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News - December 17, 2004

Microsoft could soon charge for spyware defense tools

Microsoft disclosed plans Thursday to offer frustrated users of its Windows software new tools within 30 days to remove spyware programs secretly running on computers. But it might cost extra in coming months.

In a shift from past practice, the world's largest software manufacturer said it may charge consumers for future versions of the new protective technology, which Microsoft acquired by buying a small New York software firm, Giant Company Software. Microsoft's new tool initially will be free, but it said it may charge for future versions.


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Cloudmark Works With PayPal Against Phishing

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

The Anti-fraud component of Cloudmark's new SafetyBar solution will be offered to PayPal users free of charge.

The SafetyBar solution is designed to empower businesses and consumers to stop online fraud.

SafetyBar is available to any PayPal customer worldwide that uses the Outlook email system. The tool is easy to install, with the new SafetyBar appearing as a toolbar in Outlook immediately after downloading the product. From installation forward, messages that are identified as phishing emails are automatically forwarded to the Spam Folder. Along with SafetyBar, PayPal users also get a free 30-day trial of Cloudmark's anti-spam protection, the most award-winning anti-spam solution this year.

"Online security is a top priority for PayPal and we continue to fight phishing attacks in every way we can," said Dave Nielsen, technical evangelist for PayPal. "We're happy to work with Cloudmark to develop tools and techniques that enhance our fraud protection initiatives."


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Gartner: Expect a Windows AV and anti-spyware in 2005

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

Analyst firm Gartner expects Microsoft to launch a Windows anti-virus and anti-spyware product in the second half of 2005, following the software giant's acquisition of Giant on Thursday.

In an effort to improve the disastrous security record of Internet Explorer (IE) and fight off the threat from the Firefox browser, Gartner believes there is an 80 percent chance that Microsoft will release a combined anti-virus and anti-spyware product in the second half of 2005.

In a research note published on Thursday, Gartner analysts predicted that such a product from Microsoft would cost less than current anti-virus and anti-spyware products on the market, which is likely to affect the development cycles of traditional anti-virus firms such as Symantec.


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Default passwords on Cisco messaging, security products

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

could pose risks, vendor warns

Cisco has advised users that default passwords on its Unity unified messaging server and Cisco Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector could allow an attacker to gain administrative access. On Unity systems, this would allow an attacker to read incoming an outgoing messages and redirect message routing; the default password can be found in versions 2, 3, and 4. The Cisco Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector is designed to detect malicious traffic, such as a denial of service attack, and direct it to a non-critical section of the network. Access would allow an attacker to reroute traffic or prevent detection of a denial of service attack. Cisco advises users to change default passwords if they have not already. The updated Cisco Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector 3.1 requires users to change the password during installation.


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Legal questions dog Microsoft anti-spyware buy

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

Questions have already arisen regarding the ownership of Giant Company Software's anti-spyware products, after Microsoft purchased the company as part of its strategy to expand its cybersecurity capabilities. Sunbelt Software claims exclusive rights over some elements of Giant's anti-spyware technology, including the right to offer software development kits, possibly contradicting Microsoft's claim that it can develop new products based on Giant code. If the claims hold, Microsoft would still be able to redevelop Giant technology, but would need permission from Sunbelt to allow third parties to access the code. Microsoft has been in contact with Sunbelt to discuss such issues as software distribution, but legal rights over software development kits have not yet been discussed.


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Zafi worm dominates email systems

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

According to antivirus companies, Zafi.d is consuming e-mail bandwidth and dominating virus reports. Sophos says 72% of virus reports received in 24 hours were related to Zafi, while accounting for one in fifteen e-mails. Zafi is consuming a e-mail bandwidth because, in addition to harvesting addresses from infected computers, it also makes up e-mail addresses. While most of these will never make it to an end user, the tactic still consumes a lot of e-mail bandwidth. In addition to spreading over e-mail, Zafi opens a back door on infected computers. According to Kaspersky Labs, most Zafi activity is centered in Hungary; "Zafi" comes from the Hungarian word "hazafi", meaning "patriot."


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Microsoft Statement on Sunbelt Claims to GIANT Technology

In reply to: News - December 17, 2004

On December 16, 2004, Microsoft announced that it acquired the intellectual property and technology of GIANT Company Software, a provider of anti-spyware and Internet security products. Subsequent to the announcement, some misleading public statements have been made regarding ownership terms of the anti-spyware technology acquired by Microsoft. While the terms of acquisition and legal agreements made by Giant prior to the acquisition are confidential, Microsoft would like to clarify some of the issues that have been raised in the press.

View the statement in http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/dec04/1217statement.asp

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