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Microsoft: Upgrade from Windows XP or risk infinite "zero-days"

windowsxpMicrosoft is intensifying its efforts asking users to scrap Windows XP, the 12-year-old operating system for which the software giant is ending support next April. Tim Rains, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, authored a blog post last week reminding customers of the perils that could await them should they continue running XP, which debuted in 2001, once Redmond stops patching the platform. Users should upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

"There is a sense of urgency because after April 8, 2014, Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates," Rains wrote. "This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its 'end of life' will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft."

Rains said that when a vulnerability is patched in one of Microsoft's supported operating system versions, attackers typically reverse engineer the fix in hopes of creating an exploit that could target users who failed to apply the update.

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Windows 8.1 coming October 18th

microsoftI know a lot of folks are eager to find out when they will be able to get Windows 8.1. I am excited to share that starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market. So mark your calendars!

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Windows 8 gets an update called 8.1 free to users June 26th

windows 8Windows 8 was built for a world that blends our work and our personal lives, a world where we expect high quality touch experiences everywhere, and a world that is always on the go and always connected. Windows 8 redefines our market from PCs to mobile computing.

We are pleased with the progress we’ve seen with Windows 8 so far.

Our OEM partners have delivered tablets, touch laptops, and convertibles that bring the vision of Windows 8 and mobile computing to life. They have introduced some incredible (and unique) new form factors like the Dell XPS 12, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Sony VAIO Tap 20, or the recently announced Acer Aspire R7. And today at retail, you can find a powerful mobile touch laptop starting at just over $400.

We now have more than 70,000 apps in the Windows Store (the online app store for Windows) – apps such as Twitter, eBay, Netflix, CNN and games like Temple Run: Brave, Bejeweled LIVE and Angry Birds Star Wars and many others.

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Bill Gates is doing his first Ask Me Anything on Reddit

Bill Gates is currently (as of this news post) doing his first ever Ask Me Anything on Reddit. He has already posted his verification image and even a video of a few of the common and popular questions he has received which you can see below.

Gates message currently reads as follows:

Hi, I’m Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ask me anything.

Many of you know me from my Microsoft days. The company remains very important to me and I’m still chairman. But today my full time work is with the foundation. Melinda and I believe that everyone deserves the chance for a healthy and productive life – and so with the help of our amazing partners, we are working to find innovative ways to help people in need all over the world.

I’ve just finished writing my 2013 Annual Letter http://www.billsletter.com. This year I wrote about how there is a great opportunity to apply goals and measures to make global improvements in health, development and even education in the U.S.

VERIFICATION: http://i.imgur.com/vlMjEgF.jpg

I’ll be answering your questions live, starting at 10:45 am PST. I’m looking forward to my first AMA.

UPDATE: Here’s a video where I’ve answered a few popular Reddit questions - http://youtu.be/qv_F-oKvlKU

Join our ongoing discussion on the Lunarsoft Forums about Bill Gates AMA.

Microsoft sells 60 million licences, upgrades for Windows 8

microsoftSoftware giant Microsoft has sold 60 million licences and upgrades for its new Windows 8 operating system in the 10 weeks since its launch.

Tami Reller, chief financial officer of the Windows division, said at the Consumer Electronics Show that Windows 8 sales are growing in line with those of Windows 7, Microsoft's last operating system, launched in 2009.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the figure marks a solid, but unspectacular start for Microsoft's new flagship product, which has not managed to revive lagging personal computer sales, while new touch-screen Windows devices have not yet captured consumers' imaginations.

The latest Windows 8 figure means Microsoft sold around 20 million Windows 8 licences and upgrades since the end of November, when it announced 40 million sales in the first month on the market, the paper said. That puts sales broadly in line with Windows 7, which averaged 19.4 million sales per month in its first nine months on the market, when PC sales were running at a lower level than today, it added.

source Source: MSFN

Google's high-speed Internet in Kansas draws startup businesses

googleInside a small bungalow on the street separating Kansas City, Kan., from its sister city in Missouri, a small group of entrepreneurs are working on their ideas for the next high-tech startup, tapping Google Inc.'s new superfast Internet connection that has turned the neighborhood into an unlikely settlement dubbed the "Silicon Prairie."

The home on State Line Road is one of several startup-friendly locations that have sprouted up in Kansas City in recent months. The catalyst is Google Fiber, the search-engine giant's fiber-optic network being tested in the Kansas City area that advertises speeds of up to a gigabyte per second — a rate that massively exceeds the average Internet speeds at homes hooked up with cable modems.

The advantage here for startups is simple: A fast Internet pipe makes it easier to handle large files and eliminates buffering problems that plague online video, live conferencing or other network-intensive tasks. Though the Kansas City location presents challenges for startups, including the ability to raise money outside the traditional Silicon Valley venture capital scene, entrepreneurs like Synthia Payne believe it's the place to be right now for up-and-coming tech companies.

Payne is one of those entrepreneurs hoping to launch her startup dream — an Internet subscription service for musicians who want to collaborate online — on the cheap. She shares the State Line Road house, known as the "Home for Hackers," with other startups under a deal that allows them to live rent-free while they develop their business plans.

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Critical Java zero-day bug is being “massively exploited in the wild”

javaA previously unknown and currently unpatched security hole in the latest version of the Java software framework is under attack online, according to security researchers and bloggers.

Attack code that exploits vulnerability in Java's browser plugin has been added to the Blackhole, Cool, Nuclear Pack, and Redkit exploit kits, according to the Malware Don't Need Coffee blog, prompting its author to say that the bug is being "massively exploited in the wild." Miscreants use these products to turn compromised websites into platforms for silently installing keyloggers and other types of malicious software on the computers of unsuspecting visitors. KrebsOnSecurity reporter Brian Krebs said the curators of both Blackhole and Nuclear Pack have taken to the underweb to boast of the addition to their wares. It's not yet clear how many websites have been outfitted with the exploits.

According to researchers at Alienvault Labs, the exploits work against fully patched installations of Java. Attack files are highly obfuscated and are most likely succeeding by bypassing security checks built in to the program. KrebsOnSecurity said the malware authors say the exploits work against all versions of Java 7.

Analysis from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab indicates the exploits are already deployed on a variety of websites.

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At least 14 updates coming for Microsoft Patch Tuesday

microsoftMicrosoft said it will patch at least 14 vulnerabilities next week, including four in Internet Explorer (IE), making it three months in a row that the company has plugged holes in its browser.

Of the nine updates set for Aug. 14, five will be labeled "critical," the most serious of the four ratings Microsoft uses. The other four will be pegged "important," the next-lower threat ranking.

The big story for next week will be the one-two punch of patches for Exchange and SQL Server.

"Those are two of the three things that are most important to IT in enterprises," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security. "Thank goodness SharePoint's not included. But Microsoft is hitting two out of three in just one month."

In the advanced notification of next week's updates, Microsoft outlined patches for Exchange, the email server software used by most companies, and SQL Server, the database that runs many corporations' internal and external processes, including powering websites and providing workers with everything from business intelligence to financial information.

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