Internet Explorer hit by serious vulnerability – MS issues security patch – Windows XP Included


Microsoft has reported that a security flaw in its Internet Explorer browser could allow hackers to access your personal information especially if you are still using Windows XP.

The bug has been found to affect IE versions 6 through 11 and was found by Microsoft’s security company FireEye. The company says that the flaw leaves around 56 percent of the browser market vulnerable to attack. The bug has been classified as a “Zero Day” flaw which gives victims zero warnings before attack.

The flaw is a remote code execution vulnerability which means that a hacker can successfully run software on a victim’s computer after attack. Microsoft issued a security alert which said that “the vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. The phrase “arbitrary code” means pretty much any software that the attacker chooses to run.”

In short, a hacker could install programs, view and delete data simply by visiting a website that you are running at the same time on your IE.

FireEye has said that a gang of attackers has already launched a campaign exploiting the flaw. Microsoft reported that IE9 through IE11 versions are the worst-hit as the three versions of IE account for almost 26 percent of the web browsers currently in use around the world. The software giant has said that Internet Explorer 10 and 11 are safe from the flaw only if the Enhanced Protected Mode in these browsers is turned on. The company is currently working on fixing the problem and might soon come out with an update.

UPDATE : Microsoft is issuing a fix for the “zero-day” vulnerability found in Internet Explorer last week. The update should be rolling out to all users any time now. In addition to updating Internet Explorer, Microsoft is also providing a fix for Windows XP, despite the fact that the operating system is no longer officially supported. The fix was issued because support for XP ended recently.

Source : Microsoft.

Facebook Graph Search


Facebook Graph Search is a semantic search engine that was introduced by Facebook in March 2013. It is designed to give answers to user natural language queries rather than a list of links. The Graph Search feature combines the big data acquired from its over one billion users and external data into a search engine providing user-specific search results. 

The feature was developed under former Google employees Lars Rasmussen and Tom Stocky.

Graph Search operates by use of a search algorithm similar to traditional search engines such as Google. However, the search feature is distinguished as a semantic search engine, searching based on intended meaning. Rather than returning results based on matching keywords, the search engine is designed to match phrases, as well as objects on the site. 

Search results are based on both the content of the user and their friends’ profiles and the relationships between the user and their friends. Results are based on the friends and interests expressed on Facebook, and also shaped by users’ privacy settings. In addition to being restricted from seeing some content, users may be able to view relevant content made publicly available by users that are not listed as friends.

Entries into the search bar are auto-completed as users type, with Facebook suggesting friends and second degree connections, Facebook pages, automatically-generated topics, and finally Web searches for anything Facebook is not yet able to search for.

The operation of the search feature depends on user involvement. The feature is intended to promote users to add more friends, more quickly. In doing so, it can provide updating, more data-rich results and stimulate use of the feature.

Microsoft has been partnered with Facebook to provide search results since 2008. Microsoft Live Search came to be known as Bing following the initiation of the partnership. In 2010, Facebook and Bing partnered to offer socially-oriented search results: ‘People Search’ and ‘Liked by your Facebook Friends’ information appeared in results within Facebook and on Bing.com.

In May 2012, Bing launched a social sidebar feature which displayed Facebook content alongside of search results. Promoted on the basis of asking friends for advice, the feature allows users to broadcast queries related to their searches to Facebook friends, and offers recommendations of Facebook friends, as well as experts from other networks who could be capable of offering insight.

The previously developed Instant Personalization feature integrated friends’ publicly available information, such as likes, into content on other external websites, such as Rotten Tomatoes and Yelp.

The emergence of the Graph Search feature builds on this partnership. Facebook content remains on Bing.com. The focus of Graph Search is internal content, but Bing continues to issue search results of external content. The external search results are based on traditional keyword-match.

The Open Graph feature allows developers to integrate their applications and pages into the Facebook platform, and links Facebook with external sites on the Internet. The feature operates by allowing the addition of metadata to turn websites into graph objects. Actions made using the app are expressed on users’ profile pages.

