Mozilla Firefox latest version taken offline

Firefox logoMozilla’s latest version of the popular alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been taken offline for download due to a vulnerability found in the browser that could allow an attacker to gain access to your pc.

“The latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser has been taken offline after a security vulnerability was discovered.

Users who had upgraded to version 16 were advised to downgrade to the previous safe release until Firefox developers released a fix.

The vulnerability allowed “a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited”, Mozilla said.

The non-profit company said that only a “limited number of users are affected”.

The download had been taken offline within a day of its initial release, the organisation’s UK spokesman said.

Some users were upgraded automatically to the new version, but are now being advised to uninstall the updates.”

Those using the latest version 16 of the browser are advised to downgrade to the previous version HERE or in my mind use an alternative as in Internet Explorer.

I will say that these days no browser is safe and issues like these are common place, we as the user just need to make sure we keep our Windows version and all software up to date and safe surf.

 

Full article from BBC News HERE

Microsoft Disrupts the Emerging Nitol Botnet

Cyber SecurityMicrosoft and its Digital Crimes Unit have disrupted the emerging Nitol Botnet, which is a really good bit of detective work from a study that found unsecure supply chain systems could be easily utilised for malware.

“Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people. Codenamed “Operation b70,” this legal action and technical disruption proceeded from a Microsoft study which found that cybercriminals infiltrate unsecure supply chains to introduce counterfeit software embedded with malware for the purpose of secretly infecting people’s computers. In disrupting these malware strains, we helped significantly limit the spread of the developing Nitol botnet, our second botnet disruption in the last six months.”

Read the full article at The Official Microsoft Blog HERE

US Botnet Hacker Jailed

hackerWell a bot… oops bit of good news on the spam front is that a hacker who sold a huge list of 70k+ of infected PCs to to spammers has been jailed in the USA, and good I say too as these people cause misery for many novice PC users as they can have personal data including banking information stolen from them.

I personally would not let him use a PC ever again and not a 3yr supervisory order, as I think for this level of criminality it should be one strike and your out!

“A US hacker who sold access to thousands of hijacked home computers has been jailed for 30 months.

Joshua Schichtel of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced for renting out more than 72,000 PCs that he had taken over using computer viruses.

Millions of PCs are enrolled in these networks, known as botnets, and many help to send out junk mail messages.

Schichtel’s customers installed their own malicious software on the PCs to aid their own cybercrime efforts.

As well as going to prison for 30 months, Schichtel was also sentenced to a three-year supervised release programme that he will serve after leaving jail. The supervision will tightly control his access to computers and the net.

In a brief statement about the case, the US Department of Justice said Schichtel pleaded guilty to one count of selling access to 72,000 machines that formed part of a bigger botnet he controlled.”

If you have any comments on this story then please do post a comment as I’m always interested in hearing other computer users thoughts on malware, spam and hacking.

Read the full article at BBC Technology News HERE

Windows 8 RTM released to developers

Windows 8 logoWhile I’m a little late with this news, due in part to being very busy in work but also installing and using Windows 8 Pro at home in testing. I wanted to check out the clean  install to my netbook via a USB install, which I generally think is the quicker method than that of DVD.

The RTM installed in no more than 15 minutes, with very clear instructions on user interaction for items like the licence key to your preferences. The hardware was really well supported on my Samsung N110 and the only driver I needed to install was an Intel Graphics driver.

w8 001  w8 002

I guess you may ask where I managed to get Windows 8 from before public release on October 26th 2012, well as a Microsoft MVP, I get access to MSDN and TechNet. So for those of you who do have the likes of MSDN and TechNet accounts you can download Windows 8 too in ISO format.

Below are the dates from Microsoft on availability.

“People will be able get Windows 8 starting on October 26th” either by upgrading for $39.99 or on a new PC or device. And if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

However, we have a number of programs that provides various audiences early access to the Windows 8 RTM code to help prepare for Windows 8 as it enters the marketplace this fall:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

Please note: if a program you are in is not mentioned, please be patient as dates for Windows 8 RTM code availability for other programs will be communicated when the information becomes available.”

The USB install method I used for those interested was an older ISO to USB/DVD application Microsoft discontinued after Windows 7 was released, I don’t know why as its a great tool, but luckily it is still available for download HERE at Majorgeeks.com.

