Posts belonging to Category Software



Windows 7 boosts 64-bit computing

By Agam Shah

IDG News Service – After a slow start, a larger number of PCs are using the 64-bit version of Windows 7, and the OS will soon become the norm as users move to 64-bit computing, Microsoft said on Thursday.

Around 46 percent of PCs worldwide are running a 64-bit edition of Windows 7, said Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc in a blog entry, citing data gathered by the company in June. That compares favorably to its predecessor, Windows Vista 64-bit, which was installed on only 11 percent of PCs worldwide more than three years after its launch.

A larger number of PC makers are installing 64-bit Windows 7 as the default OS on PCs, LeBlanc wrote. Most PCs include processors capable of running on 64-bit applications that can also address larger amounts of memory. The memory ceiling for 32-bit operating systems is 4GB, which could limit the ability to run computing-intensive applications that need larger memory sizes.

“The … price of memory has dropped over the last several years making it easier for OEMs to up the amount of memory in the PCs they ship,” LeBlanc wrote.

Chip makers Advanced Micro Devices and Intel introduced 64-bit x86 chips many years ago for client PCs, after which Microsoft first started offering a 64-bit version of Windows XP, but adoption was slow. Today, most of the x86 chips are capable of running 64-bit applications.

A larger number of devices and applications are also compatible with 64-bit Windows 7, which has helped speed up adoption, LeBlanc said. The applications generally perform faster than their 32-bit counterparts, he said. The 64-bit Windows 7 is also capable of running 32-bit applications.

Read further here…

Analyst’s View: Will Windows 8 Be A Business-Only OS?

By: Samara Lynn

Bolstered by the success of Windows 7, Microsoft is looking forward to the next Windows. Early signs are that it might be a business-focused release, much like Windows 2000.

Could Windows 8 be the Windows 2000 of the 21st century? When Microsoft released Windows 2000, it was largely embraced by the corporate world, but few consumers (except hard-core geeks) ran it on their home machines. Windows 95, Windows 98, and the doomed Windows Millennium targeted the average user. A decade later, rumors and hints point to a Windows 8 that appears poised to walk the same business-centric path.

The successor to Windows 7 is probably a few years from release, but there’s already considerable speculation on what the upcoming ZIFFSECTION id=”1647″>operating system will entail. A post at Ma-Config, a French tech news site, has piqued OS-watchers’ interests, as it hinted at Windows 8’s potential business-friendly features. Analysts, including ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, are pondering the heavy focus on virtualization due to certain statements made on the French blog:

Virtual machines (VMs) become key platform components for data centers and Microsoft products such as Win8, System Center, and Azure.

On the website of Microsoft Research, we learn that virtualization should be one of the key components of Windows 8. It seems to confirm that Bernard Ourghanlian, technical and security director at Microsoft France, interviewed on the site itrmanager in March 2009. Version 3 Hyper-V is now scheduled run on workstations and Windows 8 only.

Virtualization is certainly one of the more intriguing potential Windows 8 features, one that could drastically improve the IT/developer, business user, and cloud-computing experiences. Here are the potential improvements that Windows 8’s virtualization can bring to the business sector.

Read more here…

AppRiver Threat Landscape



AppRiver Threat Landscape: Quarter 1 and 2, 2010

By N DePofi June 29th 2010

AppRiver, the Gulf Breeze Florida based web security and email company, has issued a new report titled “AppRiver notes: Threat & Spamscape report Special 6-Month Edition: June 2010,” briefly covering online threats the company has monitored over the last six months.

Highlights of the report include the one-year anniversary of the Conflicker worm, phishing and spear phishing attacks based on natural disasters, carbon credits, lawsuits, the IRS and the FIFA World Cup.  The report includes a breakdown showing the origin of the 26 billion spam emails blocked by AppRiver in the first half of 2010, and the source region of both spam and malicious email messages, with the United States topping the spam chart at 2.5 billion spam emails, and Europe topping the Malware chart with 44.7%.

Virus activity has also been heavy for the six months reported, with AppRiver noting that more than 45 million virus messages had been blocked in the thirty days prior to the reports publication, or more than one out of every ten emails scanned.

In March, AppRiver blocked over five thousand emails purporting to contain information regarding a lawsuit with a link to a file named complaint.rtf, the link led to another file called complaint_docs.pdf, which actually contained a  Trojan.Dropper.

Scams masquerading as IRS messages utilized tokens to customize emails based on the recipient contained a link to a page with a download link to an .exe file. The file actually installed ZeuS, a phish-kit that is used to steal banking information.

