Bank of England hit by hoax e-mail scam (Jan 4)
The Bank of England says it has intercepted over 100,000 fraudulent e-mails masquerading as computer security software issued by the central bank. The bogus e-mail, which appears to come from a Bank of England administrator, instructed recipients to download a file attachment designed to protect individuals’ banking details from fraudsters.
The Bank of England said it received scores of queries from companies and individuals asking about the e-mail’s authenticity. It advised recipients to delete it immediately. The e-mail comes amid a string of e-mail and Web site hoaxes posing as banking institutions.
In the past few months, a rash of fake e-mails claiming to be from some of the world’s biggest banks have appeared in e-mail in-boxes, attempting to dupe banking customers into divulging their bank details. A spokeswoman from the central bank said technicians were working with the UK’s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to determine what — if anything — the file attachment was capable of, and who may have sent it.
“It appears to come from somebody outside the UK,” the spokeswoman said. She added the email address used — firstname.lastname@example.org — does not exist.
View article: Bank of England hit by hoax e-mail scam
Gates patents e-picture hanging (Jan 4)
Not really Office related but still a nice article. I hope you can forgive me
For a man with a 65,000 square foot house, picture hanging could be a hassle. So Bill Gates has patented a method for doing it electronically – and it has applications beyond his abode.
What do you give the man who has everything for Christmas? Something simple like a nice picture frame is always a good fallback or, if he’s a geek, an electronic picture frame might work.
A patent assigned on Tuesday to William H Gates III, the richest man in the world, gives the rights over a system for electronically distributing art around buildings. US patent number 6,670,934 describes a hierarchical representation of spaces within an environment, in which each space can be further subdivided into subspaces.
It’s a system that is likely to be a must-have in a 66,000 square foot house such as the one Bill Gates had built for himself in Medina, a wealthy enclave near Seattle, in the late 1990s. With miles of fibre optic cable linking servers to lighting, music, and climate controls throughout the complex, the ability to control which electronic picture hangs above the 24-seat formal dining table should not be overlooked.
The art distribution system, as it is known, allows a user to create play lists of images. These images can then be displayed according to the running order, on displays such as TFT monitors in a particular space — say a house — and within all subspaces — for instance rooms — of that larger space.
An important aspect of the patent application is the ability for a user to control the system from devices distributed around the building.
View full article: Gates patents e-picture hanging
Happy New Year!!! (Jan 1)
Exchange 5.5 CDO Patch 2657.55 (Dec 31)
This patch resolves problems that were found in the Exchange Server 5.5 CDO since SP4 was released. See the More Information About This Download link in the Related Resources section for a list of the fixes that are included in this patch.
Download: Exchange 5.5 CDO Patch 2657.55
Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals (Dec 30)
The Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals enables partners and organizations to rapidly create proposal development solutions to increase the win rate of sales teams.
Designed in response to feedback from customers who want to derive additional value from their Microsoft Office System investments, the Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals helps sales professionals to improve their proposal win rate by streamlining the proposal development process, facilitating the use of the latest approved product and legal information, and ensuring a systematic evaluation of bid opportunities. Using the extensive input from our customers, Microsoft designed the Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals to help sales professionals specifically by automating proposal process steps, leveraging a corporate knowledge base, establishing effective collaboration, and increasing project control. Furthermore, the Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals is fully integrated with Microsoft Office Word, so that sales professionals can quickly adopt the solution and work more productively with familiar software tools.
The Microsoft technology partners play a central role in delivering the complete, end-to-end proposal development solution to customers by integrating, configuring, customizing and consulting using the Office Solution Accelerator for Proposals.
Malaysian e-mail virus exploits terrorism fears (Dec 30)
A virus hidden in an e-mail purporting to warn of planned terrorist attacks is spreading in Malaysia, according to published reports.
Potential victims receive a message labeled “Urgent message to all citizens of Malaysia” that claims to warn of five planned terrorist attacks, with the times and places supposedly leaked by an anonymous Malaysian government source. The e-mail says it seeks to minimize the number of terrorist victims by spreading the information on the planned attacks.
The text of the e-mail contains a link that claims to connect to a Web site with important information regarding the supposed attacks. However, the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) said clicking the link actually triggers the installation of a virus, which attempts to connect to three different Internet hosts. MyCERT’s Web site said the virus was similar to the Backdoor.Tofger Trojan horse reported in early December 2003.
MyCERT also said, according to The Star, that the three Internet hosts to which the virus attempts to connect could have had their security compromised already. MyCERT has already notified the three hosts’ system administrators.
