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October 2, 2012

Consumer Marketing Giants Spank Microsoft over IE10 "Do Not Track"

Posted by David Hunter at 2:46 PM ET.

P&G, Walmart, Coke And 30 Other Huge Advertisers Just Humiliated Microsoft

The chief marketing officers of Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Ford, Verizon, Coca Cola, Unilever, General Electric, American Express, Kraft and 30 other companies signed a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, complaining about the "do not track" (DNT) function planned for Internet Explorer 10.
IE10 will launch with a default DNT position, preventing consumers from being targeted by advertisers. The letter was timed to rain on Microsoft’s parade at Advertising Week, at which it launched new native ad products for Windows 8 and a redesigned MSN.
It is rare for advertisers to publicly criticize the media sellers they deal with. It’s rarer still for them to time their criticism to inflict maximum PR damage. And it’s rarest of all for them to band together — even with competitors — and sign a statement against a marketing partner that takes billions of their dollars.
The letter is thus the most humiliating form of public dressing-down Microsoft could have received from its clients.

I really hate to break it to the Web advertising bigwigs, but Microsoft is on the side of the angels on this one. The only thing more annoying than ads following me from site to site are the constant requests that I "like" some company or product on Facebook. Those that feel lonely without be tracked by ravenous Web marketers can always opt-in, just like with email advertising or Facebook. Very few consumers will do that, of course, which is why the big Web advertisers are having the vapors. Don’t worry guys, you can always besiege us with admonitions to "please let us track you" just like you do with Facebook.

(First version lightly edited.)

Filed under IE10, Internet Explorer, Legal, Microsoft, Privacy

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September 18, 2012

Microsoft hit with zero-day exploit of Internet Explorer, urges security tool download

Posted by David Hunter at 3:35 PM ET.

Microsoft urges customers to install security tool

Microsoft Corp urged Windows users on Monday to install a free piece of security software to protect PCs from a newly discovered bug in the Internet Explorer browser.

The security flaw, which researchers say could allow hackers to take remote control of an infected PC, affects Internet Explorer browsers used by hundreds of millions of consumers and workers. Microsoft said it will advise customers on its website to install the security software as an interim measure, buying it time to fix the bug and release a new, more secure version of Internet Explorer.

The free security tool, which is known as the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET, is available on Microsoft’s website:

Eric Romang, a researcher in Luxembourg, discovered the flaw in Internet Explorer on Friday, when his PC was infected by a piece of malicious software known as Poison Ivy that hackers use to steal data or take remote control of PCs.

When he analyzed the infection, he learned that Poison Ivy had gotten on to his system by exploiting a previously unknown bug, or "zero-day" vulnerability, in Internet Explorer.

Full security advisory is here and only IE 7, 8, and 9 on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are known to be at risk. Internet Explorer 10 is apparently not a problem.

Frankly, EMET isn’t a magic shield and it’s a tool that only geeks can love. The bottom line from the above article:

Dave Marcus, director of advanced research and threat intelligence with Intel Corp’s McAfee security division, said it might be a daunting task for home users to locate, download and install the EMET tool.

"For consumers it might be easier to simply click on Chrome," Marcus said.

Business users will have their own problems with it too.

Filed under IE10, IE7, IE8, IE9, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Security, Zero-Day Exploits

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