Monday, November 16, 2009

And so it comes to a full circle- #TimeWarner to spin off #AOL

in 2000, when AOL announced that it is buying TimeWarner- personally - i couldnt figure out what was the reason. At 164B AOL might have wanted to bolster its content - from being a pure play ISP to compete with Microsoft's MSN Online. However, AOL was providing a platform - which i could have used to get feeds from multiple wire services thus allowing for aggregation of news rather than a very expnsive news feed.

In December 9th 2009 - TimeWarner will spin off AOL. I believe this comes to a full circle. With the AOL issuing 11 shares for every TimeWarner share to now becoming a separate entity. Personally, i belive this is one of the best things to happen to AOL after the 2003 fiasco of declaring $99B in losses.

With the New AOL - we should see a stronger news feed, and tighter integration with shopping sites and entertainment sites - thus they should push for getting people to spend more time on than any other site.

#Windows7 - #ZeroDay Bug

In a security advisory , Microsoft acknowledged that a bug in SMB (Server Message Block), a Microsoft-made network file- and print-sharing protocol, could be used by attackers to cripple Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines.

The zero-day vulnerability was first reported by Canadian researcher Laurent Gaffie last Wednesday, when he revealed the bug and posted proof-of-concept attack code to the Full Disclosure security mailing list and his blog. According to Gaffie, exploiting the flaw crashes Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 systems so thoroughly that the only recourse is to manually power off the computers.

At the time, Microsoft only said it was investigating Gaffie's reports.

Then on Friday, it took the next step and issued the advisory. "Microsoft is aware of public, detailed exploit code that would cause a system to stop functioning or become unreliable," Dave Forstrom, a spokesman for Microsoft security group, said in an e-mail. "The company is not aware of attacks to exploit the reported vulnerability at this time."

Forstrom echoed Gaffie's comments earlier in the week that while an exploit could incapacitate a PC, the vulnerability could not be used by hackers to install malicious code on a Windows 7 system.

Both SMBv1 and its successor, SMBv2, contain the bug. "Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 are not affected," assured Forstrom.

Attacks could be aimed at any browser, not just Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft warned. After tricking users into visiting a malicious site or a previously-compromised domain, hackers could feed them specially-crafted URIs (uniform resource identifier), and then crash their PCs with malformed SMB packets.

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 Dec. 8. Instead, the company suggested users block TCP ports 139 and 445 at the firewall. Doing so, however, would disable browsers as well as a host of critical services, including network file-sharing and IT group policies.

Gaffie's vulnerability was the first zero-day reported and confirmed by Microsoft in Windows 7 since the new operating system went on sale Oct. 22.

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