ZDNet and other publications note that the 1st consumer beta version of Windows 8 should be available for download tomorrow
Windows 8 Consumer Preview – Launch Date 02/29/2012
QUOTE: Microsoft is launching the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 on February 29. By going with the “Consumer Preview” name rather than the traditional “beta,” the Softies are emphasizing that the coming bits are ready for everyday users to try on their x86/x64 PCs and tablets.
Those who will be downloading for the first time the Windows 8 bits with the Consumer Preview won’t have early Developer Preview experiences and expectations against which to compare. Some who have used or seen Windows Phones will likely see the Consumer Preview, with its Metro-inspired Start Screen as similar in look and feel. Those who’ve seen and used the Windows Phone hubs (People, Messaging, Office, etc.) will likely grok more quickly how to work with Windows 8. For the other 99 percent — the non-Windows Phone users out there — Windows 8 is going to look very different and feel unlike previous versions of Windows.
ts launch event starts at 3 pm CET/9 am ET on February 29 in Barcelona. The event is not being Webcast. Nonetheless, we’ll have coverage throughout the day tomorrow on ZDNet on all things Windows 8-related.
Redmond Magazine captures several predictions from industry watchers, including the possibility that Office 15 may include touch screen capabilities.
Office 15 Beta – early predictions noted by Redmond Magazine
QUOTE: Office 15 is scheduled to appear as a public beta this summer, but Foley’s sources predict the release-to-manufacturing version of Office 15 will appear in late 2012. A recent roadmap prediction by consulting company Directions on Microsoft did not show Office 15 appearing this year. Instead, Directions on Microsoft expects product releases of System Center 2012 to appear early this year (possibly in April) followed by late-year product releases of Windows Server 8, with the Windows 8 client appearing late in 2012 or slipping into 2013. At the end of this month, Microsoft will release a beta of Windows 8, along with betas of Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5. A beta of Windows Server 8 will appear at that time too, according to an InformationWeek article, although Microsoft apparently hasn’t announced it.
Redmond Magazine – Windows 8 section
Below is another excellent article from ESET related to potential risks as employees bring their own personal devices into the workplace.
BYOD (Bring your own Device) to work challenge
QUOTE: Employee use of personally-owned computing devices for work-related purposes–known as Bring Your Own Device or BYOD–is not a new trend and security professionals have been concerned about it for some time, but there is a widely held view that the trend has been transformed of late. Why? Waves of mobile digital devices flooding into the workplace, threatening to overwhelm current information security policies, procedures, and controls. A lot of organizations are still assessing the productivity benefits of iPads, iPods, iPhones, Android tablets, smartphones, and so on. At the same time IT managers are trying to weigh those benefits against the risks that come with these devices. But what is the real size and scope of the problem? Are current impressions of an onslaught of insecure mobile devices accurate?
ESET shares an informative early evaluation of the Windows phone 8, reflecting key smart phone security considerations
Windows Phone 8 – early evaluation by ESET Security
QUOTE: While Microsoft was an early adopter in the creation of smartphones with Windows Mobile, it has lagged behind both Apple’s iOS and Google Android, at least until the end of 2010, when Window Phone 7 was released. To date, Windows Phone has only achieved niche status, but has received kudos and critical acclaim, often from organizations and people not known for charity towards Microsoft. Despite the small following so far, both consumers and developers are expressing interest, and Microsoft seems determined to keep a fast-paced released cycle in order to achieve parity in the marketplace. Microsoft seems to be doing a good job of reviewing submitted applications and enforcing its policy. As of January, 2012, there are over 60,000 apps in the Marketplace, and ESET is aware of only four applications that have been removed from the store:
This cloud security product was highlighted at RSA conference:
Cloudlock – New Cloud Security product introduced at RSA
QUOTE: “CloudLock was founded with a vision of protecting information wherever it sits,” said Zimmerman. “In particular we protect data in the cloud. We focus on Enteprise and mid-market, but can scale down to hundreds of users in a company.” Zimmerman described three core pillars of cloud security. Business wants to stay agile and productive. End users want to collaborate and create information. IT needs to balance the needs of both while managing requirements such as compliance and document retention.
CloudLock identifies all documents and content created and shared in the business, for all users. With its just-announced Content-Aware Security Policy Engine, administrators can control just how data is shared. The service also provides an immutable audit trail, which can be an important legal benefit. An online dashboard gives the administrator a high-level view, with the ability to drill down all the way to an individual change on a single document.
QUOTE: ‘We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.’
You can get an overview and read more information about the new policies and terms of services here:
McAfee shares an informative research report documenting the highly customized and polymorphic nature of malware currently circulating in the wild
McAfee Q4 Threats Report Shows Malware Surpassed 75 Million Samples in 2011
QUOTE: The overall growth of PC-based malware actually declined throughout Q4 2011, and is significantly lower than Q4 2010. The cumulative number of unique malware samples in the collection still exceeds the 75 million mark. In total, both 2011 and the fourth quarter were by far the busiest periods for mobile malware that McAfee has seen yet, with Android firmly fixed as the largest target for writers of mobile malware.
Contributing to the rise in malware were rootkits, or stealth malware. Though rootkits are some of the most sophisticated classifications of malware, designed to evade detection and “live” on a system for a prolonged period, they showed a slight decline in Q4. Fake AV dropped considerably from Q3, while AutoRun and password-stealing Trojan malware show modest declines. In a sharp contrast to Q2 2011, Mac OS malware has remained at very low levels the last two quarters.
Trend Labs security warns of fake sites using similar app names to trick users into loading them on their smartphones. Please be careful of any app installed.
Android Malware – Uses Fake Fan Application sites
QUOTE: We’re seeing more and more scams on the Android Market. Last week, we wrote about a developer that uses popular app names to trick users into downloading fake ones. Before that, we saw a fake Temple Run app making the rounds on the Android Market. This time, we saw 37 more apps that share a similar behavior as the previously reported ones. These are “fan apps,” which means that these aren’t the real game created by the original developer.