Le Dimmer Dims Everything On Desktop Except The Window In Focus – thnxz @addtips


Le Dimmer is a tiny application for Windows that’s designed for a single purpose only: it automatically dims everything on the desktop, including wallpaper, icons, folders, open windows, apps etc. leaving behind the foreground window and the task bar brightly lit. It has no GUI and no complex settings to confuse you. The application can come handy if you watch a lot of movies without going full screen and wanted a way to dim everything other than your media player window. It can also prove to be very useful if you have multiple windows opened and you want to focus only on one window at a time without maximizing it to take the whole of your screen real estate. Lets find out how it works.

Vía http://www.addictivetips.com/

Le-Dimmer_System-Tray

While the application appears to just sits in the system tray area without any GUI, it still lets you control the level of dimming via a command-line switch. The readme files states that the default value is 150, but you can set a number between 0 to 255 depending on how much dimming you want. You can input a greater number to darken the screen further, while conversely choosing a number lower than 150 will reduce the dimming effect.

Full article 🙂

If you want to close the application to halt the dimming, you can simply select Quit from the context menu that appears when you right-click Le Dimmer’s system tray icon. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl+Shift+Q hotkey to exit the app.

Le-Dimmer

All in all, it’s a very simple and straightforward application that’s built to serve one purpose, perfectly does the job it’s made for. Anyone looking for a way to keep focusing on one window without getting distracted by others is bound to find it useful. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Both 32-bit and 64-bit OS editions are supported.

Download Le Dimmer

Microsoft vende 40 millones de Windows 8 en su primer mes de vida


El ritmo de la demanda hace prever que superará fácilmente las ventas de su predecesor, Windows 7 cuando concluya su primer trimestre

Por
 

Microsoft vendió 40 millones de licencias de su nuevo sistema operativo Windows 8 durante el primer mes de este software en el mercado, según dio a conocer en un comunicado.

El ritmo de la demanda hace prever que Windows 8 superará fácilmente las ventas de su predecesor Windows 7 cuando concluya su primer trimestre. Leer más “Microsoft vende 40 millones de Windows 8 en su primer mes de vida”

Windows 8 Must Battle XP for Large Chunk of User Base


mashable.com

While Windows 8 rolled out to great fanfare Thursday, it still has to fight fellow Microsoft operating system Windows XP for users.

The 11-year-old program has nearly 30% “usage share” worldwide, reports web analytics firm StatCounter. Although Microsoft stopped selling it in 2010, XP remains one of the most popular OSestoday.

As of September, XP holds 27.64% usage share worldwide — second only to Windows 7 at 52.2%, according to StatCounter. In the U.S., XP has 16.42%, while Windows 7 sits at 49.36% (the latter debuted in 2009).

SEE ALSO: How to Get Windows 8 Now

“Our stats confirm the theory that business users in particular have been reluctant to move from XP,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “The new Windows 8 interface represents a radical overhaul for Microsoft.”

“The scale of change of the desktop experience, however, may heighten the initial reluctance of traditional business users to upgrade to this new OS.” Leer más “Windows 8 Must Battle XP for Large Chunk of User Base”

Patch Tuesday for October 2012 | by nakedsecurity.sophos.com


nakedsecurity.sophos.com
by Chester Wisniewski

Microsoft released seven bulletins this morning as part of its monthly patch program. Fortunately only one of the bulletins was rated critical, the remaining six received an important rating.
Patch Tuesday for October 2012

Two vulnerabilities are fixed in MS12-064, this months only critical bulletin. The flaws affect users of Microsoft Word and Word Viewer for Windows and can lead to remote code execution (RCE) if a victim were to open a booby-trapped document.

MS12-065 addresses an RCE vulnerability in Microsoft Works 9 and MS12-066 fixes an elevation of privilege (EoP) flaw in Microsoft Infopath, Sharepoint, Groove, Communicator and Lync. Leer más “Patch Tuesday for October 2012 | by nakedsecurity.sophos.com”

RC de Windows Live Essentials 2011 pronto

Las aplicaciones que han destacado en la ultima BETA han sido Windows Live Sync que ha pasado a llamarse Windows Live Mesh, algo que personalmente esperaba ya que era un usuario de Microsoft Mesh y con el anuncio del fin de esta aplicación quede a la deriva de que pasaría con mis archivos y con la sincronización que tenia con mi PC, pero lo bueno es que ya esta solucionado y todos pueden probar la aplicación.

