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Does that new Windows Activation update really 'phone home'?

This week, Microsoft began rolling out the Windows Activation Technologies update that it promised earlier this month. Some privacy advocates claim that the update "phones home," an expression that traditionally has been tied to spyware. I disagree with this characterization but recognize that reasonable people can find privacy concerns. Here's a background on exactly what this update does, so you can make up your own mind.

February 25, 2010 by

Google triggers annoying DoS CAPTCHA prompt?

Twice today during work -- from the confines of Google Chrome, no less -- I've been prompted, while logged into Google, with a denial-of-service notice stating the following:We're sorry, but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.

February 23, 2009 by

Researcher: Sears' use of ComScore software falls short on privacy

Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and noted anti-spyware researcher, says Sears and Kmart customers are giving up too much private data when they join a marketing program called "My SHC Community."Edelman walks through the installation of the ComScore software that powers Sears Holdings Community (SHC) and then argues that Sears falls short of Federal Trade Commission privacy standards.

December 31, 2007 by

Talking malware with Eugene Kaspersky

Amidst growing chatter that the anti-virus/anti-spyware market is gasping for air, a veteran virus fighter says desktop security products must add new protection mechanisms to keep pace with aggressive online criminals.

December 6, 2007 by

A silver lining for campus security

Fewer campuses reported security incidents and threats in 2006. Even thefts of computers containing confidential data and hacks of campus networks declined by a few percentage points, while reports of major virus or spyware infestations fell sharply.

October 10, 2006 by

Microsoft launches its security service

Windows Live OneCare provides a mini-IT department for those who want a managed service to provide virus protection, anti-spyware and firewalls. It is the first of many managed online security services to debut this year. Offerings from Symantec, McAfee and other established security vendors are due out as well.

May 30, 2006 by

Gregg Eldred writes of a customer loss

Though it is not clear what size this organizationis, GreggEldred describes a customer's decisionto move away from Notes:On Thursday, in a fit of passion,they moved to . . . neither Notes nor Exchange. They opted to use theirfree webmail accounts with their web hosting company and now they are usingPOP/IMAP for their mail. Yeah, now they have HTML mail and a slick webmailinterface, but they aren't too sure of spam or anti-virus protection. Someoneelse is now responsible for their mail system, a company that has a lotof other customers to worry about. Will they get good support? Will theirmail be scanned and protected? Will those definitions be up to date? Idon't know and I don't know if they do, either. Any way, it's hard to help when they don't/can't keep up with the maintenance.Everything that they complained about was fixed/updated/improved in subsequentreleases. And yet, there they sat on R4.6.7. From a totally budgetary viewpoint,it is hard to compete against "free." And those POP/IMAP addressesare free, at least in terms of cold, hard cash and in relation to eitherNotes/Domino or Exchange. So, while we didn't lose to Exchange, we did lose a Notes customer.Ahyes, the pennywise-and-pound-foolish mentality.  Here we have a customerwho was still running software from 1996 and wondering why it didn't dowhat they wanted in 2006.  It's like buying a perfectly good car andbelieving that one never has to do oil changes, tuneups, or even take itthrough a car wash occasionally.  Oh, and no insurance either -- theyhadn't bought a maintenance agreement at any point in that time.Now they've moved to an environmentwhere their e-mail might not even have their own company name as theirFQDN.  Gregg identifies some of the risks, but how about some others-- is their mail being backed up?  What's the SLA if there is a needto get to that backup?  What archiving solution is in place?  Howis compliance being addressed?  What happens if their web hostingcompany is acquired?  What about directory services for their employees?I'm disappointed that Gregg wasn't ableto show this customer how an upgrade, even from 4.x, would protect theirexisting investments and be cost-effective.  Sometimes, though, the"wallet check" leads companies to make decisions based on rawcashflow, and they'll be able to say "at least we didn't spend $5000on new software" or whatever.  Good luck to them.

February 27, 2006 by

Internet security suites compared

These suites bundle everything you need, from antivirus protection to firewall blocking, in one box. Plus, they offer additional privacy protection, such as blocking objectionable Web sites, spam, and spyware -- all in one convenient package. Which is the best?

November 13, 2005 by

Virus vs. spyware

Which is it? Once you determine the 'who', the 'why', the 'what' and the 'how' it all becomes clear.

November 9, 2005 by

Would you pay Microsoft to protect Windows?

Microsoft last week announced it would launch a set of anti-virus and anti-spyware products but will enterprises trust the software giant to protect its own products and more importantly, will they pay for the privilege?Michael Warrilow, director of Sydney-based analyst firm Hydrasight, believes Microsoft is in a 'catch 22' situation because enterprises will not want to pay for products that are designed to protect them from failings in Microsoft's other products.

October 11, 2005 by

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