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The First Windows 7 Zero-Day Exploit 289

xploraiswakco writes with the first Microsoft-confirmed Windows 7 zero-day vulnerability, with a demonstration exploit publicly available. The problem is in SMBv2 and SMBv1 and affects Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but not Vista, XP, or Windows Server 2003. A maliciously crafted URI could hard-crash affected machines beyond any remedy besides pushing the white button. "Microsoft said it may patch the problem, but didn't spell out a timetable or commit to an out-of-cycle update before the next regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday of December 8. Instead, the company suggested users block TCP ports 139 and 445 at the firewall." Reader xploraiswakco adds, "As important as this the mentioned article is, it should also be pointed out that any IT staff worth their pay packet should already have port 139 blocked at the firewall, and probably port 445, too."

Retired Mainframe Pros Lured Back Into Workforce 223

itwbennett writes "Businesses that cut experienced mainframe administrators in an effort to cut costs inadvertently created a skills shortage that is coming back to bite them. Chris O'Malley, CA's mainframe business executive VP, says that mainframe workers were let go because 'it had no immediate effect and the organizations didn't expect to keep mainframes around.' But businesses have kept mainframes around and now they are struggling to find engineers. Prycroft Six managing director Greg Price, a mainframe veteran of some 45 years, put it this way: 'Mainframes are expensive, ergo businesses want to go to cheaper platforms, but [those platforms] have a lot of packaged overheads. If you do a total cost of ownership, the mainframe comes out cheaper, but since the costs of a mainframe are immediately obvious, it is hard to get it past the bean-counters of an organization.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Lightning Strikes Amazon's Cloud (Really) 109

The Register has details on a recent EC2 outage that is being blamed on a lightning strike that zapped a power distribution unit of the data center. The interruption only lasted around 6 hours, but the irony should last much longer. "While Amazon was correcting the problem, it told customers they had the option of launching new server instances to replace those that went down. But customers were also able to wait for their original instances to come back up after power was restored to the hardware in question."

FBI, US Marshals Hit By Virus 156

Norsefire writes "The FBI and US Marshals were forced to shut down part of their computer network after being hit by a 'mystery virus.' FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said, 'We are evaluating a network issue on our external, unclassified network that's affecting several government agencies.' Nikki Credic, spokeswoman for the US Marshals, said that no data has been compromised but the type of virus and its origin is unknown."

Windows 7 RC Rush Crashes MSDN, TechNet Pages 186

CWmike writes "Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) and TechNet paid subscribers were supposed to find the 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows 7 RC available for download today. But in a snafu reminiscent of the problems Microsoft had in January when it tried to launch Windows 7 Beta, the download pages for the release candidate were inaccessible, despite numerous attempts over an hour-long span up until about noon Eastern. TechNet and MSDN subscribers were not happy. 'Man, this stinks,' said a user identified as Lyle Pratt, on a TechNet message forum at 10 a.m. ET. 'I can't believe we can still bring MSDN to its knees!' said John Butler, a Microsoft partner. 'Surely, they should be able to deal with this? Not a good advert for Microsoft.' The Windows 7 RC is slated to be available for public download next Tuesday, May 5. Meanwhile, Microsoft said today that the RC would operate until June 2010, for 13 months of free use — a significantly longer time than it did with Vista's previews."

Hospital Equipment Infected With Conficker 289

nandemoari writes "Recently, the Conficker/Downadup worm infected several hundred machines and critical medical equipment in an undisclosed number of US hospitals. The attacks were not widespread; however, Marcus Sachs, director of the SANS Internet Storm Center, told CNET News that it raises the awareness of what we would do if there were millions of computers infected in hospitals or in critical infrastructure locations. It's not clear how the devices (including heart monitors, MRI machines and PCs) got infected. Infected computers were running Windows NT and Windows 2000 in a local area network (LAN) that wasn't supposed to be Internet accessible, but the LAN was connected to one with direct Internet access. A patch was released by Microsoft last October that fixes the problem, but the computers infected were reportedly too old to be patched."

Opting Out Increases Spam? 481

J. L. Tympanum writes "I used to ignore spam but recently I have been using the opt-out feature. Now I get more spam than ever, especially of the Nigerian scam (and related) types. The latter has gone from almost none to several a day. Was I a fool for opting out? Is my email address being harvested when I opt out? Has anybody had similar experience?"

Microsoft Cuts Vista Price In 70 Countries 257

dforristall alerts us to an odd move by Microsoft: cutting the price of retail boxes of Vista in many markets. Analysts didn't see this one coming, and they are scratching their heads a bit over it; one called it "very unheard of." The price cuts vary by country — they're largest in the developing world where piracy levels are high — and they don't apply to OEM copies of Vista, which account for 90% of sales. "Gartner analyst Michael Silver said the move... is puzzling... [He] noted that the market for such upgrades is fairly limited. Those who bought XP in the fourth quarter of 2006 got a coupon for a free Vista upgrade, while most of those who have bought systems since then have gotten Vista. Machines purchased prior to 2006 probably aren't all that attractive as candidates for a Vista upgrade... 'The whole notion of upgrading PCs has sort of fallen by the wayside.'"
Role Playing (Games)

World of Warcraft Gold Limit Reached, It's 2^31 479

Mitch writes "Blizzard apparently used signed integers for their World of Warcraft gold values as some people have recently hit the limit of 2^31. "Apparently that amount is 214,748 gold, 36 silver, 48 copper. After you reach that lofty sum, you'll no longer be able to receive money from any source in the game. While some responses to the original posts claim that this exact limit had previously been theorized to exist, there have been no reports of anyone in the game actually achieving this amount via legal means." I guess Blizzard didn't expect anyone to ever get close to that much gold in game."
Data Storage

Windows Home Server Corrupts Files 459

crustymonkey points out a ComputerWorld article which says that "Microsoft Corp. has warned Windows Home Server users not to edit files stored on their backup systems with several of its programs, including Vista Photo Gallery and Office's OneNote and Outlook, as well as files generated by popular finance software such as Quicken and QuickBooks." Crustymonkey asks Don't back up your files to Windows Home Server, as recommended by Microsoft themselves? I'm not exactly sure what the point is in having a home server if you can't back up files on it."

Internet2 Taken Out by Stray Cigarette 315

AlHunt writes "A fire started by a homeless man knocked out service between Boston and New York on the experimental Internet2 network Tuesday night. Authorities say the fire, which also disrupted service on the Red Line subway, started around 8:20 p.m. when a homeless man tossed a lit cigarette. The cigarette landed on a mattress, which ignited and led to a two-alarm fire."
Data Storage

Tech Magazine Loses June Issue, No Backup 245

Gareth writes "Business 2.0, a magazine published by Time, has been warning their readers against the hazards of not taking backups of computer files. So much so that in an article published by them in 2003, they 'likened backups to flossing — everyone knows it's important, but few devote enough thought or energy to it.' Last week, Business 2.0 got caught forgetting to floss as the magazine's editorial system crashed, wiping out all the work that had been done for its June issue. The backup server failed to back up."

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