Smokey's Security Weblog

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Will Kaspersky Lab be acquired by Microsoft Corp.?

The normally very well-informed anti-malware branch insider Bill Guttman told me past week he had (not confirmed) information that Microsoft Corp. would be interested in acquirement of the Russian security software vendor Kaspersky Lab.

It is no secret that Microsoft H.Q. isn’t happy with the negative resonance of the Windows user on products like e.g. Windows OneCare and Windows Defender, and that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is determined to go new directions with the Windows Vista successor Windows 7.

Like Vista, security is a main issue in Windows 7 development and it is the intention of Microsoft to revamp the Security Center in Windows 7 thorough. Part of the plans is to rebuild it on modular base with the components antivirus, HIPS, antispyware and firewall. It seem to be the intention too that development of the new Windows 7 Security Center will be performed by Kaspersky Lab for reason of it’s know-how and excellent security products.

Amount that will be paid for the (possible) Kaspersky Lab acquirement is not known but seem to be considerable. Not known too is what will happen with the antivirus products running with a Kaspersky engine if Microsoft succeed with it’s efforts to acquire Kaspersky Lab.

Of course i have tried to become confirmation about what Bill Guttman told me, but (as expected) both involved companies reacted with the usual: “no comment”.


March 31, 2008 Posted by | Friends, Malware, News, Recommended External Security Related Links, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Google board to oppose shareholder initiatives on Net censorship ban, human rights review

Google Inc.’s board of directors is opposing a shareholder initiative to ban Internet censorship as well as the creation of a separate board committee to review the company’s policies on human rights, according to Google’s proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and released publicly. At its annual meeting May 8, the board will recommend a vote against a shareholder proposal that would require the company to take steps to ensure freedom of access to the Internet. It also advises a vote against a proposal calling for the board to form a separate committee to review its policies on human rights.

“Technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” the first proposal states.

The second proposal would require Google to create a committee to review the company’s human rights policies. That proposal was made by Harrington Investments Inc., a Napa, Calif.-based firm that focuses on socially responsible investing.

In a statement on its Web site, Harrington said that companies such Yahoo, Google and others “have been working to restrict access and filter information on the Internet, as well as identify Internet users, including bloggers who advocate democracy, leading to their arrest, imprisonment and often torture.”

Google was criticized for launching a search service in 2006 aimed at Chinese users that blocks results considered objectionable to government of the People’s Republic of China. The company said it struggled over the decision but concluded that it was better to provide some Internet service than none at all.

Full article / source: CW Networking & Internet

March 30, 2008 Posted by | Friends, News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serious design weaknesses Windows Server 2008

A hacker picking apart the security model of Microsoft’s brand new Windows Server 2008 has found serious design weaknesses that render some of the product’s new security protections “useless.”

Cesar Cerrudo, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Argeniss Information Security, in Parana, Argentina, says the weaknesses could lead to privilege escalation attacks opens the door for a skilled hacker to take complete control of the operating system.

“[We found] from design issues that were not identified by Microsoft engineers during the Security Development Lifecycle, and allows accounts commonly used by Windows services —NETWORK SERVICE and LOCAL SERVICE— to bypass new Windows services protection mechanisms and elevate privileges, Cerrudo said.

He said the discovery also affects Internet Information Services 7 in the default configuration, allowing ASP.NET applications to “completely compromise” operating system security.

Cerrudo, a security researcher who is highly regarded for his work on database security, said the problem also afects Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 2003.

“On Windows XP and Windows 2003 the problem is especially severe since any Windows service, even when running under a low privileged account, can potentially break through the security protections and fully compromise the operating system. This includes all web applications deployed on Internet Information Services 6,” he added.

Source: eWeek

March 29, 2008 Posted by | Alerts, Friends, Malware, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beleaguered BitTorrent search engine shuts down

Expensive legal battles have caused TorrentSpy, a major search engine for the BitTorrent file-sharing service, to shut down. A note on the home page of TorrentSpy’s Web site said it is shutting down “not due to any court order or agreement,” but because of a team decision.