Otro detalle que se ha destacado de la ultima BETA de Essentials es la posibilidad de chatear desde Windows Live Messenger con usuarios de Facebook sin realizar mayores configuraciones que autorizar a WIndows Live para ello, por lo demás las otras aplicaciones son conocidas y coronaron el fin de la Wave 4 que trajo novedades interesantes y más de algún desastre en Microsoft, pero que al fin y al cabo es algo que es una costumbre e incluso de se hecha de menos cuando no pasa.


Autor: Angello T. | http://www.geekets.com

Todos conocemos incluso la mayoría de nosotros hemos probado la suite de aplicaciones Windows Live Essentials 2011, donde se incluye el conocido Windows LIve Messenger, programa de mensajería instantánea más popular hasta el momento.

Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta 2 disponible

Por ahora solo teníamos algunas noticias de cuando seria la versión final de Windows LIve Essentials, a finales de septiembre, pero en aquel tiempo donde la Wave 4 anunciaba grandes cambios aun no era definitiva esta fecha, pero según se rumorea podría ser el final de septiembre la fecha escogida para la presentación de la RC de la suite de aplicaciones.

La RC de Windows Live Essentials 2011 corregiría los errores de la segunda BETA que dicho sea de paso ha sido bien evaluada por los medios más conocidos, destacando su enfoque más social que su versión antecesora, aunque claro con algunas criticas por su no incorporación en Windows XP lo que se justifica por el final del ciclo de este sistema operativo y para alentar a los usuarios a hacer upgrade de su sistema a Windows 7. Leer más “RC de Windows Live Essentials 2011 pronto”

Los mejores atajos de teclado en Windows 7

Todos los entusiastas de los ordenadores sabemos que muchas veces cuando queremos trabajar de la manera más rápida, una de las soluciones está en usar los atajos de teclado. A menos que no estemos muy familiarizados con el teclado, la opción siempre será usar el ratón. Esto, unido con un ordenador de amplias prestaciones y un OS y programas ligeros, te permitirá agilizar tu manera de usar el ordenador.


Misael Aguilar

Todos los entusiastas de los ordenadores sabemos que muchas veces cuando queremos trabajar de la manera más rápida, una de las soluciones está en usar los atajos de teclado. A menos que no estemos muy familiarizados con el teclado, la opción siempre será usar el ratón. Esto, unido con un ordenador de amplias prestaciones y un OS y programas ligeros, te permitirá agilizar tu manera de usar el ordenador.

Los atajos de teclado permiten agilizar el trabajo en el ordenador

Aquí te presentamos la lista con la selección de los mejores y más necesarios atajos de teclado para el OS Windows 7,con muchas mejoras respecto al XP:
Trabajo con ventanas

  • Win + Home: cierra todo menos ventana activa
  • Win + Space: transparenta las ventanas para visualizar escritorio
  • Win + D: minimiza ventanas para visualizar escritorio
  • Win + ↑: maximiza ventana activa
  • Win + ↓: minimiza ventana activa
  • Shift + Win + ↑: maximiza ventana activa verticalmente
  • Shift + Win + →/←: ancla ventana activa a la derecha/izquierda de la pantalla
  • Alt + F4: cerrar ventana activa

Barra de tareas… Leer más “Los mejores atajos de teclado en Windows 7”

A Free Utility to Backup all your Windows Drivers

When you buy a new PC, the vendor will almost always provide you with a “driver CD” that has the device drivers for all the hardware that’s inside your new machine. The CD comes handy when you are reinstalling Windows from scratch or are trying to recover your machine to its original state after, say, a system crash.

There are however two drawbacks with the driver CD.


windows hardware

When you buy a new PC, the vendor will almost always provide you with a “driver CD” that has the device drivers for all the hardware that’s inside your new machine. The CD comes handy when you are reinstalling Windows from scratch or are trying to recover your machine to its original state after, say, a system crash.

