Net Xpress: In the time it takes to get a patch, a hacker could cause serious damage

February 22, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

Windows users don't think too much about the process it takes to get a critical security patch tested and released. They don't really imagine that the "in-between time frame" is critical for every computer vulnerable to the flaw. But then again, why should they, you might ask - they aren't the ones having to do the work.

Well, here's a scary fact to put it all into perspective for Windows users. Let's take, for instance, the latest security patch released by Microsoft to fix a critical flaw in a networking component of Windows NT/2000/XP and Windows Server 2003. The flaw itself was found 200 days before a patch was released to fix it.

For 200 days or longer, depending on when the computer user found out about the patch and actually did the update, their system was fair game for any hacker who knew how to use the flaw.

Now imagine how many computers there are running those operating systems. All of them were a hacker's candy shop. Just a little something that makes you go "hmm." Read more.


Net buzzz

* has found a clever way to continue offering an alternative to Windows in Europe. After a Dutch judge ruled in Microsoft's favor, the company was not permitted to do business in certain countries under the Lindows name. Read the press release on the Dutch ruling.

So started a program to keep choice available there by dropping some letters from its name. It is now offering its products in places such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden as Lin---s or LinDash. Read more.

* In other news, the company has announced support for the Centrino laptops. The company's LindowsOS Laptop Edition is the first Linux operating system to offer support for Centrino laptops. Read more

* Apple's newest addition to its iPod MP3 lineup was released Friday. The iPod mini is dubbed as being the world's smallest 1,000-song digital music player. The iPod mini is compatible both with Mac and Windows. Among features included on the iPod mini are the choice of five different colors, an eight-hour battery life and capacity choice of 4GB, 15GB, 20GB or 40GB hard disk drive. Read more.

* Mandrake-Linux 10.0 is starting to be released for download and testing. Learn more. Major changes in the Mandrake-Linux development process will be in effect when Mandrake-Linux 10.0 final release is made available. Learn more.

MSN Live online events

Feb. 23: G3, a trio of guitarists including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, chat at 8 p.m.

Feb. 27: Recording artists Phantom Planet chat at 7 p.m.

Sites to see

Here's an oldie, but goodie site for language translations - it's AltaVista's Babel Fish Translation Service. You can translate a word, sentence, block of text or an entire Web site from or to English, or eight to nine other languages with a click of a button. One can translate from English to Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

E-mail me at sheila@; fax me at (859) 236-9566; or write me snail-mail at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville, KY 40423-0149.

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