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VIPRE Report Reveals Wide Range of Cybercrime Targets

GFI’s VIPRE Report for January 2012 reveals that cybercriminals took advantage of every single hot topic to launch their malicious campaigns, targeting gamers, small businesses and even government organizations.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and the Halo video game series represented great opportunities that allowed crooks to spread their pieces of malware onto the computers of those who were looking for pirated editions or invites to test beta versions.

Phishing emails were also widely present in inboxes in the month that passed, the reputations of organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, Southwest Airlines, and even the US-CERT being used in the phony messages.
By relying on hot topics, malware writers and scammers launched a large number of successful campaigns to which they’ve attached dangerous pieces of malware.
An interesting typosquatting scam relied on the fact that users may still try to access the now defunct Megaupload site. Users who misspelled the site’s name ended up on domains that offered fake prizes in exchange for valuable personal information.

GFI found that most of the threats having targeted users in January were Trojans (35%), followed by the Yontoo Adware (2.23%) and a rogue security program identified as FraudTool.Win32.FakeRean. The omnipresent Autorun.inf Trojan also made the list, being identified in around 1.2% of attacks.

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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.

IE9 Blocks 99% of Socially-Engineering Malware

Capable of blocking 99% of all socially-engineered malware, Internet Explorer 9 is the best browser to protect users against attacks for which there’s no patch, since there are no actual code vulnerabilities targeted.

Attacks involving social engineering are designed to “exploit” users rather than actual security flaws, through a variety of techniques from offering victims the promise of cash incentives to scaring them into doing an action which will backfire and infect their computers with malicious code.

While there’s no patch for “problems” that actually sit between the chair and the computer monitor, IE9 is the next best thing, a security barrier against socially-engineered malware as close to impassible as possible.

Just 1% of social engineering attacks bypass IE9, with the browser blocking or warning customers for the rest of 99% of socially-engineered malware. Huge compared to Opera 10 for example, which lets all attacks pass.

The statistics come from NSS Labs, information security research and testing organization, which tested browser resilience against malware in the past as well.

“With a unique URL blocking score of 94% and over-time protection rating of 99%, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting users against socially-engineered malware,” NSS Labs revealed.

IE9 has quite an advantage over IE8 as well, which block 90% of socially-engineered malware, and Microsoft reveals that responsible is the evolution of security features in Internet Explorer 9.

“Through its SmartScreen technology, Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 Beta help protect customers by detecting and blocking websites that distribute socially-engineered malware and phishing attacks.

“The difference in performance between IE8 and IE9 above comes from the addition of innovative features such as SmartScreen Application Reputation,” explained Roger Capriotti, Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing.

“This new feature for Internet Explorer 9 adds an additional layer of protection by warning users when they attempt to download a higher risk application.”

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 review

Next to Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 is faster, with a streamlined interface. But some areas still need refinement in Microsoft’s brand new web browser. IE9 is in beta and available to download from Microsoft

Internet Explorer 9’s New Look

The first thing you’ll notice about Internet Explorer 9 is its new, simplified look. In use, we found the new interface had both its pros and its cons. Microsoft built IE 9 around the idea of putting the web page at the forefront of the interface by reducing the number of visible buttons and controls. And in many ways, it works: When you first open up IE 9, all you see is one toolbar, with only a minimum number of controls. The controls and toolbars are semitransparent, in the same way as window frames in Vista or Windows 7 are transparent, and are designed so as not to distract from the web page that stands at the center of attention.

But there is such a thing as too little interface, as we quickly discovered. By default, IE 9 only briefly gives an indication of whether a page is loading: it will show a spinner on the tab for a second or two when you first click a link or enter a URL, and then nothing. This can be frustrating on slower connections – we weren’t sure if IE was still loading the page or if it gave up. And we’re not a fan of Microsoft’s decision to bunch tabs and the address bar on the same line; it can get awfully crowded in a hurry up there, especially if you open lots of tabs or have a small screen.

Longtime IE users may be stymied by Internet Explorer 9’s new interface as well: we had some trouble finding our favourite features in this new version. The company’s goal was to show only the features that most users will actually put to use (for example, you’ll notice the favourites bar is hidden by default), but also says that it didn’t remove any features from IE. Meanwhile, some elements remain fundamentally unchanged; for example, the Internet Options pane is still a cluttered mismash of buttons, checkboxes, tabs, and settings toggles that may be confusing to the uninitiated.

