Anti-virus industry: white knight or black hat? (Feb 16)
One has to wonder whether the anti-virus industry sleeps well at night. On one hand, it purports to serve the world by defending our computers and networks from any number of electronic critters and malicious code. On the other hand, sometimes its “cure” is worse than the problem its products allegedly treat. Add to that the decades-old concerns over business, market share and publicity, and you have all the ingredients for industry, product and service confusion. This situation regularly benefits the anti-virus software industry at the expense of its customers.
Let’s start with malicious code outbreaks in general. Unlike hurricanes and tsunamis, there is no standard way of naming malicious code. Gone are the days when simple names like “Jerusalem”, “Michaelangelo” and “Stoned” were accepted and used by all anti-virus vendors. So, we might have the same threat labelled “Worm_Minmail.R”, “W32.Novarg”, “MyDoom.A@m” or “W32/MyDoom” by competing companies. What we need is a return to industry-wide nomenclature for malicious code; used by all vendors and facilitating the reporting, analysis, and resolution of such outbreaks.
View full article: Anti-virus industry: white knight or black hat?
MS launches ‘Office Hindi’ in India (Feb 16)
Microsoft Corporation India Ltd on Monday launched ‘Office Hindi’, its first offering developed specifically for the Indian market, which combines computing experience with familiarity of Hindi language.
“The product includes a Hindi language interface and supports nine Indian languages, empowering Indian users to leverage the global, standards based Office applications suite in the language of their choice,” a Microsoft release said.
The suite would allow users to create documents and communicate with others in native language and also facilitate easy navigation and use by providing menus and toolbars in Hindi.
The two editions of the product — Office Hindi Professional and Office Hindi Standard — will be available through Microsoft’s regular sales channels.
“Microsoft also announced the availability of online resources, training material and partner support to ensure that customers can smoothly adopt and integrate the offering into their infrastructure,” the release said.
Elaborating on the launch of the product, Microsoft Corporation India managing director Rajiv Kaul said: “Our local language initiatives are aimed at helping Indian users realise the same benefits of IT as their peers the world over.”
“Office Hindi combines a world-class computing experience with the comfort and familiarity of Hindi language, and we are confident of the value it will offer users in India,” he said.
Microsoft hopes that Office Hindi would offer significant benefits to central and state Governments, public sector undertakings, banking industry, education institutes and local developer community.
The offering has seen significant investment in product development, the release said adding the development team comprised more than 50 professionals involved in various aspects of coding and testing.
“The product also went through a six month testing process with customer audiences, with their feedback incorporated at each stage,” the release added.
IBM to launch MS Office for Linux (Feb 15)
As part of its initiative to put Linux on the desktop, IBM Corp. wants to migrate Microsoft Corp.’s Office suite to Linux. Microsoft said it’s not involved and suggests that IBM might do it by emulation.
For several years, the Linux operating system has been part of IBM’s explicit strategy. So far, we’ve mostly seen server-side solutions. Now, IBM is going for the desktop.
Many Linux users would prefer to run both Microsoft’s Office suite and IBM’s Lotus Notes. This is actually possible, using so-called emulation. Companies such as U.S.-based Codeweavers offer such products. But this will not give you applications that are actually compiled for Linux.
Stefan Pettersson, technical manager for IBM’s Lotus division in Sweden, said that there will be a Java client of Lotus Notes some time during the second half of 2004. This means that the first “native” Notes client to run under Linux will soon be available.
View full article: IBM to launch MS Office for Linux
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Document Library Migration Tools (Feb 13)
The Microsoft® Office SharePoint™ Portal Server 2003 Document Library Migration Tools move documents, versions, metadata, folders, and security settings from Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001, as well as from SharePoint Portal Server 2003 backward-compatible document libraries, to SharePoint Portal Server 2003 document libraries. This installation includes an export tool, an import tool, and documentation for use of the tools.
MapPoint and Streets and Trips Construction Update (Feb 13)
Download the construction information update to keep the road construction projects information of your maps current in Streets and Trips.
Save the file in the Data folder, located where you installed the program files for MapPoint or Streets & Trips. I.e. C:\Program Files\Microsoft MapPoint\Data\.
