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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Microsoft makes a bid for Yahoo!

Microsoft has signed an agreement that will allow it to take a look at Yahoo! Inc.'s financial documents to help them in their bid for the company. 3 years ago they failed to buy Yahoo! for $45 billion and take control of the company. The goal of that purchase was to create a competitor to go against Google.

Yahoo! has said that their advisors want bids to be submitted by next week. These bidders are most likely to offer to buy only a minority stake in Yahoo! rather than go for a full takeover of the company. Microsoft along with other investors would all pitch in on this upcoming bid.

Recently Microsoft joined Yahoo! in a 10 year agreement to provide search functionality for Yahoo! where their Bing search engine gets answers to user queries and Yahoo! sells ads against those results. The agreement was aimed at helping both companies compete with Google. The Yahoo of today is in a weaker position than it was in 2008.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Facebook defends against wave of spam

Facebook said they have been working hard to stop the spam that has been filling many users pages with inappropriate pictures. Spam is not new to Facebook but this current wave has been showing pictures of graphic violence and pornography causing many Facebook users to complain.

The attackers duped Facebook users into posting links into the address bar of their browser which took them to the graphic sites and shared the content with their friends. Then users would click on these links thinking it was posted by their friends on purpose. Facebook said the attack exploited a vulnerability in an certain web browser which they haven't named. Then this javascript was able to take control of their news feed.

Facebook says they have already got rid of most of the spam caused by this attack.

Monday, November 14, 2011

AMD releases new 16 core processor

AMD has been working on its processor technology and has just launched its Opteron 6200 and 4200 Series processors. The Opteron 6200 series features 16 cores which is really eight dual core units and four memory channels. The Opteron 4200 features eight cores, or four dual core units, and two memory channels. The 16 core processor packs the largest number of cores available on x86 chips today. The processors are based on AMD's new chip design called Bulldozer, which provides performance improvements while saving on power. The Bulldozer architecture mixes the CPU with integer units and a shared floating point unit so more operations can be executed per clock cycle while drawing lower power.

The new processors offer optimized scalability for virtualization with up to 73% more memory bandwidth and up to 24% to 84% better performance on key cloud, virtualization and HPC workloads making them ideal for virtualization of servers. They also provide more efficient economics for the cloud with half the power per core, requiring 2/3 less floor space and up to 2/3 lower platform price. The chips are shipping now and will be available in servers from HP, Dell, Cray and Acer soon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Firefox 8 just released

Mozilla has just updated its Firefox web browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Firefox gets updated every 6 weeks like Google's Chrome browser. The most notable feature of the new version of Firefox is the built in search box in the navigation toolbar now supports Twitter searches. Users can select Twitter from the drop down list of available search engines. Mozilla partnered with Twitter to release a special build of Firefox that ties into the Twitter.

Another nice feature of the new browser is stricter control over side loaded addons. Mozilla is cracking down on 3rd party applications that install addons in Firefox without the user knowing. If Firefox 8 detects these addons when it starts, it will disable them and prompt the user if they want the addon to be enabled or not.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Microsoft releases a fix for the Duqu Zero Day Trojan

Microsoft has just announced that they have a Fix-it tool that allows Windows users to manually patch their systems to remove the Duqu Trojan.

Duqu, or son of Stuxnet as it is also know, can be a real nuisance because it installs a keylogger to record passwords and uses those passwords toreplicates itself across secure networks. Then it communicates with other servers over the Internet to give hackers access to the infected computers. Then it will remove itself after 30 days.

Microsoft is investigating a vulnerability in the Win32k TrueType font parsing engine Windows component. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability could then run arbitrary code in kernel mode. This would allow the attacker to install programs as well as view, change, or delete data. Plus they would have access to create new accounts with administrative access.

Microsoft has released a Fix-it tool that allows users to manually disable the affected code in their systems. One downside to this tool is that applications that rely on embedded font technology will fail to display properly according to Microsoft.

Here is a link to the Fix-it tool