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Tick, tock: Windows 8.1 users face patch ban as Microsoft sets next week’s updates

By |May 28th, 2014|Categories: IT Industry, Microsoft, Security, Tech News|

Computerworld – Microsoft today said it will issue eight security updates to customers next week that will include fixes for flaws in Internet Explorer (IE), Windows, Office and SharePoint.

Four of the bulletins, including the one targeting IE, affect Windows 8.1, the fall 2012 refresh of Windows 8. However, to receive those four updates, users of Windows 8.1 must have upgraded to Windows 8.1 Update, which Microsoft released just last month.

Of the eight updates, two were tagged “critical,” Microsoft’s most serious threat rating, and the remaining six were marked “important,” the next step down in the firm’s four-part scoring system.

May’s collection of updates is the largest so far this year: Microsoft issued four updates each in January and April, five each in February and March.

“It’s in the range,” said Andrew Storms, director of DevOps at CloudPassage, today. “It’s not like this is a giant update.”

Storms recommended that users apply the IE […]

Microsoft seeds doubt by erasing XP line in the sand

By |May 26th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Security, Tech News, Virus Alerts, WinXP|

Move may end up encouraging some customers to stick with XP even longer

May 7, 2014
(Computerworld)

Microsoft’s decision to erase its support line in the sand has sowed confusion and will likely encourage bad behavior by some customers, analysts said today.

“If next month someone finds another zero-day like this one, Microsoft could just move the line again,” said John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, a security training organization.

“In a way, this encourages bad behavior. There’s a risk that people will look at it that way,” said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner, referring to those who will now question Microsoft’s determination to end XP support, and thus slow or even suspend their migrations to newer editions of Windows.

The experts were talking about Microsoft’s move on May 1 to issue fixes for a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer […]

Bug bounty program outs 7-month-old IE zero-day

By |May 26th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Security, Tech News, Virus Alerts, WinXP|

No sign that hackers are exploiting the unpatched vulnerability in IE8; XP users will never see the fix

May 22, 2014
(Computerworld)

An HP bug bounty program yesterday published information about a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) because Microsoft did not meet its patch-or-we-go-public deadline.

HP TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) revealed some details about the vulnerability Wednesday in an online advisory after its 180-day grace period had expired without Microsoft providing a patch to customers.

The bug, which was reported to ZDI by Belgium security researcher Peter Van Eeckhoutte, was handed to Microsoft on Oct. 11, 2013. At the time, ZDI had a 180-day patch policy: If the vendor did not patch the vulnerability in that time, or failed to explain why it could not, ZDI would go public with the flaw.

Since then ZDI has shortened the window to […]

Jack Gold: Microsoft re-Surfaces the Pro, for the enterprise

By |May 25th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Tech News|

The enhancements in the Surface Pro 3 are aimed straight at the enterprise

May 21, 2014
(Computerworld)

With the launch of the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has rightly decided that its future is not at the low end of consumer tablets, where ultra-thin margins and highly competitive vendors from Asia have dominated and will continue to do so. Instead, it has concentrated on its key strength — business users. It’s counting on them to buy high-performance tablets as extensions and/or replacements for full laptop capability.

This move shows that Microsoft may finally understand that it cannot go head to head with Apple‘s iPad and must offer a superior business device that leverages its installed base of infrastructure and applications, in particular the full Office […]

Microsoft prays for service revenue with free Windows 8.1 with Bing for tablets

By |May 25th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Tech News|

Pushes OEMs to lower tablet prices and throws in Office, all to drive larger sales share

May 23, 2014
(Computerworld)

Microsoft today confirmed that it will be giving a new version of its OS, “Windows 8.1 with Bing,” to tablet makers free of charge as it tries to boost the market and sales shares of its flagship OS.

As the name implied, the edition will default to Microsoft’s own Bing search service.

The version had been talked up earlier this year as a possible experiment by Microsoft with a free, consumer-grade edition of Windows. At the time, those rumors centered around Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or very-low-priced upgrade from Windows 7, and were seen as yet another attempt to “go low” to give its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners a way to compete in the low price bands dominated by […]

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday gives XP attackers a roadmap

By |May 20th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Security, Tech News, Virus Alerts, WinXP|Tags: , , |

IDG News Service – For the latest round of Microsoft’s monthly collection of software patches, the company has fixed critical issues in Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows that have already been used by malicious attackers to compromised systems.