Download: MapPoint 2001 and Streets & Trips 2001 Construction Update
Download: MapPoint 2002 and Streets & Trips 2002 Construction Update
Download: MapPoint 2003 and Streets & Trips 2003 Construction Update
Download: MapPoint 2004 and Streets & Trips 2004 Construction Update
Mainsoft: Statement to the Media Regarding Microsoft Source Code Leak (Feb 13)
Mainsoft has been a Microsoft partner since 1994, when we first entered a source code licensing agreement with Microsoft. Mainsoft takes Microsoft’s and all our customers’ security matters seriously, and we recognize the gravity of the situation.
We will cooperate fully with Microsoft and all authorities in their investigation
We are unable to issue any further statement or answer questions until we have more information.
From Mike Gullard, Chairman of the Board, Mainsoft Corporation
Statement from Microsoft Regarding Illegal Posting of Windows Source Code (Feb 13)
On Thursday, Microsoft became aware that portions of the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code were illegally made available on the Internet. It’s illegal for third parties to post Microsoft source code, and we take such activity very seriously.
We are currently investigating these postings and are working with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities.
At this point it does not appear that this is the result of any breach of Microsoft’s corporate network or internal security.
At this time there is no known impact on customers. We will continue to monitor the situation.
View Press Release: Statement from Microsoft Regarding Illegal Posting of Windows Source Code
‘Robin Hood’ virus on the loose (Feb 12)
A new variant of the Nachi worm is patching PCs that are vulnerable to MyDoom.A.
Nachi B, also known as Welchi, copies itself onto systems using the same flaw as MyDoom.A, as a file named ‘Svchost.exe’. It then attempts to delete MyDoom and downloads patches to fix the security hole.
Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos, said: “It’s an interesting case – some kind of Robin Hood virus. “We’re seeing some spreading but it’s not going too fast. We’re hoping everyone with MyDoom would have stripped it out by now. If IT managers haven’t updated by now they are way behind the curve.”
Viruses to deal with viruses are nothing new. In the mid 1990s a boot sector virus called Chinese Fish attempted something similar by removing a virus called Stoned.
Nachi’s first incarnation emerged last year as an attempt to patch the security hole exploited by the Blaster worm. David Emm, product marketing manager at McAfee Security, explained that such code is a bad idea. “I see code like this as a little bit of a blind; a ruse to calm people’s fears,” he said. “Nachi A did not do a particularly good job at patching systems and this one doesn’t look much better. At the end of the day it’s still self-replicating code and that’s a bad medium.”
Infection rates are low so far, but an antivirus signature is under development.
Windows 2000 and NT4 source code leaked? (Feb 12)
Earlier today internet and IRC sites were abuzz with the news that the source code to both Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 had leaked out onto the net. WinBeta.Org has investigated these claims and the alleged screenshot posted on Neowin and they’appear to be real but incomplete’.
This must be highly embarressing for Microsoft, who will undoubtedly be scrambling to find the source of the leak of their highly confidential Operating Systems.
Windows XP and Windows 2003 server source codes do not appear to have leaked at the moment.
For those who ascribe to theories of collusion with “No Such Agency” backdoor keys to Windows 2000, this may infact be a positive spin for Microsoft if such a backdoor is not found. Of course, to those that claim Elvis is indeed working at a gas station in Kansas, who’s to say this is infact the retail code that Microsoft has been sharing? Maybe it’s a ‘sanitized’ version?
Intellectual Property laws as well as public perception of one of the world’s largest companies are on the line here. Microsoft’s response will be indicative of just how important this code is to them, even given that it is outdated code – maybe they will use this as a corporate scare tactic to make companies upgrade to Windows XP?
How will Office 2003 DRM impact interoperability? (Feb 12)
In the near future, will we be able to open and access files from our coworkers, our clients, or our students? Will we be able to attach these files to email, for efficient and convenient dissemination, or print them if needed? Will we collectively be forced into expensive and in some cases platform-specific software migrations, just to maintain document interoperability?
Last October, OpenOffice.org released the 1.1 version of its office productivity suite. This update included native PDF and Flash conversion, complex text layout language support, and increased compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats.
