Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

IE8 just launched and immediately hacked

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The final code for the Internet Explorer 8 by Microsoft was introduced recently. This was hacked by a researcher from Germany in the PWN2OWN contest eventually winning $5000 and a Sony VIAO laptop. Nils is a student of computer science from Germany. He ruined into Sony in just a few minutes by taking benefit of an undisclosed weakness in the new Internet Explorer 8. Tipping point was the sponsor of this hacking contest. The laptop used by the researcher was running on the Microsoft internal build for the Windows 7. IE8 is the final version of Microsoft which can be used for Windows Vista, XP, as well as Server 2003 and 2008. It has been tagged as the final edition to their Windows 7. The version has not yet been unconfined to the public.
Microsoft conducted the hacking contest to find out the bug and deal with it. This has helped them to build a more secure and safe Internet Explorer which is hacker free. There are situations when some vulnerability arises during the product development which will obstruct the release of the product. Microsoft wanted to evaluate any vulnerability which existed in the new Internet Explorer 8. Tipping point has bought these vulnerabilities and its rights and has awarded a cash prize to the hacker who cracked IE8. This helps in knowing about the low points of the browser and makes the necessary changes. Microsoft was brought down to ground zero by the hacker who hacked through the product even before its release. Microsoft just watched how a researcher from Germany hacked through their system and went away winning a cash prize and a laptop. Nils only took five minutes to hack through the all new IE8. Tipping Point has handed over all the codes and details to the operation manager Mike Reavey of Microsoft Security Research Center. Reavey was at CanSecWest where the security conference of PWN2OWN was being held.
The code was taken back to the company and it has been filed as a bug. It is said to be a real winner story for Tipping Point as well as Microsoft who had the chance to interact with Nils and know more about the problem. The bug has been reproduced in the labs of Microsoft and they are working to make IE8 more foolproof. The vulnerability has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft. After the vulnerability will be confirmed, Microsoft has claimed to take necessary action to protect all its customers. It is said that the build which was used in the contest is not original RTW build that was released. Nils after successfully hacking the IE8 has moved to the Safari browser by Apple Inc and the Mozilla Firefox. He has successfully attacked both these codes which he created earlier. Nils gathered total prize money of $15,000 by hacking some of the popular internet browsers. The contest opened up new avenues for Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple to make their internet browsers foolproof.

First post-Gates Windows release: 7

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

CEO Steve Ballmer said, Windows 7 would be the 1st operating system by Microsoft that is built without much knowledge from Bill Gates, where the technical manager of the company who had lead this development process had to change to things without the co-founder of the company and the previous chief software engineer. He continued that they have a lot of people who have stepped ahead and grown in different new ways. There is no question about that as he too is growing in some say. Ballmer said when speaking at McGraw-Hill Media Summit 2009 at New York.

Microsoft Windows 7 is estimated to make its entrance later during this year as it is a product that included some changes that were done since Bill Gates had retired from Microsoft and the company officials are really proud of its results, said Ballmer during the on stage interview held by Steve Adler the BusinessWeek editor. Ballmer further said that it is an excellent piece of work in the upcoming operating system and it is the work driven by an enthusiastic team independent of the leadership of Bill gates and according to Ballmer he feels that they are all feeling good about their product. They have got to finish the project sand they think it to be a big deal.

A beta version release of Windows 7 was already made available early during January which has until now received several positive reviews over its predecessors like Windows Vista that had taken nearly 5 years for the company to develop which had been criticized by several consumers and business users. However without saying so clearly Steve Ballmer implied that he and his executives were restricted in their capability to make firm technical decision at Microsoft after the retirement of Gates. Bill Gates was retired from his work at Microsoft at Last July and started working at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is a Philanthropic organization. Some of his past duties at Microsoft would be now passed on to Ray Ozzie who had replaced Bill Gates as the chief software architect.

Steve Ballmer said that the first thing that should be changed at Microsoft is the way Craig Mundie and Ozzie interact as one team to make all the technology decisions. He added, the way all of three of them accomplish or their job at the technology leadership center is certainly different in the way Bill gates accomplished. According to Ballmer, Bill Gates had more in his final say in technical decisions, as he was also the founder. He added that Bill Gates did not give much orders but in case he thought something should is to be done then you clearly knew work would be intense if you did not agree. Additionally Steve Ballmer also said that if given the change then his team and he would be pleased to have back Bill Gates back. He said that they really miss Bill gates and he support for their work.