Nokia Announces New Lumia Smartphones – Lumia 920 and Lumia 820


Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia has officially announced its flagship Windows Phone 8 device on Wednesday in the form of Nokia Lumia 920. Featuring the latest generation Qualcomm processor, Nokia Lumia 920 comes with 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display, Wireless charging support and 2000 mAH battery.

The smartphones comes with one-piece polycarbonate body and will be available in yellow, red, white, grey, and black colour options.

As expected the new Lumia 920 will come with PureView technology, but it is no Nokia 808, and only features an 8.7 megapixel sensor. However, there is a big positive in the form of dedicated camera button, which is so-often missed from current generation of smartphones.

Other features of the smartphone include 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 1.2MP front camera, and Micro-USB port.

On the Windows Phone 8 front, the smartphone will have access to Internet Explorer 10, full Nokia location suite, improved business grade security, deeper integration with PC, and a revamped start screen with resizable tiles and more personalisation options. 

Nokia has not revealed any details about pricing or the exact availability of the smartphone, which is expected to go on sale later this year.

Nokia Lumia 920 key specs

  • 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display with 1280x768p resolution
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU
  • NFC
  • 2000 mAh battery
  • 8.7MP Pureview rear camera
  • 1.2MP front camera
  • Wireless charging
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Micro-USB port

Nokia Lumia 820

The new smartphones features 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 dual-core processor, 4.3-inch Clearblack display and 8GB of internal storage. Lumia 820 will also come with microSD card support, 8MP rear camera, VGA front camera, NFC and Windows Phone 8 OS.

Similar to Lumia 920, the mid-range Lumia 820 will sport the full suite of Nokia location apps, and Citi Lens AR application.

Coming to the OS specific features, Windows Phone 8 on Lumia 820 offers Internet Explorer 8, deeper integration with PC, revamped start screen with resizable tiles and improved business grade security.

The smartphone will be available in red, yellow, grey, cyan, purple, white and black colour options.

Nokia has not revealed any details about pricing or the exact availability of the smartphone, which is expected to go on sale later this year.

Nokia Lumia 820 key specs

  • 4.3-inch ClearBlack OLED display with 800x480p resolution
  • Windows Phone 8
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB internal memory
  • Support for microSD card
  • 8MP rear camera with dual LED flash
  • VGA front camera
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi
  • 1650 mAh battery

Source : NDTV.

Samsung ATIV S – First Windows Phone 8 device


The Korean giant  announced the world’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the Samsung ATIV S. The news is quite surprising, as the industry was expectingNokia (because of their exclusive partnership with Microsoft), to be the first company to reveal a Windows Phone 8 device, at their September 5 press conference.

As expected, the next generation of Windows Phone devices would finally bring current generation hardware to the platform, and the 8.7mm-thick Samsung ATIV S doesn’t disappoint – it seems to be the device codenamed Odyssey we’d seen last month in leaked Samsung court documents, when Samsung had also launched the Windows Phone 7.5-based Omnia M. It features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED Gorilla Glass 2 display with a 1,280×720 pixel resolution, a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait (MSM8960) processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear autofocus camera with LED flash and 1080p HD recording, along with a 1.9MP front camera.

The Windows Phone 8-based Samsung ATIV S will come in 16 or 32GB storage variants. Connectivity options include 3G (HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot & DLNA functionality, Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP, NFC, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, stereo FM radio with RDS, and microUSB. Weighing in at 135 grams, the ATIV S is powered by a rather large 2,300 mAh battery.

On paper, the Samsung ATIV S looks like a capable device to usher in the Windows Phone 8 platform, and with the hardware finally catching, we are eager to see what other manufacturers, especially Nokia, will bring to the table. For now, the pricing and release date of the Samsung ATIV S haven’t been revealed. Stay tuned for more IFA 2012 coverage, including Samsung’s Windows 8 and RT tablets, called the ATIV Tab, ATIV Smart PC, and ATIV Smart PC Pro.

The 4-inch Samsung Windows Phone 8 device codenamed Marco should be unveiled soon as well.

