Archive 16

info    Virus damage costs increase fourfold (Dec 3)

Either enterprises are spending four times more cleaning up after virus and worm attacks this year, or they significantly underestimated their costs last year, according to new research.

It costs four times more to clean up after a virus than previously thought, according to a survey of large enterprise IT departments. Compared with previous estimates, costs associated with cleaning up after a virus or worm attack have increased by more than 400 percent over the past 12 months, to £122,000, says The Corporate IT Forum, which represents the corporate IT user community.

The Forum surveyed its members, which include more than half of the FTSE 100 and 250 companies, after the MSBlast worm this August. The figure of £122,000 is four times that estimated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last year. According to the survey, three out of four IT departments spent around 365 person-hours repairing damage caused by the attack. However, 35 percent of organisations were hit far worse, with each losing an average of 3,080 person-hours.

David Roberts, chief executive of the Corporate IT Forum, said the costs associated with worm and virus clean-up are much higher than expected, especially for smaller companies that do not have the resources required to implement a strong security policies: “Our research is just the tip of the iceberg. The companies surveyed have better than average security and incident response policies in place. Organisations with relatively poor protection will be being hit even harder as they will suffer more downtime and wider business disruption — as well as getting more viruses in the first place,” he said in a statement.

View: Virus damage costs increase fourfold

office    Word 2003: XML Toolbox for Microsoft Office Word 2003 (Dec 2)

This toolbox assists the XML content author and developer working with the new XML features of Word 2003.

The Word XML Toolbox requires that .NET Programmability Support is enabled. For .NET Programmability Support to be installed during the Office 2003 setup, the PIAs require the .NET Framework 1.1 already be installed. It is recommended that you install the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 before you install Microsoft Office 2003. With the .NET Framework 1.1 already installed, a complete installation of Office 2003 will install all of the PIAs.

Download: Word 2003: XML Toolbox for Microsoft Office Word 2003

office    Visio Viewer 2003 (Dec 2)

The Visio Viewer 2003 allows anyone to view Visio drawings and diagrams (created with Visio 5, 2000, 2002, or 2003) inside their Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later Web browser.

Visio users can freely distribute Visio drawings and diagrams to team members, partners, customers, or others, even if the recipients do not have Visio installed on their computers. Internet Explorer also allows for printing, although this is limited to the portion of the drawing currently displayed.

Download: Visio Viewer 2003

office    Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 Update: Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Dec 2)

With this update you can use Windows Small Business Server 2003 to run Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003.

Download: Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 Update: Windows Small Business Server 2003

other    Outlook Connecter for MSN Set for Beta (Dec 2)

After demonstrating a prototype in July called Outlook Connecter for MSN, Microsoft is finally ready to invite customers into the beta program.

The beta is designed to seamlessly integrate Microsoft’s Outlook 2003 productivity software with MSN services ranging from photo sharing and contact management to online scheduling. The test is scheduled to run throughout the month of December into January.

In a message to invited testers, Microsoft beta coordinators stressed, “Since this beta has such a short window of opportunity to submit bugs and feedback, it is very critical that we have high participation in the first 2 weeks of the beta. Please make your decision carefully.”

The invite also notes that a valid credit card number is required during installation, but no charges will be made during the beta.

The guest ID “MSNOLC” is needed in order to access BetaPlace and apply to test Outlook Connecter for MSN.

View: Outlook Connecter for MSN Set for Beta (source: WinBeta)

office    Slow uptake seen for Office 2003 (Dec 2)

Only about 35 percent of large businesses plan to move up to the latest version of Microsoft’s Office software next year, according to a new survey of chief information officers.

The Merrill Lynch survey polled CIOs at 75 U.S. companies and 25 European ones on a number of issues, including whether they were “likely to upgrade to Office 2003 in the next year.” A total of 65 percent said “no,” a result Merrill Lynch attributed to complex new server-based functions–including capabilities based on Extensible Markup Language (XML)–included in the new version of the productivity software. “Without a new killer app in Office, the upgrade cycle looks to be gradual until new XML-based technologies take hold in the broader market,” according to the report.

A Microsoft representative said initial sales of Office 2003 are in line with expectations and well ahead of early results for the previous version of the software, Office XP. “Customers should always make sure they see value in their software purchases,” the representative said. “Microsoft’s job is to show them that value in Office, and that’s exactly what we’re in the process of doing with the Microsoft Office System. We’re confident that as more companies evaluate the Microsoft Office System, they’ll see for themselves the value in the investment.”