Roughly a month later, Microsoft released Office 2003. This product was freshly-infused with digital rights management (DRM) technologies, dubbed “information rights management” by Microsoft, designed to secure and restrict access to documents as needed. Documents employing DRM created in Office 2003 may well only be accessible via Office 2003. More recently, Microsoft filed for numerous patent applications in New Zealand and Europe, covering the interoperability of XML-based word processing documents.
View entire article: How will Office 2003 DRM impact interoperability?
New Virus! Doomjuice B (Feb 12)
This tool will help to remove the Mydoom.A, Mydoom.B, Doomjuice.A (aka “MyDoom.C”), and Doomjuice.B worms from infected systems. Once the tool has run—after the End-User License Agreement (EULA) is accepted—it automatically checks for infection and removes any of the targeted worms that are found. If a machine is infected with the Mydoom.B worm, the tool will also provide the user with the default version of the hosts file and set the “read-only” attribute for that file. This action will allow the user to visit previously-blocked Microsoft and antivirus websites.
Office XP Service Pack 3 (Feb 11)
The final build of Service Pack 3 for Office XP has been released WinBeta.org has learned, although it’s not due to ship until Q2 of ’04.
Microsoft had expected Office XP to sell millions and millions of copies, even though it was released hot on the heels of Office 2000, without any major enhancements. With the expectation (rightly so) that Windows XP would sell millions of copies, the hope was that people would upgrade to Office XP at the same time.
Unfortunately for Microsoft’s bulging coffers, it did not occur. Many companies resisted the promotional material, many consumers only received it when it was bundled free with a new PC.
Regardless, Microsoft has supported those that did install Office XP with two, and now a third service pack. SP3 is due out in April or May ’04, yet build #10.6308.6403 has been touted by some to be the final build of SP3, however, since this cannot be confirmed consider this build to be beta.
Exchange 2003 Deployment Guide (Feb 11)
This updated book provides installation and deployment information for intermediate and advanced administrators planning to deploy Exchange Server 2003. This book is a companion to the book Planning an Exchange Server 2003 Messaging System.
Although the planning book helps you plan your Exchange 2003 system architecture, this book guides you through the prerequisites and procedures to successfully deploy and install Exchange Server 2003 into your infrastructure. Whether you are deploying a new Exchange Server 2003 messaging system or upgrading from a previous Exchange version, this book guides you through the deployment process and provides recommendations, including how to configure your Exchange 2003 organization to run in native mode. Furthermore, the Exchange Server Deployment Tools, which are a new feature in Exchange Server 2003, provide you with utilities and wizards to verify that your organization is in a healthy state, before your Exchange 2003 deployment.
Download: Exchange 2003 Deployment Guide (version 1.1)
Excel 2003/2002 Add-in: MSN Money Stock Quotes (Feb 11)
This add-in for Excel 2003 and Excel 2002 allows you to get dynamic stock quotes from the MSN® Money™ Web site. The tools and features found in Excel are particularly well suited to analyzing financial data such as stocks. This add-in allows you to easily gather and study the stocks of interest to you, refresh your quotes when you want, and readily change or modify the quotes gathered.
‘Niobe’ Enters the Microsoft Matrix (Feb 11)
Microsoft is testing a prototype tool designed to streamline the development of applications based on Outlook.
Microsoft is fielding a prototype of a new tool that eventually could become a member of its Visual Studio Tools for Office family.
The prototype tool, code-named “Niobe,” is designed to simplify the development of applications built on the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client.
The ‘Niobe’ code name is fitting, as the Visual Studio Tools for Office suite, which Microsoft delivered last year, was code-named “Trinity.” (Microsoft’s Visual Studio Tools for Office are designed to aid developers writing applications that build on top of Microsoft Office.) Both Trinity and Niobe, as film buffs know, are characters from The Matrix movies.
Microsoft has made the Niobe code available under its shared-source licensing program, and has posted the Niobe run-time and software-development-kit code to its GotDotNet Workspaces site.
View full article: ‘Niobe’ Enters the Microsoft Matrix