Image and News Courtesy : Thinkdigit.

Customize Windows 8


Microsoft’s operating system isn’t even fully released yet, but we’ve already got plenty to go on with Windows 8 Release Preview (and, if you’re a developer, Windows 8 RTM) to have a good idea about the many ways the new OS can be dolled up. In fact, one of the standout revelations of RTM was the new “tattoos” that can add personalized flourishes to your Start screen background.

The new tattoos are only the latest additions to the many personalizations Windows 8 already boasted in previous pre-releases. In fact, the very first choice in Windows 8’s PC settings page is “Personalize,” where you can make the lock screen, your account picture, and start screen reflect your own style.

Windows 8 also inherits many of the customization options that were available in Windows 7—in the newer OS’s desktop mode. Not only can you choose a desktop background, screensaver, and system sounds, but you can also take advantage of downloadable Themes, including some that are dynamically updated throughout the day. And you can now sync your customizations among all Windows 8 PCs you sign into.

There are even already some third-party tools that offer Windows 8 customizations, but since there’s so much you can do with nothing but the OS’s built-in tools, this collection will concentrate on just those. If you haven’t already downloaded the Windows 8 Release Preview, you can do so and install it on any computer capable of running Windows 7.

1. Lock Screen Picture
1. Lock Screen Picture
The first thing you see when you power up your Windows 8 PC or tablet is the lock screen. This is a familiar concept for smartphone users, but it’s a new one for PCs. Let the first thing you see be something you love. Windows 8 RTM has six cool choices for this. The default is a Seattle scene showing the Space Needle a mountain, and a green hill. The other contrasting and appealing options include a honeycomb, a nautilus, a piano keyboard, train tracks in a city, and prisms of color. To get to this option, simply choose the Settings charm from the Start screen, Change PC settings, Personalize, and then Lock screen.
2. Lock Screen Apps
2. Lock Screen Apps
The lock screen isn’t just a static picture waiting for you to log in: In addition to indicating battery level and the date and time, it can display useful information such as the number of email messages awaiting you, the current weather, and calendar appointments and reminders. Not only built-in apps have the ability to display pithy information on the lock screen, but third-party apps like Twitter clients and messaging apps can, too. You can also specify an app that will display detailed status on the lock screen. The only default choices for this in RTM were Weather and Calendar.
3. Start Screen Color and Tattoos
3. Start Screen Color and Tattoos
From its first pre-release version, Windows 8 offered a few background and foreground color combinations for the Start screen, and this is the first choice you make on your first run of the OS after installation. With Release Preview, Windows 8 offers 25 different color combinations for your Start screen—enough for every taste. Note your color choice also affects the charms, your tattoo choice, and even the Windows logo itself, which has been redesigned to be color-agnostic.

Prior to the arrival of Windows 8 RTM, you could grace the background of your Start screen tiles with a few mild patterns, but with RTM, the choices for these “tattoos” exploded into phantasmagorias of design and color. The milder options are still available, but now you have 20 total tattoos to choose from, with some real doozies among them, some sporting flowers, planets, gears, guitars, or creatures. The selection could now truly be considered artistic. To get to this option, simply choose the Settings charm from the Start screen, Change PC settings, Personalize, and then Start screen.

4. Tile Sizes
4. Tile Sizes
One of the first things you’ll notice on the Windows 8 Start screen is that some of the app tiles are twice as wide as others. Don’t agree with the default sizes? No problem. Just right-click on a tile (or hold your finger on it and drag up or down if your using a touchscreen), to display the tile options. If the tile is the larger size, you’ll see a “Smaller” button, and vice versa for a large tile. Other choices here include unpinning the tile from the start menu, uninstalling the app, and turning off its live updates.

5. Group and Re-arrange Tiles
5. Group and Re-arrange Tiles
There are plenty of ways to arrange your Start screen tiles to taste: Simply click and drag a tile to change its position on the screen (or hold and drag on a touchscreen). For more global changes, you can pinch to zoom out (or Ctrl-mouse wheel), making your whole screen shrink, with all tiles on multiple screens visible. From this view, you can move and even name groups of tiles.

