Thursday, March 31, 2011

Samsung Laptops Secure -- No Keylogger!

The media feeding frenzy over the possibility of a repeat of the Sony BMG rootkit scandal in Samsung laptops was dispelled when reported that it was a false/positive.

As explained by Alex Eckelberry, General Manager, GFI Security:

"The detection was based off of a rarely-used and aggressive VIPRE detection method, using folder paths as a heuristic.  I want to emphasize “rarely”, as these types of detections are seldom used, and when they are, they are subject to an extensive peer review and QA process.  (It’s not common knowledge, but folder path detections are actually used by a good number of antimalware products, but are generally frowned upon as a folder that looks clearly like one for malware has the potential of generating just this kind of result — a false positive.)"

VIPRE has been updated to remove the false/positive detection.

Additional information is available in Samsung Laptops do not have a keylogger (and it was our fault).

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Microsoft Office -- Free Training Materials

The Mouse Training Company is providing all of their Microsoft Office training manuals available to download for free. The files are in PDF format.

The Office 2010 materials are quick reference guides.  For Office 2007, in addition to the quick reference guides, the Mouse Training Company has additionally made their complete training manuals available for download.  Materials for earlier versions of MS Office area also available.

In checking the available materials, I downloaded the Word 2010 Quick Reference Card.  Although it is only two pages, the Quick Reference Card is packed with information and would be a handy tool to keep near your workspace. 

The complete training materials provide both mouse and keyboard instructions for completing tasks.  For example, the 158 page Word 2007 Advanced Training Manual, provides the following information on "Splitting a Table":

Splitting A Table
Sometimes you need to split a table between rows to add text in-between.
To split a table in two at the current cursor position:
i. Select the cell(s) you wish to split
ii. Go to the MERGE group on the LAYOUT ribbon and click the SPLIT TABLE button.
The PDF files are available for download from

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Microsoft Virtual Academy, Free Training

MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy) focuses on Microsoft Cloud Technologies.  The material is cloud-based, hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform.

The target audience is IT Pros.  The modules usually contain one self-assessment per module. In order to receive credit for the course, the corresponding material needs to be studied and the self-assessment passed.  Points are awarded for downloading and studying the materials and passing the self-assessment.  As levels are completed, additional courses become available.

This is a wonderful opportunity to advance your skills and career with Microsoft Cloud technologies.

Beginning Courses

  • Introduction to Windows Azure
  • Introduction to SQL Azure
  • Planning, Building and Managing a Private Cloud
  • Windows Azure Security Overview

FAQs and Registration

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Windows Live Essentials Version Update

An optional update is being released on Windows Update this week in all 48 languages where Windows Live Essentials 2011 is available.  (Note:  Windows Live Essentials 2011 is not compatible with Windows XP.)

The update is referred to as QFE1, where QFE stands for Quick Fix Engineering) and addresses the following issues:

  • fixed a couple of issues where in some cases video calls or file-sharing activities could not be re-established after losing network connection. 
  • sometimes status messages and display picture were not synchronizing correctly between PCs, resulting in a notification that changes made would not be seen on other computers. 
  • various performance and stability improvements.
Photo Gallery
  • a design change so that geo-tagging no longer overwrites GPS coordinates in image files.
In addition, various problems with language translation were corrected.

How to determine installed version

The version number is available in the "About" dialog for Messenger or Windows Live Photo Gallery. Version number is 15.4.3508.1109 is the latest release.  The Windows Live Team recommends updating if Version 15.4.3502.0922 is installed.

This optional update will download a package that only includes the new changes from the originally released version of Windows Live Essentials.  In other words, it will not be necessary to go through the entire setup with the update, although a restart will likely be needed to complete the installation.

All new installations of Windows Live Essentials 2011 include the QFE1 update.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Microsoft Security Advisory 2524375

Microsoft released  Security Advisory 2524375 to address nine (9) fraudulent digital certificates issued by Comodo Group Inc.

This is not a Microsoft security vulnerability and Comodo has since revoked the digital certificates. However, one of the certificates potentially affects Windows Live ID users via These certificates may be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks against end users.  Microsoft is not aware of any active attacks.

These Comodo certificates affect the following Web properties:

  • (3 certificates)
  • "Global Trustee"

A mitigation update to help protect against inadvertent use of the fraudulent digital certificates. Customers should continue to utilize Internet Explorer's Security Status bar located on the right side of the address bar to verify that the site being visited is valid and secure.

The Microsoft mitigation is available for download from the Knowledge Base Article linked below and Windows Update.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adobe Flash Player Critical Security Update

Security Bulletin (APSB11-05) has been released to address critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player.

Vulnerability identifier: APSB11-02

CVE Numbers:
CVE-2011-0558, CVE-2011-0559, CVE-2011-0560, CVE-2011-0561, CVE-2011-0571, CVE-2011-0572, CVE-2011-0573, CVE-2011-0574, CVE-2011-0575, CVE-2011-0577, CVE-2011-0578, CVE-2011-0607, CVE-2011-0608

Platform: All Platforms

Although Adobe suggests downloading the update from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center or by using the auto-update mechanism within the product when prompted, if you prefer, the direct download links are as follows:
If you use the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, be careful to UNCHECK the box shown below. It is not needed for the Flash Player update. 

