Microsoft, along with Vulcan, NIKE, RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative and Concur call for Washington to Legalize Gay Marriage


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Microsoft, along with Vulcan, NIKE, RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative and Concur, say that Washington’s failure to recognize gay marriage has gone on long enough.

They have called for legislators to pass the two gay marriage bills SB 6239 and HB 2516 recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples currently circulating through their chambers.

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith writes:

At Microsoft, we pride ourselves on our products and services, our brand, and our global reach. But unquestionably, our employees are our greatest asset.

As other states recognize marriage equality, Washington’s employers are at a disadvantage if we cannot offer a similar, inclusive environment to our talented employees, our top recruits and their families. Employers in the technology sector face an unprecedented national and global competition for top talent. Despite progress made in recent years with domestic partnership rights, same-sex couples in Washington still hold a different status from their neighbors. Marriage equality in Washington would put employers here on an equal footing with employers in the six other states that already recognize the committed relationships of same-sex couples – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. This in turn will help us continue to compete for talent.

You can see the full Microsoft here.

Add Microsoft’s explanation to the list of arguments for marriage equality: Discrimination is bad for tech businesses.

This is true regardless which group of people discrimination targets.Companies can’t hire the best people, and the best people can’t do their best work. And in the end, everybody loses.

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NSS Labs report on the Browser Security Comparison report by Accuvant / Google


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On 09/12/2011 security reseller Accuvant published report looking at Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, where Google Chrome comes out on top, and Mozilla Firefox at the bottom. Accuvant are fairly respected, but the report was funded by Google.

Just because Google paid for the report it does not make it corrupt, but it did leave me with a dirt feeling.

The Accuvant report can be found here, I ask you to give it a good read before you read the NSS labs report.

The Accuvant report states that “Readers should understand that, while Google funded the research for this paper, Accuvant LABS was given a clear directive to provide readers with an objective understanding of relative browser security. The views expressed throughout this document are those of Accuvant LABS, based on our independent data collection.”

The Accuvant reports conclusion was that “The URL blacklisting services offered by all three browsers will stop fewer attacks than will go undetected. Both Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer implement state-of-the-art antiexploitation technologies, but Mozilla Firefox lags behind without JIT hardening. While both Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer implement the same set of anti-exploitation technologies, Google Chrome’s plug-in security and sandboxing architectures are implemented in a more thorough and comprehensive manner. Therefore, we believe Google Chrome is the browser that is most secured against attack.”

I respect Accuvant but if Microsoft had paid for a report Google would be screaming about its findings. If the findings had been that Internet Explorer 9 was the most secure and Chrome the least, would Google have gracefully have allowed the findings to come to light?

Due to that report being published NSS Labs where approached by several enterprise clients, who asked for a review of the Google/Accuvant publication and supporting tools and data to give an independent opinion.

NSS analysts have also examined data from on-going NSS Labs browser research to give additional guidance.

The NSS Labs report can be found here, give it a good read, its shorter than the Accuvant report.

The final analysis from NSS labs was as follows.

How vulnerable a modem web browser is to attack is certainly a high profile question. It is a well-documented phenomenon that new software contains more bugs (which may expose vulnerabilities) than software that has been around for a while. It is part of the software development lifecycle. Examining historical data on the number of vulnerabilities discovered during a period of time provides insight into the maturity of the software in question and is a good indicator of how many future vulnerabilities will be discovered.”

“The most frequently exploited vulnerabilities leading to system infection with malware are found in third party software such as Java software and the most popular exploit toolkits being used by criminal organizations (such as Black Hole) primarily target third party software (such as Java). This focus on third party applications is likely due to frequent and semi-automatic updates by browser vendors which shrinks the opportunity-time an attacker has to compromise a target, as well as the cross browser-platform nature of third party applications. In essence, if you think from an attacker’s standpoint, why design an exploit for Chrome 15 and a separate one Firefox 8 and a separate one for Internet Explorer 9 when they will have very short shelf life, when a single Java exploit will do the trick just fine? In addition, exploits that use interpreted languages such as Java are very difficult to defend against. Unless they have a pattern match for a known exploit, network and host intrusion prevention systems as well as anti-virus/endpoint protection products are unable to discern legitimate Java from malicious Java. So as an attacker, there is an added “stealth” benefit to exploiting third party software such as Java.”

Google with holding important malware protection from its SafeBrowsing feed so that its own product has an advantage over Firefox and Safari, is an important precedent and contains echoes of accusations made against the company that it improperly provided preferential search results for its own products over third parties. While Google is entitled to improve its product, the way in which the company approached the break with Firefox should be noted.”