TorrentSpy has spent the past two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars “defending the rights of our users and ourselves” in a legal climate that was “hostile” to torrent files, according to the note, which is attributed to the TorrentSpy team.

Source: ComputerWorld

March 28, 2008 Posted by | Downloads, Friends, News, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders’ film about the Quran Released and Online

Geert Wilders’s film Fitna the Movie is released and online.

I am not a muslim hater, neither a racist: all forms of racism, prejudgements or discrimination are bad and must be condemned, despite of that i will provide the reader with a link to Fitna:

It is obvious that Geert Wilders show with Fitna (again) his senseless hate against the Islam. Factual Fitna show the very limited intellectual capabilities of Wilders: the movie isn’t made in a creative way, it is a pure copy/past job concerning previous occurances.

By publishing the link to the movie you are capable to make up your own mind about Wilders’ trash.

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Friends, News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Windows XP: Going, going … gone?

According to Microsoft’s timeline, XP is on its way to becoming an ex-operating system.

Microsoft has already made changes in its timetables. Last year, the company extended the sales life cycle — the time during which PC manufacturers and system builders could sell computers with XP installed — to June 30, 2008. It will stop selling XP altogether on Jan. 31, 2009. And it extended the mainstream support period for XP to April 14, 2009, in an effort to reassure customers made nervous by the long delays in shipping Vista.

The result of all this tweaking is that Microsoft will stop selling XP long before it stops supporting it. You may be able to run XP for as long as you want, but before too long you may not be able to buy a legitimate copy of XP to run.

XP timeline

June 30, 2008
PC manufacturers stop selling computers with XP installed.

Jan. 31, 2009
Microsoft stops selling XP altogether.

April 14, 2009
Mainstream support (free live support and warranty support) ends. Free maintenance is limited to security fixes.

April 8, 2014
All support for XP ends.

Source: ComputerWorld Operating Systems

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Friends, News, Recommended External Security Related Links, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Safari for Windows Highly Critical Vulnerabilities

Juan Pablo Lopez Yacubian has discovered two highly critical vulnerabilities in Safari, which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct spoofing attacks or potentially compromise a user’s system.

The vulnerabilities are confirmed in version 3.1 for Windows. Other versions may also be affected.

Solution status: unpatched.

Source: Secunia

March 24, 2008 Posted by | Alerts, Friends, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , | Leave a comment

Cuba blocks access to top Cuban blog

The Cuban authorities have blocked access from Cuba to the country’s most-read blogger, Yoani Sanchez, she said on Monday.

Sanchez, whose critical “Generacion Y” blog received 1.2 million hits in February, said Cubans can no longer visit her Web page and two other home-grown bloggers on the Web site on a server in Germany.

All they can see is a “error downloading” message.

Sanchez said she cannot directly access her Web site from Cuba to update postings anymore, but has found a way to beat her Communist censors through an indirect route.

“So the anonymous censors of our famished cyberspace have tried to shut me in a room, turn off the light and not let my friends in,” she wrote in her blog on Monday.

“Who is the last in line for a toaster?” was the title of a recent blog that satirized the lifting of a ban on sales of computers, DVD players and other appliances Cubans long for, though toasters will not be freely sold until 2010.

Source: Reuters

March 24, 2008 Posted by | News, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Latest Blu-ray copy protection cracked

The latest effort at blocking unofficial copying of Blu-ray movies has been undone, the developers of a cracking utility claim. AnyDVD adds the ability to bypass BD+ encoding, used on a number of discs to prevent either direct copying, or ripping to a hard drive. This change is said to particularly affect releases from 20th Century Fox, who have led the adoption of BD+, while other companies continue with variants of AACS. AnyDVD is now also better compatible with regular DVDs using Arccos protection.

Source: Electronista

March 24, 2008 Posted by | News, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple pushing iTunes, QT users on Windows to download Safari

 Apple has chosen to leverage its significant install base for QuickTime and iTunes in order to quickly gain market share for its Safari Web browser on Windows.

