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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Windows XP: The OS That Won't Quit

Slashdot It! Phasing out an old operating system is nothing new for Microsoft, but Windows XP is unique in that it may be too good to die. This week, Dell announced it will offer systems with the aging Windows XP for a surcharge of US$150 over the newer Windows Vista--this only five months after it stopped offering XP on its Inspiron consumer desktop and laptop PCs. The deadline for Windows XP downgrades has been pushed back twice now, remaining in effect until July 31, 2009-a strong indication that enough users want to stay with the aging XP rather than give Vista a chance. Though market share for Windows XP dropped nearly 10 percent in 2008 as Vista slowly made gains, XP still has a market share of 66 percent, according to Web metrics company Net Applications. XP downgrade fees from Dell and other OEMs will no doubt continue to irk customers in 2009, while businesses that want to stay with Windows XP will do the downgrades themselves. Industry analysts agree that Microsoft's downgrade fees are a minor problem compared to the bigger problem of so many users still wanting an older, now discontinued OS on hardware that it wasn't designed for. Don't Penalize XP, Incentivize Vista Industry analyst Rob Enderle, president of tech consulting firm the Enderle Group, says the XP downgrade fees will ultimately be counter-productive and possibly disastrous for Microsoft because they trade off short-term revenue for long-term customer loyalty. "The fix for this should be to focus like lasers on demand generation for Vista but instead Microsoft is focusing aggressively on financial penalties," Enderle says. "Forcing customers to go someplace they don't want to go by raising prices is a Christmas present for Apple and those that are positioning Linux on the desktop." As the economic recession deepens in 2009, the price of laptops and desktops, as with all retail items, will be closely watched by consumers and businesses. A recent IDC report predicts that the price of PCs will drop by close to 10 percent in 2009. Enderle said the XP downgrade charge and the resulting pressure to move to Vista will put a magnifying glass on Microsoft in the coming year. "Instead of charging a penalty for XP, Microsoft should provide incentives for Vista," he says. "They are too focused on margins for one product and are forgetting the damage they are doing to their brand." Worse than the downgrade fees is taking away a buyer's freedom of choice, says Roger Kay, president of consulting and research firm Endpoint Technologies. "People never like being 'forced' to do anything. They tend to resent it," he says. Is Windows 7 the Solution? Vista's successor, Windows 7, has been regarded as a solution to the Vista stigma, although whether or not users choosing XP over Vista is enough to move up the Windows 7 ship is still anyone's guess. Enderle predicts that Microsoft will change its estimated Windows 7 ship date of January 2010 and drop it sometime next year. "Windows 7 is designed to fix this problem [the Vista stigma], but it will need stronger demand generation marketing than Microsoft has yet proven it can provide," Enderle says. Kay, on the other hand, is not convinced that customer reliance on XP and the shunning of Vista affects Microsoft's OS release schedule. "Sinofsky [Windows senior VP Steven Sinofsky] is pretty clear about how his process works. Windows 7 code won't ship until it's ready." Charging users for Windows XP downgrades may be Microsoft's short-term solution to drive users to Vista and Windows 7, but what else should the software giant do to get its customers to move forward? Enderle says it's mostly a matter of better marketing. "They have to step up to Apple-level demand generation marketing and work to remove the stigma from Vista more aggressively," he says. "They had an interesting start earlier this year with the Mojave project but it seems to have tailed off of late and Apple continues to out execute them sharply." As Windows XP fees add up and the OS continues to get pulled from OEMs, the desire to keep using the OS will likely wane in 2009. But that the desire is there at all should be disconcerting for Microsoft, says Enderle. "Were this Apple, you wouldn't have the option to use an old OS at all. Granted you probably wouldn't want to, which speaks to the problem here." Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Bush's exit to put new e-records system to the test

