mobile phone maker, is poised to release a netbook running a stripped-down version of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

 

08/28/09

Radisson Hotels Hacked: Data Leaked Nov’08 to May ’09

Radisson hotels, operators of about 400 franchised locations in 65 countries, recently reported significant data breaches exposing sensitive customer data.

 

08/25/09

Israeli Scientists Show How to Fake DNA Evidence

Scientists in Israel have reportedly demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence and undermine the credibility of what was once considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

 

08/13/09

Microsoft Ordered to Stop Selling Word

Microsoft has been ordered to pay over $290 million for willfully infringing on a patent by Canadian firm I4i.  The Redmond-based firm has also been told by a Texas judge to stop selling its Word program.

 

08/11/09

New Technology Can Eavesdrop VOIP, Video Streaming

Two researchers have revealed tools that reportedly allow people to eavesdrop on video conference calls and intercept surveillance camera video. The only requirement for using the free tool is that you be in the same building as the caller or call receiver.

 

08/10/09

Hackers Crack Nat’l ID Card; Gov’t Plans to Forge On

The security technology used to protect information stored on the UK’s prospective national ID card was reportedly hacked and the data cloned by a computer expert in just 12 minutes.

 

08/06/09

Most Businesses Won’t Upgrade to Win7, Report Suggests

Microsoft’s Windows 7 may turn out to be “the best Windows yet,” but a new poll reveals that 60% of corporations have no plans to roll it out any time soon.

 

08/05/09

Network Solutions Hacked, 500K Credit Cards Exposed

Malware planted on web servers belonging to Network Solutions LLC, a hosting company and domain registrar, reportedly compromised more than a half a million credit card accounts belonging to customers of its e-commerce merchants.

 

08/03/09

Experts Tout Increased Security of Windows 7

With the release of Windows 7 just a few months away, security experts have begun touting the widespread positive impact Windows 7 will have on PC protection and the online community.

 

07/30/09

MS Officially Joins Linux Community, Releases Driver Code

Microsoft recently revealed the release of 20,000 lines of Open Source Linux device driver code, including three device drivers to the Linux kernel community for inclusion in the Linux tree.

 

07/29/09

US Spy Program Operated in Secret, Beyond Wiretaps

A massive data mining system aimed at identifying terrorists may have continued to operate under an executive order signed by President Bush in October 2001, despite an order to shut it down by Congress.

 

07/24/09

Researchers: Power Sockets can Detect Keyboard Input

Researchers at security firm Inverse Path plan to demonstrate how standard power sockets (used in a home, for instance) can be used to eavesdrop on what is being typed onto a computer keyboard. They plan to make a presentation at the Black Hat Security conference taking place in Las Vegas from July 25-30 this year.

 

07/16/09

U.S. Gov’t Still Trying to Push Flawed ID Schemes

When you can’t get any states to participate in your flawed National ID scheme, what do you do?

 

7/10/09

NSA to Monitor Private-Sector Networks

Under the questionable guise of cyber security, the National Security Agency (NSA), in partnership with The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and AT&T, will be monitoring private-sector networks.

 

7/9/09

North Korea Suspected of Cyber Attacks on U.S.

Just in time for the announcement that the National Security Agency (NSA) will be pervasively monitoring private networks comes news that cyber attacks attributed to North Korea paralyzed major South Korean and U.S. government web sites.

 

7/7/09

Clear Shutdown Leaves More Than 250,000 IDs in Limbo

The company responsible for creating a database containing thousands of identities collected at U.S. airports has shut down.  And so, the question remains: what happens to your personal information when a government-sponsored National ID scheme like ‘Clear’ suddenly shuts down?

 

7/2/09

New Tech to Quash Drive by Downloads, XSS Attacks

Makers of the popular Firefox web browser, Mozilla, are working on new technology that it hopes will remove the threat of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks that have compromised legitimate websites for years by injecting pages with malicious code.

 

7/1/09

Harry Potter Movie Targetd by Hackers

Harry Potter fans wanting to illicitly download movies such as ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ are being advised to wait until the movie is released. Cybercriminals are reportedly targeting popular peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in order to take advantage of fans wanting to download the movie in advance of its screening.

 

6/26/09

Nokia Monitoring Center Monitors, Blocks Iranians

Nokia Equipment Used to Monitor Iranians Iran: Latest Victim of World’s Surveillance State Nokia Monitoring Centre Used to Silence Iranians.

 

6/25/09

Next-Gen Cell Spying: Like Straight out of a Movie

According to reports, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been busted once again for illegal surveillance. Worse yet, it seems the NSA has moved beyond wiretapping land lines to the wireless phone industry, too. (Source: nytimes)

 

6/23/09

Win7 to Windows XP Downgrade Cutoff Date Extended

After being criticized for their plans to limit sales of XP systems, Microsoft has reportedly decided to extend Windows XP’s lifespan to as late as April 2011.

 

6/19/09

Win7 Downgrade Options: Are Not Really An Option

Buyers of Windows 7 beware: Microsoft is putting restrictions on downgrades for new PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled.

 

6/18/09

French Internet Piracy Law Ruled Unconstitutional

France’s plan to cut off the Internet connections of digital pirates has been defanged by the country’s highest constitutional body, who called the law unconstitutional.

 

6/16/09

China Content Filtering Software Puts PCs At Risk

Starting July 1st, 2009 all PCs sold in China are to include Internet content filtering and censorship software also known as “Green Dam Youth Escort software.” The program works by creating log files of all the sites and pages the user tries to access.

 

6/11/09

Windows XP-Based ATMs Targeted by Hackers

Banks are being warned of trouble ahead after approximately 20 ATMs, mostly in Eastern Europe, were compromised. The ATMs running Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system were infected with malware that captures magnetic strip data and PIN codes.

 

6/10/09

Chinese Home PCs Required to Have Spyware July 1

In a move designed to give the government unprecedented control over what users will and will not be able to see on the Internet, the Chinese government reportedly wants all computers sold in China after July 2009 to come pre-installed software that automatically censors the Internet.

 

6/8/09

Credit Card Fraud: Most Common Form of ID Theft

According to a new study from the Identity Theft Resource Center, the most common use of identity theft involves opening a new credit account in the victim’s name. This type of fraud affects almost two-thirds of identity theft victims.

 

6/2/09

MS Quietly Patches Firefox: Vulnerable, No Uninstall

Users of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser may have received an unpleasant surprise when they performed a routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component. Tens of millions of computers have quietly installed an extra Firefox add-on whether users wanted it or not.

 

6/1/09

Gumblar Virus Infects Google Search, Deadliest Yet

A new malware worm that targets Google fans and and uses Javascript to attack computers through vulnerabilities in Adobe PDF reader and Flash player is on the loose. According to SophosLabs, the virus known as JSRedir-R blows all other web-based malware out of the water.

 

5/28/09

MS Kumo Engine to Embed Open Source Technology

Microsoft plans to roll out its new search engine code-named “Kumo” that reportedly improves search results by suggesting more targeted searches capable of bringing users closer to the information they seek.

 

5/27/09

New Netbook Ships, Preloaded with Factory Malware

Kaspersky Labs recently took a new, out-of-the-box M&A Companion Touch netbook out for testing, only to find three pieces of factory installed malware. Kaspersky discovered the malware when they installed their recently-released Security for Ultra Portables on the $499 netbook designed for the school market.

 

5/22/09

New Study uses Timestamps, Patterns for Antispam

Researchers at Northwestern University and New York’s Yahoo! Research have shown that they can catch spammers by the timestamps of their emails, paving the way for smarter advertisements, better spam filters, and more convenient social networking. (Source: wired.com)

 

5/21/09

Win7 XP Mode Lacks Vendor Support, Microsoft Vexed

When news of Windows 7’s XP Mode was revealed, there was much rejoicing among those who were concerned about legacy support. However, it appears that XP mode won’t do everything many hoped it would, and will be unavailable to many Intel users. (Source: theinquirer.net)

 

5/20/09

FAA’s Air Traffic Control Apps Highly Vulnerable

A government audit has found more than 3,800 vulnerabilities were reportedly found in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) web-based air traffic control system applications. 763 of the vulnerabilities are high-risk and some could put air travelers at risk.

 

5/13/09

Data-Mining Predicted Swine Flu 18 Days before WHO

According to reports, Washington state surveillance firm Veratect Corp. raised the first warning about a possible swine flu outbreak in Mexico more than two weeks before the World Health Organization (WHO) made its own announcement. (Source: pnwlocalnews.com)

 

5/12/09

Hackers Breach 160k Med Records at UC Berkeley

Hackers have reportedly infiltrated restricted computer databases at the University of California Berkeley, putting the private data of 160,000 students, alumni, and others at risk.