You can uninstall IE8 in Windows7, says Microsoft

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 7 users would be able to remove IE 8 or Internet Explorer 8 including other applications from the OS. This ability of removing IE8 is revealed by some bloggers after they worked around the Windows 7 Built 7048, which is a post beta version which was leaked to file sharing sites on the internet. Mike Nash the vice president of Windows product management had declined to comment over the bloggers’ report and said that it is unfortunate that builds leak off thorough the web. However Jack Mayo, the group program manager from Windows team had acknowledged that the new OS would includes a wide list of applications and features that can actually be switched off.

Therefore in the Engineering Windows 7 blog entry Jack Mayo has listed the applications which can be switched off. These applications include Internet Explorer 8, Windows DVD maker, scan and fax, Windows Gadget platform, handwriting recognition, Windows Media player, Windows search, Windows Media Center and XPS Viewer services. He also explained that the files linked to these features and applications are not really deleted from the hard drive. When a features or application is deselected, it would also not be available for use. This means that the data and binary files are not loaded by the OS and so are not available to the user on the PC. These files are dramatic so that they can be back to the OS without wanting any extra media. The staging is important feedbacks received form the users who surely are not satisfied with the long process in DVD installation.

Jack Mayo also said that the APIs related to these applications are still supported by Windows 7 even when these features ore applications are disabled. However Jack Mayo did not provide any examples of what APIs would still be support when users switch off IE8, but most probably windows update which mainly relies on the web browser would stay functional. He also did not mention about the new antitrust charges of the European Union against Microsoft which the bloggers Bryant Zadegan and Chris Holmes quoted as the possible reason why the company had added the IE8 option.

The EU regulators had earlier claimed that Microsoft safeguards IE from its competition by bundling it with the Windows OS. The competition commission of EU said that among the possible solutions it might make the company cripple Internet Explorer if the user installs a rival browser like Chrome from Google or Firefox from Mozilla. Jonathan Todd the EU spokesman said that Microsoft can also be told to technically let users to disable Internet Explorer code in case the user chooses to install a competitive browser. Microsoft has declined to reply on whether the decision to let users remove IE8 is anyway linked to the EU case. However the option to remove IE8 is only available in the post beta builds and is also restricted to just a small group of people.

Future of Microsoft Windows Server

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

The future versions in Windows Server would allow companies to resourcefully manage and offer virtualized applications with the help of the web just like the upcoming platform Windows Azure of Microsoft Corp. as a service. Steven Martin the senior director of developer platform product management at Microsoft said that the innovative advancement in Azure and the future version of windows server would be shared and that the code base would carry on the cross pollinate. He further said that the corporate data center would sometime look like a mini cloud which would be divided by the application workload.

The Windows Azure was first previewed during last fall and it is the foray of Microsoft that would bring windows server online as a cloud computing platform. The developers would be able to port or eve write applications using the popular .net tool and the web tool standard interface of Microsoft like the Atom, SOAP and REST and host them to Azure. The Windows Azure is expected to be launched later during this year. The detailed pricing list is however yet to e released. Microsoft is also expected to talk about their new Windows Azure at their MIX web development conference which is to be held in Las Vegas.

The conservative hosting includes companies leasing or buying a server from data center operators and run a set number of applications off them. This can actually be complicated to manage and also entail several upfront costs and it can also be difficult to scale quickly on demands. Windows Azure just like other new generation cloud platforms also enables fast setup with easier scaling which lets users pay for the usage thereby avoiding upfront investment. Martin said that their main goal is to completely hide the difficulty of hardware from the developers. He further said that preferably a product does not get recalled and it also does not need to activate their services, but in case it does they will be prepared to scale it very fast.

Epicor Software Corp., an independent software vendor is writing about the next version of their ERP software which could be hosted through Azure while the Micro Focus Ltd is also taking their COBOL application off the mainframe and would host them on Windows Azure. The Azure basically runs well with windows server 2008 installed in data centers of Microsoft. Martin said that the fact that Microsoft is offering both their Azure services and windows server software as part of their services and software strategy is a plus point for several companies who are unsure about committing totally to a cloud infrastructure. This is probably because they think they can run it with more agility or cheaper or just because regulations need them to do it. Martin said that they can make it easier for you to transition back to the on premises without the need to entirely rewrite the application. Apart from bigger corporations several web hosting companies would also be interested in hosting Windows Azure to make their communications more efficient and nimble.