The survey results are in line with predictions accompanying the launch of Office 2003 in October, when analysts noted that businesses would need to do significant testing and resource planning before taking advantage of XML functions and other server-based tools.

View entire article: Slow uptake seen for Office 2003

office    What’s behind Microsoft’s Office moves? (Dec 1)

Looming competitive and regulatory pressures factored into Microsoft’s recent decision to reveal formerly secret pieces of its latest Office software, according to analysts.

Microsoft announced that starting Dec. 5, customers and partners will be able to view the unique Extensible Markup Language (XML) dialects, or “schemas,” used by three of the most common Office applications: Word, Excel and InfoPath.

Microsoft has made extensive XML support one of the key selling points for Office 2003, with the widely adopted standard promising more fluid exchange of data between Office documents and enterprise computing systems.

The software giant attracted growing criticism for its refusal to reveal the XML schemas Office would use. Without access to the schemas, customers were ensured only of basic data interchange, without access to sophisticated formatting and organizational information included in Office documents.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said such concerns became more widespread once the software hit the market, and Microsoft had to respond.

View full article: What’s behind Microsoft’s Office moves?

info    A Spam-Free Future By Bill Gates (Nov 30)

Overwhelmed and infuriated by a torrent of unwanted e-mail, consumers, industry and government are rising up against the scourge we all know as spam.

More than half of all e-mail sent today is spam, which puts a heavy strain on networks and wastes time, money and other resources of consumers and businesses. And 70 percent of e-mail users say spam has made their online experience unpleasant or annoying, a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found. One-quarter say that spam has caused them to reduce their use of e-mail.

The anti-spam legislation the House passed on Saturday is an important step in defense of a vital part of the nation’s technology infrastructure. The Senate, which passed a similar bill last month, is expected to adopt the House language, and the president is expected to sign it into law. All are to be congratulated for acting to preserve the Internet as an efficient medium for global communication and commerce.

This legislation expands the tools available for curbing deceptive and fraudulent spam. It prohibits use of misleading subject lines, false return addresses and phony routing information — favorite ploys for defeating spam filters, luring unwary recipients and avoiding detection. With strong criminal and civil penalties, it extends protection to consumers nationwide and adds clout to legal actions like those that Microsoft and others have brought under state laws against deceptive spammers.

But laws alone are not enough. A comprehensive solution must combine strong laws and enforcement with industry cooperation, technological innovation and the empowerment of informed consumers.

View full story: A Spam-Free Future By Bill Gates

info    A 20-year plague (Oct 30)

Of all the accomplishments in the annals of technology, Fred Cohen’s contribution is undeniably unique: He introduced the term “virus” to the lexicon of computers.

The University of New Haven professor used the phrase in a 1984 research paper, in which he described threats self-propagating programs pose and explored potential defenses against them. When he asked for funding from the National Science Foundation three years later to further explore countermeasures, the agency rebuffed him.

“They turned it down,” said Cohen, who is also principal analyst for research firm Burton Group. “They said it wasn’t of current interest.”

Two decades later, countless companies and individuals are still paying for that mistake. The technology industry has yet to find a blanket solution to the ever-growing list of viruses and worms that constitute the greatest risk to computers on the Internet. Every year, companies lose billions of dollars when forced to halt work and deal with infectious digital diseases, such as Sobig and Slammer.

View full article: A 20-year plague

office    Project Server 2003: Portfolio Analyzer OLAP Extensions (Nov 27)

This solution starter shows how to add data from Project Server, as well as external data, to the Portfolio Analyzer cube, and how to create or modify views of the cube using Project Web Access. The documentation explains how to add new data dimensions to the cube from existing project view tables, how to extend the view tables and cube staging tables, and how to add data to the cube from external sources such as Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint™ Services.

The samples include three examples of extending the Portfolio Analyzer cube, with test applications and instructions on how to install the samples so that the extensions are executed every time the cube is updated.

The sample code and documentation in the solution starter includes the following:

  • Adding a Pay Period Dimension: update the cube staging tables with additional data from Project Server view tables, manually add a dimension to the Portfolio Analyzer cube using SQL Server Analysis Manager, and add the pay period dimension to a view of the cube in Project Web Access.

  • Adding Windows SharePoint Services Data for Risk Analysis: add a modified template for task issues and risks to SharePoint Services, extend the view tables and cube staging tables, and automatically populate the tables and create new risks and issues cubes whenever the Portfolio Analyzer cube is rebuilt. Add new views for analysis of risks and issues to the Portfolio Analyzer page in Project Web Access.