” The Zeus crimeware toolkit has been around now for some time and is well established in the underground economy as being an easy-to-use and powerful tool for stealing personal data from remote systems. Initially linked to a group of criminals known as the “Rock Phish” group and targeting worldwide financial institutions, the toolkit has since become widely available both for sale and for free on underground forums.” (Peter Coogan “Zeus, King of the Underground Crimeware Toolkits” August 25th, 2009)

Other attacks that used ZeuS in the first half of 2010 included FaceBook, MySpace, UPS, DHL, the Royal Mail in the UK, and the Canada Post. ZeuS was prolific enough that US-CERT released a bulletin on March 17th, 2010.

One variation of an older attack style, named the ‘419 scam’ after Article 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code (Advanced Fee Fraud), also known as the Nigerian Prince scam, started in January 2010 and targed FIFA World Cup fans.  These attacks claim that the recipient has won the Online Web Lottery held in South Africa in support of the World Cup, with a prize of one million dollars. The email contained a link to what looked to be an online gaming site, though most of the links were merely images, the ‘live help’ link led to a form asking for personal details. These details could be used to aid criminals in stealing the user’s identity.

Microsoft shoots for the stars with Bing update

by Ina Fried – June 22, 2010 6:37 PM PDT

The event, hosted at Soho House on Sunset Boulevard, got off to a late start thanks to LA traffic.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.–Microsoft is hosting a celebrity-laden event here on Tuesday, announcing a variety of new entertainment features it hopes will give Bing a little more star power.

In truly LA fashion, the event started late as reporters battled the southland traffic to get to the Soho House on Sunset Boulevard. However, Microsoft’s blog post with the news posted promptly at the 6 p.m. starting time.

According to that, Microsoft is adding casual games, more TV content as well as Zune music and lyrics to the service. Each of several million songs can now be played once for free, with 30-second samples available thereafter. Songs can also be purchased from Amazon, iTunes or Zune.

The event, meanwhile, just kicked off at 6:30 p.m. PT, with Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi talking about Bing’s history and showing a clip from the promotion Bing recently did with Stephen Colbert.

In the clip, Colbert notes that Bing is for real, adding that he knows that because he “Googled it.” Mehdi said that despite a 47 percent gain in market share, Microsoft knows it still faces an uphill challenge.

“It isn’t like people wake up and say dang, if only I had another search engine,” he said. “We’re definitely humbled about a lot of work we have to do.”

Turning to entertainment, Mehdi said that there is a huge opportunity around entertainment and search, noting that there are some 1.5 billion entertainment-related queries per month.

For more, follow this link to Cnet.com

Apple gives Mac users vulnerable Flash Player plugin

By Ryan Naraine | June 16, 2010, 8:08am PDT

The Adobe Flash Player plugin that was included in yesterday’s Mac OS X software update contains multiple vulnerabilities that expose users to malicious hacker attacks.

Apple shipped a new Flash Player plugin (10.0.45.2) in the Mac OS X patch bundle but that version became outdated on June 10th when Adobe shipped Flash Player 10.1.53.64.

The Flash Player 10.0.45.2 software contains 32 vulnerabilities, most rated “critical.” At least one of those flaws has been exploited on the Windows platform.

Apple’s outdated Flash Player plugin problem was flagged publicly by Adobe’s Wendy Poland:

Earlier today, Apple released security update 2010-004 / Mac OS X v10.6.4. This update includes an earlier version of Adobe Flash Player (version 10.0.45.2) than available from Adobe.com. While the Mac OS X v10.6.4 update does not appear to downgrade users who have already upgraded to Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe recommends users verify they are using the latest, most secure version of Flash Player (10.1.53.64) available for download from http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer.

To verify the Adobe Flash Player version number installed on your system (after applying the Mac OS X security update), Mac users can go to the About Flash Player page, or right-click on content running in Flash Player and select “About Adobe Flash Player” from the menu.

If you use multiple browsers, Poland recommends you perform the check for each browser you have installed on your system.

Read more at ZDnet.com

Shots Fired! Steve Jobs’ Not So-Sneaky Diss Moments

Steve Jobs may seem like a harmless guy, always smiling in his black mock turtleneck. But push him the wrong way and the hate in his blood can turn ether-eal. During last week’s 2010 Digital 8 Conference, Jobs fixed his aim at a number of rival companies, including China’s most-hated (but America’s favorite) search engine, Google. Only this time, he spoke about G’s latest foray into television. He was at his brazen best. Remember the Steve who used to save most of his vitriol for commercials and ads? Yeah, well that went the way of his pancreatic cancer. These days, Steve has no qualms shutting down anyone who even comes near his path to world domination. Just look at some of our favorite recent, not-so-sneaky disses thrown by Mr. iRunThisTechGame…

Read more here….(Complex.com)

Windows, Mac, or Linux: It’s Not the OS, It’s the User

Some operating systems may be safer than others, but naïve users pose the biggest security risk to today’s businesses.