FUD hurts Microsoft

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

You might want to find out whether Windows 7 contains more DRM than Windows Vista or does windows 7 limit the audio recording capabilities or does it limit you from running a cracked application and open the firewall specifically for the application to find out if they are cracked or not. The answers are positive according to the skimp and badly post written on Slashdot as the Slashdot team tore of the front-page item apart. The post had been titled as Draconian DRM revealed in Windows 7 and it as written by a user who had apparently discovered the instances of DRM the new Windows 7. It had only taken three seconds of looking at the new item which led several Slashdot readers to recognize that the post was sheer nonsense. Therefore the Slashdot crowd had to destroy it entirely.The DRM of Windows 7 supposedly prevented its users from cracking Photoshop program. The user had installed Photoshop CS4 program on the new Windows 7 and further went to mess up with one of the Nag DLLs in the application. The user simply replaced the DLL with the cracked version and was surprised to find Photoshop no longer working. Additionally the user was also astonished how Photoshop had added itself into the exception list of firewall. The user further went on about Windows 7 locking him out of Local settings folder.

You can just have a step by step look at the process and consequences. So firstly, messing up with DLLs is dangerous and difficult for a reason. Several types of malware use DLLs to destroy your system. There are several schemes of protection put in, to prevent this from happening. Therefore replacing a functioning DLL with the cracked one would basically ask for trouble. Additionally, Photoshop adding itself to firewall list is no more a latest news. Photoshop installer is basically run as an administrator application and so just like other applications it also adds a firewall exception to its list. The other thing about local settings folder is also appealing which clearly shows lack of knowledge in Windows as both Windows 7 and Windows Vista don’t have local settings folder. It is in the AppDataLocak and the previous local settings folder is NTFS junction in the newer versions of windows.

The user then moves to the audio capabilities of windows 7 as with Windows XP you have options to select Stereo Mix or much similar under the audio recording inputs which captures any program which is entirely true. The default drivers in windows 7 are limited in functionality so that official drivers from manufacturers can continuously offer new added value. Additionally, the stereo mix features is basically a part of the official drivers which were not installed by the user. Therefore if you need to know what DRM windows 7 has then you will be surprised to learn that the OS does not carry any DRM like Vista and as all the Vista users know that DRM is immaterial.

Microsoft Windows7 beta and Vista SP2 coming

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Although Microsoft had officially announced the updates for their Windows 7 Beta version, there are several web sites reporting about the release of Vista Services Pack 2 updates from Microsoft which is also for the Windows Server 2008. This Vista Service Pack 2 updates or SP2 will not just update or enhance the software and hardware aspects of the operating system but they would also tweak a few Windows enterprise features.

Microsoft Corp had officially announced a few updates to their new Windows 7 Beta version even though there were several websites which declared this concern of Release Candidate Built of the Service Pack 2 for their Windows Vista and for Windows Server 2008. The updates to their new Windows 7 Beta version are subject to start on the 24th of Feb 2009. There have been five updates planned on this date. However these updates would neither offer any new features nor would they fix any existing issues or help in enhancing user experience.

There was a post sin the Microsoft Update Product Team Blog said that the team at Microsoft typically verifies these update scenarios during a Beta version and so releasing these test updates basically helps them to ensure that when they want to release real updates the entire process would run smoothly. It also said that these updates would help in testing the servicing infrastructure in Window 7. Microsoft has been continuously tweaking their new Windows 7 Beta version including a number of high-end security fixes.

The new Windows 7 operating system of Microsoft has been declared as an improvement over their much maligned windows vista as it includes some new features which would likely appeal to the enterprise users which includes DirectAccess VPN replacement technology and BranchCache file caching features. However on the other hand there are a number of web sites reporting to the Microsoft Connect testers of Windows, has issued the Release Candidate built for Windows Server 2008 and 6002.16670.090130of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista.

However according to the Ars Technica web site, new windows Vista Service Pack 2 would help in enhancing some certain aspects of its hardware ecosystem. This can include the Wi-Fi performance and ability to record data to its Blu-Ray system. Apart from this the new Windows Vista Service Pack 2 would also update the operating system experience while adding new features such as the addition of registry key which lets the user to adjust according to the number of open TCP connections. Additionally the Microsoft Vista Service Pack 2, on the other hand will also provide a few tweaks for the enterprise. This would include a boast in the authentication options when using WebDAV redirector and the Hyper-V integrated in the windows server 2008. Apart from this as it was reported, the new Windows Vista Service Pack 2 would also add in 691 hotfixes.