I will be installing Windows 8 Pro on my desktop PC at some point and will blog about feature at that time.

 

Full quoted text HERE at the Windows Team Blog

Windows 8 release date October 26th

Windows 8 logoMicrosoft have announced that Windows 8 will be released on October 26th 2012, this will be in time for the Christmas holiday period. If the Surface Tablet which also uses Windows 8 is released on or around the same time, this could be a very lucrative sales period for Microsoft as many  users have been holding off on new computers or tablets in the past quarter in anticipation of Windows 8.

“October 26th, 2012! That’s right! Just a few minutes ago, Steven Sinofsky announced at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that customers will be able to get Windows 8 – whether in upgrade fashion or on a new PC – starting on October 26th. Earlier this month at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Tami Reller told attendees Windows 8 would be available in October.”

So make a note in your calendar….

 

Full blog article post from the Windows Team Blog HERE

EU Trade Committee MEP’s dismiss Acta

hackerThis was a vote I was waiting to hear what the results of as I blogged about the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) law on copyright protection and illegal file sharing of media back in April HERE. Today sees the results of the EU parliamentary committee  who voted against this law by 19 to 12.

“Acta aims to tighten rules on both online and offline piracy but has attracted many critics.

One of its harshest detractors has been UK MEP David Martin, the lead member of the committee.

Speaking after the Inta vote, he said: “This was not an anti-intellectual property vote. This group believes Europe does have to protect its intellectual property but Acta was too vague a document,” he said.

He said that it “left many questions unanswered”, including the role of ISPs in policing the internet. He also said that many on the committee felt that the sanctions for breaches of copyright were “disproportionate”.”

Although this is not the full parliamentary vote on this law, it is seen by many as the death-nail to it as the committee involved with this vote are who advise the main parliament which way to vote.

 

Read the full article at BBC News HERE

Anyone want a Cookie?

cookie monsterEvery time I think or hear the word Cookies the picture of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street appears in my head spouting the immortal line of “Me want Coookiees” but cookies from Sunday (27/05/2012) have more of a significance to play in the computing and internet area, as from today all websites are obliged to inform and give you the option of opting out of said website storing a cookie on your computer.

If you do not know much about what the role of cookies in the using the internet is then please read the articles HERE and HERE (section 12 from Majorgeeks.com and created by my good friend Charlie aka Chaslang). The latter one of the two I have added as cookies are very mis-understood at times and many think they are malware related, they are not.

The BBC News webpage all set to go for this cookie rule today.

BBC News Cookie Notification

“Friday marks the last working day for UK businesses to prepare their websites for a new law governing the use of cookies.

From Sunday, sites must obtain “informed consent” from visitors before saving cookies on a machine.

Cookies are pieces of personal data stored when users browse the web, sometimes to power advertising.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is to launch a tool for the public to report non-compliant sites.”

One thing to note is that once you have agreed or disagreed to allow cookies from a particular site on your PC, each time you visit that site, the option you chose will still be in-action, but you can either deleted your Browsers History (Internet Explorer 9’s options HERE) or do check with your favoured browsers options and help pages. If your browser like Internet Explorer 9 has Tracking Protection you can use that to manage various cookies, I have picked on IE9 as it know and use it more than Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

HERE is the EU Directive on privacy and electronic communications but via the UK Gov’s website as its more readable than the gobbledgook pages of the EU Commission HERE. *I do note the EU Commission has not enacted the cookie options yet! worth checking Sunday to see if they have broken their own laws!*

The Financial Times (FT) cookie option

FT Cookie options

Personally I do not see an issue with cookies that the EU Commission has, to be honest it has just caused more website admins a headache in adding this new alert option. I would imagine the EU Commission will be very busy as I can bet that if we were to see figures in 6 months time on the percentage of sites of websites compliant with this law we would see a high figure non-compliant.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this new law?

 

Read the full quoted article at BBC Technology News HERE

The Pirate Party banned from promoting The Pirate Bay

Pirate BayThe political arm so to speak of the Pirate Bay one of the most famous of file sharing links sites has been banned by a Dutch court from having links to the Pirate Bay site on theirs as well as being ordered to remove a proxy/VPN service (a story I covered last week) and instructions on how to set this up on your PC to allow you to circumvent any ISP blocks to The Pirate Bay.