Slashdot It! For members of the Bush administration, Jan. 20, 2009, marks the end of a job. However, for the staff of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), it's just the beginning of a project unprecedented in size and scope: sorting, indexing, preserving and ensuring access to all the records, both paper and electronic, created by the administration over the past eight years. In some ways, this is nothing new. Since 1978, when the Presidential Records Act was established, NARA has been tasked with taking custody of, controlling, preserving and providing access to all presidential and vice presidential records that have administrative, historical, informational or evidentiary value. The act requires that the day the president leaves office, presidential records become the legal responsibility of the archivist of the U.S. However, given the rise in electronic communications, the volume of electronic records has exploded. Consider that NARA received only a few hundred thousand e-mail messages from the first Bush presidency and 32 million from the Clinton White House, according to Ken Thibodeau, director of NARA's Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Program, whose mission is to meet the many challenges stemming from increasing use of computers in government, including building a new archiving system, scheduled for completion in 2011. In comparison, it expects a whopping 140TB of data from the current Bush administration, more than 50 times what it received from the Clinton years. About 20TB of that is e-mail, Thibodeau says. It hasn't helped that the Bush administration has been slow in providing NARA with needed information about the types and volume of data that will need to be archived. It wasn't until this summer that an intensive effort began to share information, Thibodeau says. Much of the discussion has centered on how the White House will provide records in a format that is reasonably easy to use, since some of the systems are highly proprietary. "There's still some risk that some of it may not work exactly right, but we have a contingency plan: If that happens, we'll re-create the systems they have and access the records that way," he says. Adding to the drama, questions have been raised about millions of missing e-mails from between March 2003 and October 2006. In early November, a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive was upheld, challenging the White House's failure to properly store and recover millions of emails. In 2002, the Executive Office of the President stopped using the Automated Records Management System that had been in place since 1994, which automatically backed up all e-mails, but failed to install any other backup program. But despite the controversy and opinions to the contrary, Thibodeau says NARA is prepared. In 1998, NARA began the process of building a system to preserve all types of electronic records created anywhere in the U.S. government, enable online transactions and collaboration with other agencies over the life cycle of government records, and provide access to these records to the public and government officials. The system, scheduled to be built in five increments, is slated for completion in 2011. The first increment, just completed in June, provides functional archives to preserve electronic data in its original format, enables disposition of agreements and scheduling, and receives unclassified and sensitive data from federal agencies. It will be nearly impossible to get it [presidential electronic document archival] under control without a massive expenditure of human resources because the technology is not there. Deb Logan, analyst, Gartner Inc. By Dec. 5, the second increment that will handle the presidential records portion of the ERA system will be ready for the onslaught -- or as ready as it can be "when you're staring at 100TB of data bearing down on you," Thibodeau says. Even in this increment, however, the system will be used just by NARA staff and four pilot agencies, with public access slated for a later release. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has questioned the ERA's readiness, especially since the project has endured some bumps along the way, including delays and cost overruns estimated at $16.3 million. The life-cycle cost for the complete ERA system, scheduled to be completed in 2011, has been estimated at $453 million, including development contract costs, program management, research and development, and program office support. As recently as September, after studying the system's progress, the GAO urged NARA to create a mitigation plan in case it could not process the incoming records by Jan. 20, 2009. In a report to the congressional committees (download PDF), the GAO said, "If it cannot ingest the electronic records from the Bush administration in a way that supports the search, processing and retrieval of records immediately after the presidential transition, it will not be able to meet the requirements of the Congress, the former and incumbent presidents, and the courts for information in these records in a timely fashion." Thibodeau says there is no noteworthy risk that the system would not be ready. If there are data formats the system can't ingest and index in a reasonable amount of time, he says, the short-term solution will be to recreate the applications used for those records and preserve and provide access for them that way. The human element But as Deb Logan, an analyst at Gartner Inc., points out, system readiness is one thing; human limitation is another. According to Logan, the onerous task will be sorting through the unclassified and unprocessed data that the Bush administration will leave behind. The fact is, she says, the federal government itself has insufficient records management practices and systems in place, which means they'll basically be dumping raw data on NARA. "It would be one thing if the stuff had to be moved seamlessly to a records repository, but it's just eight years of stuff," she says. "It will be nearly impossible to get it under control without a massive expenditure of human resources because the technology is not there." According to NARA, it took about 400 days to process just the 2TB of data it received from the Clinton administration. Since it had no system at the time, it archived this data by recreating the Clinton administration's computer systems that originally held the records -- 17 in all -- and developed simple search interfaces that NARA personnel could use to access requested information. Logan says part of the blame lies with federal agencies themselves, pointing to a GAO survey that concluded federal agencies have failed across the board to fulfill their records management obligations, "not out of malice or neglect but out of the nature of the volume of electronic communications and the time frame in which they have to do it," she says. "Anyone who's putting an optimistic face on the job is not being realistic." Optimism may be relevant from a technology point of view, Thibodeau acknowledges, but not from an information management point of view. "From my side of NARA, I don't deal with what's in the records, just whether we can get them into the system," he notes. "We allow the library staff to deal with the content." An unprecedented effort The system itself had its challenges, which Thibodeau says are a natural outcome of creating a system the scope and scale of the ERA. After all, the system is not just intended to preserve presidential records. Under the Federal Records Act, it also works with federal agencies to preserve all of their relevant records, which amounts to about 2% of all the records they create. These records are submitted, appraised and archived continuously, not in batch modes at the end of each term, as presidential records are. The system is charged with the following: * Ingesting electronic records from federal agencies. * Managing records storage in a way that guarantees their integrity and availability. * Enabling users to search descriptions and business data about all types of records and to search and retrieve their contents. * Supporting records management functions such as scheduling, appraisal, description and requests to transfer custody. * Preserving records in the formats in which they were received, as well as creating backup copies for off-site storage. To that end, the system is a mix of off-the-shelf and custom-built components, based on a service-oriented architecture and incorporating Oracle Corp.'s database technology, EMC Corp.'s Documentum for records management, search technology and a Web-based front end. It also incorporates a hierarchical storage system from Hitachi Ltd. that blends servers from EMC, Hitachi and Sun, as well as the Hitachi Content Archive Platform, which automatically indexes records as they enter the system, enabling immediate search capability. The first glitch with the system was a missed deadline by Lockheed Martin Corp., which NARA contracted with to build the system, in September 2007 (see timeline at the end of this story). Thibodeau says this occurred in part because shortly after rewarding the contract to Lockheed, NARA discovered it needed to cut the budget in half, which resulted in rescoping the system's initial capabilities. This effort took the better part of a year, according to Thibodeau, as well as the time and attention of Lockheed engineering management. To speed things up, NARA and Lockheed also decided to use a two-pronged approach to developing the system. In this approach, the first prong -- or the base system, which was completed in June -- manages record schedules, requests record transfers and stores records. NARA plans to beta-test this system for a year, working with just four agencies from which it accepts records. So far, Thibodeau says, there have been 16 records transfers. Other functionalities, such as the ability to automatically inspect and appraise records, were delayed for later increments. The second prong is the system dedicated to the presidential records, originally called the Executive Office of the President (EOP) system, and now referred to as Search and Access ERA. This system is being developed in parallel with the base system, and the two will be merged as originally envisioned by 2011. Testing was completed in early November, Thibodeau says, although security testing is still ongoing. "There were no show-stoppers, so we're optimistic that we'll turn it on in December before the onslaught in January," he says. Other functionality will continue to be built through 2011. If NARA is rewarded its next appropriation of money, it expects to build the public-access capability within a year, Thibodeau says. Other slowdown factors Adam Jansen, president of Dkives Consulting in Spokane, Wash., agrees that the phased approach is the way to go. Formerly the digital archivist for the state of Washington, Jansen built an electronic records archiving system for the state that serves 750 users and stores 75 million records -- from 150-year-old census books to e-mails accumulated over the most recent governor's eight-year term. The system stores a million Web pages from 400-plus agencies, and the state is about to release several hundred hours' worth of searchable full text, digital audio and tape of legislative committee hearings. ERA timeline Here are the key events in the long history of NARA's project to build the ERA system * 1998: NARA researches feasibility of an electronic records management system. * 2000: It commits to building a system and begins a two-year effort to develop a program management competency to support the effort. * 2001: The government hires a contractor to develop policies and plans to guide the overall acquisition of an electronic records system, including a three-year requirements-gathering phase. * December 2003: NARA releases a request for proposals for the design of ERA. * August 2004: It awards two firm-fixed-price contracts for the design phase, totaling about $20 million, one to Harris Corp. and the other to Lockheed Martin. * Sept. 8, 2005: It announces the selection of Lockheed Martin to build the ERA system. * September 2007: Original deadline for Lockheed Martin to deliver an initial operating capability (IOC), with completion of a second phase to follow in November 2007. The project is delayed, and a revised strategy and schedule is created, splitting the project into parallel development efforts, using separate development teams and deferring certain functions to subsequent phases of the project. * June 2008: Completion of the ERA base system, which is the first increment of the planned five-increment system. The system provides functional archives to preserve electronic data in its original format, enables the disposition of agreements and scheduling, and can receive unclassified and sensitive data from federal agencies. * December 2008: Scheduled completion of the second increment, which is the system that can handle presidential records. This release includes the content searching and basic case management for special access requests. * By 2011: The second release of Increment 2, as well as Increments 3 through 5, will provide additional ERA functionality, such as public access. He calls NARA's project "a hugely ambitious project, and it's very difficult to bite off that big of a chunk all at once," he says. While with Washington's state government, Jansen says his team started with a few types of records and expanded from there. In four years, he says, the system went through three distinct iterations, with tweaking and reinventing along the way, especially when it came to ingesting records. As for the ERA's bumpy history, Jansen also faults government bureaucracy and NARA's failure to seek out advice from others who had implemented such systema. "There were people who'd done research, and I'm not sure the lessons learned were researched and taken to heart," he says. "Having run a program similar to this for five years in Washington, I got almost no interaction with them despite efforts to do so." But Thibodeau says when the project began in 1998, there was little information available. At that time, it took the agency two years just to research the feasibility of developing such a system, and it created a program management office to support it. "The biggest system we'd acquired before this was under $10 million," he says. "When you're doing something over $100 million, it's much more complicated, so we wanted to make sure we were competent to do it." NARA also dedicated three years to eliciting and validating requirements, which culminated in inviting both the IT industry and the general public to comment on the requirements, he says. During this phase, NARA also organized two conferences, one for prospective users and another for industry, to discuss its plans and get feedback. "We wanted there to be no question of what we were building," Thibodeau says, claiming there have been no changes to the requirements over the course of the system build. Countdown to January Logan says the problem of managing electronic records won't be resolved until the government agencies themselves do a better job of electronic records management, including classifying, de-duplicating and purging data through the use of systems such as archiving, records and policy management, content monitoring/filtering, and content analytics tools. Right now, she says, it's too easy to just keep buying more storage and keeping everything, and what's important to keep is intertwined with what's trivial. Not to mention that with no clear guidance or policy on data handling, she says, there's the risk of political appointees in outgoing administrations shredding data rather than turning it over. "We've created a huge volume of stuff, and it's going to be impossible to sort it with any level of precision," she says. "The longer it sits around, the more you lose context and run the chance that the data formats will become extinct. I think the result will be a great loss of information for the future." Logan apologizes for seeming so pessimistic, "but I've been covering this for nine years, and the progress has been minimal." Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Last major VHS supplier throws in the towel

Slashdot It! Farewell, VHS... and don't let the door hit you on your way out. Though most of us have given up our VHS players by now in favor of something a little less dated, there have been the usual stragglers in the "old 'n' busted video format" department that have kept VHS alive long past its expiration date. But with the last major VHS supplier in the US ditching the format at the end of this year, the sound of the death knell has forced us to reminisce on VHS and other formats we wish would die with it. VHS, which became wildly popular in the 80s and rode out its popularity well into the 2000s, has been on a very steady decline since the advent of DVD (and now digital downloads and Blu-ray). As a result, most VHS distributors have long ago ditched the format, but not Distribution Video Audio Inc., which prides itself in keeping little tidbits of pop culture alive. But this is one trend that is finally going to the grave after the 2008 holiday season is over, despite steady sales over the last several years. "It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," Distribution Video Audio co-owner Ryan Kugler told the L.A. Times. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in the warehouse we'll just give away or throw away." The last Hollywood-produced VHS movie was released sometime in 2006, which was already well into DVD release territory. Kugler points out, however, that even though major retailers (like Walmart and Best Buy) were phasing out their VHS selection, bargain basement stores like the Dollar Tree and mom-and-pops were still buying inventory from him. He says he also sold to public libraries, military bases, and cruise ships, although those venues are looking for DVDs now too. As it turns out, Distribution Video Audio now sets up discount DVD displays for big-box retailers, although Kugler warns that DVD's days are numbered as well. "The DVD will be obsolete in three or four years, no doubt about it. Everything will be Blu-ray," he said. With VHS's death about to become a reality, the Ars staff got to thinking about what other formats we'd like to see buried before the end of this decade. I, for one, wish car makers would stop even offering to put cassette players into vehicles—the only function those things are good these days is acting as a cheap intermediary between an iPod and a stereo system. Several other staff members chimed in with the QuickTime .mov and the dusty old .gif when it comes to file formats. What are some of yours? Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare


Are you looking for some Hansgrohe now? Then you better read this review as I am going to reveal this website that is selling the things that you are looking for at a cheaper price and a better quality then the rest. Hansgrohe The website I am going to review today is called They are selling things like Kitchen and bathroom fauce. Free Shipping They also have a free shipping offer where they offer free shipping for people whom spend more than 99 dollars on their purchase. Check them out

Tire Chains

Are you in the States where they are having the heavy snowfalls and you are unable to drive off due to the slippery road? Have you forgot to but some tyre chains before the snow fell? Then you are in luck, because I am going to review this website that is selling tire chains tire chains They are selling tire chains that ranges from $28 to $400 all with shipping included. They also have a movie that shows you how you can install the tire chains on your tires. They are also offering lot of discounts for their high end models. Check them out

Health, Beauty and Skincare

Are you attracted by the title I have in this blog post? Then you have came to the right blog as I am going to review this website that talks about just that topic. This website talks about how you can lose weight and even review the best weight losing pills that you can take. Nutrisystem The website I am reviewing today is called They had just reviewed the latest website thay had found called nutrisystem where they provide you a package for you to slim down. About them Beauty Brief is a weekly online publication addressing topics related to skincare, health, fitness, bath and body, haircare and more. This website aims to deliver unbiased, up-to-date and reliable information on everything related to fitness, cosmetics, beauty, and diet products.

EA Brings Spore, Warhammer Online, And More To Steam

Slashdot It! Publisher Electronic Arts formally joined Valve's digital distribution platform Steam, bringing big titles such as Spore, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and more to the PC-based service. Additional EA titles now available through Steam on North America include Mass Effect, EA Sports FIFA Manager 2009, Need For Speed Undercover, and Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack. The company also plans to make Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Mirror's Edge, and Dead Space available on the service in January 2009. Other major publishers like Activision, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and Atari have long sold games through Steam, but until now EA was a notorious holdout. Previously, the publisher digitally distributed internally-developed PC games only though its own EA Store as well as Steam competitors like Direct2Drive. For several years, however, EA has had a close relationship with Valve; the company took over as retail distributor of Valve's games following the severing of the studio's ties with former publisher Vivendi. According to Valve, Steam claims over 15 million active user accounts around the world. "We are pleased to extend our holiday titles to gamers worldwide via Steam -- a revolutionary technology that is one of the game industry's most successful digital distribution services," says EA COO John Pleasants of the deal. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Abit’s Death Date Reportedly Set: 31st of December, 2008.

Slashdot It! Abit, once leading-edge maker of computer mainboards and other components, will cease to exist starting the first of January, 2009, as the owner of the legendary brand – Universal Scientific Industrial – is in the process of restructuring and cutting down the costs. Abit was once known as a supplier of the world’s best motherboards. The company’s products were praised by enthusiasts and overclockers due to their excellent quality as well as precise tweaking capabilities. Due to the dramatic popularity rise of high-end hardware early this decade, Abit became a very serious player on the motherboard market; however, questionable management practices have caused the company to leave graphics cards business first and then to sell the vast majority of assets as well as Abit brand name to Universal Scientific Industrial in 2006. USI, which originally specialized on mainboard manufacturing for branded PC makers, could not eventually resurrect Abit brand that began to lose popularity back in 2004 – 2005 and this year Universal Scientific decided to shut down the legendary Abit motherboard business. Earlier this year a web-site reported that expectations of Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) for Abit’s business had not been met and the holding was mulling to pull out Abit brand from the motherboard business and refocus the company on other devices. It was claimed that Abit sold from two to three million mainboards last year and this year the company’s sales dropped even further. The company denied the information back then. At Computex Taipei 2008 trade show Abit demonstrated FunFab digital photo frame with integrated printer as well as a mobile Internet device (MID). In addition, the company also demonstrated a series of new mainboards and put a lot of hopes on platforms based on Intel P45 core-logic. According to TweakTown web-site, USI decided to close down Abit on the 31st of December, 2008. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Evercool newly launched NB cooling pad--Hermes‏

Slashdot It! Evercool Thermal Corp., Ltd., one of the famous and professional cooler and fan manufacturer in Taiwan. Today, Evercool would like to introduce one newly launched notebook cooling pad--Hermes. Hermes overthrows a big, square and neat impression of traditional notebook cooling pad. Its unique design will catch you eyes definitely. The modeling concept of “Angel’s wings” emphasizes that Hermes is as light as the wing and easy to carry for users. In addition, multi-air inlets and outlets completely assist the airflow in keeping the steady operation for laptops. Moreover, the hidden holders in the ergonomics design make users more comfortable while using Hermes. Users can adjust the angle arbitrarily according to their needs or using habits. Furthermore, the USB cable storage space at the bottom solves the arrangement problem for users. Besides, the distinctive design, Hermes has a perfect cooling efficiency and its worth is more than the cost for users. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

#71 Gelid Silent 8 Fan

Slashdot It! This fan is very silent during normal operations without having to compromise on performance. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

#70 Gelid Silent 8 PWM Fan

Slashdot It! This Fan has a power management system which would balance between performance. noise and lifespan. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Monday, December 22, 2008

McCain Campaign Sells Info-Loaded Blackberry to FOX Reporter

Slashdot It! Private information at bargain prices. It was a high-tech flub at the McCain-Palin campaign headquarters in Arlington when a MyFoxDC investigative reporter bought a Blackberry device containing confidential campaign information. Secrets from McCain's campaign revealed on Blackberry phones (Photo credit: lilivanili | Creative Commons License) SideBar Related Items Stories McCain Campaign HQ Selling Out Office Equipment From MyFoxDC Reports ARLINGTON, Va. - Private information at bargain prices. It was a high-tech flub at the McCain-Palin campaign headquarters in Arlington when a MyFoxDC investigative reporter bought a Blackberry device containing confidential campaign information. It started with a snippet we read on page A23 in Thursday's Washington Post. The McCain-Palin campaign was going to sell its used office inventory (story: MyFoxDC) at low prices. But when we got there, it didn't look like we were going to get much. It was lunchtime and most of the good stuff was gone, picked over by early birds looking for deals on file cabinets, white boards, sofas -- anything headquarters could sell to get back some of their campaign dough. We saw laptops ranging between $400 and $600 with logins like "WARROOM08." We couldn't log on without a password, but staffers assured us the hard drive would be zapped before it was sold, and the computer would probably work. The hottest item? Blackberry phones at $20 a piece. There were only 10 left. All of the batteries had died. There were no chargers for sale. But people were snatching them up. So, we bought a couple. And ended up with a lot more than we bargained for. When we charged them up in the newsroom, we found one of the $20 Blackberry phones contained more than 50 phone numbers (video: MyFoxDC) for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails from early September until a few days after election night. We traced the Blackberry back to a staffer who worked for "Citizens for McCain," a group of democrats who threw their support behind the Republican nominee. The emails contain an insider’s look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support. But most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists. We called some of the numbers. "Somebody made a mistake," one owner told us. "People's numbers and addresses were supposed to be erased." "They should have wiped that stuff out," another said. But he added, "Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise." We called the McCain-Palin campaign, who says, "it was an unfortunate staff error and procedures are being put in place to ensure all information is secure." Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Apple recommends security software for Mac owners

Slashdot It! After years of boasting about the Mac's near invincibility, Apple is now advising its customers to install security software on their computers. Apple - which has continually played on Windows' vulnerability to viruses in its advertising campaigns - issued the advice in a low-key message on its support forums. "Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult," the the support message reads. It goes on to recommend a handful of products to Mac owners, including Intego VirusBarrier X5, Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh and McAfee VirusScan for Mac. Apple has continually played down the threat of viruses on the Mac platform. One of the first adverts in its "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign focused entirely on viruses. "Last year there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs," the PC character said in the advert. "PCs, not Macs," the Mac character replied. Even today, on the Get a Mac FAQ, the company claims: "Mac OS X resists most viruses, so you can do anything - without worrying about losing everything." It does go on to concede that "no computer connected to the internet is 100% immune to viruses and spyware." Whilst the Mac platform is without doubt a lesser target for virus writers, the company may have been spurred into its security software recommendation by the growing trends towards web exploits that target cross-platform browsers, including Apple's own Safari. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

In Deal With Hitachi, Intel Will Expand Its Flash Memory Business

Slashdot It! Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, records most of its profit from its core business, the microprocessors that serve as the brains of most computers. But the company’s side venture in flash memory — which is used to store songs on digital music players and photos on digital cameras — has been another story. Although Intel does not disclose financial details of the business, flash-based storage is an intensely competitive industry, with specialty companies like SanDisk and giant electronics makers like Samsung and Toshiba battling for market share amid eroding prices of the underlying high-speed memory. Some shareholders have been pushing Intel to exit that low-margin business, which it operates through a joint venture with Micron. But Intel is taking a different approach. On Tuesday, it will announce a deal with Hitachi to become the sole supplier of flash memory for Hitachi’s forthcoming line of high-end solid-state computer drives intended for computer servers and storage systems. Intel and Hitachi also plan to share research and development costs. Although solid state drives are expensive, they are faster, tougher and more energy-efficient than traditional drives with spinning disks. Intel and the other players are hoping the drives will become popular for data-center computers used by corporate customers — potentially a more profitable market than the consumer laptops where the solid state drives are mostly used now. “We believe this combination spreads out the risk and gives the venture the highest probability for success,” said Troy Winslow, a director of marketing at Intel. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, formed in 2003 after Hitachi acquired I.B.M.’s storage business, is the third-largest seller of hard disk drives, trailing Seagate Technology and Western Digital. As such, it has deep ties to the server and storage makers, whose corporate customers have often been more willing to pay a premium for higher-performance technologies, like flash drives. Intel and Hitachi plan to release their first drives in the early part of 2010, making them late to the market. STEC, a company that sells solid state drives, will ship products valued at $50 million to business customers this year, according to its chief executive, Manouch Moshayedi. Samsung is the other leading seller of solid state drives. Hardware makers like EMC and Sun Microsystems are just beginning to introduce products based on solid state drives. Analysts expect sales of the new drives to accelerate sharply in 2010 and 2011. “What Intel doesn’t want is another company like Intel dominating the memory business,” said David Wu, an analyst with Global Crown Capital. “They desire anything that weakens Samsung’s presence in storage.” Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

New Windows worm builds massive botnet

Slashdot It! The worm exploiting a critical Windows bug that Microsoft Corp. patched with an emergency fix in late October is being used to build a new botnet, a security researcher said today. Ivan Macalintal, a senior research engineer with Trend Micro Inc., said that the worm, which his company has dubbed "Downad.a" -- it's called "Conficker.a" by Microsoft and "Downadup" by Symantec Corp. -- is a key component in a new botnet that criminals are creating. "We think 500,000 is a ball park figure," said Macalintal when asked the size of the new botnet. "That's not as large as some, such as [the] Kraken [botnet], or Storm earlier, but it's still starting to grow." Last week, Microsoft warned that the worm was behind a spike in exploits of a bug in the Windows Server service, which is used by the operating system to connect to network file and print servers. Microsoft patched the service with an emergency fix it issued Oct. 23, shortly after it discovered a small number of infected PCs in Southeast Asia. However, the new worm is a global threat, said Macalintal. "This has real potential to do damage," he said. Trend Micro has spotted infected IP addresses on the networks of Internet service providers (ISPs) in the U.S., China, India, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. The worm first appeared about a week and a half ago, and began spreading in earnest just before Thanksgiving, he added. Macalintal also said that it appears the botnet is being built by a new group of cyber-criminals, not one of the gangs that lost control of compromised computers when McColo Corp., a California hosting company, was yanked off the Internet. When McColo went offline, crooks lost access to the command-and-control servers which gave marching orders to some of the world's biggest botnets, including "Srizbi" and "Rustock." One result of the McColo takedown was a temporary slump in spam; some message security vendors said last week that they had seen a sharp increase in spam as the hackers managed to regain control of their botnets. Security experts, including those at Trend Micro, are coordinating efforts, said Macalintal, to pass along their lists of worm-infected PCs to ISPs, who have been asked to contact the computers' owners and urge them to clean their machines of the worm. "But that's an uphill climb," admitted Macalintal. Users who haven't applied the emergency patch -- labeled MS08-067 by Microsoft -- should do so as soon as possible, Macalintal said. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Microsoft: Don't blame us, blame the browser add-ons

Slashdot It! Worried that Internet Explorer is less secure than alternatives? Eric Lawrence Security Program Manager on Microsoft's Internet Explorer team argued on a Black Hat webcast about Clickjacking that Microsoft is not to blame. In fact, Lawrence essentially argued that it's the browser add-ons that are where many problems are. "One of the things we've seen in the last two years is that attackers aren't even going after the browser itself anymore. The browser is becoming a harder target and there are many more browsers," Lawrence said. "So attackers are targeting add-ons." He added that attackers are finding add-ons with high market share looking for vulnerabilities and then exploiting every browser through the add-on. So in Lawrence's view - whether you're running IE, Firefox, Safari or Chrome you could still be at risk if there is a vulnerability in Flask, PDF, QuickTime or another popular add-on (sometimes also called plug-ins). However I know well that it is also true that how a browser vendor actually uses add-ons can also affect how secure a potential vulnerability. A good example is how Mozilla fixed some validation issues related to QuickTime so it wouldn't lead to a Firefox exploit. Apparently Microsoft has got a few ideas of its own in that area too and will be implmenting them for IE 8. "For IE 8 we've done a lot to increase the hardening of the system against add-on vulnerabilities," Lawrence claimed. "In IE 8 has a feature called per-site ActiveX so if you go out to Yahoo! and install the Yahoo music engine then by default that control isn't available to any other site except for yahoo. by doing that can mitigate malicious IFRAME attacks." This all sound fine and good to me - but there is still a very large underlying problem here. While Microsoft users have Microsoft Update and Firefox users have an integrated update too, not all of the add-ons that people use have update mechanisms that are as obvious or as used. So here is what I recommend to ALL browser vendors: Include an add-on validation script that automagically warns users if they are running outdated version of Flash,PDF, QuickTime etc in big RED type so they know there is a risk (and yes I know Mozilla has an add-on update notifier now but do yourself a favor and look right now to see if it check for Flash? and do you have the most updated version of Flash??). Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (0) | Share Share this Article Digg furl StumbleUpon BlinkList Newsvine Magnolia Facebook Tailrank Slashdot Technorati Google Bookmarks Yahoo Favorites Windows Live Ask Tags: * add-ons, * browsers, * IE8, * Microsoft 0 TrackBacks Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Microsoft: Don't blame us, blame the browser add-ons . TrackBack URL for this entry: 5 Comments Anonymous said: This article is right on, there have been a massive number of quicktime exploits in the last two years (to pick just one example)... however, browser makers have a responsibility to work on deprivileging these things as well. November 21, 2008 4:25 PM Eric Lawrence said: Please keep in mind: My remarks concerned where attackers have been focusing their attention, and not, as implied, who is to blame. Internet Explorer 8 adds a number of defenses against buggy add-ons. Joining Vista IE7's Protected Mode and the IE7 "ActiveX Opt-in" feature are the new IE8 Per-site ActiveX feature and the fact that the browser (and by extension, the add-ons) now run with DEP/NX protection by default. [**NOTE FROM SEAN** I included mention of the per-site ActiveX feature in this post too, but hey..I guess not everyone has read the whole post...**] is a good summary of the security work that's gone into the new IE8. November 21, 2008 4:41 PM said: There's a simpler solution than bloating up these crappy addons with even more mechanisms to update them.... don't install or run them at all! I do not install Flash, Adobe's Acrobat or Quicktime, and haven't for a very long time. Flash is used mainly for annoying adverts online, and is a direct threat to your privacy online (through their cookie-type system and propreitary software having access to your PC, including microphone and webcam!). Acrobat is bloated and horrifically slow even on the fastest computers, and the less said about Quicktime (and its forced bundling with Itunes - more DRM, great), the better! There are extensions for the Mozilla family to make plugins optional (click to run), and even though I have this feature available via NoScript I still choose not to install any of the popular plugins. Infact, looking at about:plugins I only have Real Alternative installed. I went to the lengths of removing Windows Media Player from FF too, as the DRM in WMP is utterly offensive, and WMP does not have a good security track record. And the MS media formats also support some very annoying features that are aimed at businesses to use to ram ads or similar into users' faces (loading URLs at points during a clip, or even executing code!). I can assure you that by not having flash you are not missing much. If I want to see a video off youtube I download it via and watch it in MPlayer/VLC. I use free software alternatives to Acrobat (which also tend to ignore the DRM-esque features in Adobe's implementation of a PDF viewer), and VLC or MPlayer tends to cope fine with any file that Apple would like you to play with their crap. November 21, 2008 5:03 PM Nathan Zaugg said: Great post! I actually sent my post to the MS IE8 team and got a less than positive response. (this post: Whatever they try to do to prevent data execution it won't be enough. IMHO -- let IE fail. The ego-centric at MS seem to have a very skewed world view and are no longer capable of real innovation. November 21, 2008 5:18 PM Charles said: Long ago figured out that some addons are more vulnerable to security issues than others. I absolutely for a couple of reasons won't use the popular Adobe reader, don't have flash installed and refuse to do so, keep my plug in addons to only those few I can't live without, such as NoScript, and will absolutely not run IE. Adobe products have far too many phone homes in them. Not to mention the security flaws. I won't run flash because... I've had it with those flashy ads done in flash. Flash has become the new way to store cookies where you can't easily find and remove them in place of the browser cookies that everyone is aware of being part of datamining and most often delete. So if you have ever wondered why everyone is going to flash movies, it might give you a clue. Not only are they hard to find and have no provision for deletion without a special program, they are allowed bigger sizes so even more data can be stored to report on where you go, what you do, and what you favor. All of major interest to ad companies. ActiveX has long been a popular part of the browser to hijack. Who runs ActiveX anymore? Most browsers that support ActiveX come with it off as the default setting. It's just too easy to get inside your OS through that method. M$ didn't think browser security was that much of a problem that it might need reworking until Firefox started taking a chunk of it's market share. All of a sudden after 10 years, M$ decided maybe it should address some of those security holes before they lost the majority of the market share to Mozilla. Computer monoculture had by then been set up to be struck with a vengeance. I have very little faith in M$ actually getting serious about security. They are earning money for computer OSes as well as business licenses. As long as money is flowing in from both ends of the stream, why should they close the gap that attracts many of the developer tool sales to do the work with to get into the datamining stream? At the end of this, I am wondering just why I am still running M$ stuff and not on the Linux wagon. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Friday, December 19, 2008


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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lenovo’s Android Phone To Resemble iPhone

Slashdot It! Lenovo, largely known as a PC manufacturer is making themselves known in the smart phone market by developing a touchscreen smart phone that strongly resembles the iPhone. The iPhone is currently the leader in touchscreen smart phones, gaining massive popularity since it’s launch just over a year and a half ago. One of the reasons for the iPhone’s success is it’s simple, intuitive interface and design. Lenovo plans to expand on those qualities and have the phone be powered by the open source Android platform. The design takes a few concepts from the iPhone such as a full touchscreen interface which fits right into the phone’s body, and it will have minimal buttons which cuts down on the clutter. Having buttons for basic tasks such as calling, hanging up, and navigating menus increases the functionality, but the less buttons the better. These two design aspects will help the Lenovo phone have a modern, minimalistic appearance. The “oPhone” as it has unofficially been nicknamed will be able to support China’s TD-SCDMA standard for 3G data transfer due to a modified version of Android. This modified version is called the Open Mobile System, which many analysts say will boost sales of the phone since it supports the faster data speeds combined with it’s functionality and looks. One surprising speculation is that the “oPhone” does not have a visible keyboard which leads some to think that they will incorporate an on screen keyboard into their modified Android. The “oPhone” is set for a China only release between February and March 2009 for China Mobile. This seems like a very promising phone, combining the functionality of the open source Android platform as well as the stylish looks. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Ericsson & Intel Can Remotely Lock Laptops

Slashdot It! Ericsson and Intel have announced that they are collaborating on a way to keep your laptop's contents safe when your laptop goes MIA. Using Intel's Anti-Theft Technology - PC Protection (Intel AT-p) and Ericsson's Mobile Broadband (HSPA) modules, lost or stolen laptops cans be remotely "locked." Similar to Lenovo's recently announced Lockdown Now PC technology, the Ericsson-Intel technology uses SMS messages sent directly to a laptop's mobile broadband chip. Once the chip receives the lock-down message, it passes it to the Intel AT-p function, which is integrated into Intel's Centrino 2 with vPro technology platform. "When a loss or theft is detected, Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection technology can lock the laptop, rendering it useless, by blocking the boot process, and when working in conjunction with third-party encryption hardware or software can protect data by deleting cryptographic keys or similar essential code for decryption." Unlike Lenovo's anti-theft solution, the Ericsson module includes GPS functionality. The example that Ericsson uses in its press release as to how the integrated GPS could be utilized is that if a laptop is moved outside of a pre-defined area (a "geo-fence"), the laptop would automatically lock itself down. We image that the GPS could also be used to allow law enforcement to track down the location of stolen laptops as well. Of course, for the GPS function to actually work, the laptop would have to be outdoors or near a window with a southern exposure; so while the GPS functionality is a nice added value, its practical usage is somewhat limited. Once a laptop is recovered, another SMS message can be sent to the laptop to unlock it. One potential limitation to these designs is that the laptops have to be powered on in order to receive the SMS "kill" message. So if an enterprising thief is aware of the anti-theft technology, he might be able to disable the remote functionality simply by removing or disabling the broadband module. Therefore, if you are concerned about your data falling into the wrong hands, you'd be well advised to also password protect your laptop in both hardware and software, encrypt the hard drive, and even set up a policy that locks the laptop after repeated failed log-in attempts. Ericsson states that its anti-theft technology will be available in Centrino 2-based laptops by the second half of 2009. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Microsoft still in race for Australian school laptops: VIC

Slashdot It! Microsoft-based laptops aren’t too expensive to meet the Federal government’s promise of a computer for every school-aged student, according to the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The admission, made by a Department spokesperson to iTnews, follows reports this week that open source-based computers may be the only way for the Rudd Government to make good on its promise. The spokesperson said that alternatives to the Microsoft operating system are on the table. “The Department’s current standard operating system is Microsoft,” the spokesperson said. “The Department is always investigating new and more cost effective operating systems.” The NSW Department of Education and Training said no decision had been made on the viability of one operating system over another. “The EOI [expression of interest] does not specify a brand of operating system or application suite, rather it focuses on the Department of Education and Training's requirements,” a DET spokesperson said. It had been claimed by open source firm Cybersource that Microsoft licensing costs were part of the reason for high per unit computer cost estimates submitted by the State government education departments. The Federal government estimates the total cost per laptop to be up to $2,500 over four years. Cybersource has proposed an open source model in which students would be issued with a netbook and a USB key. However, the firm indicated $2 billion in funding would be needed to ensure every Australian school student receives one each. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Windows market share dives below 90% for first time

Slashdot It! Microsoft Corp.'s Windows OS last month took its biggest market share dive in the past two years, erasing gains made in two of the past three months and sending the operating system's share under 90% for the first time, an Internet measurement company reported today. In November, 89.6% of users who connected to the Web sites that Net Applications Inc. monitors did so from systems powered by Windows, a drop of 0.84 of a percentage point from October. The decrease was the largest slip by Windows in the past two years and easily bested other recent down months, including May 2008 and December 2007, when Windows lost 0.51 and 0.63 percentage points, respectively. Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X, meanwhile, posted its biggest gain in the same two-year period, growing by 0.66 percentage point to end the month at 8.9%. November was the third month running that Apple's operating system remained above 8%. Vince Vizzaccarro, Net Applications' executive vice president of marketing, attributed Windows' slip to some of the same factors he credited with pushing down the market share of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. "The more home users who are online, using Macs and Firefox and Safari, the more those shares go up," he said. November was notable for a higher-than-average number of weekend days, as well as the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., he said. Windows' share typically falls on weekends and after work hours, as users surf from home computers, a larger percentage of which run Mac OS X than do work machines. Notable in Windows' downturn was a dramatic drop in share of the aged Windows XP -- the largest decrease since January 2008 -- and a major uptick in Windows Vista's share. While XP lost 1.81 percentage points, Vista gained back 1.16 points of that, its largest move since last January. Windows 2000, the only other edition that Net Applications tracks, continued its slide toward 1%, falling to 1.56% during November. As expected, Vista cracked the 20% mark for the first time last month, ending November with a 20.45% share. Windows' share shows no sign of stopping its slow slide; in the past 12 months, Microsoft's market share has fallen from 91.79%, a decrease of more than 2 percentage points. During the same period, Apple has increased its operating system market share by 1.56 points, or a gain of 21.3%. Net Applications also noted a small boost in market share for the open-source Linux operating system, which grew from 0.71% in October to 0.83% last month. In August and September, however, Linux had a share above the 0.9% mark. Operating system market share data is available at Net Applications' site. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Mozilla launches Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, now with 'Private Browsing'

Slashdot It! Mozilla Corp. today released Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, the first version of its flagship browser to turn on a much faster JavaScript engine and sport a working privacy mode. Following the first beta by about eight weeks, the newest preview switches on TraceMonkey, the JavaScript engine Mozilla initially touted back in August. Beta 1 included the new engine, but it had been disabled by default; users were required to manually edit the browser's configuration file to turn on the engine. Also present in Beta 2 is "Private Browsing," the privacy mode that Mozilla decided to add in September, but didn't add to a test build until early last month. Private Browsing is a reaction to similar additions in other browsers, including Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8. Privacy mode lets users surf without leaving obvious traces of where they've been, which has led to the feature being dubbed "porn mode" in a nod to one of its more obvious uses. An ancillary change to Private Browsing is a new addition to the "Clear Recent History" dialog box that allows users to selectively erase the last hour, the last two hours, the last four hours, today's or all browsing history. Previously, the wipe was all or nothing. Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 includes support for "web worker threads," a developing specification that will let Web-based application developers run background processes to speed up their apps. One feature trumpeted by Mozilla in Beta 1 has disappeared in the newest version. As Mozilla noted in late November, it pulled a revamped Ctrl-Tab tab-switching feature because it wasn't satisfied with the tool's user interface. The now-absent Ctrl-Tab redesign, which was based on an existing add-on of the same name, showed users thumbnails when they cycled through open tabs, and switched between current and last-viewed tabs rather than simply moving to the next tab on the right. According to Web metrics company Net Applications Inc., Firefox accounted for 20.8% of all browsers used during November, marking the first time that the open-source browser broke the 20% barrier for an entire month. Few users are trying Firefox 3.1, however; last month, only 0.05% of all users were running a preview of the new version, Net Applications said. There will be at least one more beta in the Firefox 3.1 development cycle. Two weeks ago, Mozilla said it had added a third beta to the process, in part to evaluate some of the features introduced today, including TraceMonkey and Private Browsing, and to allow time for programmers to fix the bugs that users report. Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from Mozilla's site. Users already running Beta 1 will be notified of the available update in the next 48 hours. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Friday, December 12, 2008

Micron to launch hyperfast SSD, touts 1GB/sec. throughput

Slashdot It! Within the next year, Micron Technology Inc. expects to bring to market a high-end solid-state disk drive that could achieve 1GB/sec. throughput, according to a company executive. The transfer speed is four times that offered by Intel Corp.'s newest SSD, the X25-E. In a video on Micron's newly launched blog site, Joe Jeddeloh, director of the vendor's Advanced Storage Technology Center, demonstrated the technology using a two-processor, eight-core Intel Xeon PC and a card with two SSDs and 16 flash channels. A blurry readout showed the SSD reaching 800MB/sec. throughput, with Jeddeloh claiming that it "will be hitting a bandwidth of 1GB/sec. and at least 200,000 IOPS," or I/O operations per second. The card was directly connected to a PCI Express (PCIe) slot, bypassing Serial ATA or Serial Attached SCSI interfaces that would normally be used to plug SSDs into a server or PC, thereby limiting it to 3Gbit/sec. throughput per channel. Using file transfers ranging from 2KB to 2MB, Jeddeloh demonstrated 150,000 to 160,000 random reads per second in the video. "That's what flash can do when it's managed correctly," Jeddeloh said. In an interview today, Dean Klein, vice president of Micron's SSD group, said the company is already testing the technology with a few select customers and is looking for more beta testers. "I wouldn't expect this level of performance going into laptops anytime soon, but for servers, yes," Klein said. "We plan on bringing this to market on a limited basis this coming year and in a more expanded way the year after." In comparison, Intel's X25-E SSD achieves sustained sequential read rates of up to 250MB/sec. and sustained sequential writes of up to 170MB/sec. and 35,000 IOPS. "We're multiple times faster in terms of bandwidth," Klein said. Klein added that Micron's SSD uses "multiple channels" and was built interleaving 64 NAND chips to achieve its high throughput. The SSD is also based on several technology advances announced by Micron this year, including its 34 nanometer NAND chip architecture announced in May and the RealSSD P200 series drives announced in August. While Micron's SSD technology is aimed at high-end applications that would run on Fibre Channel SANs, such as transactional databases or streaming video, Klein said consumer-grade computers using SSDs directly connected to a PCIe bus with four lanes (x4 slots) could soon achieve similar results. Physical PCIe slots may contain from one to 32 lanes of data. Currently, PCIe Generation 1 offers 250MB/sec. throughput per lane. The second generation of PCIe is expected out next year and will offer twice the throughput, or 500MB/sec. "It really does require a change in computer architecture to go into consumer-type systems, but it can be done," Klein said. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

FTC kills scareware operation that duped over a million users

Slashdot It! The Federal Trade Commission today got a court to at least temporarily halt a massive "scareware" scheme, which falsely claimed that scans had detected viruses, spyware, and pornography on consumers' computers. According to the FTC, the scheme has tricked more than one million consumers into buying computer security products such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus. The court also froze the assets of Innovative Marketing, Inc. and ByteHosting Internet Services, LLC to preserve the possibility of providing consumers with monetary redress, the FTC stated. The defendants used an elaborate ruse that duped Internet advertising networks and popular Web sites into carrying their advertisements, according to the FTC's complaint. The defendants falsely claimed that they were placing Internet ads on behalf of legitimate companies and organizations. But due to hidden programming code that the defendants inserted into the advertisements, consumers who visited Web sites where these ads were placed did not receive them, the FTC said. Instead, consumers received exploitive advertisements that took them to one of the defendants' Web sites. These sites would then claim to scan the consumers' computers for security and privacy issues. The "scans" would find a host of purported problems with the consumers' computers and urge them to buy the defendants' computer security products for $39.95 or more. However, the scans were entirely false, the FTC said Innovative Marketing is incorporated in Belize and maintains offices in Kiev, Ukraine. ByteHosting Internet Services is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The FTC complaint alleges that these two companies, along with individuals Daniel Sundin, Sam Jain, Marc D'Souza, Kristy Ross, and James Reno, violated the FTC Act. The complaint also names a sixth individual, Maurice D'Souza, as a relief defendant who received proceeds from the scheme. Under US District Court for the District of Maryland order, the defendants are barred from falsely representing that they have run any type of computer analysis, or that they have detected security or privacy problems on a consumer's computer. They also are barred from using domain names obtained with false or incomplete information, placing advertisements purportedly on behalf of a third party without that party's consent, or otherwise attempting to conceal their own identities. The order also mandates that companies hosting the defendants' Web sites and providing domain-registration services take the necessary steps to keep consumers from accessing these Web sites, the FTC said. The FTC seeks to permanently bar the defendants from engaging in "scareware" marketing and pay for any damages and ill-gotten booty. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare