Archive for March, 2011

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Spotify users hit by Malware attack

Spotify has admitted that it has been the victim of a security exploit and apologised to users infected via a malware-riddled advert that appeared on the Windows desktop version of the popular music streaming platform.

The malvertising incident first struck on 24 March at 11.30am UK time, and the worrying aspect is that users didn’t even need to click the infected ad to allow it to access their machines – it worked via the Blackhole Exploit Kit, and was able to do its dirty work without Spotify fans even noticing.

“The application will render the ad code and run it as if it were run inside a browser,” said Websense’s Patrik Runald.

“This means that the Blackhole Exploit Kit works perfectly fine and it’s enough that the ad is just displayed to you in Spotify to get infected, you don’t even have to click on the ad itself.

“So if you had Spotify open but running in the background, listening to your favourite tunes, you could still get infected.”

The rogue advert connected machines to a site where the exploit kit tried several vulnerabilities to infect the user. If successful, it would then install the fake anti-virus program Windows Recovery.

Users with real AV protection should have had no problems, and Spotify removed all third party adverts as a precautionary measure as soon as it was aware of the incident. The hack only affected Spotify free users.

“We sincerely apologise to any users affected. We’ll continue working hard to ensure this does not happen again and that our users enjoy Spotify securely and in confidence,” read a statement from the Swedish digital music giant.

Avast has stated that 59 per cent of attacks occurred in Sweden, with 40 per cent of infection reports coming from the UK.

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Internet Explorer 9 Launching March 14

No more platform previews, betas, or release candidates: the final version of Internet Explorer 9 is launching on March 14.Microsoft announced the launch date on its Windows Team Blog on Wednesday.

Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft’s biggest Web browser redesign yet. The redesign takes on a minimalist look, which gives the user more browsing room by squashing menu space. It accomplishes this by using a single bar for URLs and searches — Google Chrome-style — and by placing browser tabs in a single strip alongside the omnibar.

IE9 also fuses with Windows, allowing you to pin Website shortcuts to the Windows taskbar and create lists of links from within those pinned sites. There’s also a download manager — at last. As for performance, IE9 supports hardware acceleration for HTML5 video.Since launching the IE9 beta in September, Microsoft has added even more features based on user feedback, including ActiveX filtering and tracking protection.

The vast majority of IE9’s features were set in stone with last month’s Release Candidate, but Microsoft says it still has “a few surprises left.” The company is planning a party for the release of IE9 at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.