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Social Networks

Submission + - Four Step Fraud Process Wrecks Fackebook. (

twitter writes: "PC World has an interesting and scary article about fraud on social networks that goes beyond the usual privacy and free software concerns.

Facebook represents a perfect storm of fraud factors. The whole "friend" system creates trust, but the reality of social networks prevents verification that people are who they say they are. .... difficult-to-detect fraud is exploding on Facebook, and you would be well-advised to verify every friend.

His research included fraudulent friends for his own account.

The author also mentions hate speech, which seems to be unrelated FUD at first glance. What you have to remember is that employers check Facebook and MySpace too. Can you be sure you have not been libled in a private profile? I've stayed away from Facebook because I never trusted the owners and despised the fake privacy they offered. Until employers understand that the information can be misleading, you would be better off away from the service too."


Submission + - M$ Moves Into Debt (

twitter writes: "Unable to sell stock to raise money, M$ will sell bonds which will deplete the company of it's cash, in an attempt to raise it's declining stock value.

Microsoft Corp. may sell debt in what would be the world's largest software maker's inaugural bond offering. Microsoft may offer senior unsecured debt securities, according to a regulatory filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The shelf registration clears the way for the company to issue debt at any time.

The move comes amid suspicions of hidden weakness and demonstrated threats to it's cash cows Windows and Office. It is part of a previously announced plan to enter debt for $20 billion worth of stock buybacks. M$ had $20.7 in cash left as of September 30th, which was down from a high of $60 billion just a few years ago. At the time of announcement, USB analyst Heather Bellini predicted:

Microsoft to complete the repurchase — at least five times larger than its average per quarter in the last fiscal year — over the next three months. ``They won't announce it until it's done,'' Bellini said.

Despite this news, M$FT has hit a 52 week low of $18.00 today and continues to float there, down from peaks of $36 at the start of the year and $56 in 1999. Stock options were once an important mechanism to attract talent to the company.

Updates in journal."


Ballmer Admits Google Apps Are Biting Into MS Office 293

twitter points out coverage of a discussion between Steve Ballmer and two Gartner analysts in which the Microsoft CEO admits that Google Apps is enjoying an advantage over Office by users who want to share their documents. He points to Office Live as their response to Google, and adds, "Google has the lead, but, if we're good at advertising, we'll compete with them in the consumer business." Whether or not they're good at advertising is still in question, if their recent attempts are any indication. Ballmer also made statements indicating some sort of arrangement with Yahoo! could still be in the works, but Microsoft was quick to step on that idea. Regarding Windows Vista, he said Microsoft was prepared for people to skip it altogether, and that Microsoft would be "ready" when it was time to deploy Windows 7.

Half a Million Microsoft-Powered Sites Hit With SQL Injection 222

Titus Germanicus writes to tell us that a recent attack has compromised somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 pages with a SQL injection attack. The vulnerability seems to be limited to Microsoft's IIS webserver and is easily defeated by the end user with Firefox and "NoScript." "The automated attack takes advantage to the fact that Microsoft's IIS servers allow generic commands that don't require specific table-level arguments. However, the vulnerability is the result of poor data handling by the sites' creators, rather than a specific Microsoft flaw. In other words, there's no patch that's going to fix the issue, the problem is with the developers who failed follow well-established security practices for handling database input. The attack itself injects some malicious JavaScript code into every text field in your database, the Javascript then loads an external script that can compromise a user's PC." Ignoring corporate spin-doctoring, there seems to be plenty of blame to go around.

Microsoft is the Industry's Most Innovative Company? 421

mjasay writes "According to a recent analysis by IEEE, Microsoft's patent portfolio tops the industry in terms of overall quality of its patents. And while Microsoft came in second to IBM in The Patent Board's 2006 survey, its upcoming 2007 report has Microsoft besting IBM (and even its 2006 report had Microsoft #1 in terms of the "scientific strength" of its patent portfolio). All of which begs the question: Just where is all this innovation going? To Clippy? Consumers and business users don't buy patents. They buy products that make their lives easier or more productive, yet Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to turn its patent portfolio into much more than life support for its existing Office and Windows monopolies. In sum, if Microsoft is so innovative, why can't we get something better than the Zune?"

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie