Thursday, November 15, 2007

Microsoft promotes campaign to promote parental controls, safe use of XBox 360


Today Microsoft ran print ads in newspapers about its partnerships in promoting parental controls and responsible use of its products, especially its XBox 360 games and the new features in Vista. The relevant article is “Safety Is No Game. Is Your Family Set?” Campaign Kicks Off Second Year" here, with a Q&A by Robbie Bach. A related posting is this.

Of particular concern is limiting "screen time" since children need outdoor physical activity and because fast moving images are now considered harmful to children under the age of 2.

Voluntary parental controls are considered essential to ward off attempts at government censorship (such as COPA, discussed on a separate blog), and they go far beyond simplistic ideas like adult-id schemes proposed by COPA.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Microsoft security download site -- is there an imitator out there?


These comments are relative to Windows XP Home and Pro. I don’t have Vista yet.

Often, the shield for Microsoft automatic updates times out at 0% when downloading. I then will go to the Microsoft.com site. The site navigates to security (panel on right side) and then home (box in middle) and then Protect Your Computer. The site requires Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher and will not work with Mozilla.

Today, I tried a shortcut Microsoft.com/security and got a different looking site that, when I placed the cursor on links, appeared to lead to other places. So I did not proceed. If someone is imitating Microsoft with a misspelling (it didn’t look like I misspelled), I am surprised that the McCafee site advisor didn’t catch it.

So I went back to the Microsoft home page, navigated (in IE 7.0) from one panel to the next, ran the computer scan and download and install and restarted the machine without any problems. Sometimes the automatic download has run, and the installs are done before logging off (before Windows will sign the machine off) – not a good thing if you have to go right to work.

I don’t know if someone is imitating Microsoft for fake downloads, but if someone knows, they may comment. (Please stay on topic; comments are moderated.)

If, as a visitor, you are Microsoft or McCafee, Cert, or another security company, you may want to look into this quickly, if there is a new threat