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Microsoft eyes deal to buy Yahoo July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Google, Microsoft, Yahoo.
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Microsoft Corp. has stepped up its pursuit of a deal to buy Yahoo Inc.

The two companies re-enter talks to strike a deal and fend off a common competitor in Web search leader Google Inc. Yahoo shares jumped 17.96 percent to $33.24 in Nasdaq trading on Friday, while Microsoft shares fell 1.26 percent to $30.58. The two companies have held informal talks over the years, but the latest approach comes as Microsoft seeks a deal to counter Google’s rapid growth.

“It’s been talked about for a long time, ever since Google came into the picture. I can’t imagine a more perfect deal,” said Peter Lobravico, vice president of risk arbitrage sales/trading at brokerage Wall Street Access. “You can’t find a stronger buyer than Microsoft and while it would spur a lot of political and regulatory noise, everyone knows in the end that the deal would go through.”

Analysts often dismiss a takeover of Yahoo by Microsoft since the two companies have such different cultures and Microsoft usually prefers to buy small companies with interesting technology.

The New York Post reported early on Friday that Microsoft made an offer to buy Yahoo a few months ago, but Yahoo spurned the advances. The paper, putting a price tag of $50 billion on a Yahoo takeover, said that discussions continue between the two companies. Microsoft and Yahoo declined to comment on the reports.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is advising on the process, the paper said. The bank declined to comment. One banking source said that investment banks had been pitching Microsoft on the idea of buying Yahoo for months.

The Wall Street Journal followed with its own story, saying that the two companies are in early-stage talks about a merger or some kind of link-up.

The renewed talks are a sign of Google’s power, the Journal said, and are also an indicator of problems with in-house efforts at Yahoo and Microsoft. A deal could help Microsoft attract advertisers to its online businesses.

“We’ve been a significant believer in a Yahoo-Microsoft combination because both Yahoo and Microsoft both need to create a bigger presence in advertising to compete with Google,” said Marianne Wolk, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group.

Google agreed to buy DoubleClick Inc. last month for $3.1 billion, accelerating a push into the graphic ad market. Google beat out Microsoft and Yahoo to win the deal, sources said.

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Online networking hits confidentiality July 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet Safety, Microsoft.
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Do you want to find out what’s happening at Microsoft? You could visit the company website and navigate your way through the home page, or you could go instead to Mini-Microsoft, the blog of an anonymous employee that has become a soap box for employee discontent over the past three years.

Here you can find details of managerial pay packages, bonuses and share awards. If that does not help you, there are alternative commentaries in the blogs of Mini-Microsoft India and Mini-Microsoft France.

Corporate confidentiality and communications policies have been ripped to shreds by the social networking phenomenon that has spread like a bushfire, taking advantage of internet platforms supported by second generation web technology that allow ease of access and individual content management.

Social networking and blogging sites have created opportunities for people to exchange information on companies in a way that can enhance or harm a corporate reputation or brand.

Richard Mosely, Managing Director of People in Business, a consultancy that advises companies about how to build and retain a so-called “employer brand”, says that companies are being forced to take notice of internet sites and web-based forums that are sharing information and opinions on employers. “When we are asked to audit employer brands it is not simply a matter of looking at the way companies want to present themselves, it is about the reality of the brand experienced as it is shared in various public arenas,” says Mosely.

The ubiquity of website use and the flourishing of social networking sites is changing the relationship that companies have between their employees, customers and potential recruits. But the changes are not one-sided. Recruiting companies are finding that information held on the internet can be valuable in assessing the character of potential recruits.

Information can flow both ways, however. Last year, a job-hunting Yale student, Aleksey Vayner, was embarrassed to learn that a video he had produced to support the CV he had sent to UBS, the investment bank, had been posted on YouTube. It showed him breaking bricks in karate, pumping weights, and ballroom-dancing.

The ridicule it attracted led to him taking leave of absence from college and to a leak inquiry at the bank. Such cases demonstrate that the changing nature of work, including the opportunity to work anywhere, the ease of transfer of information, and the speed and access of the Web, is making it increasingly difficult for companies to keep a lid on their internal relations.

