Steve Gibson Finds a Backdoor in Windows?

Steve Gibson, of GRC Software, author of Spinrite and security maven, claimed on his “Security Now!” Podcast to have found that the WMF exploit was no accident, but rather was a true “back door” into Windows, put there by the Evil Empire themselves! Whoa! Talk about inviting the death squads to show up! Microsoft is already denying the report (of course,) though it does sound like something they might do…. in my humble opinion. Check out M$’s denial here:

Microsoft Disputes WMF Backdoor Claim

Watch your back, Steve! Meanwhile, we will see what his further research reveals… more as it happens!

New Skype Version Wins Over Critics

It seems that the new version of Skype (2.0) is winning over some of it’s critics. I, myself, had been an early user of Skype, and had moved over to the Gizmo Project… maybe I will have to try Skype again. It is free, after all!

Skype V2.0 Wins Over Critics

“Skype 2.0 became available for the general public earlier this week. Improvements from earlier Skype releases include free video calling and the ability to sort contacts into groups like colleagues, friends and family. There’s also mood messages that let fellow Skypers ‘know where you are and how you’re feeling,’ the company said.

Apparently, Skype’s listened to the feedback, some of it pretty nasty. The test version gave rise to a number of complaints ranging from a misfiring voice mail feature to the rather curious choice for the alerts to incoming calls, known as ring tones.

‘I tried an early 2.0 beta last month and didn’t like it at all. But I’ve been running the latest build for the past few days and it is just great, no negative issues with it,’ writes blogger and Skype watcher Neville Hobson.”

New “Dr. Bill” Podcast is Available Early! #19

Dr. Bill Podcast – 19 – (01/12/06)
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Cool Video in your Browser!, Upgrading WordPress to 2.0, Microsoft tries to spread “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about Linux… again!, Creative tries to redefine the word “Podcast”, MySQL gets US General Services Administration approval!, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ article on the Microsoft “FUD” campaign, way to go, Steven!, Symantec uses rootkit tech in it’s software, oopsy, they are going to get raked over the coals like Sony! The Podcast was early because I am traveling this weekend!

US Patent Office Upholds FAT File System Patent

Microsoft has won another one. They patented the FAT file system (File Allocation Table), which is actually old anyway, but now a challenge to the patent, that looked promising, has been rejected.

USPTO Upholds Patent for FAT

“On Tuesday, the USPTO announced its decision to uphold the patents, and now coders and users in the free and open source software community, as well as the makers of a wide array of flash storage-based electronic devices, are wondering just how big of a bind they’re in.”

So, will Uncle Bill demand some money from you for using your thumbdrive? We’ll have to see!

Symantec Found Using Rootkit Feature

First Sony, now Symantec! Yeeesh, guys! What’s with setting up security holes in our Windows systems? They are unsecure enough as it is!

Symantec Found Using Rootkit Feature

I, personally, have never liked Symantec. For instance, Norton Antivirus is about as hard to remove from your system as a virus, itself! But this is a new low!

“The Norton Protected Recycle Bin feature adds a directory called NProtect, which stores temporary copies of files that users delete. The idea was to supplement the standard Windows Recycle Bin and enable users to recover files they removed accidentally.

However, hiding a directory from Windows can open the door to vulnerabilities, as the Sony DRM rootkit debacle exposed. Malware authors were able to write viruses and worms that hid in the cloaked directory, effectively preventing scanning software from discovering their existence on a PC.

Symantec notes that on-demand scanners, including Norton AntiVirus, would discover the malware when it is loaded it memory. Still, the company isn’t taking any chances after Sony’s PR disaster and has issued an update to make the NProtect directory visible in the Recycle Bin.”

Putting the Final Nail in the “Legacy Claim” Story

I simply can not improve on this article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols as a follow-up to Microsoft trying to claim to be better at running on legacy hardware than Linux!

Linux-Watch Article on Legacy Issue

“Here’s the bottom line: no matter what Microsoft may claim, if you want to get the most from an older system, there’s a Linux distribution out there for you. Suggesting that Windows XP or Server 2003 is a reasonable alternative is simply a bad joke.”

MySQL Gets Government “Thumbs Up!”

The “workhorse” Open Source database MySQL got the “thumbs up” from the U.S. General Services Administration.

MySQL Wins Goverment Support!

“As it is, MySQL already hums under thousands of federal, state and local government entities, including Los Alamos National Labs, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA and the Department of Defense.

With the GSA contract, GS-35F-0131R Schedule 70, government customers will be able to purchase and deploy MySQL through Carahsoft Technology Corp. The GSA schedule is effective Dec. 20, 2005 through Nov. 19, 2009.

The win comes at a time when governments are increasingly turning to open source, much to the chagrin of Microsoft Corp. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for one, has set a deadline of Aug. 31 for storing all executive branch documents in OpenDocument Format.”

Creative Re-Defines “Podcast”

Apple iPod rival Creative isn’t so happy that the word “Podcast” is perceived to be a combination of “iPod” and “Broadcast.” So, it decided, in a “post”-emptive strike, to redifine the word to mean “Personal On Demand Broadcast.” OK. I must say, I do, personally, have a Creative Muvo and NOT an Apple iPod… but come on, guys! Let’s “take it on the chin”… OK?

Creative Redefines “Podcast”

“The change comes alongside the launch of ZENcast, the company’s beta application for downloading video blogs and podcasts. ‘Podcasts, short for Personal On Demand broadCast, are audio files you can download into any MP3 player or computer. These audio files are broadcasted over the Internet automatically to subscribers of specific podcast channels,’ Creative says.”

Microsoft Challenges Linux “Legacy Claims”

Microsoft is doing another of their bogus “comparison studies” again. This time, it supposedly tests the “claim” that Linux runs better on legacy hardware. First of all, I challenge anyone to find a copy of Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server that will run on a 386. I can run Debian Linux on a 386 easily. Anyway, why is Microsoft “testing” this claim anyway? Do they REALLY want to be known as the OS that can run on legacy hardware? I doubt it!

MS Tests Legacy “Claims” of Linux

It is just another effort to smear the rep of Linux… and, if you ask me, it seems that as much time as they are spending trying to do it, they are PLENTY worried!

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