1 MB

In addition, any toolbar offered with Adobe products can be unchecked if not wanted.

Verify Installation:

To verify the Adobe Flash Player version number installed on your computer, go to the About Flash Player page, or right-click on content running in Flash Player and select "About Adobe Flash Player" from the menu.

Do this for each browser installed on your computer.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ask an MVP

I was contacted recently by fellow Microsoft MVP, James Fisher, asking if I would agree to an interview.  James had in mind to conduct an "Ask an MVP" series at Windows Talk.  He asked me if I would start off the series answering a few questions as a Microsoft MVP awarded in Consumer Security.

James assured me that it would be just a few questions, not a lengthy interview.  True to his word, after agreeing to the interview request, James sent a short list of questions that he thought would be of interest to his readers.

To discover what the questions were -- and my responses -- read the interview results published at Windows Talk, Ask an MVP about: Home PC Security.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Critical Adobe Flash Vulnerability

Security Advisory (APSA11-01) has been issued regarding a critical vulnerability in multiple versions of Adobe Flash Player:
  • Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems
  • Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Chrome users
  • Adobe Flash Player 101.106.16 and earlier versions for Android
  • The authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat X (10.0.1) and earlier 10.x and 9.x versions for Windows and Macintosh operating systems
Although Adobe is currently not aware of attacks targeting Adobe Reader and Acrobat, there are reports that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Excel (.xls) file delivered as an email attachment.

An update to Adobe Flash Player is expected to be available during the week of March 21, 2011.  The Adobe Reader X Protected Mode is designed to prevent an exploit of this kind from executing.  As a result, an update to Adobe Reader is not expected to be released until the quarterly update scheduled for June 14, 2011. 


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mozilla Firefox 4 RC for Windows, Mac and Linux

Although Firefox 4 RC was delayed from the originally planned release, it is now available for download.  As announced on the Mozilla Blog:
Mozilla Firefox 4 for Windows, Mac and Linux has exited the beta cycle and is now available as a release candidate in more than 70 languages. The millions of users testing Firefox 4 will be automatically updated to this version and will join our Mozilla QA team in validating the new features, enhanced performance and stability and HTML5 capabilities in Firefox 4. Testers are encouraged to check out the Web O’ Wonder in order to see the future of the Web with cutting edge demos that showcase the incredible online experiences developers can now create and users can experience. Developers can submit their own demos to the Mozilla Developer Network Demo Studio.

Before you rush to update, please note that Mozilla urges users to update graphics drivers for Firefox 4
"To prevent crashes, Mozilla created a list of graphics drivers that Firefox 4 reads; if a driver is on the "blocklist," the browser disables hardware acceleration."


"Jacob said that Windows users must have a "very recent driver" if their machine sports an Intel graphics card; version 257.21 or newer for Nvidia cards; and version 10.6 or newer for AMD's ATI-branded cards."

The complete blocklist is available in the Mozilla Wiki, linked below.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Scot's Newsletter Forums Celebrate 8 Years!

Many people know Scot Finnie as Editor-in-Chief of Computerworld or remember his articles in a variety of popular journals. Others, like myself, started with Scot's writings in the days and the subsequent Scot's Newsletter.   On March 8, 2001, Scot launched Scot's Newsletter Forums (SNF).

Scot's Newsletter Forums provides help and information on a variety of topics, including
  • The "All Things Windows" (ATW) forum,  which includes topics related to Windows, Microsoft, help with Windows, techniques, performance, betas, Windows news, Windows server OSes, the future of operating systems, and more.  
  •  The "All Things Mac" (ATM) forum is devoted to topics and discussions related to Apple, Macintosh hardware and accessories, OS X, Classic, iTunes / iTMS (Mac & PC), and mainstream Mac software.  
  •  Other forms are dedicated to Browsers and E-Mail, Hardware, Security Networking, Application Software and Web Dev and Programming.
Most notable, however, is the well known "Bruno's All Things Linux" (BATL) forum which includes the archived "Tips for Linux Explorers", created by Bruno Knaapen " to provide just enough information to whet your appetite for more.

Special appreciation is extended to ESET and WinPatrol PLUS for providing software licenses as prizes for Highlanders to help celebrate SNF's 8th Anniversary. 

You may have noticed the mention of "Highlanders".  Not long after the forums were underway, by popular vote, the members selected "Highlanders" as our nickname, rather than the broad term, "Scot's Newsletter Forum Members".  The nickname stuck and we still refer to ourselves as Highlanders.

If I have wet your appetite and you decide to register at SNF, please be patient if there is a delay in your account being approved.  All new registrations are individually vetted to keep spammers at bay.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Security Bulletin Release for March, 2011

Microsoft released three (3) security bulletins today addressing four vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. One bulletin is rated Critical and two are rated Important.

