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Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions


JorgeA
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Okay then, someone has got to ask: if this is their NEW rule, does that really mean that the current rule ALLOWS fake dialogs without X buttons and no uninstall entries? Who allowed this stuff to be considered legitimate software for all this time? Someone did. Actually I knew this for a long time as I see MANY computers with MSSE happily running ( green icon ) while spyware and/or viruses run in plain sight. It has been perfectly obvious to me they do block very little if anything at all.

I don't kow about not having the X buttons, but fake dialogs are sure possible. My wife got one of these fake MSE Trojan warnings over the weekend -- two of them for the same incident, as a matter of fact. Fortunately she knows enough to be suspicious (we don't use MSE) and called me over. I told her not to click on ANYTHING in the dialog boxes, then I killed the browser instance in Task Manager and had her do a quick malware scan, then reboot and do a full malware scan for good measure.

--JorgeA

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Neowin has posted an edited video from Build, featuring the introduction of the revived Start Menu.

Notice the hoots and applause from the audience when the announcement was made. Notice, too, how the presenter corrected himself when he started to describe the Start Menu as "the familiar expierence customers are looking for," and interrupted himself to say, "some customers are looking for." I say that he began to speak the truth, and then remembered to state the Party Line. ;)

--JorgeA

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Neowin has posted an edited video from Build, featuring the introduction of the revived Start Menu.

Notice the hoots and applause from the audience when the announcement was made. Notice, too, how the presenter corrected himself when he started to describe the Start Menu as "the familiar expierence customers are looking for," and interrupted himself to say, "some customers are looking for." I say that he began to speak the truth, and then remembered to state the Party Line. ;)

--JorgeA

Oh man, that was blatant!

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Well I get your frustration, all except for the most mindless of sheeple will get it, but it will take more than : "When I see the headline reads "facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, AOL, Twitter, and various land line companies, all go to court to stop invasion of privacy laws ..." in my opinion. Much more.

I think if nothing else we have illustrated through this selection of security articles one thing - the infiltration is pervasive, thorough and perhaps complete. In a sense we have had a paradigm shifting revelation since the spook leaks and it will be a long time for the sheeple grazing on this round rock to realize it isn't flat or stationary at the center of the universe. That revelation has completely inverted what we thought we knew before. Previously the expectation was that people were mostly secure and private but subject to rare and specific cases of scrutiny. It is completely and truly the exact opposite and it was that way all along - we have nearly zero effective security and privacy, the rare circumstance is actually being secure and private and that is achieved only after massive amount of effort and money.

As I said here already - I wasn't surprised in the least. Maybe I am too cynical, but I have expected this. Massive internet surveillance was something "conspiracy theorists" were always talking about, and it sounded to me logical, absolutely non-crazy that, especially after 9/11, the various intel agencies would try everything to monitor internet traffic.

I am not condoning it, mind you, but I always assumed that the boys and girls could not pass that chance - wasn't that the point of the Patriot Act and all the other "acts" in the first place? I can remember the soundbites about Echelon, Patriot Act etc. going on for years.

Some Yahoo thread from 2009:

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090708064411AAzS9aT

Could it be that Americans have such short memories? I see many on the left that love to cite the Patriot Act in an attempt to prove the oppressive character of the Bush administration and the republican party in general. Fair enough and I agree for the most part that the Patriot Act was and is an affront to personal liberty.

However, where was the outrage for Bill Clinton's Echelon program?

A mother sends an email in which she says her son "really bombed last night" in reference to a school play performance and subsequently ends up on a potential terrorist watch list. WTF?

This was reported as a factual scenario by Steve Kroft on 60 minutes in 2000.

I submit to you folks that at least since GHWB up until today we have been on the same track under the same set of @ssholes, i.e. Obama is more of the same.

Which of those "two" parties stands for personal liberty again? I'm thinking neither.

Fox News, 2005:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/12/19/bush-addresses-patriot-act-nsa-spying/

WASHINGTON – President Bush on Monday defended the use of a domestic eavesdropping program and called for Democrats to stop their "delaying tactics" and reauthorize the controversial Patriot Act.

In a year-end news conference at the White House, Bush called the leak of the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program, first reported in The New York Times last Friday, a "shameful act" disclosed in a time of war. The report said Bush had authorized the NSA to conduct surveillance of e-mails and phone calls of some individuals in the United States without court warrants.

"The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy," Bush told reporters. "This program has targeted those with known links to Al Qaeda."

The program will continue, Bush said, adding that he has reauthorized it more than 30 times. "And I will continue to do so for so long as our nation faces the continued threat of an enemy that wants to kill our American citizens."

The Justice Department likely will investigate who leaked information about the NSA program, the president added. A request for that investigation must come from the NSA itself.

TheRegister, 2005:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/16/echelon_in_your_backyard/

Washington Roundup Who would have believed that twitchy paranoiacs are actually onto something? Incredibly, they are: the New York Times has revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on American citizens.

Previously, the Agency had shown itself to be scrupulous about avoiding this sort of activity. But according to numerous un-named sources paraphrased in the Times, the President signed a secret order authorizing him to intercept phone calls and emails from US persons in communication with persons outside the US, and all without the slightest bit of judicial oversight.

I don't want to sound like a wise guy, but I was hearing about NSA stories like these for well over decade. When the Snowden-leaks happened I was actually surprised what the big deal was, wasn't I reading this stuff for years already?

By the way, I am pretty certain that phone calls get recorded too. A compressed voice stream is taking little space on the hard disk...

Edited by Formfiller
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except decades ago it was US limited

with Snowden confirmation it is now world wide

I'm even more disgusted that EU doesn't even do shit to bash NSA and US for such arrogant behavior

instead all I saw in news was

"yes France president talked to Obama bla bla bla... all is fine"

"German prime minister (what ever her stupid name is) is pissed off on US bla bla bla", and 2 weeks later "she will talk with..." whoever

and there ended the whole angry story

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The EU Court (ECJ) has ruled that communication data retention is a severe form of menace to privacy and is not fully justified by security reasons.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26935096

and that related directives need to be amended.

See:

http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-04/cp140054en.pdf

The Court of Justice declares the Data Retention Directive to be invalid

It entails a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect

for private life and to the protection of personal data, without that interference being limited to what

is strictly necessary

...

However, the Court is of the opinion that, by adopting the Data Retention Directive, the EU

legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of

proportionality.

...

Although the retention of data required by the directive may be considered to be appropriate for

attaining the objective pursued by it, the wide-ranging and particularly serious interference of

the directive with the fundamental rights at issue is not sufficiently circumscribed to ensure

that that interference is actually limited to what is strictly necessary.

...

I don't want to cite the whole text f the press release to no make the post too long, but do read the whole .pdf. :)

A little step, but seemingly in the right direction.

jaclaz

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except decades ago it was US limited

No. "Prism" is basically just Echelon, and Echelon is known to critical authors outside of gossip, tits and a** since at least the 90s and it was never US limited.

https://web.archive.org/web/19980206220544/http://www.caq.com/CAQ59GlobalSnoop.html

IN THE LATE 1980S, IN A DECISION IT PROBABLY REGRETS, THE US PROMPTED NEW ZEALAND TO JOIN A NEW AND HIGHLY SECRET GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM. HAGER'S INVESTIGATION INTO IT AND HIS DISCOVERY OF THE ECHELON DICTIONARY HAS REVEALED ONE OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST, MOST CLOSELY HELD INTELLIGENCE PROJECTS. THE SYSTEM ALLOWS SPY AGENCIES TO MONITOR MOST OF THE WORLD'S TELEPHONE, E-MAIL, AND TELEX COMMUNICATIONS.

That article is from 1998.

Another one from 1998:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!search/ivo$20skoric$2Bechelon$20surveillance/soc.culture.croatia/ETGuPs3azw4/hYEGF8RbC7AJ

"New World", by Ivo Skoric, 2/11/98

Guilty Until Found Innocent: a venerable old habit in the Balkans is becoming

the newest development in American justice. It is still in the test stage and as

such applied only to the limited number of cases, generally traffic violations.

The system works like this: first the city denies legal parking on most streets (a

"purposeful law"). Obviously many people will break the law. Then city

creates a huge bureaucracy (Department of Traffic) with a sole purpose of

writing summonses for wrongly parked cars. In the effort to sustain their

existence the DOT officers many times write the summons in error. So, the city

creates another huge bureaucracy - the Parking Violations Bureau - to deal

with ticketed citizens complaint. However, the PVB hearing judges and DOT

officers are paid from the same purse and share the same interest in collecting

money from summonses. The PVB hearing is done in front of a "hearing

judge" who plays the role of a prosecutor and the one of a judge. Furthermore,

the defendant has no attorney present. Not surprisingly, the PVB randomly

denies citizens complaints, forcing them first to pay the summonses, arbitrarily

issued by their peers at DOT, and then to be considered for an appeal.

Basically, you are found guilty of possibly arbitrary charges without a fair trial

and due process, and you have to pay to be allowed to try to prove your

innocence in the appeal. This creates the impression of legal equalization of the

lower class strata with the criminal element: those who cannot comply (pay the

summonses), predominantly working poor, are outcastes by the law and they

are virtually denied the right to appeal.

The Orwellian nature of that judicial change will become even more disturbing

after the full implementation of the newest technologies of political control.

The long suspected inherent nature of the Net, as a surveillance medium

controlled by the U.S. intelligence, military and U.S. headquartered

multi-national corporations, is a public knowledge now. Stalin always desired

something like that, but the soviet technology never fulfilled that dream:

ECHELON (http://caq.com/CAQ59GlobalSnoop.html) system developed by

the NSA can intercept ANY voice, fax, telex or e-mail message ANYTIME.

ANYWHERE in the world and parse it for keywords, forwarding the findings

to the client. This wonder of industrial espionage eventually p***ed of

European competitors who ended up with the appraisal of technologies of

political control, published by Scientific and Technological Options

Assessment (STOA),

Directorate General for Research of the European parliament: http://

jya.com/stoa-atpc.htm.

"[...] unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the cold

war, ECHELON is designed for primarily non- military targets: governments,

organizations and businesses in virtually every country. The ECHELON

system

works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of

communications and then siphoning out what is valuable using artificial

intelligence aids like Memex to find key words."

"[...] Within Europe, all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are

routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency,

transferring all target information from the European mainland via the

strategic hub of London then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the

crucial hub at Menwith Hill in the North York Moors of the UK."

The priority targets of this surveillance system are selected by the

participating intelligence agencies -- only one of which is European -- on

the basis of their individual military and political interests, notes

STOA. "Whilst there is much information gathered about potential terrorists,

there is a lot of economic intelligence, notably intensive monitoring of all

the countries participating in the GATT negotiations...."

Consequently, the world we live in is already a world with no escape. The

America of American dream is an illusion created for marketing purposes from

elements of American past stripped of their less desirable components.

Otherwise, we are here to increase the value of the capital, which is mostly in a

possession of already established and well entrenched 1% of the world's

population. The Echelon, eventually, is just one segment of the advanced

methods of political control in the nineties (politics being the service to the said

1% in controlling and maintaining accessible markets and cheap labour).

There are other developments that lead to the impression of legal equalization

of the lower class strata with the criminal element. The notorious example of a

rich and famous guy that was cleared of murder in the criminal court, although

he is black, but declared eeliable' in the civil court is one such development.

Political control of masses is moving to nearly absolute surveillance, where

privacy will be non-existent. There are microphones mounted on robotic bugs

which change places when lights are out and assume better position for

listening to you. There are stroboscopic cameras that can take a picture of each

participant in a large crowd at a lightning speed. I can almost hear the sighs of

Yugoslav intelligence officers who lacked all this useful technology in late

eighties. Today, however, all of this can be bought in the free market: sticky

foam, fishnet with small hooks that covers the entire football field, variety of

tear-gas formulas and a large line of electroshock devices which can be used

for mob control, prisoners control, area denial and, of course, torture.

All the Snowden-stuff is old hat. Read the linked articles, it is know since over a decade! And as I said, I came across onto such articles for years and years.

Book from 2006:

http://www.amazon.com/Chatter-Uncovering-Echelon-Surveillance-Eavesdropping/dp/0812968271/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397135104&sr=1-3&keywords=echelon

How does our government eavesdrop? Whom do they eavesdrop on? And is the interception of communication an effective means of predicting and preventing future attacks? These are some of the questions at the heart of Patrick Radden Keefe’s brilliant new book, Chatter.

In the late 1990s, when Keefe was a graduate student in England, he heard stories about an eavesdropping network led by the United States that spanned the planet. The system, known as Echelon, allowed America and its allies to intercept the private phone calls and e-mails of civilians and governments around the world. Taking the mystery of Echelon as his point of departure, Keefe explores the nature and context of communications interception, drawing together fascinating strands of history, fresh investigative reporting, and riveting, eye-opening anecdotes. The result is a bold and distinctive book, part detective story, part travel-writing, part essay on paranoia and secrecy in a digital age.

Chatter starts out at Menwith Hill, a secret eavesdropping station covered in mysterious, gargantuan golf balls, in England’s Yorkshire moors. From there, the narrative moves quickly to another American spy station hidden in the Australian outback; from the intelligence bureaucracy in Washington to the European Parliament in Brussels; from an abandoned National Security Agency base in the mountains of North Carolina to the remote Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

As Keefe chases down the truth of contemporary surveillance by intelligence agencies, he unearths reams of little-known information and introduces us to a rogue’s gallery of unforgettable characters. We meet a former British eavesdropper who now listens in on the United States Air Force for sport; an intelligence translator who risked prison to reveal an American operation to spy on the United Nations Security Council; a former member of the Senate committee on intelligence who says that oversight is so bad, a lot of senators only sit on the committee for the travel.

Provocative, often funny, and alarming without being alarmist, Chatter is a journey through a bizarre and shadowy world with vast implications for our security as well as our privacy. It is also the debut of a major new voice in nonfiction.

"I'm even more disgusted that EU doesn't even do s*** to bash NSA and US for such arrogant behavior

instead all I saw in news was

"yes France president talked to Obama bla bla bla... all is fine"

"German prime minister (what ever her stupid name is) is p***ed off on US bla bla bla", and 2 weeks later "she will talk with..." whoever

and there ended the whole angry story"

Well, they are so relaxed because they knew about it all along.

There was even an official EU-inquire about Echelon in the early 2000 and the EU parliament had papers about it in the late 90s:

https://web.archive.org/web/20020808141049/http://cryptome.org/stoa-atpc.htm (search for "Echelon" in the page)

EU/US consultations regarding Echelon, among other topics:

https://web.archive.org/web/20051216200357/http://cryptome.org/ep091498-1.htm

How could they not know now when it was known 16 years ago? Either they have amnesia or they are just stupid. I am pretty sure the European politicians made various deals back in the days already, and their outcry over the Snowden "reveals" (there were no reveals, just insider-confirmation) was just show. Note how annoyed they are talking about it. Their "shock" is not sincere. Stuff like the talk about an EU-net are just show acts.

Edited by Formfiller
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well

in the least Snowden made people massive aware of it :P

especially now with all the touch portable devices doing s*** all around

that are now exposed to it

Well, yes, but the true revelation of the Snowden-leaks is that the NSA has unfettered access to the servers of Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

As I said, Echelon was known before and the "massive spying" reveal really isn't that of a big deal, but most people in the field assumed that the intelligence agencies get their information from monitoring data streams and hacking (it was assumed they have access to internet cables and satellites and extract the data from filtering the stream). That they have all the major IT companies under their belt and can access their servers without any kind of data-filtering effort is a new info. Not THAT earth shattering given the prior knowledge, but new nonetheless.

Edited by Formfiller
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To me, the big news in the Snowden revelations was confirmation that the tinfoil-hat people were actually too optimistic. :ph34r: I'd always had suspicions that this sort of all-encompassing cybersurveillance was taking place, but the past year's news confirms those suspicions.

Here's another topical headline:

NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

[...]

Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers.

Much other juicy stuff in the linked article.

--JorgeA

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Sony: stop using our VAIO laptop or risk fire

The company is currently in the process of notifying over 25,000 VAIO owners that their computers may include faulty batteries that are unsafe. The VAIO Fit 11A was introduced worldwide earlier this year, offering a small-screened take on its larger Fit convertible laptops, but has failed to make much of an impact. Sony says it's sold 25,905 of the hybrids in total, which includes 497 in the US, 7,158 in Europe, and 3,619 in Japan. It's likely that Sony will announce a formal recall shortly.
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A review sympathetic to Win8 with some good observations:

A Look At the Windows 8.1 Update

Right from the start (pun intended) there are some pretty significant changes that Microsoft has made to how I interact with their OS by default. Of course I can choose to boot into the old start screen if I’d like and I can remove the Windows Store icon from the taskbar if I’d like. But basically this update is more or less Microsoft capitulating to all of its legacy users and giving power users more control over how they interact with Windows.

[emphasis added]

--JorgeA

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Sony: stop using our VAIO laptop or risk fire

The company is currently in the process of notifying over 25,000 VAIO owners that their computers may include faulty batteries that are unsafe. The VAIO Fit 11A was introduced worldwide earlier this year, offering a small-screened take on its larger Fit convertible laptops, but has failed to make much of an impact. Sony says it's sold 25,905 of the hybrids in total, which includes 497 in the US, 7,158 in Europe, and 3,619 in Japan. It's likely that Sony will announce a formal recall shortly.

Amazing.

IMHO, Sony computers are some of the most overpriced machines this side of Apple. About four years ago I was at a Sony store and saw a laptop with a price tag of something like US$6900. :o The tag wasn't very forthcoming as to what was inside the case that made it worth that much, so I memorized the model number and looked it up when I got home. It had an SSD (128GB, I think) and maybe a separate 500GB HDD. Memory was like 4 or 6 gigs. It was nice, but nothing that screamed $7000 worth at you. I remember thinking at the time that $2000 or even $1500 would have been a stretch.

--JorgeA

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Windows 8.1 Update fails to install for numerous users, generates complaints and frustration

This'll help to improve Win8's reputation in the public eye...

Apparently, users are experiencing an error preventing the installation of Windows 8.1 Update, which weighs in over 700MB in size. Sometimes the update reaches 99% and ends up reverting and requiring a restart...

This is especially bad because Microsoft is getting more aggressive about pushing updates on users:

Microsoft drags customers 'kicking and screaming' into its world of faster updates

"This is a massive shift from a patching perspective," said Julian Harper, an IT manager, in one of several messages posted to the Patchmanagement.org mailing list on the topic. "For years, we've had [two] years to plan service pack roll outs and now we're given one month. And this is on top of the fiasco that was Windows 8.1 for volume license customers."

.

"Given the environment they're in, the complaints were well justified," Storms said. Traditionally, that has been an environment where companies downloaded an update, tested it for weeks or even months, then slowly deployed it to devices.

[...]

[E]nterprises may not like Microsoft mandating 8.1U but they'll have to learn to live with not only that, but future demands, too. "If the [software vendors] are moving faster than you can keep up with using the traditional methodology, you're going to have to just take [the updates]," Storms said.

So, MSFT has provided yet another reason for businesses to stay away from Windows 8.

"What happened to Microsoft's Lifecycle policy with providing customers with a 24-month timeframe before ending support of a superseded operating system RTM/Service Pack?" asked a user identified as "wdeguara" in a comment appended Tuesday to Microsoft's blog-based announcement. "By immediately withdrawing all future security updates for Windows 8.1 RTM, in the eyes of most enterprise customers you are effectively performing an immediate End-of-Life on Windows 8.1 RTM.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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