Archive for February, 2010

Pwn2Own 2010 – Who will fall first?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Over on Hardware 2.0 I've put up a poll asking readers which browser they think will be the first to fall at this year's Pwn2Own hacking contest.

The event is spread over three days.

Day 1:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7
  • Mozilla Firefox 3 on Windows 7
  • Google Chrome 4 on Windows 7
  • Apple Safari 4 on MacOS X Snow Leopard

Day 2:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista
  • Mozilla Firefox 3 on Windows Vista
  • Google Chrome 4 on Windows Vista
  • Apple Safari 4 on MacOS X Snow Leopard

Day 3:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
  • Mozilla Firefox 3 on Windows XP
  • Google Chrome 4 on Windows XP
  • Apple Safari 4 on MacOS X Snow Leopard

Windows Phone 7 Series

Monday, February 15th, 2010

OK, want to know all about Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Series announcement at Mobile World Congress today? Check out these two posts over on Hardware 2.0:

Live Analysis: Microsoft Phone press conference, Mobile World Congress '10

Windows Phone 7 Series ... what we know, and what we don't


Microsoft wants your help solving MS10-015 restart issue

Monday, February 15th, 2010

OK, a lot of people are getting in touch with me over this issue, so I thought I'd pass this on ...

If you are having restart issues after installing update MS10-015 (which may or may not be malware related), Microsoft wants your help!

In our continuing investigation in to the restart issues related to MS10-015 that a limited number of customers are experiencing, we have determined that malware on the system can cause the behavior. We are not yet ruling out other potential causes at this time and are still investigating. Please review our blog post from yesterday for additional information.

One of the key components when investigating issues like this are obtaining memory dumps from computers experiencing the problem. In order to get the information we need to fully analyze the issue, some of our support engineers have actually driven to customer locations and picked up affected systems so we can get the needed crash data directly and help inform our investigation. For more information about memory dumps, please see:

Also, if your PC has been hosed by this (or any other update), remember that Microsoft is there to help you too!

This can be a difficult issue to solve once a computer is in an un-bootable state so we encourage customers who feel they have been impacted by this to contact our Customer Service and Support group by either going to or by calling 1-866-PCSafety (1-866-727-2338). International customers can find local support contact numbers here:

Looking for that last-minute Valentine’s Day card?

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Look no further!


XP BSoDs may be down to malware

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

If you're encountering BSoDs and reboots on your XP machines following the installation of this month's load of Patch Tuesday updates, your machine might be infected with malware.

Patrick W. Barnes, a systems administrator at Cat-man-du, a technology services firm in Amarillo, Texas, said at least three different customers came into his shop with the same blue screen of death after installing Tuesday’s patches on their systems. Barnes said that on closer inspection, he found that each had been previously infected with a rootkit, a set of tools sometimes installed by malware that are designed to hide the presence of the infection on the host system.

Barnes said he traced the problem on each machine back to “atapi.sys” — a Windows storage driver(which lives in %System32\drivers\). When he sent the atapi.sys files that were on the customer machines up for a scan at, the results suggested malware had injected itself into the system file.

It might be a good idea for anyone seeing this problem to give their system a quick scan with F-Secure’s Blacklight rootkit detector after removing the Windows Update patches and getting the system up and running.