March, 2011

  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Fighting for a safer internet

    This time last week, a million computers infected with malicious software were sending an estimated at 50%-70% of all spam email worldwide at a rate of up to 3,000 spam emails per second. These infected computers made up a "botnet" called Rustock which has been operating for several years. Many of the emails were scams designed to cheat people out of their money by telling them they had won a fake lottery, or offering fake medications. 

    Last Thursday morning (NZ time), Microsoft led a take-down of the Rustock "botnet" by seizing dozens of computers that were controlling it. Immediately traffic from the "botnet" plummeted from thousands of spam emails per second to just single digits. The take-down was a decisive success.  

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Enhancing privacy choices on the Internet

    As we browse the internet, we read, search, and click. This online behaviour has commercial value, so it is observed, recorded and linked across multiple websites to build behavioural profiles. There are usually no obvious visible signs of this tracking on the websites we visit, although the advertising, maps and other content we see on websites is often provided by organisations other than the website operator and what we see may be based on a behavioural profile. Many people find it useful that websites are automatically tailored to them, but others may prefer not to have their activities on the web tracked in this way.

    One study found a commonly used website that has more than 200 tracking technologies from other organisations being used to track behaviour on that site. If you'd like to have a look for yourself at some of the tracking that is going on behind the scenes, load a favourite website and then have look at the "Webpage privacy policy" section in your web browser (under the View menu in Internet Explorer). Depending on the site you loaded, you may well see a number of elements have been loaded in the background from other websites.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Aspiring to technology that adapts to your needs

    Software makes life easier and keeps us connected. But many people experience barriers to using technology. We all know that even a passing circumstance like loud music can make it that much harder to understand an important voicemail.

    When it’s not so easy to hear that voicemail, clever software might let us read it. When it’s not easy to see the screen, wouldn’t it be magical if a computer's electronic brain could increase the contrast? And if we prefer talking to our computer rather than pressing buttons, it's nice have a choice.

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