 

5/7/09

US Med Data Held Hostage by Hackers; Ransom: $10M

Over 8 million medical patients’ drug prescription records from the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) have been stolen by hackers, who are demanding $10 million to return them.

 

5/6/09

French National Police Dump Windows for Linux

By gradually migrating to a complete open source desktop and web applications, Gendarmerie Nationale, the French national police force with 105,000 employees, has saved millions of euros. The move cuts Microsoft out of the equation, helping the French national police force slash its IT costs by 70 percent.

 

5/5/09

US Cyber Security At Breaking Point, Report Suggests

Just as a report on cyber security ordered by U.S. president Obama nears release, security experts are reportedly describing America’s defenses as “broken,” “childlike,” and “embarrassing.”

 

4/30/09

Google Profile: Control How Others See You Via Google

Google has introduced a new feature called ‘Google Profile’, which lets users control how their information appears when someone else searches for that person’s name via Google’s products (such as the Google Search Engine).

 

4/29/09

UK Muses Internet Surveillance, no Super Database

The British Home Secretary has reportedly scrapped plans for a super database, but still wants communications firms to record and organize all emails, phone calls, Internet use and visits to social networking sites for security purposes as part of a modernization in UK police surveillance tactics.

 

4/28/09

Hospital Equipment Infected with Conficker

Recently, the Conficker/Downadup worm infected several hundred machines and critical medical equipment in an undisclosed number of U.S. hospitals.

 

4/27/09

Windows 7 Premium to Support Windows XP Mode (XPM)

Apparently Microsoft has learned a few lessons from some of their many Windows Vista fiascos. In a move that appears aimed at backwards compatibility, some versions of Windows 7 will include a virtualized Windows XP mode.

 

4/24/09

MS Windows 8: Details Emerge via Help Wanted Ad

With only a few weeks until Microsoft’s Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is released, Microsoft is already looking for people to help with Windows 8. An April 14th job ad posted by Microsoft says the upcoming version of Windows will have new features like cluster support and support for one way replication.

 

4/22/09

Homeland Security Seeks Ethical Hackers to Defend US

If you’re a computer hacker, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to hire you to help secure the nation’s networks. Millions of digital attacks occur each day — one of the most recent of which involves a breached fighter-jet project — and has caused the DHS to put out ads looking for those who understand hackers.

 

4/21/09

Justice Department Seeks Extension in MS Antitrust Case

The U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) and several states have requested an extension of restrictive antitrust oversight of Microsoft Corp. An 18 month extension was requested by the DOJ and 17 U.S. states, including New York and California, in order to ‘thoroughly scrub’ technical documentation Microsoft is producing to comply with antitrust law.

 

4/20/09

EU Rivals UK over Consent of Behavorial Marketing

According to reports, the European Commission will soon begin an investigation into the British government’s use of Internet surveillance. It could result in the government being forced to defend its policy on Internet privacy in front of European judges.

 

4/17/09

Study: 91% of Data Breaches are Organized Crime

According to a recent study, there were more electronic records being exposed in 2008 than in the previous four years combined.

 

4/15/09

Internet Explorer 8 to Begin Release as AutoUpdate

Microsoft plans to start pushing its Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) browser to consumers who have Windows Automatic-Update feature turned on.

 

4/14/09

Study Says 83% of IT Pros Hesitant about Windows 7

Microsoft may end up needing to keep Windows XP — support for which has recently ended — around a little longer. According to a recent study, the vast majority of corporate IT departments won’t think about implementing Windows 7 until at least 2011.

 

4/10/09

U.S. Alleges Cyber-Spies Attacked Electrical Grid

Current and former national security officials speculate that the U.S. electrical grid is under attack from Russian and Chinese cyber-spies. No damage has been done to the system yet, but the threat remains in place should a war or other national security crisis hit the U.S.

 

4/9/09

Risque Cell Phone Pics Results in Teen Arrest, Mislabelling

Six Pennsylvania high school students are among the latest teens facing child pornography charges also known as sexting: the act of sending or receiving nude or semi-nude pictures on cell phones and sharing them with others. The term ‘sexting’ comes from ‘texting’, which is text-messaging over a cell phone.

 

4/7/09

Anti-Counterfeit Treaty ‘Classified’, Alarming

Details of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being negotiated across the globe are now labeled as a “properly classified” national security secret by the White House, in spite of a Freedom of Information Act request. (Source: wired.com)

 

4/6/09

UK Big Brother Data Retention Law Effective Today

Despite the fact that the UK parliament network was vulnerable to the Conficker virus just last week, reports suggest that the UK Government is forging ahead with their dubious plans to harvest all the personal electronic data of every citizen and storing it for one year, opening the door to the Big Brother super database.

 

4/3/09

U.S. Gov’t Seeks Unprecedented Control Over Internet

According to reports, U.S. senators drafted legislation aimed at giving the federal government unprecedented authority over the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the power to shut down or limit traffic on private networks during emergencies.

 

4/1/09

Conficker Detection Breakthrough From Germany

German security researchers at the Honeynet Project have scored a major breakthrough in studying the behavior of the Conficker/Downadup worm. According to reports, there now may be a way to detect the malware on infected networks.

 

3/31/09

Business Energy Cost $2.8B Running PCs 24/7

Opinions vary on whether or not it’s a good idea to leave your PC running 24 hours a day. However, a recent report from the Alliance to Save Energy says that the cost of refusing to power down 108 million PCs is costing businesses an estimated $2.8 billion a year.

 

3/30/09

UK Parliament Network Latest Conficker Victim

The Conficker/Downadup worm has reportedly found its way onto the British government’s IT system, joining millions of others who have fallen victim to it. An email sent to MPs, lords and their staff revealed that parliament’s IT network appears to be completely unsecured.

 

3/27/09

New Botnet Worm ‘Psyb0t’ Targets Modems, Routers

A new type of worm has been reported to infect 55 different home-based routers and DSL/cable modems has been discovered. Originating in Australia, Psyb0t, is the first worm capable of infecting residential routers and modems, including common brands like Linksys and Netgear.

 

3/25/09

Sales of Fake Antivirus (Scareware) Up 225% In 2008

A recent report by the BBC News claims that makers of rogue anti-virus software are making as much as $10,800 a day from selling their dubious fake security software to unknowing computer users. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

 

3/24/09

UK To Harvest All Social Network, Messaging Data

The UK Government is now considering the mass surveillance of all user communications on social-networking sites.

 

3/20/09

PC, Mobile Firms Battle for Netbooks: Impact Price

Netbooks are one of the few bright spots in a weakened economy. Surging sales of these devices have resulted in computer makers like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Asus scurrying to rush out new models.

 

3/18/09

Social People Search Engines: Stalking Made Easy

With the growing popularity of social networking comes a growing list of social search engines that can turn up all kinds of embarrassing and potentially invasive information about you.  The issue raises questions about what other revealing information is out there and what can be done to protect oneself.

 

3/17/09

Facebook: 20.5 Billion Minutes Served Online

Nielsen.com reports that social networking and blogging have overtaken email to become the world’s fourth most popular online sector after searching portals and PC software applications.

 

3/16/09

Vista Class Action Suit Revised: Claims Extortion

The California woman suing Microsoft over Windows Vista’s downgrade rights has revised her lawsuit to focus on the requirement that users must buy the most expensive versions of Vista if they want to downgrade to Windows XP.

 

3/13/09

Teen Files $3M Defamation Lawsuit Against Facebook

Denise Finkel is suing Facebook, Inc. and four former classmates of University of Albany student for defamation. Finkel claims that comments intended to embarrass and humiliate her were posted on the popular social networking site.

 

3/12/09

ID Theft on Rise due to Economic Slump, Report Suggests

How much thought do you give to security when you use your credit card at a retail location?

 

3/11/09

Third Conficker Worm Wields: Most Resilient Yet

The frightening Conficker worm is just getting bigger and meaner all the time. W32.Downadup.C, a third variant of the Conficker/Downadup worm, is reportedly being pushed out to systems that are already infected.

 

3/10/09

New Guidelines on Behavorial Ad Marketing Released

The online advertising industry has introduced a set of guidelines intended to corral a genre of particularly controversial advertisements. Behavioral advertising — a form of advertising that delivers ads based on a user’s browsing activity — is now targeted by a code of practice created by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

 

3/09/09

Bush Wiretap Memos Reveal Shocking Revelations

Recently we looked at some of the problems with mass surveillance and the myth associated with justifications of its use. If you think you’re being watched, as noted by Wired.com, you’re probably right. But, how did we end up a mass surveillance society? (Source: wired.com)

 

3/06/09

Conficker Time Bomb Targets Southwest Airlines, Others This March

Sophos Security is warning that the Conficker/Downadup worm (“Conficker worm”) is targeting multiple domains — including Southwest airlines — that could end up causing Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and temporary disruptions.

