May 20, 2009 | 1
In the market for yet another way to navigate cyberspace? Just days after physicist Stephan Wolfram took his Wolfram|Alpha "computational knowledge engine" live, word is that Microsoft next week will debut a revamped version of its flagging Live.com search engine, the No. 3 Web navigator behind Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft will take the wraps off of "Kumo"—the codename of its new, improved search engine—at the D: All Things Digital technology conference next week in Carlsbad, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reports. (Here's a low-res image of the new search engine, that CNET ran and reports was captured by someone who stumbled across it online while using Microsoft Live Search in the Internet Explorer 8 browser. It looks very different than the Live.com search results page pictured to the left.)
Mar 31, 2009 | 4
It could be just another April Fool's joke, but just in case, security experts are warning Microsoft Windows users that the creators of the Conficker computer worm may launch a new campaign tomorrow to infect as many PCs as possible with their malicious software. This third generation of Conficker—the worm has been on the loose since November and has infected nearly 15 million computers—is expected to use new methods of spreading that security pros have yet to completely block.
The latest version of Conficker (which has various aliases, including Conficker.D, Conficker.C or Downadup.C) snuck onto computers already infected by one of its predecessors. According to Microsoft's Security Response Center Web page, this new version, which the company refers to as Conficker.D, does not spread by attacking new systems. Conficker.D does, however, have a new "peer-to-peer" updating capability that could enable infected systems to spread or receive instructions from those controlling the worm (it's creators remain at large) to steal info from infected computers or generate large amounts of spam e-mail that could clog the Internet and slow its performance, according to a Web posting by the Conficker Working Group (a team of computer security specialists formed by Microsoft, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and various security software makers to keep the worm from spreading).
Feb 26, 2009 | 49
It's official, Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system gets the prize for being the most overhyped, underperforming information and communication technology (ICT) project. Windows Vista garnered 5,222 of 6,043 votes (86 percent) entered via the Web to snag top honors in the first-ever Fiasco Awards announced in Barcelona, Spain, today, beating out other contenders, including Google's Lively virtual world, the One Laptop per Child computer (developed by the Nicholas Negroponte-chaired One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc.) and Second Life. Second prize went to SAGA, the oft-malfunctioning administration and academic management system developed by Spain's Catalan Education Department for public school teachers in Catalonia.
Vista was announced in July 2005 and hit the market in January 2007 after a mega PR blitz by Microsoft, which promised it would be a slick, secure successor to the company's popular Windows XP operating system. Vista came with an eye-catching graphical user interface, and Microsoft positioned the operating system's Windows Media Center software as a tool that would make the PC the new hub of home entertainment systems. What Microsoft made less clear was that many customers couldn't run Vista without upgrading their PCs.
Jan 23, 2009 | 3
As if Microsoft's announcement yesterday that it's laying off 5,000 employees (the first such sackings in the company's 34-year history) wasn't bad enough, now some security analysts are predicting the worst is yet to come as the highly infectious Conficker worm continues to thrive after already striking as many as 10 million Windows PCs worldwide. The "malware" (as opposed to software) may be activated by its creators (who remain at large) at some later date, causing legions of infected PCs to digitally attack and disable other computers.
Jan 8, 2009
Nov 20, 2008
Microsoft is changing its tune on computer security, two years after its much-heralded foray into the security space turned out to be less than spectacular. Instead of charging customers $50 per year for its Windows Live OneCare subscription security service, Microsoft says that beginning June 30 it will instead offer free software code-named "Morro," designed to seek and destroy viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans.
Oct 22, 2008 | 1
Computer users are learning the hard way that Microsoft is serious about cracking down on pirated copies of its Windows operating system and Office software. Several dozen people in China recently turned on their PCs to discover that their personalized screen wallpaper had been replaced by blank black walls, the Wall Street Journal's China Journal reports. The reason, according to the Journal: the company's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program detected pirated software on the computers and painted the screen backgrounds black to inform users that they might be using counterfeit or illegitimate software. (FYI: The desktop background can be reset in the usual way, but it will change back black hourly until authentic Microsoft software is installed.)
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