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NEWS - February 24, 2005

This news story is not security related but seeing as so many people use Hotmail, I decided to post it.

Hotmail outage peeves some e-mail users
By Alorie Gilbert, CNET
Published on ZDNet News: February 23, 2005, 4:55 PM PT

Microsoft is grappling with a Hotmail outage that's keeping some users of the e-mail service from using their accounts.

A faulty server is apparently the root of the problem, according to a Microsoft customer service representative who confirmed the outage on Wednesday. The representative declined to immediately discuss the nature of the problem, when it began, or how many of Hotmail's 187 million users are affected.

The outage has caused intermittent access to Hotmail accounts for some consumers over the last couple of weeks and, more alarmingly, appears to have erased new and saved messages from in-boxes, according to several people who contacted CNET about the problem. It is also the latest in a string of ongoing customer complaints about the service.

Customers, especially paying ones, are starting to lose patience.

"For a company the size of Microsoft, which bills themselves as a progressive, consumer-friendly organization, they're really taking a long time to fix this," said Dwight Foster, a Hotmail subscriber in Orinda, Calif., who pays $20 a year for an account with extra storage. "I'm about to blow a gasket."

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Payroll site closes on security worries

By Robert Lemos, CNET
Published on ZDNet News: February 23, 2005, 3:54 PM PT

Online payroll service provider PayMaxx shuttered its automated W-2 site on Wednesday after a researcher claimed that two security holes had exposed data on more than 25,000 people.

A description of the problem posted on Think Computer's Web site by Aaron Greenspan, president of the software start-up, said the security issues could allow anyone to view the W-2 forms generated for employees of PayMaxx's clients for the last five years.

PayMaxx did not acknowledge or deny the problems, saying that a third-party security company was investigating the allegations.

"No system in the world is 100 percent secure from a sophisticated and determined hacker," the Tennessee-based payroll company said in a statement sent to CNET "PayMaxx has made and continues to make every effort to secure its system against any breach."

more here

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Here is another reason why hotmail users are having trouble with their emails

Before they sent this email, when you used outlook express, you got this letter from them. It gave you a link to click on and it took you no where.

If you went to the website, signed in and you had to match the picture to get in. It would keep repeating this after you sent 2 emails using Outlook express.

Very Fustrating

Then got this email

Dear MSN Member,

Recently, Hotmail

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Adware maker joins federal privacy board

(This is an update to a previous news article)

Published: February 23, 2005, 5:19 PM PST
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET

update The Department of Homeland Security has named Claria, an adware maker that online publishers once dubbed a "parasite," to a federal privacy advisory board.

An executive from Claria, formerly called Gator, will be one of 20 members of the committee, the department said Wednesday.

"This committee will provide the department with important recommendations on how to further the department's mission while protecting the privacy of personally identifiable information of citizens and visitors of the United States," Nuala O'Connor Kelly, the department's chief privacy officer, said in a statement.

Claria bundles its pop-up advertising software with ad-supported networks such as Kazaa. Recently, the privately held company has been trying to seek credibility by following stricter privacy guidelines and offering behavioral profiling services to its partners.

more here

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Microsoft says sorry for AntiSpyware error

Published: February 24, 2005, 10:36 AM PST
By Ingrid Marson
Special to CNET

Microsoft has publicly apologized and compensated Web directory, one of MSN's main competitors in Holland, after the software giant's anti-spyware product incorrectly flagged the site as malicious.

A Microsoft representative confirmed on Thursday that the Windows AntiSpyware beta prevented people from setting Startpagina as their home page. The representative said this problem has now been fixed in the latest update of the program.

"Microsoft has posted a notice on the Web sites of Microsoft Netherlands and Microsoft Belgium that includes an appeal to download the new version of Windows AntiSpyware and provides an apology for the difficulty this issue may have caused and its users," the representative said.

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U.K. to issue public virus alerts

Published: February 24, 2005, 7:39 AM PST
By Andy McCue
Special to CNET

The British government has created a Web site with virus alerts and security advice for home PC users and small businesses.

The site, called ITsafe, will provide free information on the latest virus threats as well as advice on Internet surfing, e-mail use and protecting personal and business data.

The site is funded by the British government's Home Office and will use data from the National Infrastructure Security Coordination Center (NISCC), which is responsible for monitoring threats to the United Kingdom's critical national infrastructure.

People will receive e-mail or text alerts about new virus and security threats once they have signed up to the service.

The Home Office said the alerts will outline the damage potential of any new threats and will offer instructions for any actions a person needs to take to update the security of their PC.

more here

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Symantec, Computer Sciences team up

Published: February 24, 2005, 8:40 AM PST
By Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Writer, CNET

Symantec and Computer Sciences Corp. on Thursday announced an alliance designed to broaden CSC's security offerings and extend Symantec's reach into the corporate and government markets.

Under the arrangement, Symantec will provide CSC customers with security-monitoring services that range from intrusion detection to data analysis.

CSC, meanwhile, will provide Symantec access to a larger number of corporate customers and federal agencies--markets that Symantec has been cultivating.

"Leveraging Symantec's intelligence and security monitoring and management services with CSC's range of security expertise will enable us to truly deliver end-to-end managed security services," Grant Geyer, a vice president at Symantec, said in a statement.

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