All that said, IE 9 marks a clear improvement that’s less intrusive with alerts and dialog boxes than previous versions. For example, when you download a file in Internet Explorer 9, you’ll get an unobtrusive bar at the bottom of the screen asking if you want to run or save the file, as opposed to the alert box that you’d get in IE 8 and earlier.

If you’re running Windows 7, you can pin shortcuts to links or sites to the taskbar and Start menu. To pin a site to the taskbar, drag the favicon – the small icon located next to the page’s URL – or the browser tab to the taskbar. If you open the page by clicking the taskbar shortcut, the resulting IE window will take the colour of the favicon, and display it in the browser’s toolbar as a visual aid.

When you right-click a pinned site icon, you’ll get a jumplist that by default includes a menu option to enable InPrivate browsing (a browsing mode that doesn’t leave cookies, cache files, or browsing history behind). But Microsoft says that site designers will be able to add some code for putting custom menu items on the jumplist.

We found the taskbar pin feature useful, especially for sites we visit on a frequent basis. Its presence makes web pages feel more like apps than ever before. But you can’t combine pages together into one taskbar tile, which would be even more useful and would reduce clutter (your taskbar can get filled up in a hurry with pinned sites).

IE 9 takes a page from Google Chrome’s playbook with a single box for both searching and entering URLs. Microsoft calls this combined address bar/search bar the Onebox. The Onebox works pretty much as advertised: Start typing a URL, and it’ll show auto-complete suggestions as you type, just as in IE 8 and earlier. Type a search query and press return, and the browser will take you by default to a Bing search for that query. Like IE 8, Internet Explorer 9 doesn’t limit you to Bing searching: Click the Add button in the Onebox drop-down menu, and you can add support for other search engines.

Despite all this new interface goodness, we feel Microsoft didn’t go far enough in simplifying and streamlining its browser. The Internet Options pane, for example, looks dated and is in serious need of a makeover. Hopefully, in version 10 Microsoft will delve a little deeper and clean up some of IE’s remaining rough edges.

Internet Explorer 9: Download Manager and Security Enhancements

A long-overdue addition to IE 9 is a download manager that, as you’d expect, lets you see all your active downloads, just as you can with other Windows web browsers. The download manager window tells you the basic vitals on your download’s progress, and lets you pause or cancel it. This is pretty standard on other browsers, but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless.

Microsoft has also added in some new protections against malicious downloads. The SmartScreen download reputation feature can identify safe, popular downloads, and will let those files download without a warning message (you’ll still get the message for less popular downloads, ones that IE isn’t sure about). The idea is to cut down on the number of times you’ll see the “This file may harm your computer” nag, and to show it to you only when it’s absolutely necessary. It will still ask you whether you want to run or save a file before you download it, but for popular downloads (iTunes, Flash Player, etc…), that’s all you’ll see. This worked reasonably well.

Internet Explorer 9: Performance

With IE 9, Microsoft is making a big push for supporting the latest web technologies, and improving browsing performance. We didn’t have a chance to test it on normal, everyday sites, but we did run it through the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark.

The result? A dramatic improvement over IE 8’s JavaScript performance, which, in past testing, had lagged far behind its competition. In informal testing, IE 9 completed the test in 484.0 milliseconds. By comparison, on our test system – a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo desktop running Windows Vista – Chrome completed the benchmark in 397 milliseconds, Opera in 354, Safari in 445, and Firefox 3.6.9 in 1067 milliseconds.

Keep in mind that actual performance results may vary depending on your PC’s configuration, and on other factors such as the sorts of sites you visit, your connection speed, and so forth. Remember, also, that we haven’t tested it on actual sites as yet. But the fact that IE 9 put up drastically improved numbers in this one test is a very good sign.

Page-loading performance aside, IE 9 will also check to see if any add-ons you’ve installed are slowing down your browser’s startup time. If any are, it will notify you once it opens. Thanks to this feature, we realized that we had some add-ons installed that we didn’t even know were there. This check by IE 9 is a fairly small addition, but it’s a welcome one.

Microsoft: Google’s Nexus One plan is “very, very difficult”

With the recent release of the Nexus One, some have been rather critical of Google. It’s a company that licenses its mobile OS software to other companies, but has now introduced a competitor to those exact phones. Microsoft is one such criticizer, stating Google’s scheme is very difficult.

In an interview posted on Business Week, Microsoft’s head of mobile development, Robbie Bach, stated, “Google’s announcement sends a signal where they’re going to place their commitment. That will create some opportunities for us and we’ll pursue them.” He noted the fears that Google will prioritize its own phone over other vendors offering Android based devices, continuing with, “Doing both (selling the Nexus One whilst offering its software to others) in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult.”

Bach isn’t the only one with this frame of mind. An analyst at the research firm Interpret LLC, Michael Gartenberg, said, “No one has ever succeeded in selling their own device while trying to license to partners simultaneously. As much as Google can say it’s not a Google phone, the phone says Google on it. They’re going to have to convince their licensees they’re not in competition with them.” Whether or not you’re a fan of Google, the pair make a rather good point; it’s hard on partners when a company offers a product that directly competes with other products packing software developed by the very same company. Bach predicted that some companies may even give up using Android and switch to another operating system. Regardless, the coming months (and even years) will be very interesting and exciting ones for the mobile industry.

Rivals challenge Microsoft browser settlement

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Three rivals of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser are seeking last minute changes to a proposal, that would see new users of Windows presented with a ballot screen of the top five browsers. Rivals believe that the current ballot screen proposal still gives Internet Explorer an unfair advantage.

After a complaint from the makers of the Opera web browser, the European Commission decided in January that Microsoft’s inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows constituted an abuse of their dominant market position. In October, the Redmond-based company proposed a so-called browser “ballot screen”, which would display a list of the top five browsers to consumers when they boot a new computer for the first time.

The commission has asked Microsoft’s rivals, who still appear to be unhappy with the proposal, to comment on the company’s offer by Monday.

Oslo-based Opera believes that the ballot should be displayed on a screen that does not contain the Microsoft logo. “It would be like having an election ballot where the name or logo of one candidate is displayed separately, prominently up in the corner of the ballot,” said Mr. Lie, chief technology officer at Opera. “You wouldn’t want that.”

Opera also want Microsoft to prevent Windows from displaying the standard security warnings that occur when users download software from theInternet.

Mozilla, the creators of Firefox, are concerned about the ballot screen’s design. Displayed within an Internet Explorer window, the screen will list the five most popular browsers in alphabetical order from left to right, giving first spot to Apple’s Safari. Jenny Boriss, a Mozilla designer, criticized the display in a post on October 16th, writing, “Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: Internet Explorer because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item.” She went on to suggest that the browsers be displayed randomly.

Mr. Lie has said Google, Mozilla and Opera will send separate letters to the commission, detailing their requests for changes.

European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, has said she will take Microsoft to court should they fail to agree to a fair settlement. However, Mrs. Kroes, who is likely to step down at the end of the year, has said she would prefer to settle open cases before leaving.

According to research firm Net Applications, Internet Explorer current has a 67 percent share of the browser market, following by Firefox with 24 percent. Apple’s Safari has 4.4 percent, Google’s Chrome 3.5 percent and Opera just 2 percent.

How to Fix Broken and Slow Tab Issues in Internet Explorer 8

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Tabs not working properly in Internet Explorer 8?
Taking very long to load Tabs in Internet Explorer 8?
Open in New Window not working in Internet Explorer 8?
Causes: A registry entry is missing or damaged. This happen if Internet Explorer 8 ( IE8 ) is not installed properly on your computer. You may have not restarted your computer after uninstalling Internet Explorer 7 or your something might have happened during the installation of Internet Explorer 8.
How to fix it:
a. Run Command Prompt (you will need to run a administrative command prompt – Run ad Administrator)
b. Type Following Command
regsvr32 actxprxy.dll
c. Press ‘Enter’ Key in your keyboard
d. You will see a Small Box appearing which says ” DllRegister Service in actxprxy.dll is succeeded”
e. Click Start, and then click Run.
f. In the Open box, type regsvr32 shdocvw.dll.
g. Click OK, and then click OK again.
h. You will get this message: DllRegisterServer in shdocvw.dll succeeded.
i. Now restart your computer.
Your tab issue should be resolved by now.