 

3/04/09

Justifying Mass Surveillance: A Fallacious Myth

Is it a ‘good’ thing that Britain, the United States, and several other countries are developing more sophisticated surveillance technology?

 

3/03/09

Microsoft’s Vista Named Tech World’s Worst ‘Fiasco’

It’s now official: Windows Vista, Microsoft’s over-hyped, underachieving operating system took top honors, winning the first-ever Fiasco Award announced in Barcelona, Spain.

 

3/02/09

Lawyers Attempt To Revive Vista Capable Lawsuit

The Vista Capable lawsuit — like the consumer and business market’s dissatisfaction with Windows Vista — refuses to go away. Shortly after a federal judge revoked the class-action status of the Vista Capable lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiffs are now reportedly asking the judge to reconsider that decision.

 

2/27/09

Nokia Eyeing Notebook Market

Nokia, the world’s top mobile phone maker, is reportedly contemplating entering the laptop business.

 

2/25/09

New Conficker B++ Worm Discovered, More Stealth

A new variant of the Conficker/Downadup worm has been detected. The worm opens a backdoor on an infected machine and allows hackers remote control of infected PCs.

 

2/24/09

Proposed Bill Requires ISPs 2 Year Data Retention

Republican politicians have reportedly called for a sweeping new federal law requiring all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and operators of millions of WiFi access points — including hotels, local coffee shops, and home users — to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations.

 

2/23/09

Vista Capable Lawsuit Loses Class-Action Status

The long-running “Vista Capable” lawsuit challenging Microsoft’s marketing of PCs capable of running only the most basic version of the Windows Vista operating system has reportedly lost its class-action status.

 

2/20/09

Paranoid Britain Tops US To Become #1 Police State

Britain and the U.S. use similar tactics fighting ‘terrorism,’ but Britain has taken the delusions to a new level: it now appears that the British have surpassed U.S. in becoming a police state.

 

2/18/09

Microsoft Sued Over Vista To XP ‘Downgrade Fee’

According to reports, a Los Angeles woman is suing Microsoft because she was charged an extra $59.25 to downgrade the operating system of her new Lenovo laptop from Windows Vista Business to Windows XP.

 

2/17/09

MS Offers $250K Bounty for Head of Conficker Worm

A reward of $250,000 has reportedly been offered by Microsoft to find who is behind the Downadup/Conficker virus. Since its inception last October, the Conficker worm has infected millions of computers worldwide.

 

2/16/09

New Malware ‘Virux’ Spreading Rampant in US

A new strain of malware that can spread rapidly from machine to machine using a variety of infection techniques, including the poisoning of web servers which then go on to contaminate visitors, has reportedly been identified by Security Researchers. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

 

2/13/09

Identity Theft Highest Since 2004, Report Suggests

A recently released report from Javelin Research suggests that identity fraud rose 22 percent in 2008 and reached its highest level since 2004.

 

2/12/09

Warnings Issued Over Britain’s Surveillance Techniques

According to a recent report from the British House of Lords, Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and the UK’s DNA database — purported to be the “largest in the world” — are two examples of “pervasive” threats to privacy in British society, and may even threaten to undermine democracy.

 

2/10/09

Ethical Hacker Proves RFID Tags Remain Vulnerable to ‘Skimming’

According to recent reports, $250 worth of electronic equipment allowed Chris Paget, an “ethical hacker,” to scan and copy the information stored on radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in new passport cards (but not the traditional passport books), as well as some enhanced drivers’ licenses while he drove around San Francisco. The 20-minute experiment was captured on video by The Register.

 

2/09/09

Vista, XP Service Pack Blockers About To Expire

A note on a Microsoft blog aimed at Enterprise IT professionals says the Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) blocking tool will expire on April 28, 2009 and the Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) blocking tool will expire on May 19, 2009. (Source: technet.com)

 

2/05/09

Microsoft Ambivalent About Advertising, Privacy

As noted by the New York Times, new technologies have become so powerful that protecting individual privacy may no longer be the only issue. With the Internet, wireless sensors, and the capability to analyze an avalanche of data, a person’s profile can be drawn without monitoring him or her directly. (Source: nytimes.com)

 

2/04/09

MS Participates in Data Privacy Day, Surveys Risks

Microsoft recently commissioned research in two cities to try to understand how different types of consumer, from teens to professionals to baby boomers, think about privacy.

 

2/03/09

Vista Marketing Program Receives Big Complaints

Government antitrust attorneys are reportedly still receiving complaints from hardware makers and other companies about Microsoft business practices, even as the software giant has stepped up its efforts to cooperate with those state and federal authorities overseeing its antitrust consent decree.

 

2/02/09

Secret Military Files Found On Used MP3 Player

A 29-year-old New Zealand man reportedly got more than he bargained for when he bought an MP3 player from an Oklahoma thrift shop. When Chris Ogle hooked up his MP3 player to sync with his computer, he found 60 files containing military information including the names and personal details of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq including: cellphone numbers, information that appeared to be from a mission briefing, details of military equipment deployed to the bases, and social security numbers. (Source: tvnz.co.nz)

 

1/29/09

‘Vista Capable’ Lawsuit Could Cost Microsoft $8.5B

Documents unsealed by a federal court in the “Vista Capable” lawsuit reportedly reveal that Microsoft would have to come up with as much as $8.5 billion to settle accounts with customers affected by its 2006 “Vista Capable” marketing debacle.

 

1/28/09

Largest Credit Breach Ever Reported Inauguration Day

Payment processor Heartland Payment Systems reported that it was the victim of a security breach within its processing system in 2008. For unknown reasons, the breach was reported on January 20, 2009 — inauguration day for the incoming President Obama administration.

 

1/27/09

Internal MS Documents Suggest Vista Isn’t Vista

Recently unsealed documents relating to the ongoing “Vista Capable” class-action lawsuit revealed that a group within Microsoft recommended in 2005 that the lowest-priced version of Windows Vista be released without the “Vista” name due to concerns over “user product expectations.”

 

1/26/09

90% Dip in Profits Prompt Intel and MS Job Cuts

The tech industry is beginning to feel the heat from a financial meltdown that has been burning the rest of the world for months. Microsoft recently announced that it would lay off up to 5,000 employees — 5 percent of its work force — over the next 18 months, starting with 1,400 jobs immediately.

 

1/21/09

China Uses Paid Internet Commentators To Control Public Opinion

China is reportedly using an increasing number of paid “Internet commentators” to scour the Internet for bad news so they can try to negate it in an attempt to control public opinion.

 

1/20/09

9M Pcs infected with new Conficker Worm

A malicious Internet worm known as Conficker, Downadup, or Kido that spreads through low security networks, memory sticks and PCs without the latest security updates, is infecting machines by the millions. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

 

1/19/09

Vietnam State Agencies To Be 100% Open Source by 2010

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications has reportedly issued instructions on using open source software products at its state agencies.

 

1/16/09

Are Bush Admin Computers a Crime Scene?

David Gewirtz, author of ‘Where Have All the Emails Gone?’ reportedly wrote an open letter to President-elect Obama asking that his administration please treat the White House computers like crime scene evidence.

 

1/13/09

Police Across Britain Prepare For Remote Searching of Home PCs

The Home Office in the UK has reportedly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain to routinely hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant, allowing police or MI5 officers to covertly examine the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room — all from a remote location.

 

1/12/09

Microsoft Earned $1.5B from Vista Capable PCs, Claims Expert

According to a court document, an expert estimates that Microsoft earned more than $1.5 billion through the sales of PCs labeled as “Vista Capable” when they allowed some PC makers to label XP-running PCs as “Vista Capable” prior to the release of the Windows Vista operating system in early 2007. (Source: nwsource.com)

 

01/06/09

British Government Wants Private Firm To Monitor Super Database Of Every Person In Britain

The British Government is contemplating the third-party construction of a super database containing the identities and location of every person in Britain.  The ‘super database,’ which comes at the hefty cost of 12 billion British pounds, would be run by one or a number of private companies and would track every citizen’s Internet usage, every phone call, every text message, as well as many other transactions.

 

1/05/09

Australian Internet Censorship Plan Meeting Heavy Criticism

Trials of Australia’s mandatory censorship program will begin soon — details of which the government is refusing to reveal — despite a high-level report to the Rudd government that found the technology simply does not work, will significantly slow Internet speeds, and will block access to legitimate websites.

 

12/31/08

400,000 PCs Infected with Fake ‘Antivirus 2009’ Software, says Microsoft

The second month of Microsoft’s campaign against fake security software has resulted in the removal of the rogue “Antivirus 2009” application from almost 400,000 infected PCs. (Source: computerworld.com)

 

12/30/08

Laptops Outsell Desktops For The First Time

According to market researcher iSuppli, for the first time ever PC makers shipped more portable PCs than desktops. Portable PC shipments rose almost 40 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 38.6 million compared to a 1.3 percent drop to 38.5 million shipments in desktop PCs. Overall, PC sales were up 15.4 percent globally with 79 million PCs shipped.

 

12/26/08

Windows XP Deadline: Extended Again

Microsoft has once again given Windows XP a reprieve, reportedly extending the cut-off date to system builders — smaller shops and computer dealers who build PCs to order — from January 31, 2009 to May 31, 2009. According to a Microsoft spokeswoman, the company will likely increase the cut-off date again.

 

12/24/08

Major Web Browsers Fail Password Protection Testing

The password management feature in your favorite web browser could be helping identity thieves steal your personal data, according to a survey recently conducted by Chapin Information Services (CIS). Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome are vulnerable to a total of 20 vulnerabilities that could result in exposing your password-related information.

 

12/18/08

Critical: Emergency Patch Fixes Security Hole MS08-078 in Internet Explorer

For the past few days, users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) have been urged by experts to switch to another web browser until a serious security flaw could be resolved.

 

12/16/08

Internet Security Is Losing The Online War

Despite the efforts of the computer security industry, malicious software is reportedly spreading faster than ever and security researchers have acknowledged that they cannot seem to get ahead of the onslaught.

 

12/12/08

Windows XP Causing Jump In Used PC Sales

Some used PCs are reportedly being purchased not for hardware but because people want to get their hands on a copy of Windows XP instead of newer operating system Vista.  A recent Gartner study found that about 197 million PCs were discarded because Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system created a demand for PCs with greater hardware capabilities. Of those 197 million PCs that were discarded, 44% were put up for sale.

 

12/09/08

Explicit Pop-Up Debacle Leads to Teacher’s Guilty Plea

The unbelievable story of Julie Amero, the substitute teacher who became the scapegoat of the Norwich school system when a computer riddled with spyware was inundated with pop-up “nasties” that were viewed by children in her class, has finally come to an end — albeit, what many consider an unjust end.

 

12/2/08

Worm Attack Causes Army To Ban USB Drives

In what’s being described as a sustained attack from a rapidly spreading network worm, the U.S. army has reportedly banned the use of USB sticks, CDs, flash media cards, and all other removable data storage devices in attempts to prevent infections from spreading any further. (Source: wired.com)

 

11/28/08

New Search Tool Exploits Windows Search

Recently, software development firm Passware Inc. released “Search Index Examiner:” a program that makes all data indexed by Windows Search instantly accessible.

 

11/27/08

Behavorial Marketing Group Urge for New Standards

New standards concerning how businesses collect, store and use consumer data for advertising are being developed by a new advocacy group called “The Future of Privacy Forum.”

 

11/25/08

UK Identities Auctioned Online

According to an online safety group, complete financial identities, including names, addresses, passport numbers and confidential data such as credit card numbers, are being sold online for 80 GB pounds for a bundled package, and as little as 5 GB pounds for a single piece of data.

 

11/24/08

Lawsuit Looms as Internet Providers use Controversial Marketing Technology

Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs), along with “NebuAd,” the company responsible for a controversial marketing technology that delivers “more relevant ads” while you surf the Internet are facing a class action lawsuit.

 

11/17/08

Microsoft’s BizSpark Giving Web Start-Ups Three Years Free

In an attempt to compete with Google and Zoho, Microsoft is reportedly giving away free software to early-state Web start-up companies as part of a recently launched worldwide program called BizSpark.

 

11/12/08

Crimeware Trojan Steals Bank Info

Details of more than 500,000 online bank accounts and credit and debit cards have reportedly been stolen by a virus described as “one of the most advanced pieces of crimeware ever created.” (Source: bbc.co.uk)

 

11/11/08

AT&T to Cap Internet Bandwidth

AT&T is reportedly considering limiting the bandwidth that subscribers are entitled to use each month, beginning with Reno, NV.

 

11/7/08

File Sharing not Safe for Pirates or Casual Users

A recent “Which? Computing” (magazine) investigation reportedly found that hundreds of innocent people are being accused of software piracy crime, despite the fact that many have never used file sharing services. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

 

11/3/08

New Chip Technology Poses Threat to Homeland Security

Radio-frequency-identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. (Source: wikipedia.org)

 

10/31/08

The Irrelevance of Windows Vista

Despite Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s recent assertions that Windows Vista “is Microsoft’s best-selling product ever,” there are many indications to the contrary, that reveal just how irrelevant Windows Vista has become and how it has proven to be a major flop. (Source: microsoft.com and microsoft-watch.com)

 

10/29/08

Pentagon Seeks Robots To Hunt Down Uncooperative Humans

The latest Orwellian request from the Pentagon reportedly involves seeking contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human.” (Source: newscientist.com and dodsbir.net)

 

10/20/08

Controversial Anti-Piracy Bill Signed Into Law

President Bush has reportedly signed into law a controversial bill known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act to protect American consumer rights that stiffens penalties against counterfeiting and piracy at the federal level.

 

10/17/08

Win32/Haxdoor Email Scam: Don’t be Fooled

A new variation of a fake Microsoft security notification email is reportedly being circulated.

 

10/7/08

Microsoft Extends Windows XP Lifeline

Despite the short-lived Seinfeld commercials and the ongoing ad blitzes, customer demand for Windows XP over Windows Vista has again prompted Microsoft to extend the Windows XP lifeline.

 

9/29/08

iPhone 3G Power Adapters Recalled By Apple

Reports of detached prongs involving a very small percentage of iPhone 3G power adapters has resulted in Apple announcing an ultracompact USB Adapter Exchange Program.

 

9/19/08

24 Hour Battery Life For New HP Laptop — Running Windows XP, of course

Hewlett-Packard (HP) will reportedly release a laptop next month boasting a high-capacity battery that lasts up to 24 hours without charge — provided it runs Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system rather than Windows Vista.

 

9/16/08

Age-Limited Digital Playgrounds Proposed By Microsoft

As part of its Trustworthy Computing Initiative, based on building the concept of “End to End Trust” proposed by Microsoft in April at the RSA Security Conference, Microsoft reportedly wants to create “digital playgrounds”, sites where visitors have to prove their age using digital identity credentials.

 

9/09/08

440,000 Sony Vaio Laptops Recalled

Approximately 440,000 Sony Vaio TZ series laptops have been reportedly recalled worldwide to avert potential wiring problems that involve overheating and short circuiting. Approximately 74,000 of the recalled laptops were sold in the United States.

 

9/08/08

Email Shows Evidence Of Nvidia Price-Fixing

At least 51 separate civil antitrust actions against Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices/ATI Technologies (AMD/ATI) alleging price-fixing in the graphics processing unit (GPU) market received a major boost when emails from competing executives suggesting how to keep prices high were read during a recent hearing.

 

9/03/08

Online Acts of War Tracked By New Breed Of Hackers

In the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, a new breed of hacker-investigators monitoring how traffic is routed through countries where web sites are blocked and why it is happening are reportedly conducting digital espionage — turning their attention to a new weapon of international warfare: cyber attacks.

 

9/02/08

ISPs Tracked Customers Without Consent

Last fall, several communications companies reportedly conducted trials, in some cases lasting up to 6 months, of network-based technology designed to track a customer’s Internet actions, attempting to amass refined data on web-surfer habits that may be sold at premium rates to advertisers.

 

9/01/08

Pirates Beware: XP Pro Nags Much More Prominent

Microsoft has announced that it is updating the anti-piracy software in Windows XP Professional, making nagging more prominent for users running counterfeit copies. It will also give future updates of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) increased validation powers and new forms of notifications.

 

8/21/08

The iPhone Can Be Spied On By Apple

While Apple has opened the iPhone to third-party applications, they are also reportedly keeping a very close eye on which applications are allowed to run on your phone.

 

8/20/08

Report Suggests More Than 1/3 of New PCs Downgraded to XP

A performance and metrics researcher reportedly estimates that more than one in every three new PCs — approximately 35% of over 3,000 PCs — has downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP, either at the factory or by the buyer.

 

8/14/08

Questions Raised About Vista Security At Recent Black Hat Conference

A new technique has reportedly been developed by two security researchers that bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in Windows Vista. The tactic is expected to have far-reaching implications for Microsoft the rest of the tech industry.

