Tag Archives: Microsoft

RIM, now BlackBerry, have had a difficult few years. A dwindling market share, coupled with high profile outages, has caused the consumer to lose faith in the once powerful platform. But for RIM, the Enterprise was always going to be a steady source or income, wasn’t it?

Well, maybe not for long. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced plans to order 630,000 iDevices to add to their ranks. While this isn’t really newsworthy, it’s the 210,000 various iPhone models that will replace the current crop of BlackBerry handsets that catches the eye most of all.

BlackBerry was always known for their secure device for mobile email and data in the past. But times have changed and Google, Apple and Microsoft have caught up to, and in this case have surpassed, BlackBerry at their own usually reputable game. According to Electonista, the BB10 OS just isn’t compatible with the DoD’snew mobile plan that was introduced last month. In fact, BlackBerries running OS 7.1 would have been incompatible with the same mobile plan.

With 470,000 BlackBerries in use within the DoD, having nearly half that number retired due to iPhone use will be a blow to BlackBerry’s hopes of a resurgence with BB10 devices. Just this week, both BlackBerry and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had to both state that the OS had not yet been put through its paces for secure government use.

So, where does that leave the BlackBerry platform? With the funds gone, the DoD will likely not be investing in any new BlackBerry handsets anytime soon. And don’t forget, this puts Apple in a very strong position in a massive enterprise site, giving them bragging rights over Google and Microsoft in the Mobile space.

US Department of Defense: Bye bye BlackBerry, hello iPhone! – Neowin.

Microsoft has decided to do something today it has never done before; it is revealing just how many requests it received for information about customer accounts from law enforcement authorities. The reveal comes in the form of Microsoft##Q##s first Law Enforcement Requests Report, which will apparently be released every six months from now on.

The report states that in 2012, the company received 75,378 law enforcement requests. That total included Microsoft##Q##s Skype division. Microsoft said the requests would have affected about 137,424 customer accounts. Microsoft added the number of requests impacted less than two one-hundredths of one percent of all of the accounts that are recorded by the company.

Microsoft said that 18 percent of the requests resulted in no information being given to law enforcement authorities, “either because Microsoft rejected the request or because no customer information was found.” Microsoft did disclose what it called “non content information” for 79.8 percent of the law enforcement requests in 2012. Actual content disclosures were given to authorities for 1,558 requests, which comprised 2.2 percent of the total law enforcement requests.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that of that small number of accounts that did have content disclosed, over 99 percent were in response to what the company called “lawful warrants from courts in the United States.” Only 14 account content disclosures were given outside the U.S. to the governments of Brazil, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

The Skype division received 4,713 requests from law enforcement but did not disclose any content from those requests. Microsoft stated that it did provide non-content data, ” .. such as a SkypeID, name, email account, billing information and call detail records if a user subscribed to the Skype In/Online service, which connects to a telephone number.” Microsoft says that it requires a “court order or warrant before we will consider releasing a customer’s content to law enforcement.”

Microsoft got over 75,000 law enforcement info requests in 2012 – Neowin.

Windows users – do you take your computer##Q##s security seriously?

If so, you might decide to take prompt action when you receive an email seemingly from the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.

But that would actually be a big mistake.

You may remember that the Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft are the folks who have worked hard to bring down botnet servers, including those associated with Zeus, and investigated suspected malware authors.

Here##Q##s what today##Q##s spammed-out email, which uses the subject line “Security”, looks like:

Malicious email

Dear Email User,

Due to a new vulnerability which is exploited by hackers to steal your online details.

Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit in 2013 has hereby developed a new security measure.

All users of the Internet and Microsoft products are hereby required to validate there email account information irregardless of their Internet service provider or Host company.

To validate your email account and to prevent hackers from exploiting the new vulnerability.

Please download the "Microsoft_STF" file attached, extract the file on to your desktop and open.Once done you will updated on Microsoft security database.

Please note that if your email is not validated, your email will be at risk for hackers getting into your personal or business email account there by getting access to classified or privileged information.

2013 Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

Attached to the email is a file called Microsoft_STF_install.zip. And, according to the above email, “all users of the internet” should run the program to validate “there” (sic) email account.

Sounds serious, right?

Well, hopefully most of you will be rightly suspicious (even if it didn##Q##t contain spelling mistakes) of the unsolicited email and too wise to blindly run a program just because of instructions which claim to come from Microsoft.

Sophos products detect the attached file as the Troj/Agent-AANA Trojan horse.

The irony of a cybercriminal attack posing as the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, and using the fear of vulnerabilities and malware infection to trick users into unwittingly compromising their Windows computers shouldn##Q##t be lost on any of us.

Sadly, these kind of scare tactics are exactly the kind which will fool some people.

Be careful out there.

PS. You can read about the real Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit here.

Malware attack poses as security warning from Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit | Naked Security.

Shutterstock The interior of a Microsoft retail store is seen in San Diego January 18, 2012. Courtesy of Reuters/Mike Blake

Software makers Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp said they disrupted a global cybercrime operation by shutting down servers that controlled hundreds of thousands of PCs without the knowledge of their users.

The move made it temporarily impossible for infected PCs around the world to search the web, though the companies offered free tools to clean machines through messages that were automatically pushed out to infected computers.

Technicians working on behalf of both companies raided data centers in Weehawken, N.J., and Manassas, Va., accompanied by U.S. federal marshals, under an order issued by the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

Microsoft and Symantec Disrupt Cybercrime Ring | DFI News.

Today on international Safer Internet Day, Microsoft Corp. released the results of its second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), revealing that more than half (55 percent) of global respondents are experiencing multiple online risks, yet only 16 percent say they take multiple proactive steps to help protect themselves and their data. This year the MCSI also examined mobile safety behaviors, uncovering that although less than half of respondents (42 percent) run software updates on their personal computers, only 28 percent run regular updates on their mobile devices, potentially compounding their risk.


“Mobile devices often have just as much, if not more, valuable personal information stored on them as a home computer, making mobile devices equally attractive to data-stealing criminals,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft’s incoming chief online safety officer. “The latest MCSI results demonstrate that no matter where or how people access the Internet, exercising safer online habits is essential. There are steps that people can take and technologies that they can employ to help prevent them from becoming a victim.”


The MCSI surveyed more than 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users in 20 countries and regions about their personal approach to online safety and assigned a point scale of 0 to 100 based on their answers. The global average score was 34 for PC online safety and 40 for mobile. An abbreviated version of the MCSI is available at Microsoft Computing Safety Index Survey for people to check how savvy they are when it comes to online safety.


Other key worldwide findings from the MCSI include the following:


• Theft of password or account information was cited as a concern for 47 percent of respondents, with 33 percent saying they use secure websites and 28 percent saying they avoid using open Wi-Fi spots on their mobile devices.


• Forty-eight percent of respondents said they worry about computer viruses, with fewer than half (44 percent) turning and leaving on firewalls, and just more than half (53 percent) installing antivirus software on their PCs.


• Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they worry about having their identity stolen, yet only 34 percent have a PIN (personal identification number) to unlock their mobile device, and just 38 percent say they educate themselves about the latest steps to help prevent identity theft.


Microsoft offers a range of online safety tools and resources at http://www.microsoft.com/security, including the following practical steps consumers can take to stay safer online:


• Lock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.


• Do not pay bills, bank, shop or conduct other sensitive business on a public computer, or on your laptop or mobile phone over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi (such as a hotspot).


• Watch for snoops. People scouting for passwords, PINs, user names or other such data may be watching your fingers or the screen as you enter that data.


• Treat suspicious messages cautiously. Avoid offers too good to be true and be wary of their senders, even if the messages appear to come from a trusted source.


• Look for signs that a Web page is secure and legitimate. Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a Web address with “https” and a closed padlock beside it or in the lower right corner of the window).


• Reduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant messaging name only with people you know or with reputable organizations. Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories (such as white pages) or on job-posting sites.

Microsoft Computing Safety Index Shows Consumers Do Little to Change Online Habits Despite Multiple Risks.