Archives for: "June 2009"

Microsoft Security Essentials MD5 and SHA-1 hashes

I've been getting a few e-mails from people asking where they can download MSE now that Microsoft have closed off the beta. The short answer is I don't know.

I can tell you the MD5 and SHA-1 hashes, so you can at least make sure you can get a copy that hasn't been tampered with if you're that keen on using it.

There's three installers:

mssefullinstall-amd64fre-en-us-vista.exe (3.72MB) which is the installer for Windows Vista and Windows 7 64-bit, its hashes are as follows:

MD5: D460B3A5116FF1DB2CFA69ACA80DF8C0
SHA-1: B5E7FC24FCD646EFCAE3457DB7D7FC48E648AE23

mssefullinstall-x86fre-en-us-vista.exe (4.72MB) is the installer for Windows Vista and Windows 7 32-bit.

MD5: 4C9AC845F5FD5547FC522035FA251F00
SHA-1: 7986596458E37EF8875A9DDAC0AE9AAC9A41E936

mssefullinstall-x86fre-en-us-xp.exe (7.51MB) is the installer for Windows XP 32-bit.

MD5: 7F9D0DE36B6673974D4D6BD6F5731D89
SHA-1: F273DA4CC2EECFBF0C97B2B0701399A20EC5B7AA

So if you are going to go to any lengths to get hold of it, at least get one which hasn't been modified to include any unwanted surprises.

He'll be back - as Zombie Micheal Jackson

If there's one thing I learnereded from his work, its that zombies are people too.

Another garden Photosynth

Took some pictures a few days ago. Here's the Photosynth.

You can press P to toggle the point cloud/images on and off. I've just got a 4GB CF card, weather permitting I'll start work on the biggest Photosynth ever. :)

Symantec stepping up the FUD over Microsoft Security Essentials

As expected Symantec (the makers of Norton, the most popular anti-virus/security suite software) are a tad nervous over Microsoft Security Essentials, and with the number of technology enthusiasts they've scorned over the years they've got every reason to fear a backlash now, so they're upping the FUD campaign from level 1, they're not concerned about MSE, to level 2, stating that its rubbish and won't protect you.

From the BBC:

"Early reviews of the beta are showing that it under-performs when compared to existing freeware products, and well below paid solutions," said security firm Symantec in a statement.

I'm not sure what reviews Symantec are talking about, but I haven't read any data on MSE's performance yet, nor should we expect any for weeks, if not months as that's how long it takes to actual do proper scientific tests.  It does however use the same core engine and definitions as OneCare and Forefront, so the logical thing to do would be to use data evaluating OneCare's performance.

The latest tests by AV-Comparatives, rank OneCare second in detection of new malware, but also importantly it scores the lowest false positives by far, meaning it won't detect genuine files as being malicious.  Which is what led AV Comparatives to award it the highest ranking.  Here's the data for new malware detection rates.  Where's Symantec, oh right down the bottom with a dismal 35%.

Avira AntiVir Premium 69%
Windows Live OneCare 60%
Eset Nod32 56%
BitDefender 50%
AVG Anti-Virus 45%
Avast Professional 42%
Sophos Anti-Virus 37%
Symantec Norton 35%
McAfee VirusScan Plus 25%
F-Secure Anti-Virus 14%

For a good couple of years now OneCare/Forefront has been well above average on detection rates for new malware and on false positives.  MSE using the same engine will continue this trend, and if anything improve it as it will give Microsoft a larger sample size to create new definitions on.

What else do Symantec have to say?

"Referring to Microsoft's basic anti-virus and anti-spyware product as an essential security solution is misleading. Consumers need firewall protection, web protection, anti-spam and identity safeguards"

1) Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a built in firewall which is turned on by default. :-)
2) Internet Explorer 7 and 8, and Firefox and other browsers have web protection, i.e. blacklists of known malicious or phishing/identity-stealing websites. :-)
3) Everyone's e-mail, either web-based like Hotmail or Gmail, or their e-mail clients, Windows Mail, Outlook etc all have built in spam filters nowadays. :-)

Seriously Symantec, you're not doing yourself any favours.  Microsoft Security Essentials is the most non-annoying consumer anti-virus ever, not only that it also has one of the best detection engines out there.

Microsoft Security Essentials beta now live

The beta for Microsoft Security Essentials is now available from Connect, or find your way there from the official homepage.

Highly recommended.

Codename Morro - now Security Essentials

Neowin has some details on codename Morro, now called Microsoft Security Essentials - rumoured to go into a public beta form soon.

You can clearly see how this was built upon the excellent anti-spyware software Windows Defender that Microsoft included with Windows Vista (and made a free download for Windows XP), you can see it even more clearly in earlier builds.

Hopefully this will be everything the PC ecosystem needs it to be. Windows Defender + anti-virus. Windows Defender was really a breath of fresh air, it showed anti-malware manufacturers how the job should be done. It's fast, it doesn't complain about updating itself - it just does it. It doesn't blast open windows telling you its running a scan - it just does it. The only remotely annoying thing would be a tray-icon appearing after three days if the computer hadn't been on to run a scan - a tray-icon that doesn't even exist the rest of the time.

Compare that with the likes of Norton and McAfee who just put bucket loads of junk all over your system, Norton toolbar in IE, Norton this and that in the Control Panel, all over the Start Menu and in the system tray. Let's not even talk about the performance hit - which is extreme and how they're constantly bugging you.

It looks like Microsoft Security Essentials will basically disable and replace Windows Defender on a system, it will take up the job of anti-malware in general - another good thing, having two separate scanners for anti-virus and another for anti-spyware is a bad performance hit. Having one resident scanner scanning for everything is much better.

Hopefully they keep things that way and continue to follow in the steps of Windows Defender, and not fall along the path of OneCare, Norton and McAfee, of being more annoying than the malware they're supposed to protect you against.

So far so good. Now I just need the beta so I have time to complain about things before it ships to the world, and if done right, massively shakes up PC security forever.

Loony astrologer tells scientists to ask the Moon's permission before crashing things into it

The stupidity of some people is often hard to grasp, especially when you've got those good old wacky astrologers/shamans/priestess of something or other like Satya Harvey (real name Ann) - I ain't gonna link to it because I'm not increasing the ad revenue, but you can search for her and probably find what I'm talking about, or go through the link below to a related article which links to it.

This is what she said in regards to the successful completion of Japan's lunar orbiter Kaguya, which finished its mission by impacting the lunar surface a couple of days ago.

In many traditions, including astrology, the moon represents the feminine. It is the yin, the intuitive, the emotions. Women are connected to the moon by their menstrual cycles while they are fertile, and all beings, including the earth herself, are affected by the pull of the tides.

Did these scientists talk to the moon? Tell her what they were doing? Ask her permission? Show her respect?

Yes and in other, less whacky traditions the Moon is a 3474km wide ball of rock. We can talk to it all day and never get a response.

Honestly, and to think this loon is conning money out of people for her astrology shaman rubbish.

Hat tip to Patricia Phillips writing on the same website making sure those whacky new age types know it's nonsense.

Not a good night for Party of European Socialists

Doesn't look terribly good for the Party of European Socialists. We should have made gains.

Why?

Because the socialists have failed to promote a socialist agenda. It's time for something a bit more radical - broad nationalisation - without compensation, about bringing entire sectors of the economy under workers' control - and about freeing the press from capital.

US President Obama needs a history lesson

Oh dear, this old fairy tale again.

It is the tale of the British people, whose courage during the Blitz forced Hitler to call off the invasion of England Britain (thanks, we know the US has long tried to destroy our union, pack it in).

Hitler never intended to invade Britain, nor did he want a war with Britain.

Britain turned down many offers of peace from 1939 till 1941. Heck even as late as 1943 when Churchill was asked by a reporter while going to meet Roosevelt in Quebec if they had considered offering peace terms with Germany he replied "heavens, no. They would accept immediately". They just weren't interested in war with other powers in western Europe, even France's terms of surrender were light - calling for French neutrality in the war, and allowing Germany to occupy northern France to continue the war with Britain, the south of France, its empire largely business as usual. After getting back from Paris, Hitler made it pretty clear the USSR would be next, it was only due to the sanity of his generals that this was delayed until 1941.

The Nazis regarded France and Britain, and their empires as equals. Unlike the Slavic people in central and eastern Europe and those Bolsheviks in Moscow, who's lands would form the basis of a new German empire.

It's unfortunate how history is trivialised, and sound-bited, how easily and readily some powers go to war, and how the actual material conditions that cause war are so poorly understood by so many, brushed aside by vague generalisations and half-truths. Just like dismissing the Nazis and a sizable chunk of the German population as racist, blood thirsty war-mongering un-human monsters means you can't understand the material conditions that resulted in their movement, how they were played by other western powers to stamp out socialism in Germany. Nor can one understand the similarities between the Nazis in the 1930s, and the BNP today, and even some of the policies of UKIP, and why such policies, such an ideology is fundamentally anti-human, unprogressive and frankly utterly backward.

History is not so simple, and it can be better served by not inventing German invasions of Britain and downplaying how badly the British ruling class wanted war. All that without mentioning how the USSR always gets a raw deal these days - a country and a people who contributed 50 or a 100 times more than the western powers did towards defeating the Nazis are barely mentioned.