Lawsuit targets Microsoft for Vista-to-XP downgrades

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

According to the Federal a women from California has auctioned Microsoft Corporation for the $59.25 fee which she was charged for downgrading Windows Vista on a laptop to a previous Windows XP. This lawsuit that was recently filed in the Seattle federal court was regarding the latest legal problem of Microsoft Vista which as faced inspection for nearly last 2 years which is called as the Vista Capable case.Emma Alvarado a resident of Los Angeles has charged Microsoft with several violations of consumer protection laws and unfair business practices of Washington State on their policy of letting computer manufactures to continue offering XP for a new PC after the launch of Vista. The woman is looking for compensatory damages and expects the case to declare a class-action suit. According to Emma Alvarado, Microsoft forced computer makers to agree to the anticompetitive and restrictive licensing terms for windows XP. However according to Microsoft’s lawsuit, they has done so to only protect, maintain and extend their market power in operating system software to the next generation of personal computing, also to promote windows vista, lessen the market competition and enhance its monopoly position.

However, annoyed to having to pay the fee to downgrade a new Lenovo laptop to windows XP, Emma Alvarado claimed that Microsoft had used their position as the foremost operating system maker while making consumers to buy computers that were pre-installed with Windows Vista operating system and pay the additional sums in case downgrading to Windows XP OS. However according to how ‘Downgrade’ is described in Windows licensing rights, the licensing offers Microsoft users, who are allowed but under some specific situation to replace the new version of Windows with an older one without having to pay anything for another license. In fact the license for new Windows is actually transferred to the previous edition.

After the launch of Vista, computer manufacturers had stopped or significantly shortened the sales of machines with Windows XP but Microsoft’s users and eventually even the resellers started to take advantage of the downgrade rights as the reputation of Vista slid. According to Microsoft’s rule only those who had purchased computers with pre-installed editions of Vista Ultimate and Vista Business could downgrade and only to Windows XP professional. However as more uses demanded downgrades, the company then allowed PC manufacturers to install Windows XP Professional right at the factory, but the manufacturers charged a range of fees for this service. Recently Dell Inc had also come under the fire to add $150 to the price of downgraded PC, but Dell said that $20 was charged for the actual download while the remaining was charged to cover the additional costs in replacing the traditional Vista Home Premium with a vista Ultimate or Vista Business. Microsoft Corporation has extended their Windows XP availability a number of times. Like for instance, during the previous year they added six months to the time when they had made Windows XP media available to the large computer manufacturers.

Microsoft plans critical patches for IE and Exchange

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Microsoft Corporation states that they would soon deliver 4 security updates wherein 2 of them are specifically critical and would finally subject a patch to the SQL Server on which they were working. These four updates are specified in the advance notice that will overturn bugs in Internet Explorer 7, Visio application which is part of Office Lineup, the exchange mail server software and the SQL Server. The Exchange vulnerabilities and IE are marked critical as the highest risk ranking of the company while the Visio bugs and SQL Server are labeled important, a step lower.The SQL Server updates would repair the vulnerability which was acknowledged by Microsoft during December 2008. The director of security operations in nCircle Network Security, Andrew Storms said that there is a lineup created between the optional with affected editions of SQL Server. Additionally this bug is also prominent for a number of reasons. After Microsoft had confirmed about the vulnerability, the advisory noted that the exploit code was published. However after several days the company also acknowledged that they had first received the report about bugs from Bernhard Mueller the SEC Consult Security in Vienna based security based company. Mueller had disclosed about this bug early in December 2008 after there was not word from Microsoft and he said that the company failed to reply several messages during the 2 months before when he had asked about the updates on patch’s progress.

Most of the security analysts were expecting Microsoft to act fast. Wolfgang Kandek the chief technology officer of Qualys Security Company, for instance, during late December foreseen that Microsoft would update a fix “out of band” (a term that were when patches issued outside normal monthly schedule of Microsoft). Storms said about the SQL Server and IE Exchange patches that three of them are evenly important at least by the information they have as it is all dependent on the infrastructure of an enterprise.

He continued that companies are always responsive when exchanging fixes and so the serious fix that is set for Exchange Server 2007, 2003 and 2000 would be analyzed carefully. He said that messaging is also very important to enterprises and so they will also spend time in making sure that the patches work fine. The plus point is that he said, the does not needs to be restarted a note in Microsoft’s bulletin. Storms said that it might mean it is not essentially a huge hold or that they would just get lucky as they will not need to restart the Exchange servers and the IT administrators will be able to organize the patch even quicker. The Internet Explorer vulnerability should be something exclusive to IE7 he said. However according to Microsoft this Critical vulnerability would affect only that particular version of browser and not IE5.01 or IE6 as the latter editions which are just for Windows 2000 and also the oldest browser which Microsoft even today supports with their security updates.