 

8/11/08

Free Tool To Test The Integrity Of Your ISP

As part of a “Test Your ISP” Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is reportedly releasing “Switzerland,” a software tool for customers to test the integrity of their Internet communications. The idea is the result of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action against Comcast for violating the FCC’s net neutrality principles.

 

8/7/08

Laptops and Electronic Devices Subject To Detainment at U.S. Borders

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reportedly decided that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reserves the right to seize — for an indefinite amount of time and without probable cause — documents and electronic media or copies thereof for further review, as well as make copies of, and “analyze the information transported by any individual attempting to enter, re-enter, depart, pass through, or reside in the United States.”

 

8/6/08

NVIDIA’s Major Hardware Headache Could Devastate Company’s Reputation

The Inquirer has reported that there are heat issues affecting significant quantities of older NVIDIA G84 and G86 GPUs used in GeForce 8400M and 8600M graphics cards. The report from the Inquirer comes on the heels of earlier reports that NVIDIA had discovered a problem relating to “significant quantities” of older mobile GPUs.

 

8/1/08

Windows XP Still Outselling Windows Vista

While Microsoft excitedly tries to sway public opinion by touting that Windows Vista License sales top 180 Million units, Hewlett-Packard (HP) was busy smacking Microsoft down — reportedly shipping PCs with a Vista Business license but with Windows XP pre-loaded in the majority of business computers sold since the June 30 Windows XP execution date established by Microsoft — casting a lot of doubt over how many copies of Vista have actually been sold.

 

7/21/08

Your Printer May Be Spying On You

In yet another case where government appears to be above the law, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has issued a report warning that your printer may be spying on you.

 

7/17/08

Microsoft Resorts To Propaganda To Sell Vista

Since retiring Windows XP on June 30 of this year, Microsoft has been making a push to repair the reputation of Windows Vista while attempting to gain more support from small businesses.

 

7/7/08

Macs Gaining Ground With Enterprises

Get a load of this one, PC fans: Computer World reports that more than ever before enterprises are turning to Macs. Yankee Group research firm recently conducted a survey of more than 700 senior IT administrators, and found that nearly 80% of businesses have Macs in-house, almost doubling the percentage from users surveyed two years ago.

 

6/27/08

Windows XP Deadline Approaches: June 30

June 30, 2008 is the day Microsoft is slated to discontinue Windows XP to make way for a new era in operating systems — start bars will give way to wonky buttons and a refreshed design, stable operation will give way to frequent crashing, and XP will die at the hands of a misguided killer: Microsoft. (Source: itworld.com)

 

6/16/08

ISP Secretly Added Spy Code To Web Sessions

A leaked internal report on a secret trial of eavesdropping and advertising technology from Internet Service Provuder (ISP) British Telecom (BT) reportedly shows that the system crashed some unsuspecting users’ browsers, causing a small percentage of the 18,000 broadband customers under surveillance to believe they had been infected with adware.

 

6/13/08

When DRM Goes Insane: The Draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Under a proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA, which does not cover currency fraud) draft, any border guard in any treaty country would be able to check any electronic device for any content suspected to infringe upon copyright laws. Proof is not needed, only suspicion. Border guards would be able to seize any device — laptop, iPod, DVD recorder, mobile phone, etc. — and confiscate it or destroy anything on it, based only on suspicion, on the spot.

 

6/02/08

Windows Vista Blocks Some Users From Recording Shows

Some users of Windows Vista Media Center have been reportedly blocked from recording some NBC Universal TV shows, receiving error messages that read “restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator prohibit recording of this program” instead.

 

5/22/08

Endless Reboot Fix For XP SP3 Offered by Former Microsoft Man

Jesper Johansson, a former program manager for security policy at Microsoft and current MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional), has reportedly published a tool designed to detect and fix PCs that may be susceptible to “endless reboots” if they are updated to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).

 

5/21/08

IDC Study Claims Pirates Cost Software Industry $48 Billion

The latest study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) shows that software pirates caused the software industry sales losses of nearly $48 billion last year.

 

5/19/08

Broadband Users’ Activities To Be Monitored

Charter Communications, the fourth largest Internet Service Providers in the United States, has reportedly begun telling some of its 2.7 million broadband users that they’ll be monitoring every web site they visit to help web advertisers deliver targeted ads.

 

5/15/08

Hackers Find A New Hiding Place for Rootkits

Security researchers have reportedly developed a new type of malicious rootkit software capable of hiding itself in an obscure part of a computer’s microprocessor, hidden from current antivirus products.

 

5/13/08

Problems Reported With Windows XP SP3

Microsoft has reportedly warned that users updating to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) won’t be able to downgrade from Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) to IE6 without uninstalling Windows XP SP3.

 

5/07/08

After Winning The DVD Format War, Blu-Ray Sales Tank

Blu-ray may have won the high-definition format war, but sales of its high-definition DVDs and players have tanked.

 

5/02/08

Microsoft Device Extracts Forensic Data

Microsoft has reportedly developed a small plug-in device that can be used by investigators to quickly extract forensic data from computers that may have been used in crimes.

 

4/23/08

Windows XP SP3 Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft released to manufacturers (RTM) the final code for Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). The public version will be available for download from Microsoft on April 29, 2008. CNET reported that the upgrade will be effortless for most Windows XP users. Windows XP SP3 includes functionality previously released as updates.

 

4/16/08

Apple Poised to Threaten Microsoft Sales

As the official June 30, 2008 deadline for Windows XP sales for PC makers and retailers looms on the horizon, Business Week is reporting that a recent upgrade to the Mac operating system (OS) is moving Apple closer to challenging Microsoft for overall computing dominance, even in the corporate market.

 

4/04/08

8.3 Million Personal Records Compromised?

The Washington Post reports that at least 8.3 million personal and financial records of consumers were potentially compromised by data spills or breaches at businesses, universities and government agencies in the first quarter of 2008, according to a report released from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

 

3/31/08

Leopard Claws Vista in Recent Survey

Computer World reports that Leopard recently dumped Vista in a corporate satisfaction survey. Mac business users were more than 5x more likely to say they’re ‘very satisfied’ than Windows Vista users.

 

3/24/08

Windows Vista SP1 Causing More Problems

Not that it should come as any surprise, but Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft’s first update to (the never ending nightmare known as) Windows Vista, has reportedly been causing more problems for users.

 

3/14/08

The NSA’s Big Brother Program

A startling report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently revealed details on what appears to be a domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003 known as the ‘Total Information Awareness’ (TIA) program.

 

3/11/08

FireWire Hack Also Works With Windows Vista

Recently we reported the release of a tool that can hack into a Windows XP PC without a password using a two-year old authentication bypass technique. Information Week is reporting that it turns out the same method also works on Windows Vista and computers running Linux, Mac OS X and BSD Unix.

 

3/06/08

Tool Can Hack Into A Windows PC Sans Password

A New Zealand-based security consultant has released a tool that can unlock a Windows computer in seconds without a password.

 

2/27/08

Vista Capable Lawsuit Granted Class-Action Status

Late last week, a federal judge reportedly granted class-action status to a lawsuit alleging that Microsoft unjustly enriched itself by promoting PCs as “Windows Vista Capable”, even when they could only run the “Vista Home Basic” version of the operating system.

 

2/15/08

Criminals Pay High Price To Keep Security Vulnerabilities Hidden

The annual “X-Force” report, recently released by Internet Security Systems (ISS), part of IBM Corp., says 6,437 security flaws were acknowledged in 2007 by network and software vendors, down 5.4 percent from 2006. (Source: com.au)

 

2/12/08

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Replaces Vista Kernel

One of the ‘big’ features reportedly discussed in the early speculation surrounding Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was a kernel upgrade that would supposedly bring Windows Vista into line with the Longhorn kernel used in Windows Server 2008.

 

1/30/08

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Internet Explorer 7

Microsoft posted notice to administrators that on February 12, 2008 Microsoft will release the Windows Internet Explorer 7 Installation and Availability update to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) marked as an Update Rollup package — and they included instructions on how to prevent it to ensure you end up with the version of Internet Explorer you want.

 

1/29/08

Once Again Microsoft Says Vista ‘Most Secure’

Trying to sway public opinion about a flailing product, Microsoft has reportedly once again boasted about the security of Windows Vista, claiming that the operating system had 36 vulnerabilities in its first year compared to the 65 found in Windows XP during that same period. Analysts remain skeptical.

 

1/21/08

The ‘Save Windows XP’ Petition

Citing several real-world scenarios mainly applicable to businesses, Infoworld has started an online petition to save Windows XP in hopes of extending the current end date of availability to OEM’s of June 30, 2008, although ZDNet says it will be available from white-box vendors/system builders through January 31, 2009.

