AV-Comparatives Ranks Microsoft Security Essentials as Best-Performing Free Antivirus

Anti-malware testing group AV-Comparatives.org not only gave Microsoft Security Essentials a top rating for malware removal, but now they’ve given it their best ranking in their performance test as well.

AV-Comparatives.org ran a series of real-world tests running through common scenarios like downloading, extracting, copying, and encoding files, installing and launching applications, and they also ran through an automated testing suite as well. Once the dust had settled, it became clear that not only is MSE one of only three products that both blocks and removes malware well, but it’s also very light on system resources.

Out of all the products tested, Microsoft Security Essentials was the best-performing free antivirus solution, and one of only two that received “very fast” on each of the real-world tests, earning it their top award: an “advanced+” ranking. We’ve been telling you for a while that you don’t need to pay for Windows security, and now with MSE ranked alongside the top paid apps in both malware removal and performance, you might want to consider making the switch.

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Hit the AV-Comparatives link for the full report in PDF form, or check out the PC Mag story for the overview—if you can deal with some irritating in-text ads.

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Performance Tests [AV-Comparatives]
AV-Comparatives Rates Anti-Malware Performance [PC Mag via @edbott]

via Lifehacker.

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Windows 7 USB Download Tool Lets You Install Windows from a Thumb Drive

If you’re trying to install Windows 7 on a netbook (or are having issues with your PC’s optical drive), the free USB Download Tool from Microsoft allows you to take a .ISO image and turn it into a bootable flash drive.

This was created not only for netbook users, but for anyone that opted to download Windows 7 from Microsoft in lieu of ordering an installation DVD. Windows 7 USB Download Tool can create a bootable flash drive (or DVD, if you prefer) from the downloaded .ISO file in quick fashion—just install it and follow the on-screen prompts. Note that if you opt to use a flash drive, it must be 4GB or larger to hold all the files.

The coolest part: Microsoft has open sourced this little app. Why, you ask? They got a bit of flak early on in the project for re-using open-source code and improperly documenting it (as well as making the program itself closed source), but true to their word that it was only a mistake, it’s been brought back and declared open source for all to use. So if you still haven’t gotten Windows 7 installed on that netbook of yours, head on over to CodePlex, Microsoft’s open-source repository, and download the tool now.

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Family Guy Windows 7 Clips: Microsoft smartly did not run these

WOW – lame excuses for ads.  It’s no secret the Microsoft is constantly destroyed in the ad space. Apple always seems to one up them… in an attempt at hipness they teamed up with Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy to do a spot promoting Windows 7. To their credit they did NOT run these, to their discredit, they released them on YouTube.

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EvilMaid versus Full Disk Encryption (TrueCrypt and PGP)

The Evil Maid Attack is an attack type against whole system disk encryption in a form of a small bootable USB stick image that allows to perform the attack in an easy “plug-and-play” way. The whole infection process takes about 1 minute, and it’s well suited to be used by hotel maids.

The Invisible Things blog goes into great detail on how most whole disk encryption is vulnerable in a relatively simple way. The scenario we consider is when somebody left an encrypted laptop e.g. in a hotel room. Let’s assume the laptop uses full disk encryption like e.g. this provided by TrueCrypt or PGP Whole Disk Encryption. Many people believe, including some well known security experts, that it is advisable to fully power down your laptop when you use full disk encryption in order to prevent attacks via FireWire/PCMCIA or ”Coldboot” attacks.  So, let’s assume we have a reasonably paranoid user, that uses a full disk encryption on his or her laptop, and also powers it down every time they leave it alone in a hotel room, or somewhere else.

Now, this is where our Evil Maid stick comes into play. All the attacker needs to do is to sneak into the user’s hotel room and boot the laptop from the Evil Maid USB Stick. After some 1-2 minutes, the target laptop’s gets infected with Evil Maid Sniffer that will record the disk encryption passphrase when the user enters it next time. As any smart user might have guessed already, this part is ideally suited to be performed by hotel maids, or people pretending to be them.

So, after our victim gets back to the hotel room and powers up his or her laptop, the passphrase will be recorded and e.g. stored somewhere on the disk, or maybe transmitted over the network (not implemented in current version).

Now we can safely steal/confiscate the user’s laptop, as we know how to decrypt it. End of story.

[Read more…]

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