Google develops new tracking technology

Monday, February 16th, 2009

There has been a recent upgrade to the new mobile maps tracking system of Google Inc with hopes to prove it would be able to track people on the go as efficiently as it would search for information on the web. This new software would be soon released throughout that would enable people with mobile phones or some other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with friends and family.This new feature is named as Latitude, expands thorough a tool that was introduced in 2007 to offer mobile phone users the ability to check their own locations thorough Google maps with just a press of a button. Steve Lee the product manager for Google said that this would add a social flavor to the Google maps while making it more fun to use. However, as it might also raise up privacy concerns, Google is trying its best to avoid a reaction as it would require every user to manually turn on this tracking software while also make it easy to turn off or limit the access to this service.

Additionally Google also promises not to retain any of the information about the movements of the user. This means that just the last location that is picked up by this tracking system would be stored on the computers of Google. This latitude software plots a location of the user which is marked by a personal image on Google’s map and so by relying on the cell phone towers the Wi-Fi connection or the global positioning system can be used to deduce their location. This system can follow the travels of people in the United States and also in other 26 countries.

It is left up to the user to make the decision of who can monitor their locations. This social mapping approach is much similar to the service that is already offered by Loopt Inc which is a recently established company located near the Mountain View headquarters of Google. The service of Loopt is compatible with around 100 different types of mobile phones.

Therefore in order to get started, the Google Latitude would work on a the BlackBerry devices of Research in Motion Ltd and other devices that run on Symbian software or the windows mobile of Microsoft Corp. this software would also work on T-Mobile phones that run on Android software of Google and would eventually work on iTouch and iPhone of Apple. However to widen the appeal of the software, Google would also offer a version which can be installed on even a personal computer.

Steve Lee said that This PC access is specifically designed for those people who don’t have a mobile phone with these features and still need to track their children or someone special. Additionally people who use this PC version could also be watched when they are connected through Wi-Fi or the Internet. Google can plot the location of a person within a few yards when using if the person is using GPS or can be off by a number of miles when relying on the transmission of cell phone towers.

What do you need to know about the Windows 7 versions

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Even though the prices and the launch date of the Windows 7 OS are yet to be revealed, the company has provided some documents which describe about the different version of Windows. This disclosure lets the company take various steps forward to finding out what is expected to be with its late 2009 release. However, they have recently announced their first version of Windows 7 and there are several details about this new operating system you need to understand.

The different new versions include Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate , Windows 7 Enterprise and here the Windows 7 home basic will also sold but just for the emerging markets. There are several emerging markets if you count as you can think of Africa, Sough America, the Middle East and even the island nations.

Why six versions of Windows 7

There could actually be more versions but Microsoft is still bound under the 2004 EU ruling in order to deliver the N version to EU without windows Media Player. The fact is that what people guess is that there will only be a single Windows 7 N SKU version to ship to the EU customers, making it a total seven versions. However, according Microsoft these new Windows 7 versions try to hit a balance between the complexity and what the customer might actually want. According to them, after having a customer base of more than a million, just two different options might not satisfy all the varied requirements. Therefore, due to this reason they would still continue to provide some few targeted SKUs for the customers having specialized needs.

What version should you buy?

The consumers would only be able to purchase either the Windows 7 professional or Windows 7 Home Premium at retail and intentionally so as Microsoft is trying to limit consumer confusion by just putting two versions before them. Therefore the Windows 7 Ultimate would be available on both the discs and it will require the user to undergo the upgrade process either offline of online in order to access them. Apart from the Windows 7 Starter version all the other versions will be available in either 64-bit or 32-bit versions. You should also note that Microsoft sees this progression as good better and best development where the Home Basis is much better than the Starter while Home Premium is again better than the Home Basics. The other Windows 7 Professional is however positioned as the step up for Home Premium while the Ultimate and Enterprise editions would be the premium Windows 7 offers.

The shipping date and cost

The shipping date is still uncovered but it is estimated that Microsoft would start making their Windows 7 by the end of 2009 and there is still no word whether Vista would be discontinued or not. Apart from the cost of the versions is also not disclosed by Microsoft which might be done soon.