6. Account Picture

6. Account Picture
In Windows 8, your user picture is always starting up at you from your login screen and from the top-right of the start screen. Why not have a good one? From the PC Settings/Personalize page’s Account picture tab, you can either shoot a photo from the PC’s built-in webcam, or choose any image file in a folder on the PC.
7. Customize Your Default Apps
7. Customize Your Default Apps
Microsoft’s incipient operating system comes with several new-style apps, which you can modify to your own needs and interests. Four in particular lend themselves to customization—News, Finance, Sports, and Weather (of course). As with most new-style Windows 8 apps, you get to the customizations by right clicking on the program’s running screen, or, if you’re using a touchscreen, by swiping in from the top or up from the bottom of the display. With any of these apps, you can pin a particular set of content to the Start screen, rather than just the general app. For example, in the Sports app, you can pin a version just for your favorite team.
8. Notifications
8. Notifications
Windows 8 features new “toast” notifications that appear temporarily at top-right when an app or the system has a message for you: For example, an app has successfully been installed, or you’ve received and instant message. From the Settings Charm, choose Change PC settings, then Notifications. From this settings page, you can turn on and off notifications from every app capable of sending them, or turn all off at once. You can also mute the notification sound if you prefer.
9. Desktop background
9. Desktop background
A fair portion of the desktop customizations that existed under Windows 7 remain in Windows 8’s desktop mode. You can change the background (aka “wallpaper”), color, sounds, and screensaver. There are still Themes, including some with live-updated RSS themes (the ones featuring the wonderful daily Bing photos are favorites). What’s new are that your theme choices here can be synced with any other Windows 8 PC you log into.
10. Taskbar Options
10. Taskbar Options
The Windows 8 desktop taskbar has been flattened—no more 3D translucent Aero look and feel—but you can still do a lot to customize it. Just right click on the taskbar, and choose Properties. Nearly all of the old reliable Windows 7 options are still available. You can change its position from the bottom to the top or either side, auto-hide it, change to small buttons, and uncombined a program’s windows. You can even add toolbars to the taskbar for addresses, links, the touch keyboard, or for Desktop. This last one will be of great interest to those who lament the loss of the dear departed Start Button—it gives access to not only any desktop icons, but also Libraries, My Computer, Control Panel, and more.
Picture and News Source Thinkdigit.

Microsoft: First Nokia Windows Phone to launch next week


According to recent reports, Microsoft has confirmed that Nokia would be launching its first Windows Phone device next week, tying in with expectations of the first Nokia Windows Phone being introduced to the world at the Nokia World event beginning on the 26th of October. Also expected on a similar timescale is the retail availability of the first Windows Phone 7.5 Mango devices from Samsung.

Andy Lees, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division, spoke about how Nokia would help Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 get a foot in the smartphone market, at the All Things Digital AsiaD conference in Hong Kong:

“We are very excited about them being in the market. They have a lot of resources throughout the world and they will be a major accelerant to us.”

Lees added that Microsoft’s road map for Windows Phone was what convinced Nokia to place almost all its eggs in the one basket, and that Google was “very nervous” about the collaboration between the software and hardware giants:

“We’ve been working hard on building an architecture that allows us to leapfrog our competitors by using the best components available.”

Microsoft is looking at the United States, Europe and China (the world’s biggest mobile phone market) as its top markets for the new WP7.5 (Mango) devices, but also has high hopes for emerging markets, especially in the face of low-cost handsets:

“As the price comes down, emerging markets do become a huge opportunity, but also the existing markets in western Europe and the U.S., because as the price point comes down, more people will get into the smartphone market.”

China so far hasn’t officially received its first Windows Phone devices, and Microsoft says it will launch in that highly competitive market by early next year.

So far, Windows Phone Mango has already hit the Indian market in the form of the HTC Radar. Other Mango devices to have been launched globally include the Fujitsu IS12T in Japan.