“The Netherlands’ Pirate Party has been ordered to stop publicising ways to circumvent blocks to The Pirate Bay.

The ruling by a court in the Hague follows a complaint by the anti-piracy group Brein.

It had said that the political party was helping users overcome a previous ruling that had ordered two of the country’s biggest internet service providers to prohibit access to TPB.”

At this point in time, the courts instruction on the proxy and instruction has not been complied with as the service is still up and running.

 

Read the full article at BBC Technology News HERE

Permalink to File sharers move to VPNs to beat bans on The Pirate Bay in UK

The “New” Bing, the search engine gets updates

BingMicrosoft yesterday announced the next raft of updates for their ever growing in user base Bing search engine (approx. 15% of the search market ), the updates should start to be available to users in the USA from June 2012 and then other countries at a later date.

“With the new version of Bing, rolling out over the coming weeks and broadly available in the U.S. in early June, people can easily get advice and recommendations from friends and experts with the new social sidebar. They can also view useful, action-oriented information via the new snapshot feature. And they can find what they’re looking for faster, with more relevant results and a refreshed user interface. All of this is presented in a new, three-column design that focuses on helping users take the leap from finding information to making quick, informed decisions”

I have to agree with the below comment and it is one comment I get a lot on web forums, is to why is it way too hard at times to search for just simple things, well  there are generally many factors to this, not adding enough core words to your search query or using operators like “my search” around your key word/s or using advanced operators like “my search” filetype:pdf. These search operators if you type yourself up a list of them to print out and keep by your PC will become second nature over time. 

“More than two-thirds of consumers use search to accomplish tasks, according to a Microsoft user survey. Yet 60 percent wonder whether they have found the best information available for what they’re trying to do, and 52 percent find themselves entering multiple queries and visiting lots of sites for searches that shouldn’t be so ha

However if Bing is to become more intelligent in its search and offer you various options as listed below in both images and below quoted text, then your searches should become  much more tailored, with Bing narrowing the search down and with the option of asking a friend or colleague in your social media circle, such as Facebook.

HotelSearch_Web_bing

“The new features in Bing are designed to help people complete tasks combining the best information from the Web, rich data organized in a better way, and the input of friends and experts.

  • Improved Web Results: Consumers can perform traditional Web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface.

  • Snapshot: Users can quickly complete tasks by viewing useful information related to their searches and compiled by Bing as a single “snapshot” – all in one place in a separate column.

  • Sidebar: Consumers can take action based on the recommendations of friends and experts in the sidebar – displayed in a third column, separate from main Web results page.”

HotelSearchActivity_Web_Bing

Bing is progressing nicely in my opinion and not just because I am a Microsoft MVP (see logo button in right side panel) but it has gone down a different track in searching unlike other search engines that just give you way too much of what you don’t need, which is why I love cluster type search engines (Yippy for one).

I just hate it these days for instance when I need to search for a applications .exe file and all I get is a million and one Hijackthis logs ahhhhhhhh! so being able to use either search operators as I mentioned earlier to weed out the data you don’t need or if the revamp of Bing can help in this goal I will be a happy internet user.

Do post in comments your pet hates about searching on the internet these days as I like to know I’m not the only grumpy one out there.

 

So watch out for the updates to Bing in June.

 

Please read the full press release at Microsoft News Center HERE

Facebook enters the “app” market

FacebookFacebook have announced their entrance into the “app” (application) marketplace, the apps that are going to be on the “App Center” will all have a connection to the user using Facebook compatible apps via their mobile device (iOS and Android).

Facebookappcenter1

“Today, we’re announcing the App Center, a new place for people to find social apps. The App Center gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful.

In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch.

A place to find great apps
For the over 900 million people that use Facebook, the App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates, Viddy, and Bubble Witch Saga.

Everything has an app detail page, which helps people see what makes an app unique and lets them install it before going to an app.”

Facebookappcenter2

The App Center will be available in the coming weeks, which will allow any potential developers wishing to use this social network within their app to develop and submit it.

Read the full article at the Facebook blog HERE