Along with iTunes or standalone QuickTime, Apple installs a small application, called Software Update. This looks very much like the program of the same name built into Mac OS X, and is used by Apple to push updates — both security fixes and new versions — to its products.

However, now it appears that the company is using Software Update to suggest that Windows users install Safari as well. iTunes users are reporting that even if they had not installed a previous version of Safari, an option to download the browser was selected by default.”I didn’t recall seeing an earlier version installed on the laptop. And I made no mistake: The Apple updater offered installation of new software, not something that had been there before,” Microsoft Watch’s Joe Wilcox reported.

Source: BetaNews

March 24, 2008 Posted by | Bundleware, Downloads, Friends, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Web host suspends site planned for anti-Koran film

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A U.S.-based web service, which Islam critic and Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders planned to use to show his film critical of the Koran, said on Saturday that it had inactivated the site due to complaints.

“This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site’s content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy,” the company said on the site

Wilders, who has given few details about his 15-minute film, has said he plans to release “Fitna” on the Internet before the end of the month after Dutch broadcasters declined to show it. Fitna is a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife”.

Wilders still plans to show his film despite the setback, Dutch agency ANP reported.

Source: Reuters

March 24, 2008 Posted by | News, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Cyber attacks against Tibetan communities

There is lots of media coverage on the protests in Tibet. Something that lies under the surface, and rarely gets a blip in the press, are the various targeted cyber attacks that have been taking place against these various communities recently.

These attacks are not limited to various Tibetan NGOs and support groups. They have been reported dating back to 2002, and even somewhat before that, and have affected several other communities, including Falun Gong and the Uyghurs.

The attacks generally start with a very trustworthy looking e-mail, being spoofed as originating from a known contact, to someone within a community. Some impressive social engineering tricks are used.

Anti virus is generally not proving effective against these attacks.

SANS have been working with several groups on these attacks since early 2007. If you or your organization has also been targeted, now or in the past, please get in touch. SANS will not publish any data on your specific attacks without your permission.

Full, unmodified article: SANS

March 23, 2008 Posted by | Malware, News, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unlocking Windows Using FireWire

If you are running Windows XP, anyone who can connect his laptop or modified iPod to your FireWire port can get complete access to your PC’s memory. And by using that access the attacker can do whatever he wants such as unlock Windows, steal encryption keys, or install malware.

Currently there is no known fix for this problem, so if you have a computer that has a FireWire port and you don’t use it for anything, we recommend disabling it.

Source: F-Secure Weblog

March 22, 2008 Posted by | Alerts, Friends, Malware, Recommended External Security Related Links | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sony Retracts Bloatware Removal Fee

Sony has withdrawn its $50 ‘crapware’ removal charge after customers respond with an uproar.
After causing controversy for charging US$49.99 to remove trial software from hard disks of new laptops, Sony has backtracked from imposing the fee on customers.

Starting on Saturday, Sony’s Fresh Start software optimization feature will be free, the company announced.

Fresh Start is a Sony feature that lets customers buy certain laptops without so-called “bloatware,” trial software that laptop makers often load onto new machines. Sony was asking buyers of the Vaio TZ2000 and Vaio TZ2500 notebooks with the Windows Vista Business OS to pay $49.99 for the removal of the extra software. Those customers already pay an additional $100 to upgrade to Windows Vista Business OS from Windows Vista Home Premium.

But after an uproar erupted online Friday in response to the Fresh Start fee, Sony has decided to offer the option for free.

Source/full article:

March 22, 2008 Posted by | Bundleware, News, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone (KB936330)

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is an update to Windows Vista that addresses feedback from Microsoft Vista customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues; supporting new types of hardware; and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also will continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone version can be installed on systems with any of the following language versions: English (US), French, German, Japanese, or Spanish (Traditional).

This update is provided to you and licensed under the Windows Vista License Terms.


Download x64-based Systems

March 22, 2008 Posted by | Alerts, Downloads, Friends, Recommended External Security Related Links, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment