Sony BMG Pulls CD Software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Music publisher Sony BMG said on Friday it would stop making CDs that use a controversial technology to protect its music against illegal copying.

“As a precautionary measure, Sony BMG is temporarily suspending the manufacture of CDs containing XCP technology,” it said in a statement.

The decision follows the discovery on Thursday of the first virus that uses Sony BMG’s CD copy-protection software to hide on PCs and wreak havoc.

A hacker had mass-mailed e-mail with an attachment, which when clicked on installs malware. The malware hides by using Sony BMG software that is also hidden — the software would have already been installed on a computer when consumers played Sony’s copy-protected music CDs.

The malware, a trojan program which appears desirable but actually contains something harmful, tears down a computer’s firewall and gives hackers access to a PC.

Sony BMG provided a patch to protect computers against the virus, which is available on its Web site.

“We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use,” Sony BMG added.

The firm provided software to remove the “cloaking element”, which enables the virus to hide inside the computer, but the patch does not disable the copy protection itself.

Source: Reuters

European group battles copy-protected CDs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The music industry should stop criminalizing customers and limiting their freedom in the battle against piracy, a European consumers’ group said Thursday.

The emergence of copy-protected CDs - installed with anti-piracy software that limits how many times the CD can be copied - “is the most visible example of this,” said Jim Murray of BEUC, an association representing consumer lobbies across Europe.

“Private consumers … are not criminals and to portray them as such is insulting and counter productive,” Murray said.

The group launched a digital rights manifesto for music and film lovers, saying they had the right to privacy and the right to benefit from technological innovations without abusive restrictions.

People can usually do what they like with the products they buy - unless they are purchasing digital products. Murray said consumers are “restricted” in the name of anti-piracy.

BEUC wants the European Commission to propose more EU laws on consumers’ rights, saying that big corporations’ licensing terms goes far beyond what is needed to protect their intellectual property rights.

“True piracy of intellectual property is a big problem generated by criminals,” Murray said. “We strongly believe in protecting intellectual property but not by demonizing ordinary consumers.”

He said it was time to guarantee consumers certain basic rights in the digital world and to tell them what they could do with their digital hardware and content.

Source: AP

RealNetworks Releases Update To Address Security Flaw

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

RealNetworks, Inc. has addressed recently discovered security vulnerabilities that offered the potential for an attacker to run arbitrary or malicious code on a customer’s machine. RealNetworks has received no reports of machines compromised as a result of the now-remedied vulnerabilities.

You can download the secutiry patch here

Office 12 To Have IM And VoIP

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Recognising a shift in the way people work, Microsoft is putting more emphasis on collaboration in the next version of Office.

The Redmond, Washington, software giant has gotten some help in that effort from Groove Networks, the Ray Ozzie-led company that Microsoft acquired earlier this year, strategy executive Bill Hilf said at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Francisco on Monday.

One of the first steps in working with colleagues is finding out which co-workers are actually available. In that regard, Microsoft plans to expand its current work on corporate instant messaging and add support for VoIP.

The ability to handle VoIP technology is “one of the core features [Microsoft is] building into the next version of Office,” said Hilf, Microsoft’s director of platform technology strategy. The company also plans to continue adding more server-based products to the Office family of products, he said.

Source: ZDNet

Microsoft Urges Flash Flaw Patching

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has posted a security advisory urging Windows users to install fixes to Macromedia’s Flash Player. The alert, published Wednesday, comes days after Macromedia warned of a serious security bug in its Flash Player, an application that plays Flash “movies,” commonly used on Web sites for animation or interactivity.

Source: News.com

New And Improved MSN Shopping Launches

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

MSN Shopping kicks off the holiday season with brand-new comparison shopping tools, with thousands of retailers, a bigger-than-ever product selection, new search tools, and helpful gift guidance to help consumers find the best value and make holiday shopping easier than ever.

The brand-new MSN Shopping provides consumers with a quick and easy way to find the products and gifts they’re looking for. Shoppers can search for a specific product such as a hot new toy that their kids asked Santa to deliver, or browse by product category for people on their gift list, including that person who has everything

Personalized Search Graduates from Google Labs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Personalized Search is an improvement to Google search that orders results based on previous queries. Learning from the history of searches and search results that have been clicked on, Personalized Search brings certain results closer to the top when it’s clear they’re most relevant to the user. For example, a user who recently searched on iPod accessories who enters a query on [apple] would be shown results related to the computer manufacturer before those related to fruit.

In addition to coming off Labs, Personalized Search also now includes several new features, such as:

  • Bookmarks & Searchable Labels: Users can now create bookmarks and add searchable labels and notes to any item in their search history to help organize their information. Since these are created through a Google Account, this information is accessible from any computer by signing in to their account.
  • Remove Results: This new feature offers users greater control over search results by enabling them to remove unwanted results from future searches. Users can remove a single page or an entire site, for one search or all future searches.
  • International Expansion: Personalized Search is now available in 39 domains, in 12 languages. The Personalized Homepage is also now available in 17 domains, in 12 languages.

Secondhand Microsoft software goes on sale

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has stunned some in the British reseller community by allowing a discount dealer to sell secondhand volume licenses, opening the floodgates for a used-software market in the U.K.

A loophole in British insolvency laws and a clause within many Microsoft licenses that permits disused or unwanted volume licenses to be transferred enables Disclic to sell the licenses legally. The licenses are offered at a discount of around 20 to 50 percent below prices of any other authorized Microsoft reseller.

A Microsoft representative confirmed on Thursday that Disclic’s resale of licenses “does meet Microsoft’s terms and conditions.”

Source: ZDNet

Spyware Maker Sues Detection Firm

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

ZDnet reports that RetroCoder, makers of the SpyMon remote monitoring program, are suing Sunbelt Software, makers of ConterSpy, a spyware detector program, for detecting the SpyMon as spyware. According to the EULA, SpyMon can not be used in ‘anti-spyware research,’ and detecting it is therefore a violation of it. ‘In order to add our product to their list, they must have downloaded it and then examined it. These actions are forbidden by the notice,’ a RetroCoder spokesperson said

Source: Slashdot

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