It is the software that Microsoft has not patched this month that is probably of greatest interest to attackers.

Overall, Microsoft has issued eight bulletins this month, fixing 13 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office.

None of these fixes are for Windows XP or Office 2003, both of which Microsoft stopped supporting in April (except for those customers with extended support contracts). Many of the patches in this month’s collection do fix code vulnerabilities that probably originated in Windows XP or Office 2003, if not in earlier versions.

Studying what is being fixed with each month’s round of patches could give attackers an easy […]

Windows XP Exploit Protection Tested, Winners Revealed

By |May 18th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Security, Tech News, WinXP|Tags: , , |

XP Exploit Protection Test

I collect and analyze test results from a half-dozen antivirus test labs all over the world. Most of them run a regular cycle, releasing new results monthly, quarterly, or at other intervals. Security vendors can also commission one-off tests, which seem to invariably show them in a good light. That’s only logical; if the test reveals problems they use it to improve the product, not for publicity. Chinese security vendor Qihoo 360 totally aced a recently-commissioned test by AV-Test that specifically evaluated protection against Windows XP exploits.

Simple Test
On May’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released a collection of patches for vulnerabilities in various Windows versions. For the first time, and from now on, XP got bupkis. You can bet the bad guys are combing through the announced patches for other Windows versions to […]

Microsoft CEO Nadella aces first-100-day test

By |May 15th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Tech News|Tags: |

Computerworld – If Satya Nadella celebrated his first 100 days as CEO of Microsoft today, no one could blame him, a corporate leadership expert said Thursday.

“I’d give him very high marks, an A or A-, for his first 100 days,” said Randy Ottinger, an executive vice president with Kotter International, a Cambridge Mass. consultancy that specializes in leadership change and setting corporate strategy.

Just a day after Nadella was named successor to Steve Ballmer, Ottinger and others argued that the new chief executive had to have a 100-day plan to jump start his time in the big chair. Nadella’s 100th day as CEO is today.

“No question that there’s a first 100 days for a new CEO,” Ottinger said in February, giving a nod to the practice of many U.S. presidents, who implement a fast-moving plan to set their administrations’ political tone and […]

Microsoft to webcast next week’s Surface event

By |May 14th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Tech News|

Computerworld – Microsoft today confirmed that it will webcast its Surface event next week, boosting the chance that the company will reveal significant news and/or multiple products.

The on-premises part of the event, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) on Tuesday, May 20, is invite-only. Others, including customers, partners and even rivals, will be able to take in the presentation via a live webcast, Microsoft said in a brief announcement.

The webcast URL won’t be disclosed until some time on Monday, May 19, the Redmond, Wash. company said.

Most expectations for the event have revolved around a smaller-sized Surface tablet, one with a screen 7- to 8-in. measured diagonally. But rumors of a multi-product roll-out have also popped up, triggered by Bloomberg, which claimed inside sources told the publication that other new models, including ones powered by Intel […]

Microsoft makes one-time exception, patches IE on Windows XP

By |May 14th, 2014|Categories: Microsoft, Security, Tech News, WinXP|Tags: , , |

Calls news coverage of IE vulnerability ‘overblown,’ but patches IE6, IE7 and IE8 on XP anyway

May 1, 2014
(Computerworld)

Microsoft today shipped an emergency update for Internet Explorer to close a hole that hackers had already been exploiting.

But in an unexpected move, Microsoft allowed Windows XP machines to receive the update, even though it had long held that the 13-year-old operating system had absolutely, positively retired on April 8.

“I’m surprised they went out-of-band at all,” said Andrew Storms, director of DevOps at security company CloudPassage, using the term for an emergency update outside the normal monthly patch cycle Microsoft maintains. “While there was a lot of talk about this zero-day, it was mainly focused on the XP angle.”

In fact, today’s turnabout was bigger news than the security update itself, something Microsoft tacitly acknowledged by posting a long […]