 

1/18/08

MySQL Acquired by Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems Inc. agreed to acquire MySQL AB, developers of open source databases for about $1 billion — about $800 million in cash in exchange for all MySQL stock and to assume about $200 million in options. The transaction is reportedly expected to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of this year.

 

1/10/08

Gates Inadvertently Reveals Windows Vista’s Dirty Secret

While in Las Vegas this past weekend, Gates boasted that Microsoft has served more than 100 million copies of Windows Vista since the OS was launched to consumers last January.

 

1/09/08

The Softer Side of Spyware from Sears, Kmart

If you visited Sears.com or Kmart.com and agreed to join their “online community,” you may have installed spyware without your knowledge.

 

1/08/08

Intel Drops One Laptop Per Child Program

In what’s being called a big blow to a One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program designed to bring millions of low-cost laptop computers to children in developing countries, Intel Corp. has abandoned the program, citing disagreements with the organization. (Source: yahoo.com)

 

1/02/08

Why You Should ‘Upgrade’ From Vista To XP

CNET has an interesting cnet.com praising the wikipedia.org of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), encouraging Windows Vista users to upgrade to Windows XP.

 

12/26/07

Possible Backdoor Added To Windows Vista SP1

A cryptographically flawed pseudo random number generator is reportedly being added to the upcoming Windows Vista Service Pack 1, raising concerns about a new random-number standard that includes a slow, badly designed algorithm containing a backdoor for the National Security Agency (NSA).

 

12/21/07

Googling Oneself Is Becoming Oddly Popular

A report from the Associate Press reveals details of a telephone survey of 1,623 Internet users conducted between Nov. 30, 2006 and Dec. 30, 2006 by Pew Internet and American Life Project showing that more Americans are Googling themselves, their friends, co-workers and romantic interests.

 

12/18/07

Zero Day Flaw Affects 82 HP Laptop Models

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has issued an hp.com warning regarding a gaping security hole that affects 82 laptop models running Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista.  According to reports from the company, the ‘backdoor’ could put users at risk for drive-by code execution attacks. (Source: zdnet.com)

 

12/17/08

Windows Vista SP1 To Include Over 300 Hot Fixes

Somewhat contrary to a report from eweek.com regarding the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Team’s claim that Microsoft Vista is far more secure than Windows XP, Linux and Mac OS X, Microsoft has released a 47-page microsoft.com detailing Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) which describes more than 300 hot fixes covering everything from data protection to video performance. (Source: informationweek.com)

 

12/07/07

New Version of Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage Coming

A new version of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is being rolled out with the first “service pack” for Windows Vista, due in the first quarter of 2008.  The new WGA will employ nagging alerts on computers suspected of using pirated software instead of disabling programs on the suspected computer. (Source: nwsource.com)

 

11/30/07

CNET Says Vista a ‘Terrible Tech Product’

A report entitled ‘Top ten terrible tech products’ released by CNET recently ranked Windows Vista number 10.  As if Vista needed any more bad publicity, the report cited numerous reasons for the dubious distinction.

 

11/28/07

Windows XP SP3 To Deliver Performance Boost

An article from Computer World says the Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) beta, recently released to about 15,000 testers, runs Microsoft’s Office Suite 10% faster than Windows XP SP2. Performance testing was done by Devil Mountain Software, with the results leading to further speculation that Windows XP is going absolutely nowhere.

 

11/21/07

Was Secret Backdoor In New Encryption Standard Put There By The NSA?

In a recent article written by Bruce Schneier, noted cryptographer from e-media mag Wired.com, the author examines the research (PDF) of security experts Niels Ferguson and Dan Shumow, presenters at the CRYPTO 2007 conference this past August.  Ferguson and Shumow suggest that an algorithm for generating random numbers included in an official standard document (PDF) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) contains a weakness that can only be described as a backdoor.

 

11/19/07

Microsoft Executives Questioned By Shareholders

A question-and-answer period held during a recent Microsoft shareholders meeting resulted in executives being asked to address recent stock sales by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, board member Jon Shirley, and other executives following a sharp increase in the stock a few weeks ago. (Source: Seattle PI)

 

11/14/07

Windows Vista One Year Later

One year after the release to manufacturing, Windows Vista has increased Microsoft’s bottom line and, according to Microsoft, shipped 88 million copies.  Unfortunately, it isn’t meeting larger expectations and reportedly hasn’t made the kind of progress that was anticipated in the enterprise world.

 

11/02/07

Brits Wary of Vista Licensing Agreement

Citing concerns over Microsoft’s Office 2007 and Windows Vista licensing terms, Becta, the UK government’s agency for education technology has reportedly warned schools against signing licensing agreements, and filed a complaint with the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, alleging that Microsoft engages in anticompetitive practices in the academic software license marketplace.

 

10/31/07

Microsoft Windows Update Strikes Again

The Microsoft Windows Updates fiasco now includes several IT administrators after Microsoft reportedly began installing (without user permission) a resource-hogging search application company-wide, despite administrators having systems configured not to use the program. It all resulted in slowing several systems to a crawl.

 

10/29/07

Microsoft Concedes to European Union

Microsoft has withdrawn the last two challenges to a European Union (EU) antitrust order, closing the books on its past legal fights and instead focusing on avoiding future trouble with European regulators.

 

10/26/07

More Windows Vista Activation Woes

In my opinion, people don’t need any more reason to avoid Windows Vista like the plague, but now APC Magazine is reporting that swapping out a video card or updating a device driver can end up triggering a complete Vista deactivation.

 

10/23/07

Microsoft Windows 7 Gets Redesigned Core

While Windows XP continues to thrive and Windows Vista fizzles, Microsoft has been busy redesigning Vista’s successor, currently named Windows 7.  The new operating system is scheduled for release sometime in 2010.

 

10/19/07

Vista Running Short On Memory

ZDNet is reporting that Windows Vista users have been receiving “out of memory” and other errors when copying and moving data, especially large numbers of files, making it difficult to track down the problem.

 

10/17/07

Windows Vista Becomes Victim of Windows Update Snafu

Adding fuel to the fire of the ‘reasons not to use Windows Vista’ debate, the October security updates issued by Microsoft are wreaking havoc on some unsuspecting Vista users.

 

10/15/07

Parts of Vista Incorporated Into Windows XP SP3

Since the introduction of Windows Vista, a lot of the emphasis has been on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and little has has been mentioned regarding Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP. It was originally assumed that Windows XP SP3 would simply be a rolled up collection of bug fixes and patches but there reportedly seems to be more to it than that.

 

10/12/07

Reasons XP Will Continue To Thrive

When Windows Vista was released to the public in January of this year, it was expected to replace Windows XP. Unfortunately for Microsoft, businesses and consumers have been avoiding Vista like the plague for a wide variety of reasons, and it seems the over-priced, overrated operating system won’t be improving a whole lot in the near future.

 

10/10/07

Windows Vista SP1 Of Little Use To Home Users

Microsoft is reportedly telling home consumers waiting for Windows Vista service pack 1 (SP1) not to bother. Pete McKiernan, a senior product manager for Windows told CNET News that Windows Vista SP1 will include all the patches that were already released for Vista in one package, but little else for home users.

 

10/05/07

Deadline For Windows XP Sales Extended 5 Months

Due to customer feedback, the deadline for retailers and computer makers to continue selling Windows XP has been extended 5 months. The latest Windows XP discontinue date has been moved from January 30, 2008 to June 30, 2008. (Source: Seattle PI)

 

10/04/07

Secret Update Breaks Windows Update

A stealth update deviously deployed in July and August by Microsoft without user permission has broken Windows Update, preventing updates from being installed after a “repair” of Windows XP is performed. The problem was first reported by Scott Dunn from Windows Secrets, then confirmed by ZDNet.

 

10/01/07

Windows Vista Pushing System Builders’ XP Sales

While the debate over whether or not Windows Vista is driving sales for large PC vendors rages on, Vista reportedly appears to be helping push sales of ‘white box’ PCs with Windows XP for smaller system builders.

 

09/27/07

Microsoft Offering XP As Alternative For Vista PCs

In what appears to be an attempt to end sluggish sales, in June Microsoft reportedly began quietly letting PC makers offer a “downgrade” option to consumers who buy Windows Vista Business or Ultimate machines that want to switch to Windows XP.

 

09/21/07

What does the EU Victory Over Microsoft Mean?

In a ruling that’s expected to have far-reaching implications, the European Union (EU) Court of First Instance upheld European Commission claims that Microsoft abused their dominant position in the operating system (OS) market, siding with regulators in an antitrust case. The law suit began in early 2004. (Source: CNET News)

 

09/20/07

Microsoft Updating Computers Without User Permission

In yet another shining example of Microsoft having too much control of your PC, the company is reportedly up to its old tricks again by secretively updating files on Windows XP and Windows Vista without consent of the user.