  • Adding Task Information for Earned Value Analysis: add task earned value data to the cube. Add a new view to chart earned value fields such as task BCWP, ACWP, BCWS, and a number of other cost fields over time for a project portfolio, and also filter by the data by Enterprise Task Outline Code.

Note The Portfolio Analyzer OLAP Extensions Solution Starter is provided as a separate download; it will also be included in the Microsoft Office Project 2003 SDK download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Download: Project Server 2003: Portfolio Analyzer OLAP Extensions

office    Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (Nov 27)

Alert: Microsoft has found an issue in Windows SharePoint Services that may cause problems during new installations or content database creation. Please refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base Article KB833019 for more information and workarounds to this issue.

View: Knowledge Base Article KB833019

office    Microsoft issues Exchange flaw fix (Nov 25)

Microsoft has made a knowledge paper available that details how to fix the recently reported Exchange security hole.

Microsoft has issued a knowledge paper on how to fix the flaw in Exchange Server 2003. Last week Microsoft announced it had received notification of a flaw in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 that either denied users access to Outlook Web Access or, worse, gave them full access to someone else’s account.

Andrew Cunningham, Exchange product manager for Microsoft Australia, told ZDNet Australia that investigations by Microsoft had revealed the issue came to light when someone ran Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services on an Exchange Server. “It’s not a common scenario,” Cunningham said. “Most organisations have a dedicated Exchange application and a dedicated SharePoint scenario as well.” This issue arose because SharePoint turned off the Kerberos authentication, which is set on by default on the Exchange Server.

Microsoft has issued a paper detailing how to fix the problem, which involves turning the Kerberos authentication back on for the Exchange server, and also running it on SharePoint. The paper is available from Microsoft’s Web site. “We’ll continue testing to close [the investigation] off,” said Cunningham. “To see whether we need to make changes to the code, or whether any other knowledge-based articles need to be released.”

View: Microsoft issues Exchange flaw fix
View: Configure Windows SharePoint Services to Use Kerberos Authentication

info    Ex-Microsoft Employee Sentenced for Fraud (Nov 25)

A former Microsoft Corp. employee accused of stealing more than $6 million worth of company software and reselling it was sentenced Tuesday to 17 months in prison for mail fraud.

Kori Robin Brown, 31, of Spokane, Wash., will also be subject to three years of supervision after release, under the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman. Brown pleaded guilty to the mail fraud charge in July.

Brown, a former administrative assistant at Microsoft, is one of three employees recently accused of taking advantage of an internal Microsoft system that allowed employees to order and receive Microsoft software for business purposes for free.

Prosecutors said Brown got software worth more than $6 million and resold it to a third party for between $50,000 and $100,000.

The flaws came to light last year after federal authorities charged another Microsoft employee, Daniel Feussner, of stealing software with a retail value of $9 million and using the sales proceeds to buy expensive cars and jewelry. Feussner, who was awaiting trial on charges of wire, mail and computer fraud, died in February after drinking antifreeze.

An internal Microsoft investigation led authorities to Brown and another employee, Richard Gregg, 43, of Bellevue, Wash., who is accused of stealing software valued at $17 million. Gregg pleaded not guilty in June to similar wire, mail and computer fraud charges. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 12.

Microsoft fired all the employees.

View: Ex-Microsoft Employee Sentenced for Fraud

office    Welcome to the SharePoint Trial (Nov 25)

Try the latest version of Microsoft Windows® SharePoint™ Services

  • 30 day free SharePoint trial

  • 5 user accounts

  • 10 MB disk space

Sing up: SharePoint Trial
View: SharePoint Trial website

office    Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Intranets (Nov 25)

The objective of the Solution Accelerator for Intranets is to enable partners and enterprise customers to quickly build comprehensive intranet solutions that provide enterprise search and document management, Web-based team collaboration, and tight integration with the Microsoft Office System.

The Solution Accelerator for Intranets is a collection of documentation that presents a prescriptive, tested, and supported approach to designing, deploying, operating, and growing a highly-available intranet solution. In the development of such a solution, the accelerator documentation addresses issues that are not discussed in the product documentation, such as service readiness planning, resource requirements, and capacity planning. Topics such as monitoring, backup and restore, planning for growth, and disaster recovery are also covered.

Download: Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Intranets version 2.0