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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Microsoft cracking down on Office pirating

The Office Genuine Advantage is going final and about to be switched on for all, with no choice to opt out of the validation process as there has been during the beta testing phase.

As of October 27 last week, anyone using a pirated version of Office will no longer be able to download Office templates or other Office downloads. From January 2007, pirated Office users will no longer be able to check for and download Office updates.

If you are using an illegal copy of Office then you will not be able to perform updates and will have to run the risk that documents you receive from others do not contain threats that could damage your system.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Web Browser Battle

Days after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla released Firefox 2,its latest web browser that includes upgraded security features such as built in phishing protection and a new interface. It also has a new feature called session memory, which brings back the set of Web pages that were in use when it was last closed.

There have been claims of security flaws in the latest version of Firefox which Mozilla denies. One of the problems is related to a vulnerability that was patched in an earlier version of the browser.

With IE 7, security experts have found a weakness that could help crooks mask phishing scams which is the type of attack Microsoft designed the browser to defeat.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Microsoft offers Vista upgrade discounts

Microsoft says it will help holiday season computer buyers upgrade to its new Windows Vista operating system, in some cases paying 100% of the upgrade cost.

The upgrade assist program is meant to bolster PC sales during the critical holiday period despite the discouraging absence of the long delayed Vista.

Microsoft said the upgrade assistance program, covering both Windows Vista and Office, will cost it about $1.5 billion in sales in the current quarter.

Upgrading from Windows XP Home Edition to Vista Home Basic will cost $49, and upgrading from Windows XP Home Edition to Vista Home Premium will cost $79.

Microsoft said it is backing a similar upgrade program for people who buy computers preloaded with the current version of its business software, Office 2003, and want to upgrade.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Apple gets picked on too

Apple computers have been praised for being relatively virus free. But as more people use Apple products, experts say they are becoming a target for cyber pranksters and criminals writing viruses and other forms of malware.

viruses targeting Apple's Macintosh personal computers are increasing. Oliver Friedrichs, director of security response at Symantec, a leading anti-virus software vendor, said 72 vulnerabilities were discovered in the Mac's OS X operating system in 2006, up from 19 in 2004.

The main reason for Apple's seemingly safe position is the stability of Mac OS X which is based on UNIX.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some iPods shipped carrying Windows virus

Some of Apple's iPod digital music players shipped in the past month carry a computer virus, according to a posting on Apple's technical support Web site.

Since September 12th, less than 1% of Video iPods left its contract manufacturer carrying the virus RavMonE.exe, which affects computers running Microsoft Windows.

The infection came from Windows terminals on the production line.

Apple said the virus can be detected and removed using many popular anti-virus software programs.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Google's online office suite is almost here

Google has come up with its own online Office suite by combining its Writely word processor with its Google Spreadhseets to form Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Docs & Spreadsheets requires no download and works within a Web browser, with the ability to export documents into a number of offline formats. The service is completely free of charge

The new web offerings are not meant to compete with other software such as Microsoft Office. It is geared towards users that would not buy Office to begin with.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Microsoft patches 26 flaws

Microsoft on Tuesday released 10 security updates that patched a record 26 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office, and .Net. More than half of the flaws were marked critical.

The total vulnerabilities set new records for Microsoft in its monthly patch process. The patched products include everything from Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer to Word and Excel and PowerPoint. Microsoft Office accounted for 62% of the bugs patched Tuesday and 86% of those marked critical.

The problem, according to Microsoft's notes on the vulnerability, is compounded by a lack of workarounds or factors that might minimize the threat. Microsoft had no workarounds to offer up other than to patch, and the only way to guarantee safety is to surf only trusted sites.

Users can obtain Tuesday's patches via Windows Automatic Update, from the Microsoft Update service, or through other Microsoft software and services such as Software Update Services (SUS).

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

PCI Express 2 coming soon

PCI Express lets users plug devices such as network adapters and video cards into computers for high speed data transfer. PCI Express 2.0 will incorporate changes such as a speed boost to double each serial line's data transfer rate from 2.5 gigabits per second to 5Gpbs.

PCI Express differs from conventional PCI in using a smaller number of high speed serial communication links rather than a larger number of parallel communication lines that send data synchronized in lockstep.

PCI Express Cable specification will let PCI devices be connected with standardized copper cables as long as 10 meters with data transfer speeds of 2.5Gbps per line which is suited for tasks such as adding an input output expansion module housing numerous network cards to a higher end server.

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Learn more about Video Cards

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chinese Hackers Attack Commerce Department

The Commerce Department admitted that heavy attacks on its computers by hackers working through Chinese servers have forced the bureau responsible for granting export licenses to cut off Internet access for more over a month.

Hundreds of computers must be replaced to clean the agency of malicious code, including rootkits and spyware.

An attack against computers of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) which is the branch of Commerce responsible for overseeing U.S. exports which have both commercial and military applications forced BIS to turn off Internet access in early September.

This is the second major attack originating in China that has been acknowledged by the federal government since July. With the most recent attack, the evidence points to state sponsored hacking.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Vista taking a stance on piracy

The new Windows Vista will have anti piracy features built in such as the ability to cripple the operating system in computers found to be running unlicensed copies.

People running a version of Windows Vista that Microsoft believes is pirated will initially be denied access to some of the best new Vista features, including Windows Aero.

If a legal copy is not purchased within 30 days, Windows will curtail functions further by restricting users to just the Web browser for an hour at a time and not allowing users to be able to directly open documents from the computer desktop or run other programs like Outlook.

The company also said that it had added more sophisticated technology for monitoring whether a system is pirated.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sony battery recall

Sony will be recalling lithium ion laptop batteries this month. It was thought that the battery recall would involve other electronic devices besides batteries but turns out that it will only be laptop batteries.

Sony is working with the CPSC to identify the widest scope of batteries that it may recall. They are currently working together to identify what will be in the recall, the time frame of what was manufactured and sold.

Previous notebook battery recalls were issued by Dell and Apple Computer in August for specific laptop models containing Sony batteries, after it was discovered that some batteries were overheating or exploding, causing fires even when the machines were turned off.

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