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Friday, September 30, 2011

Microsoft security program deleted Google Chrome from Windows PCs

Many Google Chrome users found their favorite browser removed from their Windows computers on Friday after Microsoft deleted the the Chrome web browser. Microsoft said in a statement that the Chrome removals took place due to a mistake on the part of its Microsoft Security Essentials software for Windows.

The software mistakenly identify Chrome as malware and removes it from the computer. Users who try to reinstall Chrome only found out that the software removes the browser again. There has been an update to Microsoft Security Essentials that has been pushed out to the Web and fix this problem.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook Vows to Fix Major Privacy Breach

Facebook has said they will fix a major privacy breach that allowed them to collect members browsing information after they had logged out. Australian blogger Nik Cubrilovic revealed on his blog that Facebook kept its browser cookies active after a user has logged out. He revealed that the information Facebook collected made it possible for them to personally label computer usage information that it collected from PCs and that Facebook merely alters its tracking cookies when you log out, instead of deleting them.

Facebook defended the practice on The Wall Street Journal blog Digits. They said the collection was part of a system to prevent improper logins and that the information was quickly deleted. A Facebook spokesman said "no information we receive when you see a social plug-in is used to target ads." A Facebook engineer said that Facebook uses the data from logged out cookies only to prevent spamming, phishing and other security risks.

To block Facebook from following you, you need to delete all Facebook-related cookies after logging out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yahoo News Gets Integrated With Facebook

Yahoo News has now been linked with Facebook to make it possible for users of the two sites to share with their Facebook friends the articles they have read on the Yahoo site.

For the integration features to work, Yahoo News visitors need to be logged into their Facebook accounts. If they are, they'll see a Facebook "facebar" placed horizontally near the top of Yahoo News with the profile photos of friends. Users will be able to see which Yahoo News stories those friends have clicked on, as well as make available their own Yahoo News reading activities to their friends. People's Yahoo News activities will also be reflected back on their Facebook profiles.

To activate, go to Yahoo News and click the Facebook button to log-in. Click "add to timeline" and you'll see friends who have also joined. Click their photos and a drop-down menu will display recently read articles.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Will Windows 8 affect the antivirus market with its new security features?

Microsoft is tweaking its Windows Defender tool, which has been part of the last few versions of Windows, by essentially adding some of the more robust features from its free Security Essentials product. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live division, said "we've taken Defender, and we've actually built a whole new range of protection, all the way up through anti-malware, antivirus, all that is built into Defender."

This may not be a good idea since it could be a false sense of security for Windows 8 users who may have normally installed third party security products on their computers. It may also make for a focus point for virus and spyware creators to try and bypass. Roel Schouwenberg from Kaspersky Lab thinks this could be dangerous. "From a technical perspective this would mean malware authors will make sure their creations go undetected by MSE/Defender before deployment".

Researchers at Symantec examined an early build and confirmed that the new Windows Defender definitely is just a repackaged version of Microsoft Security Essentials. Test results by major independent labs show Microsoft Security Essentials rated good but not great.

The protection consumers need is more comprehensive than what basic antivirus offers these days thanks to more advanced tactics from malware creators. A pre installed antivirus product doesn't compare to the type of robust solutions you see today.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Microsoft and Google cloud services experience outages

Cloud computing services from both Microsoft and Google experienced outages in the past several days. Microsoft's online services infrastructure experienced an issue that affected some customers in North America online last Wednesday, causing interruptions in Office 365 and various Windows Live services for a few hours. That same day, Google's cloud productivity service, Google Docs, went offline for about an hour.

While none resulted in the loss of data, each stoppage caused services to be unavailable to users for hours at a time. The issues encountered over the past week raise questions about just how dependable cloud based services really are.

Microsoft said it experienced network connectivity issues at one of its data centers that services some North American customers. The Google outage was caused by a change designed to improve real time collaboration within the document list," Google said in its Enterprise Blog. "Unfortunately this change exposed a memory management bug which was only evident under heavy usage"

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

China Has Renewed Its Google Content Provider License

The Chinese government has renewed Google's Internet Content Provider license, giving the company another year to operate its local website in China. The license for the China based site, must be reviewed annually. China regulates Internet content in part through issuing licenses and overseeing companies like Google and its chief Chinese competitor Baidu Inc. Chinese authorities block or limit access to websites based overseas.

Google scaled back its China operations last year after a disagreement with authorities over its concerns about censorship and hacking. Google said they would would stop filtering its content as required by local regulations. This caused users to fear the company would discontinue its Chinese language services entirely, or that the government would retaliate by banning its websites within the country. Rather, Google began redirecting users from its Chinese domain address,, to a website in Hong Kong whose search results Google doesn't filter.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Internet Explorer will drop to an under 50% share by mid 2012

Microsoft's Internet Explorer i headed towards losing its place as the #1 browser by the middle of 2012, according to statistics published by Web metrics company Net Applications.

In August, IE lost almost a percentage point in usage share, falling to 55.3%, a new low for the slowly declining browser. In the last year, IE has dropped 6.9 points. On Windows 7 IE9 accounts for 20.4% of all browsers globally, and 27.7% on Windows 7 in the U.S. IE9 runs on Windows 7 and Vista, but does not work on Windows XP. IE8 is currently the most popular version, with a 30% share overall and 54.4% of all editions of IE.

Almost all IE's decline over the last year is thanks to Google's Chrome browser. In the last 12 months, Chrome has increased by 7.8% points to 15.5%. Firefox on the other hand is in danger of losing its 2nd place spot which it has held for years. If Firefox and Chrome keep to the pace they have been on, Chrome will overtake Firefox about the same time IE falls to under 50%.