Critical Windows, Office and Exchange patches next week May 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Microsoft.
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Microsoft is preparing to release seven patches spanning four applications on Tuesday 8 May.

Microsoft will release seven security bulletins next week on May’s Patch Tuesday, with at least one from each category rated “critical.”

The software giant has warned it will provide two patches for Windows itself, three for Office, one for Exchange, and one for CAPICOM (the COM interface to CryptoAPI) and BizTalk (Microsoft’s business process automation software).

In addition, there will be the usual update for the Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Seven non-security, high priority-updates will also be released. In accordance with normal practice, Microsoft gave no indication of the nature of the vulnerabilities being addressed.

Trojan impersonates Windows activation May 6, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Microsoft.
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Symantec is reporting on a Trojan horse that mimics the Windows activation interface.

What they are calling Trojan.Kardphisher doesn’t do most of the technical things that Trojan horses usually do; it’s a pure social engineering attack, aimed at stealing credit card information. In a sense, it’s a standalone phishing program.

Once you reboot your PC after running the program, the program asks you to activate your copy of Windows and, while it assures you that you will not be charged, it asks for credit card information. If you don’t enter the credit card information it shuts down the PC. The Trojan also disables Task Manager, making it more difficult to shut down..

Running on the first reboot is clever. It inherently makes the process look more like it’s coming from Windows itself, and it removes the temporal connection to running the Trojan horse. The program even runs on versions of Windows prior to XP, which did not require activation.

This is not an attack that will sneak by you. The executable is nearly 1MB large. But if you find yourself in this situation you should be able to disable it in Windows Safe mode by removing the registry keys described in the Symantec writeup and deleting the program it points to. Updated antivirus software should also be able to remove it.

Related Links >
http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/security_response/weblog/2007/05/ms_needs_your_credit_card_deta.html

http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2007-042705-0108-99

http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2007-042705-0108-99&tabid=2

More information about the Trojan horse and how to remove it can be found at >
http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2007-042705-0108-99&tabid=2

To view a more explanatory article with related graphics and screen shots, click > here

Panda launches new Vista-compatible antivirus, firewall April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety, Internet Software, Microsoft.
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Panda Software has launched a new Vista-compatible version of Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007.  This version includes a new system for blocking malicious URLs and a specially-designed tool for stopping malware that uses rootkit techniques to hide.

Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 customers can download the new version for free from http://www.pandasoftware.com/products/Antivirusfirewall2007 .

Windows Vista compatibility is one of the key features in this version, and Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 is also compatible with Windows XP 64 bits, Tablet PC and Media Center.

“Windows Vista has been presented as one of the safest operating systems. Nevertheless, several vulnerabilities have been found that can be exploited to infect PCs running this operating system. It is therefore advisable to have additional protection that completes and increases Vista security,” explains Jaime Herrero-Velarde, director of Consumer Marketing at Panda Software.

“One of the features that can be improved is the firewall. Vista includes a built-in firewall,  but it doesn’t have all the functions that complete protection requires. Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 includes intrusion prevention against WiFi networks, malware detection, default scanning of inbound and outbound traffic and a complete Intrusion Detection System,” says Herrero-Velarde.

Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 incorporates a system for blocking malicious URLs. This tool prevents users accessing web pages designed to carry out phishing attacks or those containing spyware, making the task of combating threats more effective.

The new solution from Panda Software also features specially-designed technology to protect from rootkit-using-malware.  Rootkits are programs used for concealing the processes of malicious codes, making it more difficult to detect. To improve protection against these tools, Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 detects files associated with hidden processes and those infected with rootkits and marks them as malware to delete them.

Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 provides maximum, automatic and permanent protection against all types of malware and hackers. It doubles the security of PCs with TruPrevent Technologies, protecting against unknown viruses and intruders.

Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 also offers additional protection against numerous other types of threats: it includes firewall technologies to defend against hacker attacks, even in WiFi networks, and protection against phishing and spyware by blocking malicious URLs. It also offers Tech Support 24h-365d, 24h-SOS virus and daily updates.