The Rootkits of All Evil

If you think spyware and viruses are bad now, just wait till you see what nastiness can come from "kernel rootkits," Microsoft warns. Rootkits have long been used to quietly track your computing actions, but they can usually be discovered by decent anti-spyware programs.

Kernel rootkits, by modifying the very core of your machine, are far tougher for anti-virus, anti-spyware and IDS software to detect. This is clearly a trend the entire industry has to fight, and as owner of the kernel, Microsoft has a key role to play.

Go here for more information from Microsoft researchers.

Apple Is Making Microsoft Look Good
In recent years, Apple dealers have been getting increasing testy with the 'tude of Jobs and company. Flush with the success of the iPod, Apple has been making its company-owned stores increasingly upscale, as if it's selling Jaguars and Prada instead of plain old personal computers and digital music players. And these stuck-up stores have been squeezing out shops that have supported Apple for over a decade.

Apparently, this wasn't hostile enough, as Apple is now being sued for undercutting its dealers, stocking its own stores first, using confidential dealer information to benefit Apple-owned stores and more.

If I had 5 percent desktop market share, I'd treat every dealer like a king, but then again, I am not nearly as brilliant as Steve Jobs.

Paris' Phone Bares All
Paris Hilton is always, it seems, on TV, on her fancy mobile phone -- or both! Not that I follow this great talent all that closely, but every time the camera pans over during a Knicks' game, she's looking at her T-Mobile, rather than a Vin Baker free throw.

With that phone out so much, it's really no surprise that someone was able to hack in. (How many times did this braniac key in her password on live TV, I wonder?)

I'm sure Bill Gates breathed a sigh of relief to find that the Sidekick isn't a Windows SmartPhone, and that his number wasn't on her unit.

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While few feel bad for all the celebs, like Eminem, who had their numbers and addresses exposed thanks to the Hilton hack, it does point out that IT has to protect everything these days -- if your CEO's cell phone is compromised, you'll be the one holding the bag.

Sausage and Spim
Just as hackers are targeting new devices such as Paris Hilton's Sidekick, spammers are going beyond basic e-mail and targeting instant messaging, a new form of spam called spim.

One spimmer, 18-year-old Anthony Greco, had a pretty high opinion of himself. After sending over a million spims for porn and cheap mortgages to MySpace.com customers, he made an offer the online networking service couldn't refuse -- MySpace could either sign an exclusive deal blessing Gredo's spim, or he'd teach the world how to send the junk to the company's customers.

MySpace president Tom Anderson kindly invited the lad to Los Angeles to discuss the deal further -- where authorities slapped cuffs on poor Tony.

I Want My IPTV
Microsoft has long wanted to rule the living room, and each year at CES it pushes its vision of Windows as the center of the entertainment universe. This year's show was no exception -- unfortunately, the demo crashed and burned before Bill Gates' wide and embarrassed eyes. Hey, it's Windows, ain't it?

But Microsoft never gives up where money and market share are truly at stake, and Microsoft hopes that television of the future will run over IP and use its software. The latest step in the direction is a recent deal with Alcatel to co-market an IPTV system based on Alcatel network gear, which broadband providers can use to offer video services.

Because it is IP, there's quite a bit of flexibility, and the provider can blend regular programming, video on demand, Internet, voice, e-mail -- whatever.

The potential new services are great, but I'm more interested in price competition. Paying a thousand dollars a year for a bunch of "Highway to Heaven" reruns isn't my idea of a bargain.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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