Microsoft pushed the new version of Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool

The new version of Windows Genuine Advantage Validation tool was first released on March 26 when user visits WGA website

Today, Microsoft pushed it at Windows Update website.  It was documented at their website (release date and that is today).  This new version is to ready XP systems for the upcoming SP3.

More info at

Dell’s New Premium Support and Integration Services Build on Existing Tools and Improvements for Consumers

Dell’s New Premium Support and Integration Services Build on Existing Tools and Improvements for Consumers

* Dedicated Tech Teams Work One-on-One with Customers in North America
* Beyond-the-Box Retail Services Focus On Digital Lifestyle in the Home
* Customer Satisfaction Continues to Rise

The core idea of the upcoming fee-based service is to provide customers in the United States access to a dedicated support team to provide support for all Dell-branded products that are still under warranty in that customer’s household. These dedicated service teams will operate in North America and have the flexibility to address a comprehensive range of issues across Dell’s product line.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released to Manufacturing

Chris Keroack, Release Manager, Windows Serviceability at Microsoft announced the following:

Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.

We are also in the final stages of preparing for release to the web (i.e. you!) on April 29th, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. Online documentation for Windows XP SP3, such as Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and the Microsoft TechNet Windows XP TechCenter, will be updated then. For customers who use Windows XP at home, Windows XP SP3 Automatic Update distribution for users at home will begin in early summer. 

Thanks to everyone here who installed the public betas – you not only gave us detailed feedback but also helped each other out with timely troubleshooting. Through the beta program we found several important issues and were able to confirm some essential fixes. We couldn’t have done this without you.

We will still be monitoring this forum during the next few weeks in case you have more feedback about the release of Windows XP SP3.

Tough cookies for Web surfers seeking privacy

The software that advertisers use to track people’s behavior online is difficult to block. Advocates are calling for a ‘do not track’ registry.

Peter Swire, an Ohio State University law professor who served as privacy czar in the Clinton administration, and Annie Anton, an associate professor of software engineering at North Carolina State University, highlighted the issue last week in a filing to the FTC. They encouraged the agency to create a public “white list” of allowable opt-out cookies, maintained by the government or a private-sector organization.

“The FTC can shine a spotlight on this problem,” Swire said in an interview.,1,7079153.story

Crimeware Book Now Available

Symantec’s book called Crimeware: Understanding New Attacks and Defenses is now available.

The book covers the following topics:

– A general overview of Crimeware, including taxonomy of well known threats, such as keyloggers, screenscrapers, rootkits, botnets, and the like.
– A more detailed study of well known existing threats. such as rootkits and botnets.
– The business models associated with crimeware activity and how the money flows.
– How crimeware can propagate across both social networks and peer-to-peer networks.
– The legal ramifications of surreptitious software.
– User education and how well it works (and, how it doesn’t work).
– Recent threat topics like click fraud and crimeware in the browser.
– Future threats, such as crimeware in RFID devices, mobile devices, and other general embedded devices like routers.
– Emerging areas, such as election-related threats and threats related to massively multiplayer online games.
– Defenses, such as the reduction of coding errors and the use of virtual machines—along with details on recent academic research in automated protection as well as mitigation by alternate authentication mechanisms.

Windows Update Can Hurt Security

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have shown that given a buggy program with an unknown vulnerability, and a patch, it is possible automatically to create an exploit for unpatched systems. They demonstrate this by showing automatic patch-based exploit generation for several Windows vulnerabilities and patches can be achieved within a few minutes of when a patch is first released. From the article: ‘One important security implication is that current patch distribution schemes which stagger patch distribution over long time periods, such as Windows Update… can detract from overall security, and should be redesigned.’ The full paper is available as PDF, and will appear at the IEEE Security and Privacy Symposium in May.

MySpace profile hack provides early warning to predators

A security issue on MySpace may put a spanner in the works of law-enforcement efforts to track miscreants using the social networking site.

Many MySpace profiles contain code that subscribes visitors to a profile’s video channel. Normally this is all well and good, but hackers are able to subvert the feature for filthy purposes, according to Chris Boyd, security research manager at FaceTime Communications.

Hackers have set up dozens of accounts used as a springboard for spamming or attempts to vandalise other profiles [..]

Pending a fix from MySpace itself, Boyd has posted advice to surfers about how to avoid tracking here, a tip child abuse investigators might well find useful.

QUIK conviction

There’s been an update on the Trojan case we mentioned earlier this week – a 24 year old has been sentenced to five and a half years for computer crime. He was found guilty under Section 1, Article 272 (unlawful access to legally protected computer data) and Section 4, Article 159 (gross fraud) of the Russian Federal Criminal Code and will serve out his sentence in a minimum-security correctional facility.

Microsoft Launches Beta of New All-in-One Service for Consumers

Microsoft Launches Beta of New All-in-One Service for Consumers

Q&A: Group Product Manager Bryson Gordon discusses “Albany” — a new service to help consumers be more protected, productive and connected and to stay current with essential software and security updates.

Read Presspass’ interview with Mr. Gordon regarding Albany at