Once again, Internet Explorer (aka "Internet Exploder") has been attacked through a "zero-day" remote code execution vulnerability. That might not seem like MaximumPC.com-worthy news, except for two factors: the flaw is affecting thousands of websites, and this time, it isn't just Firefox fans who are saying "time to switch browsers, already!" - security experts at Trend Micro, the Spamhaus Project, and the UK's PC Pro magazine are all recommending making a switch, according to the BBC. And here's why:
The flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people's computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.
Switching Browsers? Choices Abound!
Attacks against IE7 have been verified, but all versions of IE (including IE 8 Beta 2) have the same underlying vulnerability; a vulnerability not present in IE's competitors (Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari). Switching browsers makes sense for most web surfing, but, alas, some websites and (of course) Windows Update and Microsoft Update for Windows XP won't work with anything but IE.
Redmond Readies Security Update
Since the vulnerability was detected on December 10th, Microsoft code jockeys have been working hard to patch the flaw (Redmond doesn't want you to switch, naturally, and given the way that IE and Windows work together, a broken IE isn't good for anybody), and a patch will be available tomorrow (December 17th) for all versions of IE from 5.01 up, applying to all versions of Windows and Windows Server from Windows 2000 on up. It's rare for Microsoft to perform a security update between Patch Tuesdays, but when a "Critical" vulnerability (the most dangerous category of vulnerability) is discovered, there's no time to waste.
If you must use IE and you're looking for workarounds until you can get the update, join us after the jump for details.
In the Holiday 2008 issue of Maximum PC we published a list called “9 Things Microsoft Got Right.” It was a lovely list, of course, but thanks to the space limitations of the print magazine we weren’t able to go into much detail about each of the items on it. We decided that the topic was interesting enough that it deserved more than that, so we’ve rewritten it for the web, with more information and analysis.
It looks like some up at Redmond have been finding the iPhone to be a sexier development platform than their very own Windows Mobile.
Seadragon, Microsoft’s backbone for Photosynth, has recently been released onto the iPhone app store. The snazzy app allows users to quickly “deep zoom” pictures while online, as well as take a grouping of images and forge them together into a mock 3D enviroment.
According to Alex Daley, the group product manager for Micorsoft Live Labs, “The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit). Most phones out today don't have accelerated graphics in them. The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do."
The Windows Live team has been pretty busy lately, and they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels with the launch of yet another web 2.0 service called “Thumbtack”.With Thumbtack users are able to save, edit, and share copies of online articles from web pages by either pasting them into the interface, or using the optional bookmarklet. The content is then hosted in an online storage bin for easy sorting and searching. Though this service has been done before by companies such as Evernote, Thumbtack’s current offering of free unlimited storage provides an excellent alternative for web scatterbrains such as myself who have always found bookmarking articles cumbersome and often tend break over time. After creating a note in Thumbtack you can click the article to access the original page, but if it’s vanished from the web, your clipping remains intact. It is also worth noting that competing free services such as Evernote only offer 40 MB of storage per month.
Currently browser support for the service is limited to Internet Explorer and Firefox. While compatibility for web kit browsers such as Chrome and Safari is noticeably absent, it’s also worth pointing out that some features have been stripped from the Firefox interface as well.These features include mass copy and paste between collections and the canvas view mode which gives users a virtual workspace. Even though this service may not be entirely unique per say, it is a promising addition to the Live Service lineup and in my case, and excellent alternative to bookmarking for archiving my favorite articles.
Is Microsoft winning you over with its online services? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Cnet reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be using January's CES trade show to spread the good news about Windows 7. Ballmer is one of the keynote speakers, along with the CEOs of Ford and Sony, for the annual electronics extravaganza. The Windows 7 push is expected, but some observers think that Microsoft might have really big news in store for CES - perhaps, a Zune-based phone.
While Cnet's sources deny that a ZunePhone will be on tap for CES, it's a hard rumor to kill. Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry claimed recently, in a posting at Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, that Microsoft would be rolling out a phone combining the features of the Zune and the Danger Sidekick handheld.
So, will early January see a new convergence device from the folks in Redmond, or just the expected emphasis on Windows 7, Xbox 360, and the like? Talk amongst yourselves, and we'll all find out in about three weeks.
Remember this quote? "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." It was uttered by none other than Microsoft frontman Steve Ballmer himself, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in 2001. It's no secret that Microsoft has put itself right in the center of the proprietary versus open-source war. But the software giant is now starting to dabble in the dark side of open-source projects itself. We're getting nothing but mixed-signals from Redmond. So what is it, Microsoft? Cancer, or cash-cow?
Read on to find out about Microsoft's newest open-source initiatives!
Not even a moment after Microsoft fixed 28 vulnerabilities in their software this past Patch Tuesday, a brand new exploit popped up in Internet Explorer 7.
The new exploit allows attackers the ability to execute arbitrary code whenever someone visits a malicious website. Currently only users running Windows XP and Server 2003 are being targeted, so you Vista users haven’t a thing to worry about. Microsoft said they’re currently working on a patch to fix the issue, but they were unable to set a date.
“Internet Explorer remote code execution vulnerabilities have very high impacts since the source of the malicious payload can be across any site on the Internet,” said eEye's director of Research and Preview Services, Andre Protas. “An even more critical problem is generated when clients are administrators on their local hosts, which would run the malicious payload with Administrator credentials.”
Until this issue is taken care of, those of you that are using IE7 can go and snag eEye’s Blink Software for protection from this threat. Or, you could go snag one of the other browsers, such as Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome. I hear they’re not too shabby!
If you want to downgrade a Dell PC in the Inspiron 1525 notebook or 530 desktop line with Windows Vista to Windows XP, it's going to cost more than the $20-50 premium we told you about last summer for other Dell models. How much more? The difference between systems in the Inspiron 1525 and 530 series with Windows Vista and those with Windows Vista Bonus with Windows XP is $150. That's a huge difference, but the reason why isn't really Dell's fault, TG Daily reports. It's all about which Vista versions permit downgrades - and how much they cost.
So, what's going on? These models are normally shipped with Vista Basic SP1 or Vista Home Premium SP1, neither of which include downgrade rights to Windows XP. So, to get Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, which do offer downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional (XP Home's not an option, alas), you must upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Ultimate, which accounts for the extra cost.
For your chance to sound off on the cost and availability of XP downgrades, join us after the jump.
CNet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft's Windows Vista Ultimate Product (RED), a special version of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, previously available only bundled with certain Dell PC models, will be available at retail starting later this month. Part of the proceeds from Microsoft's Product (RED) go to help the Product (RED) charity fight AIDS in Africa.
Microsoft's Product (RED) edition of Windows Vista Ultimate features, of course, a special Product (RED) package, and is also outfitted with an exclusive DreamScene animated wallpaper, as well as an exclusive screensaver, wallpapers and gadgets.
Not in the market for the Product (RED) edition of Windows Vista Ultimate right now? To find out other ways you can shop and help the fight, join us after the jump.
In the coming days and years the uses for multitouch will only grow, some will act as innovative new pieces of technology that the world will benefit from, and then there will be others that lack practical use. This is the latter.
While the PQ-DVD made app (the same folks responsible for the iPod video conversion software) looks like a Microsoft Surface made just for synching media to and from an iPod (because it is), it just doesn’t look useful. The tasks, while pretty, would be far easier to complete with the traditional mouse and keyboard.
Admittedly, the software is easy on the eyes – nobody’s questioning that. But ultimately, this is a party trick. Sure it’s cool to show off when people are around, and you might use it once or twice when you’re home alone, but you and I both know that there are far easier ways of opening that bottle of beer than with your molars.