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04.16.09

Eye on Microsoft: Search Bribery, IE8′s Inherent Insecurity, Conficker=SPAM, Microsoft Encarta Dead

Posted in Microsoft, Search, Security at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A splash of color
Drowning in difficulties

Microsoft cut ‘n’ shuts search engine with bribery machine (see context)

Microsoft has stitched together its product search engine with the company’s Live Search Cashback service ahead of the relaunch of its clunky, Google-wannabe brand.

A couple things I forgot to mention about IE 8, no strong encryption for you.

It seems that in an effort to hawk Vista, 2008, and 7 off as “more secure”, Microsoft bumped Internet Explorer up to support for 256-bit AES encryption…sites like Newegg and most banks now support logging in with this and it should be pretty much impossible to crack (barring some horrible vulnerability discovered in it obviously).

But Microsoft is still refusing to upgrade the cryptography engine of IE 8 for XP/2003 and users of these systems are stuck with the older 128-bit encryption.

The problem with this of course is that computing power has increased a lot since 2001 and even such novel things as using GPU (graphics processing units) to run extremely complex calculations is now possible. Obviously 128-bit is starting to seem a little weak.

Conficker likely to cause rise in spam levels (and Microsoft deserves blame [1, 2])

Commtouch’s chief technology officer, Amir Levy, warns that new spam detection methods beyond traditional content filtering must be employed to block the flood of spam that the massive botnet created by the Conficker worm is capable of sending.

Microsoft Encarta died – why? And will its contents be lost?

Microsoft has recently announced that its beloved encyclopaedia, Microsoft Encarta, will soon be discontinued. After October 31, 2009 its contents will no longer be available. Both the online version and the CD ROM version will be discontinued.

My first reaction was “what a pity”. My job is to gather and publish good contents. I know how much work goes into creating and publishing material. This news must have been quite hard to digest for people who have been working on Encarta for a while. The two main questions that come to mind, however, are: “Why?”, and more importantly, “What about the contents?”

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