Archive for January, 2014

Microsoft retains weapon to silently scrub XP

Will automatically push malware cleanup tool to Windows XP until July 2015

Microsoft will be able to silently reach into Windows XP PCs for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS to clean malware-infected machines, sources close to the company confirmed Friday.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) will continue to be updated and deployed via Windows Update through July 14, 2015, 15 months after the Redmond, Wash. company serves its final public security patches for XP on April 8 of this year.

By extending the life of the MSRT — and more importantly, automatically running it each month — Microsoft will be able to clean some PCs if massive malware outbreaks hit Windows XP after it’s retired from support.

MSRT is updated monthly as Microsoft targets one or more major malware families it believes are the biggest current threats. The tool is posted for manual download on Microsoft’s website and distributed through the Windows Update service on “Patch Tuesday,” the second Tuesday of each month when Microsoft pushes security patches to customers running still-supported editions of Windows. MSRT automatically installs on PCs with Automatic Updates enabled, and then runs a seek-and-destroy mission in the background without any action on the part of the user.

MSRT is not an antivirus program, but rather a cleaning utility designed to eradicate malware that has already snuck onto a Windows PC. The tool was first released in 2005, but was last updated Jan. 14, 2014, when Microsoft added detection and deletion capabilities for the “Bladabindi” malware family.

The extension of MSRT availability was part of the firm’s decision earlier this month to offer new anti-malware signatures to XP customers who run the company’s free Security Essentials antivirus (AV) software.

Previously, Microsoft said it would stop shipping Security Essentials’ signature updates to XP PCs after April 8. But in a tacit nod to XP’s widespread use, Microsoft postponed the cut-off until July 14, 2015.

With MSRT, Microsoft will have a weapon at the ready in case widespread malware infections strike XP machines after April 8, something the company has said is likely. If new malware pops up, or an older virus, worm or Trojan horse begins infecting large numbers of Windows XP systems — perhaps because they exploited a vulnerability that will never be patched — Microsoft can at least use the MSRT to try to disinfect those PCs.

Extending MSRT’s life on XP will not only help customers still running the 13-year-old OS, but is also smart for Microsoft, which could face a public relations backlash if large numbers of compromised Windows XP machines are used by hackers to infect other devices running Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Although Microsoft has not stopped urging customers to dump XP, it has recognized that millions of machines will continue to run the ancient OS for months and maybe even years to come.

According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP’s user share — the percentage of all personal computer owners who went online with that OS — stood at 29% at the end of December 2013. Computerworld has predicted that about 20% of all personal computers will be running the operating system at the end of 2014.

Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-Test, a German company that evaluates security software, said Microsoft’s decision to continue providing signatures for Security Essentials was prompted by the still-large numbers of PCs running XP.

“It’s a significant move, which is likely driven by the (still) high market share for Windows XP, especially in countries like China or India, as well as the millions of users who are using Security Essentials as anti-virus protection on Windows XP,” said Marx in an email reply to questions earlier this month.

Security Essentials has performed poorly in AV-Test’s recent exams, and Marx cautioned users who plan to reply on it to keep their systems safe after Microsoft stops patching XP. “[Security Essentials] is baseline protection and well-suited for people who are not often using the Internet,” Marx said. “But if you’re online quite often and for long times, if you do financial transactions with your system and the like, I would strongly recommend switching to a commercial security suite.”

Most antivirus vendors will continue to provide customers running Windows XP with up-to-date signatures for years after Microsoft pulls the patch plug in April.

Kaspersky, BitDefender and Avira — the last is free — were the top-scoring consumer antivirus programs for Windows XP in AV-Test’s latest head-to-head comparisons. For business PCs, Kaspersky, Symantec and Trend Micro ranked 1-2-3.

Instructions for turning on XP’s Automatic Updates can be found on Microsoft’s support site, along with a “Fixit” tool that takes care of the chore with a single click.



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Android invades the enterprise

How three companies are coping — even thriving — amid the Android explosion.

As the little green robot known as Android wends its way into the enterprise, it’s teaching useful lessons that are reshaping corporate attitudes toward the BYOD movement.

Analysts and CIOs say the multifaceted nature of the mobile operating system is forcing companies to make key decisions about what they will, and won’t, control in bring-your-own-device programs — and those decisions are in turn cascading across all operating systems and devices.

+ Also at NetworkWorld: 2014 Tech Industry Outlook +

While Google’s operating system has far surpassed Apple’s iOS in worldwide mobile market share — Android had more than 79% of the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013, while iOS fell to 13%, according to IDC — Apple still dominates the enterprise. According to a June 2013 activation report from mobile software maker Good Technology, 75% of the mobile activations at Good’s Fortune 500 clients were for iOS devices.

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Cool robotics could be boon for the boring kind

Google, Amazon investments in robotics have software robot firm Blue Prism pumped

After agreeing recently to meet with a U.K.-based company called Blue Prism, I started studying up by visiting the outfit’s website, which touts something called robotic automation technology. Imagine my surprise to learn, however, that this really had nothing to do computerized machines, but rather software robots designed to automate repetitive back-office processes in finance, human resources and other areas.

The term software robots is something Blue Prism CEO Alastair Bathgate hopes will become increasingly clear to people though, in part through attention Google is bringing to the topic through its swelling investments in robotics of both the hardware and software variety. He points to Google’s work in the area of software robots to help with people’s use of social media networks, such as by guiding the tone of your posts on LinkedIn vs. Twitter.

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“Google is talking about hardware robots as well as software robots, and if Google is talking about that, it gives me some confidence that we might be on the right track,” says Bathgate, a financial industry veteran who is no one-trick pony (read his wine blog here).

Bathgate adds that the buzz around Amazon’s investments in delivery drones is further bringing robotics talk to the forefront, and he figures that company is likely to invest in software robots to handle back-end processes as well.

What’s more, efforts such as the Institute for Robotic Automation hatched last month by The Outsourcing Institute’s Frank Casale could give software robotics an even higher profile. Some industry watchers, such as Horses for Sources, have dubbed a likely move by organizations to software robots as “Robotistan.”

The 30-employee Blue Prism has been around since 2001 but over the past few years has been marketing its business process outsourcing tools and methodologies using the term “robotic automation” to describe the offloading of mundane tasks from employees so that they can focus instead on customer service and other processes that benefit from a human touch. “There’s a lot of menial work being done by people that shouldn’t be,” Bathgate says. “There’s a lot of work should isn’t being done that should be done by human beings.” He differentiates the sort of tasks Blue Prism can help to automate from those handled by ERP and CRM tools that need to deal with a lot of case-by-case exceptions that are not easily automated.

The company largely sells to lines of business in retail, financial and other industries, though requires IT buy-in given that its software sits on secure virtual machines in back-end data centers or the cloud.

Blue Prism’s technology also holds promise to automate IT-related processes, such as helpdesk requests, and has one partnership in place on that front that it plans to announce next week. “I’m not sure why humans are even involved in service desks, it’s pure rules-based response,” Bathgate says.

Bathgate, who is making the rounds in the U.S. as Blue Prism seeks to grow its presence beyond its Miami office, positions the $5 million company’s technology as an alternative to physical nearshoring and offshoring of tasks and jobs.

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PMI-100 CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) Exam

You can monitor your Steelhead appliance disk performance using which reports? (Select 2)

A. Data Store Cost
B. Data Store Performance
C. Disk Load
D. SDR Hit
E. Disk Pressure
F. Disk Alarm

Answer: A,C


What happens to traffic when a Steelhead appliance reports admission control?

A. Traffic will be interrupted
B. The Steelhead stops the interception of new connections for optimization for as long as it is in
admission control
C. This is just a report and the Steelhead will continue to optimize traffic
D. The Steelhead will start optimizing faster any new connections
E. The Steelhead will shut down in less than a minute

Answer: B


Why should you use promiscuous mode on each in-path virtual NIC for Virtual Steelhead
appliance? (Select 2)

A. For LAN/WAN Virtual NICs to intercept traffic not destined for the virtual machine
B. This configuration is mandatory for traffic optimization
C. Promiscuous mode is not required
D. Only verbose mode should be configured
E. Only regular mode should be configured

Answer: A,B


What deployment type supports fail-to-wire?

A. Physical in-path
B. Virtual in-path
C. Out-of-path
D. Virtual Steelhead appliance
E. Proxy file server

Answer: A


Can you optimize FTP using Steelhead Mobile?

A. Yes, this is possible on all FTP modes
B. When using active FTP
C. When using passive FTP
D. It is not possible to optimize FTP traffic
E. Only when there is no firewall enabled

Answer: C


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VCA410-DT: VMware Certified Associate – Desktop

Click the Exhibit button.

A user is experiencing difficulties connecting to her desktop.
Based on the exhibit, what is the most likely cause of the user being unable to log in?
The desktop is suspended.

A. The administrator is already logged in.
B. The user is already logged in.
C. The desktop is off.

Answer: B


View Administrator shows a desktop pool with 100 remote and 20 local sessions displayed.
What does this indicate?

A. The pool has 20 sessions available for local users.
B. The pool has 120 users with sessions.
C. The pool has 120 sessions available for users.
D. The pool has 100 active sessions and 20 sessions available for users.

Answer: B


Which three error states are reported by View Administrator in the Problem Desktops tab?
(Choose three.)

A. persistent disk offline
B. replica not responding
C. stuck in provisioning
D. report ready, but not accepting connections
E. powered on but not responding

Answer: C,D,E


How can an administrator inform a pool user that a recompose will take place?

A. click on Users and Groups > select pool > click Send Message
B. click on Pools > select their pool > click Sessions tab > highlight user > click Send Message
C. click on Pools > highlight their pool > click More Commands > choose Send Message
D. click on Global Settings > click Edit > check Display warning before recompose > enter a

Answer: B


In a new floating linked-clone pool, a desktop shows a status of Provisioned.
What does this indicate?

A. The desktop is powered off and has been created, but needs to be customized.
B. The desktop is powered on and has been created, but needs to be customized.
C. The desktop is powered off and has been created and customized.
D. The desktop is powered on and has been created and customized.

Answer: C


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