Hey folks, it's time to patch your Windows PCs! Somebody tipped Microsoft off to a vulnerability in the way Windows handles the remote desktop protocol, and the problem turned out to be a biggie: the exploit allows attackers to run code without any user permissions whatsoever, and all Windows operating systems from XP on up are affected. The good news is that Microsoft has already issued a security patch for the problem. The bad news? Microsoft has taken the unusual step of suggesting you install the patch immediately, since it expects baddies to exploit the gaping security hole quickly.
If you own a Lenovo ThinkCentre All-In-One computer, you've got a best of times/worst of times dichotomy going on right now: on the plus side, the touchscreen-optimized Windows 8 Consumer Preview probably feels great with the ThinkCentre's multitouch display. On the negative side, there's a chance your PC can catch on fire. Today, Lenovo and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of over 50,000 Lenovo ThinkCentre M70z and M90z AIOs after determining that a power supply defect can cause the systems to overheat and burst into flame.
What better way to start the work week than with a delicious slice of irony pie? The hacktivist group known as Anonymous spent the past year harassing websites and web users alike with a series of high profile attacks. Authorities responded by arresting Anons around the world, but new information shows that police weren't the only ones spanking Anonymous. Symantec says that an enterprising bot herder modified a link to one of Anon's voluntary DDoS tools to point to a file infected with the Zeus Trojan instead.
This just in from the "It can happen to anyone" department: scientists think they may have found an explanation for the neutrinos found travelling faster than the speed of light at CERN last year -- and it doesn't involve honest-to-goodness faster than light travel. As it turns out, the big brains at CERN would probably make lousy IT guys, because they forgot to perform a basic step of any technical troubleshooting process: checking the wires.
Valentine's Day is for lovers, as the saying goes, and Microsoft spent the day showing Google just how much it cares. A faulty security update pushed out alongside several other patches yesterday caused Internet Explorer to incorrectly flag Google.com -- yep, the most visited website in the universe and the homepage of scads of users -- as being a severe threat called Exploit:JS/Blacole.BW. Oops!
Apple's been harassing Samsung (and others) around the globe, using legislation and intellectual property nuances to suffocate competitive sales and yank Galaxy Tabs off store shelves. Now it's Apple's turn. After a Chinese court ruled that Apple has no right to use the "iPad" name in mainland China because a company called Proview Technology (Shenzhen) holds the trademark, Proview announced they were suing Apple for $1.6 billion in damages. Now, Proview wants a complete iPad import/export ban -- and since all iPads are manufactured in China, an export ban could choke off worldwide supply for the mega-popular tablet.
Are you having troubles getting Steam to boot up today? If so, the problem might not be with Valve's blockbuster gaming service; the issue could be your antivirus, instead. This weekend, the freebie Avast! antivirus misidentified a Steam component as a nasty little Trojan and sent the executable to the time-out box known as Quarantine as a result. The problem: SteamService.exe was a totally clean file, and Steam won't run without it.
Quick question: what's the one thing you should absolutely, positively do any time you trade in or return a piece of used tech? Answer: wipe the hard drive. If you already knew that, you might want to spread the word to your friends and neighbors, because Motorola forgot to wipe the info off of a bunch of used Xoom tablets it recently sold to enthusiastic Woot.com buyers. Oops!
By all accounts working for Foxconn -- the China-based company that does the actual manufacturing of a lot of consumer electronics, including the Xbox 360 and the various iProducts -- is a horrible drag. Not only is there the threat of massive explosions, but the combination of long hours and low pay have led to a rash of suicides amongst its workers, highlighted by the threat of a mass suicide last week. Why aren't things getting better? The chairman of Foxconn's parent company may have dropped a hint when he likened his workers to animals.
Who watches the watchmen? Alan Moore took a long, hard look at that question in the classic Watchmen graphic novel, but today we finally got a firm answer – at least if by “watchmen” you mean “computer security companies.” Symantec got the virtual equivalent of egg in the face after an Indian hacking group going by the name of “The Lords of Dharmaraja” managed to get their digital hands all over the Norton antivirus source code.