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NEWS - November 20, 2006

by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:22 AM PST

Microsoft makes claim on Linux code

And sets alarm bells ringing in open source community
Published Monday 20th November 2006 14:31 GMT

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that every user of the open source Linux system could owe his company money for using its intellectual property. The statement will confirm the worst fears of the open source community.

Microsoft recently signed a deal for SUSE Linux, a Novell-owned distribution of the Linux operating system. The two companies pledged that they would improve the interoperability of their products. Open source advocates were amazed at the deal, but Ballmer's comments could vindicate the suspicions of some.


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Adobe boss won't rule out suing over Vista
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:24 AM PST

Microsoft launch not home and dry yet
By John Oates

Adobe chief executive Bruce Chizen will not rule out suing Microsoft over the "save as pdf" feature of Vista, the operating system slated for arrival next year.

Speaking to a German business paper, Chizen said the company was working with regulators but could take to the courts if this failed.

He said there were two options ? to take direct legal action against Microsoft, or to work with regulators. Chizen said: "We are doing the latter. Then we will see." More from Reuters here.


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Taking a Look at the FreeVideo Player Trojan
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:29 AM PST

ISC reader Brian Eckman shared with us a comprehensive write-up about malicious activity he observed in association with the FreeVideo Player software distributed by www-dvdaccess-net. (We do not recommend visiting that URL.) According to Brian, the program's EULA grants its authors the right to install third-party software on the user's machine; however, most users would not find the activities of this program desirable.

The main purpose of the FreeVideo Player, in its current state, seems to be redirection of web search results and DNS queries for non-existent domains to ad-hosting websites. As Brian notes, the capabilities of the program could "allow it to be incredibly effective (i.e., devastating) if used for phishing. If they decided to return false DNS answers for banks, credit monitoring companies, auction sites, etc., there is almost no protection for the end user. Even if they return valid DNS responses, they can present any page they want to the Web browser."


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PayPal Phishers Use Malaysian Government Portal
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:31 AM PST

Even secure sites were co-opted as zombies to distribute spam with scams.
Robert McMillan, IDG News Service
Monday, November 20, 2006 07:00 AM PST

An antispam researcher has uncovered a phishing scam that uses computers belonging to both a medical transcription outsourcing company and the Government of Malaysia.

The scam was discovered by Bill Carton, an engineer based in San Diego who has spent the last ten years as a volunteer antispam activist, shutting down bulk e-mailers in his spare time. Carton received an e-mail Friday morning that purported to be from eBay's PayPal service.

It read like a standard phishing pitch: "It has come to our attention that your account information needs to be updated," the e-mail said. "If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into any future problems with the online service."


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Exploit surfaces for just-patched Windows flaw
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:33 AM PST

Proof-of-concept discovered in the wild

Shaun Nichols in California, vnunet.com 20 Nov 2006

A recently disclosed vulnerability which was fixed in Microsoft's latest security update is the target of an exploit.

The vulnerability had not been made public until Microsoft released a fix on 14 November as part of its monthly security patch cycle. Three hours later, an exploit targeting unpatched systems was released.

The exploit was posted by security research firm Immunity Inc as a module for its Canvas security research application.


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Experts warn of surge in zero-day flaws
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 12:35 AM PST

Sans Institute urges 'least privilege environment' to beat attacks

Clement James, vnunet.com 20 Nov 2006

Security experts at the Sans Institute warned last week of a major surge in zero-day flaws as part of its 2006 update to the Top 20 Internet Security Attack Targets list.

The report advises implementation of a "least privilege" environment to reduce the impact of such attacks.

Marco Peretti, chief technical officer at security firm BeyondTrust, agreed with the findings of the Sans Institute, urging users to follow the " principle of least privilege" in setting user access controls, permissions and rights.


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Microsoft Denies 'Kill Switch' In Office 2007
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 7:18 AM PST

As with previous versions of the productivity bundle, Office 2007 does include an activation scheme that requires users to authenticate the product key either online or by telephone, a company executive says.

By Gregg Keizer

Nov 20, 2006 02:39 PM

Reports that Office 2007 will sport an anti-piracy "kill switch" that can disable the upcoming application suite after it's activated are incorrect, a Microsoft executive said Monday.

As with previous versions of the productivity bundle, Office 2007 does include an activation scheme that requires users to authenticate the product key either online or by telephone, said Ashim Jaidka, the director of Office Genuine Advantage. OGA is the umbrella program for Office product activation and validation.

"Activation technology isn't new to Microsoft Office," Jaidka said in an e-mail. "It's important to note the distinction between activation and validation."


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'Tis the season to send spam
by Marianna Schmudlach / November 20, 2006 7:22 AM PST

By Joris Evers
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Published: November 20, 2006

In addition to plenty of turkey, a record amount of spam will be served up this holiday season.

Mass e-mailers traditionally bump up their activity as the year winds down. But this year, the amount of junk messages could be unprecedented, companies that make spam-busting tools say. And senders of unsolicited ads are already celebrating the close of the harvest season and the approach of Christmas.

"Just as legitimate vendors began stocking their shelves with holiday decor and gifts before Halloween, spammers started sending spam messages tailored to the holiday gift-giving season earlier this year," said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management at Barracuda Networks, a Mountain View, Calif., maker of security appliances.

In October, 63 billion junk messages were sent daily, on average, compared with 31 billion a year ago, according to data from IronPort Systems. Another antispam specialist, MessageLabs, reports that 88.7 percent of all e-mail sent in October was unsolicited. That percentage is expected to rise to nearly 90 percent in November and December.


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