The two Important bulletins address the DLL-preloading issue described in Security Advisory 2269637.  As noted in the MSRC Blog that, while Microsoft continues to address DLL-preloading issues as they are discovered, Microsoft has not seen exploitation of these issues in the wild.

  • MS11-015. This bulletin resolves one Critical-level and one Important-level vulnerability affecting certain media files in all versions of Microsoft Windows. It has an Exploitability Index rating of 1. Due to the nature of the affected software, this bulletin carries a Critical-level severity rating for all affected client systems, but only an Important-level rating for Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64. Other versions of Windows Server - 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2 - are unaffected. For both the Critical- and Important-level vulnerabilities, an attacker would have to convince a user to open a maliciously crafted file for an attack to work.

  • MS11-016 is a DLL-preloading issue affecting Microsoft Groove 2007 Service Pack 2, which makes this an Office bulletin. Versions 2007 and 2010 of Groove are unaffected, as is Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010.
  • MS11-017 is also a DLL-preloading issue, in this instance in Microsoft Windows Remote Client Desktop. This security update is rated Important for Remote Desktop Connection 5.2 Client, Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 Client, Remote Desktop Connection 6.1 Client, and Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 Client.


The following information is provided in the Security Bulletin:
  • The affected software listed have been tested to determine which versions are affected. Other versions are past their support life cycle. To determine the support life cycle for your software version, visit Microsoft Support Lifecycle.
  • Customers in the U.S. and Canada can receive technical support from Security Support or 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support calls that are associated with security updates. For more information about available support options, see Microsoft Help and Support.
  • International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft subsidiaries. There is no charge for support that is associated with security updates. For more information about how to contact Microsoft for support issues, visit International Help and Support.


Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Microsoft, Windows, Security, Updates, Vulnerabilities, Information,

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Internet Explorer 6 Countdown

Are you included among the 12 percent of people from around the world who are still using Internet Explorer 6?  Although browser statistics of visitors to Security Garden indicate only 2.6 percent use IE 6, it is long past time for those visitors to update.

I understand that not everyone has the latest and greatest computer.  These are hard times and we all need to watch our budget.  However, there have been numerous advances in IE since version 6 was introduced ten years ago.  Forget the pretty-pretty new features.  Most significant, from my point of view, are the enhanced security features in the newer versions of Internet Explorer.

Granted, IE9 is not compatible with Windows XP.  However, you can still upgrade to IE8. IE8 has significant built-in security features, including SmartScreen, Cross Site Scripting (XSS) Filter, Click-jacking prevention, Data Execution Prevention, InPrivate Browsing, and InPrivate Filtering.  (See Internet Explorer 8: Features/ for information about these security and safety features.)  For those who would rather upgrade in stages, if need be, you can start with IE7 (download link below) and then follow up with IE8.

Although most of the Security Garden visitors are from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, people from all around the world find their way here.  If you are represented by the list of actual Security Garden visitors in the list of countries below, and are also included among the 2.66 percent of my visitors who use IE6, please update today!

Security Garden visitors from around the world:

Brunei Darussalam
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Hong Kong
Korea, Republic Of
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
New Zealand
Puerto Rico
Russian Federation
South Africa
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom
United States

Don't be one of these statistics:


Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Microsoft, Internet Explorer, IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Information, Windows

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.15 Minor Update

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.15 was released to fixed an issue where some Java applets would fail to load in Firefox 3.6.14.

    To manually check for the update, click Help and Check for Updates.


    Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Security, Updates, Information

    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

    Thursday, March 03, 2011

    Security Bulletin Advance Notification for March, 2011

    On Tuesday, March 9, 2011, Microsoft is planning to release three three (3), one rated Critical and two rated Important.  The bulletins will be addressing issues in Microsoft Windows and Office. Microsoft will be closing four vulnerabilities with those bulletins.  

    The bulletins directed to Microsoft Windows includes Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and both Windows Server 2003 and 2008.  The Office bulletin is directed to Microsoft Groove 2007 Service Pack 2.


    Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Microsoft, Windows, Security, Updates, Vulnerabilities, Information

    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Mozilla Firefox 3.6.14 Critical Security Update

    Mozilla Firefox 3.6.14 has been released to fix stability issues and address the following security vulnerabilities:

    Fixed in Firefox 3.6.14
    • MFSA 2011-10 CSRF risk with plugins and 307 redirects
    • MFSA 2011-09 Crash caused by corrupted JPEG image
    • MFSA 2011-08 ParanoidFragmentSink allows javascript: URLs in chrome documents
    • MFSA 2011-07 Memory corruption during text run construction (Windows)
    • MFSA 2011-06 Use-after-free error using Web Workers
    • MFSA 2011-05 Buffer overflow in JavaScript atom map
    • MFSA 2011-04 Buffer overflow in JavaScript upvarMap
    • MFSA 2011-03 Use-after-free error in JSON.stringify
    • MFSA 2011-02 Recursive eval call causes confirm dialogs to evaluate to true
    • MFSA 2011-01 Miscellaneous memory safety hazards (rv:

    To manually check for the update, click Help and Check for Updates.


    Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Security, Updates, Information

    Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...