 

09/18/07

How Secure is the Vista Registry?

We’ve noted in the past how easy Windows Vista makes it to track your computing habits and all the information it maintains. Joe Wilcox from Microsoft Watch has a disturbing article that shows how dangerous the Windows Vista registry can be.

 

09/17/07

Vista Boxed Retail Sales Sluggish

A soon-to-be-released study from NPD Group reportedly shows that standalone unit sales of Windows Vista in its first six months significantly trail standalone unit sales of Windows XP in its first six months of release.

 

09/14/07

P2P Software Leads to ID Theft

In what’s being described as the first case of its kind, a Seattle man has reportedly been arrested on 4 counts for using peer-to-peer (P2P) software to steal digital data and commit identity theft, alleging that he victimized at least 83 people. Gregory Thomas Kopiloff used Limewire, Soulseek and other P2P software to rummage other people’s computers for financial, medical and tax information, which he would use to open credit cards and for online shopping sprees. He bought more than $73,000 worth of merchandise online, then turned around and resold them at steep discounts.

 

09/06/07

The German Version of Big Brother

Ah, the modern wonders of 21st century technology.  We live in a world where illegal wiretapping is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violations of civil rights violations against U.S. citizens. Now, Germany reportedly wants to get involved in spying on citizens using tech, too.

 

09/04/07

Is Vista SP1 Worth the Wait?

As recently reported by senior editor Brandon Dimmel, Microsoft has officially announced information about Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is reportedly scheduled to release it sometime in the first quarter of 2008.

 

08/30/07

WGA Causes (More) Problems Worldwide

Once again Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) has gone awry, penalizing legitimate Windows XP and Vista users.

 

08/27/07

Is Windows Vista Sinking Like the Titanic?

A lot of things have been written about Windows Vista…some good, some bad. As with everything else, Vista has its good and bad points. Some have even compared Vista to the Ford Edsel, and to Windows Millenium (ME) at its worst. Now Vista has sunk to a new catastrophic low…it’s now being referred to as the second Titanic, which if you’ll recall, sank on its maiden voyage.

 

08/24/07

Microsoft Tellme to Compete With OnStar

Microsoft has reportedly begun showing U.S. automakers Tellme, an alternative software for in-car navigation and assistance currently being offered exclusively by General Motor Corp.’s OnStar communications service.

 

08/22/07

Vista Still Not a Priority for Business

A new study by Forrester Research shows that businesses that had been thinking of making a quick move to Microsoft Windows Vista seem to be doing an about-face and delaying deployment. In a report issued this week, Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray said “IT managers are finding themselves pulling back their initial Windows Vista deployment plans.”

 

08/20/07

A High-Tech Big Brother Plan

In a couple recent articles by myself and my colleague Brandon Dimmel, we’ve mentioned the Big Brother concept a couple of times. Now we can talk about the worst Big Brother case scenario known to modern man (and woman).

 

08/15/07

Windows Vista Capable Lawsuit to Proceed

A lawsuit filed in April alleging that Microsoft misled consumers with labels on Windows XP machines touted as “Windows Vista Capable” will be allowed by a federal judge to proceed.

 

08/13/07

Vista Disqualified for 2008 Olympics

Microsoft Windows XP will be used to handle vital functions of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and has already been installed on most of the PCs delivered by Lenovo for the event. Microsoft’s poster boy Windows Vista will only be used on PCs set up in Internet lounges for athletes to use, contrary to a Microsoft sponsored report earlier this year. (Source: InfoWorld.com)

 

08/09/07

Lenovo to Offer Linux

Following in the footsteps of Dell, Lenovo and Novell recently announced an agreement to provide preloaded Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks and to provide support from Lenovo for the operating system (OS). The announcement came at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

 

08/08/07

Courts Favor Consumers Over Abusive EULAs

Two recent court rulings indicate that judges are paying closer attention to how corporations conduct online and technological transactions with their customers. This is good news for consumers. (Source: Wired.com)

 

08/07/07

Monitor Your Internet Connections

When Microsoft shipped Windows Vista, one new feature that was introduced was a firewall that monitored both inbound and outbound traffic. What Microsoft failed to mention about the firewall is the fact that monitoring outbound traffic is disabled by default.

 

08/03/07

Fewer Businesses Believe Vista is More Secure

A recent survey of more than 250 CIOs, CSOs, IT managers and network administrators across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the U.S. conducted by PatchLink shows that fewer businesses are now planning a migration to Windows Vista than seven months ago.

 

08/01/07

Microsoft, the DoD and Windows

After coming across the information from the “Does Windows Vista Send Information to the Government?” story, I decided to do a little research on Microsoft, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Security Agency (NSA). What I found was very interesting, and it raises some serious questions.

 

07/31/07

Windows Genuine Advantage Causes More Problems for Vista

At a time when Microsoft didn’t need any more bad Windows Vista news, reports are beginning to surface about problems with the product activation system.

 

07/27/07

Microsoft Patent Application Raises Security Concerns

In what’s beginning to look like the technological version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Microsoft filed a patent application on July 5 detailing advertising software that uses applications and data on a computer rather than the web. (Source: Information Week)

 

07/26/07

Does Windows Vista Send Information to the Government?

Is there more to Windows Vista being big brother than was originally thought? There appear to be features and services bundled into Windows Vista that stay in touch with the government and their associates, too.

 

07/23/07

Roxio’s Vista Compatibility Issues

Vista Compatibility and Vista Certified seem to mean many different things to both Microsoft and other manufacturers of software applications. It would be nice to get a clearer definition of each, if that’s at all possible.

 

07/20/07

The Trouble with Microsoft

Paul Thurrott, a well known Windows expert and advocate, posted an article titled “Microsoft Ignoring Customer Needs with Continued Silence on Future Windows” in which he refers to Microsofts behavior as paradoxical, almost diabolical.

 

07/19/07

Windows Vista: A Forensics Examiner’s Dream Come True

A report by the American Bar Association notes that from a litigator’s perspective, Windows Vista makes it easy to uncover what’s been performed on a particular PC. Quite simply, forensic evidence maintained by Vista makes it easier to find out what was done and when it was done.

 

07/18/07

Down on Vista Down Under

So, we’ve read all about Windows Vista in North America. Despite selling some 40 million plus copies, it’s generally considered a work in progress (with many consumers avoiding the new Microsoft product altogether).

 

07/16/07

Is Windows Vista the End?

Is Microsoft finally beginning to get it or is this more smoke? According to Softpedia.com, Microsoft has decided to continue focusing on desktop products. This means Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System will be followed by Windows Seven and Office 14. Kevine Turner, Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft, emphasized the fact that Windows Vista will not be the last big operating system release from Microsoft. That also holds true for Office 2007.

 

07/13/07

Be Cautious of Upcoming Vista SP1 Beta

After spending months denying that there even was a Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft will be rushing out the first Vista SP1 beta around the middle of July.

 

07/11/07

Major Vendor Wary of Vista

In another unprecedented move for Dell, the PC manufacturer is “stepping back” from telling businesses to upgrade to Windows Vista due to challenging migration issues and is warning them about hardware issues they’ll have to deal with.

 

07/09/07

Vista Users Beware: Big Brother is Watching

Softpedia.com released a nice article regarding the plethora of Windows Vista “features and services” that collect, maintain and transmit your personal data to Microsoft and/or their “controlled subsidiaries and affiliates.”

 

06/28/07

Deconstructing Windows Vista, Part 3

Every year Microsoft introduces the “latest technology”, bent on revolutionizing computers or their software. Anyone who’s familiar with Microsoft is naturally suspicious when “new” technology is introduced — and for good reason.

 

06/27/07

Deconstructing Windows Vista, Part 2

Recently, I laid out some of the reasons why Microsoft’s marketing offensive for Windows Vista has overextended the supply lines of reality. Although it looks great and might have potential, there are only a handful of reasons to upgrade now.

 

06/26/07

Deconstructing Windows Vista

Flashback to late January 2007 — Microsoft releases Windows Vista consumer versions of their “latest and greatest” new operating system (OS) with the marketing hype of “the wow is now”. The Vista web site even offers 100 reasons you’ll be speechless.

 

06/25/07

AT&T’s $10 DSL Plan

AT&T is offering a digital subscriber line (DSL) plan for $10 a month as part of the concessions made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the $86 billion dollar acquisition of BellSouth Corp that was approved last December.

 

06/14/07

Vista’s Deja Vu Snafu

Talk about deja vu. A Finnish security researcher recently discovered that the same problems affecting Windows XP and recovery disks were inherited by Windows Vista.

