Google - April 1, 2008

Published by hirantha at 5:51 AM under


Google announces a joint project with the Virgin Group that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars (http://www.google.com/virgle/index.html). This operation has been named Project Virgle. it also includes videos of Richard Branson as well as Larry Page & Sergey Brin on YouTube , talking about Virgle.


Google launches Dajare in Japan (google.co.jp), with the mission of "organizing the world’s laughter."


Google announces gDay in Australia (http://www.google.com.au/intl/en/gday/press.html), a new beta search technology that will search web pages 24 hours before they are created.

Google Dialect Translation

Google announces Google 사투리 번역 (Google dialect translation) for translating regional dialects of Korean to and from Standard Korean.

Gmail Custom Time

Around 11:00 p.m. EST March 31, 2008, on the newer and older version of Gmail, but not in the basic HTML version, in the upper right corner, next to Settings, a link appeared labeled, "New! Gmail Custom Time". The link led to a 404 error before April 1st CST. It now leads to their latest hoax, Gmail Custom Time . The page claimed a new Gmail feature had been added that would allow people to date stamp their emails in the past, allowing for all sorts of mischief. Users would be limited to 10 Custom Times a year to minimize the number of fraudulent emails. Clicking any of the three links at the bottom of the page brought the user to a page indicating that Gmail Custom time was, in fact, their April Fools prank for 2008.

Google Calendar is Feeling Lucky

Google added the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button to its calendar feature. When you tried to create a new event, you were given the regular option of entering the correct details and hitting "Create Event," and also the new option of "I'm Feeling Lucky" which would set you up with an evening date with, among others, Matt Damon, Eric Cartman, or Angelina Jolie.

Google Wake Up Kit

Google launched their "Wake Up Kit" as a calendar notification option. The option sends a series of increasingly aggressive alerts, starting with an SMS message to your cellphone, and ending with a bucket of water dumped into your bed, which would then flip over, tossing you out (all using apparently free equipment).

Google Docs

A little easter egg was added, where a user can click the file menu and directly under new document is "New Airplane" which immediately opens a copy of a Google branded paper airplane

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IE8 Readiness Toolkit

Published by Hirantha at 10:11 PM under Internet Explorer | Microsoft

With IE8 coming in the not so distant future, Microsoft describes what's new for developers in this Readiness page.


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Google Toolbar crashes IE 8

Published by hirantha at 9:19 PM under Microsoft | Google | Internet Explorer

Google toolbar crashes IE 8 when the user goes to certain web sites. It crashed for me when I visited http://my.ebay.ca  and  http://www.google.com/ig

Way to reproduce:

  • Install Google tool bar, in my case toolbar was installed when I upgraded.
  • go to http://www.google.com/ig Google toolbar gives you a crashed warning and takes IE with it.

Severity can be high if you had already set http://www.google.com/ig as your home page because you are stuck in an endless loop that can only be fixed if you uninstall the toolbar. Note that the crash doesn't occur if you are in Emulate IE7 mode.

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Hotmail suffers worldwide outage

Published by hirantha at 12:08 PM under

Hotmail users around the world are having trouble gaining access to their e-mail accounts as Microsoft Corp. wrestles with technical difficulties.

More info..




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Critical VMware security alert for Windows-hosted VMware client versions

Published by Hirantha at 12:33 PM under

During the last couple of years intensive security research has been performed on virtualization environments, like VMware, Virtual PC, XEN etc. It has been mainly focused on finding new ways to detect if you are running inside a virtual machine (vs. a native host), and finding ways to escape from a virtual machine to the host (or to another virtual machine).

This new VMware vulnerability discovered by Core means a full scape from the guest virtual machine to the host is possible: "On Windows hosts, if you have configured a VMware host-to-guest shared folder, it is possible for a program running in the guest to gain access to the host's complete file system and create or modify executable files in sensitive locations."

It has been rated as critical by VMware and it affects all VMware client products on Windows, that is:

  • VMware Workstation 6.0.2 and earlier, AND 5.5.4 and earlier

  • VMware Player 2.0.2 and earlier, AND 1.0.4 and earlier

  • VMware ACE 2.0.2 and earlier, AND 1.0.2 and earlier

VMware on Mac OS (Fusion) and Linux are not affected by it.

By default, the shared folders feature is disabled in Workstation 6, Player 2, and ACE 2. Workstation 5, Player 1, and ACE 1 enable the shared folders feature by default, but exploiting this vulnerability still requires at least one folder to be configured as shared between the host and guest.

The impact on production environments is supposed to be limited as they tend to use the server versions. However, we, as security professionals, make an extensive use of virtualization technologies for multiple purposes: malware analysis, incident response, forensics, security testing, training, etc, and we typically use the client  versions of the products, so... It is  time to disable the shared folder capabilities!!, as no update or patch is available yet:

Workaround (from the VMware advisory)

Until VMware releases a patch to fix this issue, users of affected Windows-hosted VMware products should disable shared folders.
To disable shared folders in the Global settings:

  1. From the VMware product's menu, choose Edit > Preferences.

  2. In the Workspace tab, under Virtual Machines, deselect the checkbox for Enable all shared folders by default.

To disable shared folders for the individual virtual machine settings:

  1. From the VMware product's menu, choose VM > Settings.

  2. In the Options tab, select Shared Folders and Disable.

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