By Jeff Bertolucci, PC World – June 02, 2010 09:43 AM ET

Who’s got the safest operating system? Apple, Google, Microsoft? According to one security expert, what really matters is who’s using the OS.

“Microsoft doesn’t have a monopoly on all the technical vulnerabilities that are out there,” Zulfikar Ramzan, technical director of Symantec Security Response, said Tuesday in a phone interview with PCWorld.

Today’s online criminals are far more likely to target user behavior rather than a technical flaw in the OS. “It’s a lot easier to do that,” said Zulfikar. “You don’t need as many technical skills to find one person who might be willing, in a moment of weakness, to open up an attachment that contains malicious content.”

This trend has been rising rapidly over the past two years. Currently, only about 3 percent of the malicious software that Symantec encounters exploits a technical vulnerability. The other 97 percent of malware is either “piggybacking on that 3 percent,” or more likely trying to trick a user through some type of “social engineering” scheme, according to Zulfikar.

For more, read NetworkWorld.com

How to Build a Private Cloud

If you’re nervous about running your business applications on a public cloud, many experts recommend that you take a spin around a private cloud first.

By Beth Schultz on Mon, May 10, 2010

The Case For and Against Private Clouds

But building and managing a cloud within your data center is not just another infrastructure project, says Joe Tobolski, director of cloud computing at Accenture.

“A number of technology companies are portraying this as something you can go out and buy – sprinkle a little cloud-ulator powder on your data center and you have an internal cloud,” he says. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

An internal, on-premise private cloud is what leading IT organizations have been working toward for years. It begins with data center consolidation, rationalization of OS, hardware and software platforms, and virtualization up and down the stack – servers, storage and network, Tobolski says.

Elasticity and pay-as-you-go pricing are guiding principles, which imply standardization, automation and commoditization of IT, he adds.

And it goes way beyond about infrastructure and provisioning resources, Tobolski adds. “It’s about the application build and the user’s experience with IT, too.”

Despite all the hype, we’re at a very early stage when it comes to internal clouds. According to Forrester Research, only 5% of large enterprises globally are even capable of running an internal cloud, with maybe half of those actually having one, says James Staten, principal analyst with the firm.

For the rest of the article, visit CIO Magazine

Microsoft Drops Windows 2000, XP SP2 in July

J. Peter Bruzzese , Infoworld – May 10, 2010 10:49 am

Microsoft offers support for its products for five years and extended support for another five years. That time will soon be up for Windows 2000 (desktop and server) and Windows XP SP2: July 13 is the last day that extended support will be available.

According to Microsoft, self-help online support (such as Microsoft online Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, troubleshooting tools, and other resources) will be available for at least a year longer. But paid support, support assistance, and security updates will be discontinued on July 13.

If you’re using Windows 2000, you’ll need to migrate to a more recent version of Windows — or live with the lack of support from Microsoft. Microsoft has a Windows 2000 End-of-Support Center with advice on migrating to Windows 7 (for desktops) or Windows Server 2003, 2008, or 2008 R2 (for servers).

If you’re using Windows XP SP2 or earlier, there’s a free and easy way to continue to get Microsoft support: Simply upgrade to SP3, which you can do via Internet Explorer’s Windows Update utility. Or use the end-of-support date as the incentive to migrate to Windows 7, which many businesses are now doing.

For more information, visit PC World.com

Web 2.0: Scribd Drops Flash For HTML5

The document sharing start-up is betting its business and betting against Flash.

By Thomas Claburn – InformationWeek – May 6, 2010 02:23 PM

In his widely read open letter about the alleged shortcomings of Adobe’s Flash technology on the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote, “Most Flash Web sites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash Web sites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?”

Scribd, the social document sharing Web site, has done just that.

At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Thursday, Scribd CTO Jared Friedman announced that his company has decided to abandon its three-year-old use of Flash in favor of HTML5.

“After three years of building on Flash, Scribd is starting over and building everything on HTML5,” declared Friedman.

Flash, he said, is terrific in a lot of ways, but has the drawback of wrapping content in a separate application. As a result, Scribd’s Flash document reader ended up duplicating many browser functions, which took a lot of work and resulted in a poor user experience, he said.

“Why do you need a special reading application just to view a document?” asked Friedman.

Read the full article at InformationWeek.com