 

06/08/07

Storm Clouds on Vista’s Horizons?

The launch of Windows Vista earlier this year may have helped fuel Mac sales according to research conducted by Gartner Research. Mac sales were up 35 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago. Comparatively, PC sales were up by 9 percent. (Source: Kansascity.com)

 

06/06/07

Dell Introduces Three New Linux PCs

Dell officially launched three consumer PCs that run the Ubuntu 7.04 Linux Operating System (OS): two desktops and one laptop. The new PCs give consumers a third choice when purchasing a computer — namely, a machine with Windows installed, a machine with no OS so they can install whatever they want, and one with Ubuntu Linux installed.

 

06/01/07

Vista Only Marginally More Secure Than XP, Research Suggests

Independent security tests performed by CRN.com suggests that Windows Vista is only marginally more secure than Windows XP. CRN spent a week testing both operating systems against various Trojans, viruses and various exploits.

 

05/30/07

Hardware Issues Continue To Plague Vista

At the annual WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) earlier this month, Microsoft issued new numbers in an attempt to bridge troubled waters concerning the success of their new Windows Vista operating system (OS).

 

05/16/07

Is Free Software Doomed? MS Claims 235 Patents Violated, Part 1

In what’s being labeled by some as an attempt to deflect questions surrounding their floundering Vista reception and sales, Microsoft is threatening law suits aimed at open source distributors and users, claiming that Free Open Source Software (FOSS) violates 235 of their patents … and they want royalties from it. If they get their way, free software won’t be free any more. Part 2 can be found here.

 

05/03/07

Hewlett-Packard offers English-Spanish PCs

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is offering the first affordable PCs with English and Spanish versions of Microsoft Windows Vista Basic and Home Premium to Spanish-speaking consumers and small businesses.

 

04/25/07

Nvidia’s “Windows Vista Capable” Faces Lawsuit

Nvidia, the manufacturer of PC graphics cards is facing a possible class action lawsuit over “designed for Windows Vista” claims with their new “Series 8 GPU” line after they announced that their 8800 graphics card series were “Windows Vista Capable.”

 

04/20/07

Dell Offers Windows XP to Home Users

Dell has announced that it will begin offering Windows XP on some of their consumer systems due to significant customer demand. The company said many customers have been asking for XP as part of the Dell IdeaStorm project, which asks customers to help the company come up with product ideas.

 

04/18/07

Windows Vista: Limited IE7 Protection Mode

“Protected Mode provides the safety of a robust Internet browsing experience while helping prevent hackers from taking over the system and installing programs or deleting your information.”

 

 04/13/07

Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Windows XP

In what appears to be a last ditch effort to sell more of it’s newest operating system (OS), Microsoft has notified computer manufacturers that by the start of 2008, they will no longer be allowed to ship PCs loaded with Windows XP.

 

04/06/07

Microsoft sued over Vista “Capable” and “Premium Ready” Marketing

In the first of what may become many law suits involving Microsoft Windows Vista, a class action suit was recently filed alleging that people who bought. “Vista Capable” and “Vista Ready” computers last year have found themselves with a machine barely capable of running Vista, not capable of running “the real Vista.”

 

03/30/07

Survey Says: UK Businesses to Deploy Vista Later

Research carried out by analyst Vanson Bourne shows that UK firms have little enthusiasm for the new Windows Vista operating system. Nearly 6 out of 10 businesses say they have no plans to deploy it. (Source: Techworld.com)

 

03/27/07

HP’s newest Energy Star PCs ship with Windows XP

Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) newest energy star PCs won’t ship with Windows Vista. In order to comply with the new Energy Star 4.0 business desktop computer standards, the Compaq dc5700, dc5750 and dc7700 will be loaded with Windows XP Pro, despite the fact the HP recommends Windows Vista Business.

 

03/22/07

Vista: No Activation Required for 1 year

Some versions of Windows Vista can be run for at almost a year without being activated, says Brian Livingston.

 

03/14/07

More Federal Agencies Delay Migration to Vista

Last week we reported how the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration imposed a moratorium on users migrating to Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007 citing no compelling reasons to upgrade at this time. Federal Computer Week is reporting that more Federal Agencies are delaying the migration to Windows Vista.

 

03/13/07

Intel Won’t Upgrade to Vista: For Now

Intel, who has not benefited from expected boosts in sales after the Microsoft Windows Vista launch, has decided not to upgrade its PCs to Vista until the first service pack has been released. Once the service pack is released, Intel says they will still hold off on a full Vista roll-out. (Source: PC Advisor UK)

 

03/09/07

Vista Users May Be Forced To Pay For Software Upgrades

Users thinking about upgrading to Windows Vista may end up spending more than they thought. Besides having to pay for faster hardware, users should expect to pay for Vista upgrades to a lot of their favorite software. (Source: computerworld.com)

 

03/08/07

U.S. DOT bans Vista, IE 7 and Office 2007

Recently, Information week obtained a memo citing concerns over cost and compatibility issues by the federal U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) in January 2007, prohibiting thousands of federal workers from upgrading to Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Office 2007.

 

03/02/07

SupportSoft Tech Support Tools Leave PCs Vulnerable to Remote Attack

The United States Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued an advisory regarding remote tech support tools made by SupportSoft.

 

03/01/07

Not All Custom Built Dell’s Ship with Vista

Consumers purchasing some high end computers online Dell are having to make those purchases with Windows XP, due to issues with some peripherals that are incompatibile with Windows Vista.

 

02/27/07

Windows Vista: You May Be Prompted to Activate Again

Last week Microsoft released their newest version of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool. WGA is designed to make sure the Microsoft software on your computer is properly licensed (legitimate, not counterfeit) and supported by Microsoft or one of their trusted partners.

 

02/21/07

Vista Migration Tools Released by Microsoft

In an attempt to help businesses adapt to Windows Vista, Microsoft has released free tools that will help companies migrate to the new operating system, including software that will allow older versions of Windows to run alongside Vista in a virtual environment.

 

02/15/07

Major Security Flaw Discovered in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine

Oops! It looks like Microsoft has once again scrambled to update a recently discovered vulnerability in their Malware Protection Engine, used by the Windows Defender security programs.

 

02/09/07

Vista In The News: Incompatibility Issues

Windows Vista has been released to the public for only a few weeks, and as expected, a number of credible sources are reporting that there are numerous issues with the new operating system.

 

02/07/07

Daylight Savings Time Zone Update Available

In July of 2005, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in an attempt to establish a comprehensive long-range energy policy. President Bush later signed it into law in August of 2005. The new law changes both the start and end dates of daylight savings time (DST).

 

02/01/07

Windows Vista: The Wow isn’t Now

One day after the release of Microsoft’s 6 billion dollar operating system, and there are already reports from UK’s PC Advisor that the Windows Vista DRM is being cracked by a Canadian kernel developer.

 

01/30/07

Windows Vista DRM: “Suicidal”

A lot of the hoopla surrounding the new Windows Vista operating system (OS) is based on it’s new multimedia capabilities.

 

01/26/07

Microsoft already Hard at Work on Vista Service Pack 1

A recent email memo leaked to APC Magazine revealed that Microsoft is already hard at work on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

 

01/25/07

Windows Vista: Roadmap and Purchase Guide

Confused about which flavor of Windows Vista is right for you? What about all those upgrade options and Vista add-ons?

 

12/22/06

Sony BMG Rootkit Debacle Reaches $1.5M Settlement

Recently, Sony was fined $1.5 million in penalties and costs to reimburse Californians and Texans whose computers were affected by the illegally installed Digital Rights Management software [software aimed at antipiracy] on some of their music CDs.

 

11/23/06

Staying safe while shopping online

Now that the holiday season is rapidly approaching, it’s a good time for some quick reminders about safely purchasing items online. Armed with the proper knowledge and a little common sense, purchasing things online can be as safe as going to the store and purchasing it in person.

 

11/08/06

Block and Remove / Uninstall Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)

Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) has been released as of November 1, 2006. If you’re not ready for it yet, there are a few options to prevent its installation through Automatic Updates.

 

04/22/06

Coping with Microsoft’s April 2006 Windows Update Headaches (MS06-015)

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a series of critical patches that affect the way that Internet Explorer handles web pages that use ActiveX controls.

 

01/14/06

The perils of purchasing a computer online

So you finally decide you want to purchase your own computer and have it custom built just for you. Reasons for this could be that you don’t want all the extra software that comes bundled with major manufacturers such as Dell, or you want to have a nice high-end system built with the specs just the way you like it. Here is a little advice based on some of my experiences. Ask yourself the following questions and think about them.

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