So let’s get this right, Google a company whose motto is “Don’t do evil” has dumbed down its SafeBrowing feed that it gives to Firefox and Safari. From a marketing point of view that’s an inteligent thing to do, it makes your browser look better. But from a white hat perspective that’s pretty EVIL with a capital EVIL, you putting you our there as pushing an open form of share security, and then you are making all the users on Firefox and Safari less safe.

Hmm I think you guys need to go read that motto again, because that sticks!

My browser of choice was and still is IE9.

What do you think?

Investment firm Evercore calls for RIM to adopt Windows Phone OS


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I have supported Blackberry Enterprise Servers in my work life; I have built three Blackberry Enterprise Servers, and I have a great deal of respect for blackberries and the benefits they give a company. But from a user’s perspective, they are looking old.

Some investors have called for RIM to sell its patents or even itself.  Microsoft was named as a potential suitor to buy RIM out, and I like it at some levels, but I am not convinced it would ever happen, but would not rule it out.

Why should Microsoft take over RIM?  Regardless of the anti-Microsoft anything league Microsoft have a solid product in Windows Phone 7, and a future Windows Phone 8 and beyond.

In November 2010 Dell moved 25,000 of their employees Dell’s own Venue Pro running Windows Phone 7 migrations like that hurt.

In the eyes of some execs RIM appears is getting relegating to the side lines.

One of RIMs partners are a company by the name of Evercore, they are an investment banking advisory firm. Evercore are calling for RIM to adopt the Windows Phone OS for Blackberry devices.

Evercore  said “We now believe that RIMM needs to adopt an existing ecosystem (Windows Phone) in order to remain a relevant player in the smart phone market”

But wait .. what is so wrong with that idea?   I think that a Blackberry device running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) or waiting for Windows Phone 8, with the built-in security of Blackberry would be great differentiator for RIM devices. You would have a smooth OS, plus rock hard security for your company’s messages, and you would still have things like Blackberry messenger built into it.

I don’t know how feasibility this is, but I think that it could be done. I think that if RIM announced that they had a deal with Microsoft to run devices with Windows Phone hardware specs and with Windows Phone 7.5 or hold out for Windows Phone 8, then their stock price would shoot up.

Network Managers all over the world wold breathe a sigh of relief that they had decent control and security over corporate messaging unlike iPhones. The deal would also do Microsoft a world of good in gaining them another reliable hardware partner.

I doubt it will happen but RIM with a Windows Phone OS and high-class Windows Phone body shell with Gorilla glass sounds cool to me.

Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit takes down the Kelihos bot net (aka Waledac 2.0)


Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit takes down the Kelihos bot net, also known as Waledac 2.0.

In an operation codenamed “Operation b79” using similar legal and technical measures that resulted in previous successful botnet takedowns, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has taken down the Kelihos botnet (aka Waledec 2.0).

To read a full report on the click here

This takedown will be the first time Microsoft has named a defendant in one of its civil cases involving a botnet and as of approximately 8:15 a.m. Central Europe time on September the 26th 2011, the defendants were personally notified of the action.

The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit states that the taking down of botnets requires a collaborative effort and no single organization can do it alone.

The propagators of botnets are nothing to do with freedom fighters, defenders of liberty, free speech, or free internet; they have a singular and absolute financial goal through criminal means. In some cases they may be be funded by more traditional terrorist groups seeing to cause destabilization or seeking financial gain to further their cause.

Its grate the see responsible companies like Microsoft are working with other organizations to help keep the internet safe, and in so doing the real world safe.

Microsoft does not give 9000 free refurbished iPads, but…..


Unlike Apple, Microsoft has not gifted 9000 free refurbished iPad, see my blog “Charity or Self Interest? Apple has giving 9,000 free iPads to Teach for America Charity“. But what it has done is a great deal more for Education, Non-profit Organisations, and Humanitarian Response.

Microsoft planning to market Windows 8 ARM in a unique way, different naming?


Steven Sinofsky, chief of Windows and Windows Live said “Microsoft will not allow a world where a customer goes into a store and has to buy software in a red box for ARM and a green box for x86. We won’t ever let that happen to a customer. We will be clear what the value proposition and what the software is capable and we’ll do that with all the communication tools at our disposal.”

See the full text over at WINRUMORS.

Qualcomm & Texas Instruments talk about WIN8 on ARM


Curtsy of Microsoft News Watch Qualcomm and Texas Instruments talk about Windows 8 on ARM.

Click Here to see the Videos.