There are however two drawbacks with the driver CD. Leer más “A Free Utility to Backup all your Windows Drivers”

How to Password Protect your Files and Folders

Do you have files and folders on your computer that you absolutely don’t want anyone else to see? Or do you even carry important documents on those easy-to-misplace USB drives?

If the answer is yes, you should definitely download a copy of SafeHouse Explorer – it’s a free and incredibly easy-to-use file encryption utility that will hide all your private files from prying eyes in few easy steps. You may use the tool to password protect files that are residing on your computer’s internal hard disk or even on external USB drives.
Tutorial: Encrypt and Password Protect your Files and Folders

SafeHouse Explorer, in simple English, works something like this. It creates a hidden storage area on your disk to hold all the files that you want to protect. These files and folders are hidden from normal view and will only become visible when you enter the correct password.

Here’s a more detailed tutorial on how you can protect your files with SafeHouse Explorer.


folder passwordDo you have files and folders on your computer that you absolutely don’t want anyone else to see? Or do you even carry important documents on those easy-to-misplace USB drives?

If the answer is yes, you should definitely download a copy of SafeHouse Explorer – it’s a free and incredibly easy-to-use file encryption utility that will hide all your private files from prying eyes in few easy steps. You may use the tool to password protect files that are residing on your computer’s internal hard disk or even on external USB drives.

Tutorial: Encrypt and Password Protect your Files and Folders

SafeHouse Explorer, in simple English, works something like this. It creates a hidden storage area on your disk to hold all the files that you want to protect. These files and folders are hidden from normal view and will only become visible when you enter the correct password.

Here’s a more detailed tutorial on how you can protect your files with SafeHouse Explorer. Leer más “How to Password Protect your Files and Folders”

Windows 7 supera a Windows Vista

Autor: i.aguilar

NetMarketShare publicó que el SO de la empresa Microsoft, Windows 7 superó a Windows Vista en cuota de mercado este mes de Agosto, ocupando el segundo lugar en Sistemas Operativos más usados a nivel mundial con un 14.46% de cuota.

El Sistema Operativo Windows 7 supero a Vista

El SO más usado en el mundo hasta el momento sigue siendo el Windows XP con un 61.87% de cuota, pero a como van las cosas poco a poco Windows 7 le irá ganando terreno porque según NetMarketShare todos los SO han perdido cuota, excepto Windows 7 que va hacia arriba.

Esto es muy normal ya que Windows 7 es un SO que realmente escuchó las quejas de los usuarios del Windows Vista, y para mí en lo personal es un Sistema Operativo muy amigable, que por el momento no me ha dado ningún problema.

Creo que Windows XP es el SO de Microsoft que sigue dominando en el mundo porque mucha gente no se anima a cambiarlo porque no quieren experimentar, porque se sienten bien con el Windows XP, porque su ordenador no cumple los requisitos mínimos para el cambio (por este motivo Microsoft extendió el downgrade a Windows XP), porque tuvieron mala experiencia con el Windows Vista o simplemente porque no les importa.

La verdad es que Windows 7 a comparación con el Windows XP, tiene muchas utilidades y aplicaciones que simplifican la vida y sin contar con su DirectX 11 que hace que los gráficos de videojuegos y películas en blu-ray se vean espectaculares comparándolo con el pobre y obsoleto DirectX 9 del XP.


Autor: i.aguilar

NetMarketShare publicó que el SO de la empresa Microsoft, Windows 7 superó a Windows Vista en cuota de mercado este mes de Agosto, ocupando el segundo lugar en Sistemas Operativos más usados a nivel mundial con un 14.46% de cuota.

El Sistema Operativo Windows 7 supero a Vista

El SO más usado en el mundo hasta el momento sigue siendo el Windows XP con un 61.87% de cuota, pero a como van las cosas poco a poco Windows 7 le irá ganando terreno porque según NetMarketShare todos los SO han perdido cuota, excepto Windows 7 que va hacia arriba.

Esto es muy normal ya que Windows 7 es un SO que realmente escuchó las quejas de los usuarios del Windows Vista, y para mí en lo personal es un Sistema Operativo muy amigable, que por el momento no me ha dado ningún problema.

Creo que Windows XP es el SO de Microsoft que sigue dominando en el mundo porque mucha gente no se anima a cambiarlo porque no quieren experimentar, porque se sienten bien con el Windows XP, porque su ordenador no cumple los requisitos mínimos para el cambio (por este motivo Microsoft extendió el downgrade a Windows XP), porque tuvieron mala experiencia con el Windows Vista o simplemente porque no les importa.

La verdad es que Windows 7 a comparación con el Windows XP, tiene muchas utilidades y aplicaciones que simplifican la vida y sin contar con su DirectX 11 que hace que los gráficos de videojuegos y películas en blu-ray se vean espectaculares comparándolo con el pobre y obsoleto DirectX 9 del XP. Leer más “Windows 7 supera a Windows Vista”

Prepare for Record Patch Tuesday

By Tony Bradley, PC World

Next Tuesday Microsoft will unleash 14 new security bulletins, addressing a record-tying 34 vulnerabilities. In the wake of the out-of-band patch issued for the Windows shortcut security flaw, and with an upcoming out-of-band patch from Adobe as well–IT admins need to a plan of action for implementing the deluge of updates.

Issuing 14 security bulletins in one month is a new one, but the record of patching 34 different flaws is not so uncommon any more. This is the third or fourth time that has occurred in just the past year. Microsoft has experienced a feast or famine flow of updates with virtually no security bulletins one month, followed by a massive batch of security bulletins the next. Microsoft has also had an unusual number of out-of-band patches this year to address attacks against zero-day vulnerabilities.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, provides a brief analysis of the upcoming Microsoft patches on his blog. “Including the LNK update, 9 bulletins have a rating of critical and affect all version of the Windows OS, Internet Explorer, Silverlight and Microsoft Office.”

However, Kandek goes on to clarify that “Windows 7 and 2008 R2 have a smaller number of critical vulnerabilities than Windows XP and 2003 in function of their improved security architecture, but are still affected by 2 critical vulnerabilities each.”


By Tony Bradley, PC World

Next Tuesday Microsoft will unleash 14 new security bulletins, addressing a record-tying 34 vulnerabilities. In the wake of the out-of-band patch issued for the Windows shortcut security flaw, and with an upcoming out-of-band patch from Adobe as well–IT admins need to a plan of action for implementing the deluge of updates.

Issuing 14 security bulletins in one month is a new one, but the record of patching 34 different flaws is not so uncommon any more. This is the third or fourth time that has occurred in just the past year. Microsoft has experienced a feast or famine flow of updates with virtually no security bulletins one month, followed by a massive batch of security bulletins the next. Microsoft has also had an unusual number of out-of-band patches this year to address attacks against zero-day vulnerabilities.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, provides a brief analysis of the upcoming Microsoft patches on his blog. “Including the LNK update, 9 bulletins have a rating of critical and affect all version of the Windows OS, Internet Explorer, Silverlight and Microsoft Office.”

However, Kandek goes on to clarify that “Windows 7 and 2008 R2 have a smaller number of critical vulnerabilities than Windows XP and 2003 in function of their improved security architecture, but are still affected by 2 critical vulnerabilities each.” Leer más “Prepare for Record Patch Tuesday”

8 sistemas para asegurar los datos vitales de su negocio

¿Dónde residen tus datos? ¿Los cargas contigo? ¿Cómo? ¿Están más y mejor seguros en lo que algunas personas llaman “servidores”? ¿Es acaso una combinación de lo anterior? ¿Son tus datos importantes? ¿Podrías sobrevivir sin ellos?.

Sería muy cómodo no tener que transportar tus datos en ordenadores portátiles o unidades de almacenamiento, y en su lugar saber exactamente dónde se encuentra, y tener acceso a ella a cualquier hora desde cualquier lugar. Eso sucederá pronto. De hecho, algunas compañías ya disfrutan de ésta tecnología: desde simples documentos hasta bases de datos completas, correo electrónico y mucho más; existen muchos proveedores de servicios que ofrecen el mantener nuestros datos –y procesos- viviendo “En la Nube”. Esto es, Cloud-Computing, o SaaS (Software as a Service).

Algunos de nosotros aun no aceptamos esto, o nos preocupa el hecho de poder perder control sobre nuestros datos sin saber exactamente dónde residen. Tal vez, estamos tan acostumbrados a ‘palpar’ nuestra información que el simple pensamiento de no tenerla con nosotros es como de plano no tenerla en absoluto.

Así pues, en este escenario de “sentirla” nos acostumbramos a salvar nuestra información en todavía más dispositivos físicos, de forma que podamos dormir tranquilos sabiendo que nuestra data está a salvo. Hasta que llegue el día en que hagamos el cambio mental y nos convenzamos que la Nube es más segura que nuestros dispositivos portátiles, continuaremos teniendo la necesidad de ponerla a salvo. Ya sea a más dispositivos o ¡a la Nube!.


como-asegurar-los-datos-sensibles-de-la-empresa¿Dónde residen tus datos? ¿Los cargas contigo? ¿Cómo? ¿Están más y mejor seguros en lo que algunas personas llaman “servidores”? ¿Es acaso una combinación de lo anterior? ¿Son tus datos importantes? ¿Podrías sobrevivir sin ellos?.

Sería muy cómodo no tener que transportar tus datos en ordenadores portátiles o unidades de almacenamiento, y en su lugar saber exactamente dónde se encuentra, y tener acceso a ella a cualquier hora desde cualquier lugar. Eso sucederá pronto. De hecho, algunas compañías ya disfrutan de ésta tecnología: desde simples documentos hasta bases de datos completas, correo electrónico y mucho más; existen muchos proveedores de servicios  que ofrecen el mantener nuestros datos –y procesos- viviendo “En la Nube”. Esto es, Cloud-Computing, o SaaS (Software as a Service).

Algunos de nosotros aun no aceptamos esto, o nos preocupa el hecho de poder perder control sobre nuestros datos sin saber exactamente dónde residen. Tal vez, estamos tan acostumbrados a ‘palpar’ nuestra información que el simple pensamiento de no tenerla con nosotros es como de plano no tenerla en absoluto.

Así pues, en este escenario de “sentirla” nos acostumbramos a salvar nuestra información en todavía más dispositivos físicos, de forma que podamos dormir tranquilos sabiendo que nuestra data está a salvo. Hasta que llegue el día en que hagamos el cambio mental y nos convenzamos que la Nube es más segura que nuestros dispositivos portátiles, continuaremos teniendo la necesidad de ponerla a salvo. Ya sea a más dispositivos o ¡a la Nube!. Leer más “8 sistemas para asegurar los datos vitales de su negocio”

A Beautiful Replacement for your Notepad

Notepad, a light-weight text editor that is included with every copy of Microsoft Windows, is also the most basic program on your computer with an extremely simple UI and limited functionality.

This probably explains why there is almost an avalanche of notepad replacements in the market – applications that aren’t just better than the default notepad program but most of them are free as well.

Today I had an opportunity to try another notepad replacement and after spending a couple of minutes with the program, I am convinced that it is going to be my new default text editor replacing Notepad. The program is called Bend.


Notepad for WindowsNotepad, a light-weight text editor that is included with every copy of Microsoft Windows, is also the most basic program on your computer with an extremely simple UI and limited functionality.

This probably explains why there is almost an avalanche of notepad replacements in the market – applications that aren’t just better than the default notepad program but most of them are free as well.

Today I had an opportunity to try another notepad replacement and after spending a couple of minutes with the program, I am convinced that it is going to be my new default text editor replacing Notepad. The program is called Bend.

notepad replacement Leer más “A Beautiful Replacement for your Notepad”

Windows 7 already more dominant than Vista

In the world of monopolistic operating systems, it certainly didn’t take long for Windows 7 to be on more computer than Microsoft’s previous, bungled platform Windows Vista.

Net Applications now reports that Windows 7 accounts for 14.5% of all operating systems on active computers, leapfrogging ahead of Vista which now stands at 14.3%.

This comes juse nine months after Windows 7 became commercially available, making it just about the quickest that any new operating system has overtaken its predecessor. If you don’t believe me, just look at Windows XP. That OS still has a 61.9% market share.

It also gives more credence to Microsoft’s statement that Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system ever, already making its way through 175 million sold licenses, the vast majority of which are through PC makers who now almost unanimously sell all new computers with Windows 7 installed.


Mike Luttrell

//

In the world of monopolistic operating systems, it certainly didn’t take long for Windows 7 to be on more computer than Microsoft‘s previous, bungled platform Windows Vista.

Net Applications now reports that Windows 7 accounts for 14.5% of all operating systems on active computers, leapfrogging ahead of Vista which now stands at 14.3%.

This comes juse nine months after Windows 7 became commercially available, making it just about the quickest that any new operating system has overtaken its predecessor. If you don’t believe me, just look at Windows XP. That OS still has a 61.9% market share.

It also gives more credence to Microsoft’s statement that Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system ever, already making its way through 175 million sold licenses, the vast majority of which are through PC makers who now almost unanimously sell all new computers with Windows 7 installed. Leer más “Windows 7 already more dominant than Vista”

UK.gov sticks to IE 6 cos it’s more ‘cost effective’, innit

The petition itself was sent to Number 10 earlier this year asking then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to follow German and French governments’ decisions to ditch IE 6.

Brown’s administration was unmoved by security concerns about the crinkly old browser, however.

It claimed at the time that its system, along with regular Microsoft updates, meant it was robust enough against the kind of attack that claimed over 30 corporate firms at the end of last year.

Google was perhaps the most high-profile victim of those attacks. It has since turned its back on supporting the old MS browser in its web apps.

At the same time, Microsoft too has been trying to shepherd users away from IE 6 and Windows XP – the operating system that refuses to die – in favour of its more recent software efforts.

But the ConDem government is singing from the same hymnbook as Number 10’s previous incumbents.

Freetards on the interwebs are in uproar about the decision, and the El Reg mailbox is overflowing with comments from outraged coders.

“Apparently the IT team in Whitehall has yet to realise you could quite easily use IE6 for IE6 only sites, and receive the protection of a more modern browser such as IE8, FF and Chrome for everything else,” Reg reader Mark told us.

“As a senior web application developer, the mention of the positive word ‘standards’ in a document about IE6 makes me die a little on the inside — ‘Public sector organisations are free to identify software that supports their business needs as long as it adheres to appropriate standards’ — I’m not sure which standards they mean… but certainly not the HTML ones.”

Alas, Internet Explorer 6 is here to stay to keep the wheels of central government turning in this big fat society of ours, people. ®


Internet Explorer Mobile Logo
Image via Wikipedia

By Kelly Fiveash

Computers in Whitehall will largely continue to run Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6, which will make web coders spit out their cheese‘n’pickle sarnies this lunchtime.

“It is not straightforward for HMG departments to upgrade IE versions on their systems. Upgrading these systems to IE 8 can be a very large operation, taking weeks to test and roll out to all users.”

“To test all the web applications currently used by HMG departments can take months at significant potential cost to the taxpayer. It is therefore more cost effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning software, to further protect public sector internet users,” it said. Leer más “UK.gov sticks to IE 6 cos it’s more ‘cost effective’, innit”

Microsoft sets emergency Windows patch for Monday

As exploits of the shortcut bug climb, company commits to ‘out-of-band’ update
By Gregg Keizer

Computerworld – Microsoft today said it will issue an emergency patch for the critical Windows shortcut bug on Monday, Aug. 2.

The company said that it is satisfied with the quality of the “out-of-band” update — Microsoft’s term for a patch that falls outside the usual monthly delivery schedule — but also acknowledged that it has tracked an upswing in attacks.

“In the past few days, we’ve seen an increase in attempts to exploit the vulnerability,” Christopher Budd, a spokesman for the Microsoft Security Response Center, said in a entry on the team’s blog. “We firmly believe that releasing the update out of band is the best thing to do to help protect our customers.”

Budd said that Microsoft would release the patch on Monday at approximately 1 p.m. Eastern.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft confirmed a flaw in how Windows parses shortcut files, the small files displayed by icons on the desktop, on the toolbar and in the Start menu that launch applications and documents when clicked. By crafting malicious shortcuts, hackers could automatically execute malware whenever a user viewed the shortcut or the contents of a folder containing the malevolent shortcut.

The bug was first described in mid-June by VirusBlokAda, a little-known security firm based in Belarus, but attracted widespread attention only after security blogger Brian Krebs reported on it July 15. A day later, Microsoft admitted that attackers were already exploiting the flaw using the “Stuxnet” worm, which targets Windows PCs that manage large-scale industrial-control systems in manufacturing and utility firms.

Exploit code has been widely distributed on the Internet, and Microsoft and others have spotted several attack campaigns based on the bug.

One of those campaigns apparently tipped the scales toward an early patch.

The Microsoft group responsible for crafting malware signatures to defend customers using the company’s antivirus products, including the free Security Essentials software, said that an especially nasty malware family had added exploits of the unpatched shortcut flaw to its arsenal.

“Sality is a highly virulent strain … known to infect other files, making full removal after infection challenging, copy itself to removable media, disable security, and then download other malware,” wrote Holly Stewart of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, on the group’s blog Friday. “It is also a very large family — one of the most prevalent families this year. ”

Sality’s inclusion of the shortcut exploit quickly drove up the number of PCs that have faced attack. “After the inclusion of the [shortcut] vector, the numbers of machines seeing attack attempts combining malicious [shortcuts] and Sality.AT soon surpassed the numbers we saw with Stuxnet,” said Stewart.

“We know that it is only a matter of time before more families pick up the technique,” she added.

Other security researchers had spotted Sality exploiting the shortcut bug earlier this week. On Tuesday, Trend Micro reported that the shortcut vector was being used not only by Sality, but also by other malware clans, such as the Zeus botnet-building Trojan.


As exploits of the shortcut bug climb, company commits to ‘out-of-band’ update

By Gregg Keizer

Computerworld – Microsoft today said it will issue an emergency patch for the critical Windows shortcut bug on Monday, Aug. 2.

The company said that it is satisfied with the quality of the “out-of-band” update — Microsoft’s term for a patch that falls outside the usual monthly delivery schedule — but also acknowledged that it has tracked an upswing in attacks.

“In the past few days, we’ve seen an increase in attempts to exploit the vulnerability,” Christopher Budd, a spokesman for the Microsoft Security Response Center, said in a entry on the team’s blog. “We firmly believe that releasing the update out of band is the best thing to do to help protect our customers.”

Budd said that Microsoft would release the patch on Monday at approximately 1 p.m. Eastern.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft confirmed a flaw in how Windows parses shortcut files, the small files displayed by icons on the desktop, on the toolbar and in the Start menu that launch applications and documents when clicked. By crafting malicious shortcuts, hackers could automatically execute malware whenever a user viewed the shortcut or the contents of a folder containing the malevolent shortcut.

The bug was first described in mid-June by VirusBlokAda, a little-known security firm based in Belarus, but attracted widespread attention only after security blogger Brian Krebs reported on it July 15. A day later, Microsoft admitted that attackers were already exploiting the flaw using the “Stuxnet” worm, which targets Windows PCs that manage large-scale industrial-control systems in manufacturing and utility firms.

Exploit code has been widely distributed on the Internet, and Microsoft and others have spotted several attack campaigns based on the bug.

One of those campaigns apparently tipped the scales toward an early patch.

The Microsoft group responsible for crafting malware signatures to defend customers using the company’s antivirus products, including the free Security Essentials software, said that an especially nasty malware family had added exploits of the unpatched shortcut flaw to its arsenal.

“Sality is a highly virulent strain … known to infect other files, making full removal after infection challenging, copy itself to removable media, disable security, and then download other malware,” wrote Holly Stewart of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, on the group’s blog Friday. “It is also a very large family — one of the most prevalent families this year. ”

Sality’s inclusion of the shortcut exploit quickly drove up the number of PCs that have faced attack. “After the inclusion of the [shortcut] vector, the numbers of machines seeing attack attempts combining malicious [shortcuts] and Sality.AT soon surpassed the numbers we saw with Stuxnet,” said Stewart.

“We know that it is only a matter of time before more families pick up the technique,” she added.

Other security researchers had spotted Sality exploiting the shortcut bug earlier this week. On Tuesday, Trend Micro reported that the shortcut vector was being used not only by Sality, but also by other malware clans, such as the Zeus botnet-building Trojan. Leer más “Microsoft sets emergency Windows patch for Monday”