Microsoft Office HTML Viewer Service for Windows SharePoint Services (Dec 29)
The Office HTML Viewer server provides support for users who want to view the content of files on document libraries, but do not have Word, Excel, or PowerPoint from Office 97, or a newer release of Office, installed on their local computer.
Microsoft aims to make spammers pay (Dec 27)
Despite efforts to stem the billions of spam e-mails flooding inboxes, unwanted messages are still turning e-mail into a quagmire of misery. Spammers send out tens of millions of e-mails to unsuspecting computer users every day, employing a myriad of methods to ensure their pills, loans and “requests for our lord” pleas fox e-mail filters. Some are even turning to prose and poetry to fool the technological safeguards people put in place. But a group of researchers at Microsoft think they may have come up with a solution that could, at least, slow down and deter the spammers. The development has been called the Penny Black project, because it works on the idea that revolutionised the British postage system in the 1830s – that senders of mail should have to pay for it, not whoever is on the receiving end.
“The basic idea is that we are trying to shift the equation to make it possible and necessary for a sender to ‘pay’ for e-mail,” explained Ted Wobber of the Microsoft Research group (MSR). The payment is not made in the currency of money, but in the memory and the computer power required to work out cryptographic puzzles. “For any piece of e-mail I send, it will take a small amount computing power of about 10 to 20 seconds.”
If I don’t know you, I have to prove to you that I have spent a little bit of time in resources to send you that e-mail. “When you see that proof, you treat that message with more priority.” Once senders have proved they have solved the required “puzzle”, they can be added to a “safe list” of senders. It means the spammer’s machine is slowed down, but legitimate e-mailers do not notice any delays.
View full article: Microsoft aims to make spammers pay
Merry Christmas! (Dec 25)
Added Content: Internet Explorer: Remove “Microsoft Internet Explorer” from the title bar (Dec 24)
Ever used the Taskbar option “Group similar taskbar buttons”? It is a new feature introduced with Windows XP and it is on by default. It could be handy sometimes but I lost the overview for Internet Explorer windows.
The guide explains how you can go from
New Sober virus spreading fast (Dec 22)
W32.Sober.C@mm is a mass-mailing worm that uses its own SMTP engine to spread. The subject of the email varies and is written in either English or German. The email’s attachment name also varies, but it has a .bat, .com, .cmd, .exe, .pif, or .scr file extension.
The first time W32.Sober.C@mm is activated, it displays a fake error message, with the subject “Microsoft,” and the text “<file name> has caused an unknown error. Stop: 00000010×18.”
This threat is written in the Microsoft Visual Basic programming language and is compressed with UPX.
74,346 bytes (minimum size)
Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP
Systems Not Affected
Linux, Macintosh, OS/2, UNIX
Steve Ballmer Microsoft Office System Launch Video: Productivity in the Digital Decade (Dec 22)
Recorded in Orlando, Florida on October 21, 2003, see Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer’s keynote presentation for the Microsoft Office System launch.
Windows SharePoint Services Administrator’s Guide (Dec 22)
Includes an updated index and a new topic: “Security Considerations for Server and Site Configurations”.
This download contains information about managing Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, including:
Backup and Migration
Microsoft and New York State join to fight spam (Dec 19)
Microsoft Corp. and the New York State Attorney General have teamed up to fight unwanted commercial e-mail, or spam, a Microsoft spokesman said Wednesday.
A news conference to announce the cooperation has been scheduled for Thursday morning, according to a Microsoft media alert. At the event, Microsoft and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will announce legal action against spammers, sources familiar with the announcement said.
“This announcement is about a collaborative effort regarding spam,” Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall said. He declined to give further details of the pact with the New York State Attorney General ahead of Thursday’s event.
The announcement comes days after U.S. President George W. Bush signed a bill into law establishing federal rules for commercial e-mail and penalties for unsolicited mass mailing.
In June, Microsoft announced it had filed several lawsuits, 13 in the U.S. and two in the U.K., against spammers. That announcement was made together with Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire and representatives of the U.K. data protection authority. Thursday’s announcement with the New York State Attorney General is expected to be similar to that one, the sources said.
Visio Viewer 2003 (Dec 19)
The Visio file viewer got an update as well. No change log here either.
The Visio Viewer 2003 allows anyone to view Visio drawings and diagrams (files with the .VSD, .VSS, .VST, .VDX, .VSX, or .VTX extension created with Visio 5, 2000, 2002, or 2003) inside their Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later Web browser.
Download: Visio Viewer 2003