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Exam 70-355 Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns (beta)

Exam 70-355
Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns (beta)

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

Recognize and apply a specified design pattern
Describe the relationship between architecture, design pattern, and framework
Recognize common architectures and when they should be used, recognize common design patterns and when a pattern can be applied to make programming tasks faster and easier

Describe traditional Microsoft .NET design patterns
Describe the Gang of Four design patterns, including creational patterns, structural patterns, and behavioral patterns; describe 3-tier/N-tier patterns; describe enterprise patterns; describe cloud design patterns; describe head first patterns; describe repository patterns; describe unit of work patterns

Apply the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) Prism pattern
Separate concerns, develop the views for the MVVM app, develop the view-models for the MVVM app, develop the models for the MVVM app, develop class interactions and data binding for the MVVM app

Develop app and business logic, code that interfaces with other line-of-business (LOB) apps, and LOB Server Services (AD, SP)

Develop code for app-specific processes and computations
Create an asynchronous method or process, managing the return value from an asynchronous method, debugging and error handling for an asynchronous method, develop storyboards and custom animations for an object, represent 3-D models as code objects, manage 2-D projections of 3-D objects, use Task, ThreadPool, and background transfers

Implement background tasks
Create a background task, register a background task, set and respond to triggers, debug a background task, implement a lock screen app, share data/events between an app and its background tasks; directly calling a background task

Manage app lifecycle events
Prepare for suspension, resume from suspension or termination, implement an extended splash screen, extend execution and monitor suspension errors

Implement interactions with other apps
Integrate a share contract to share content with another app, integrate contact and appointment functionality, implement mapping and navigation (geolocation, geofencing, and Bing Maps), exchange data/file between apps, including launch for result; use drag and drop

Implement notifications and Windows Push Notification Services (WNS)
Implement and manage notifications; support Live Tile updates, including toasts and badges, support Action Center and secondary tiles

Implement interactions with devices
Develop code for camera and microphone, including photo, video, and audio; implement screen capture; implement printing and Play To; integrate HoloLens sensors and services; support

wireless communication
Develop class libraries (code libraries, DLLs)
Naming assemblies, namespaces, types, and members in class libraries; using static and abstract classes, interfaces, enumerations, structures, and other types; designing and using properties, methods, constructors, fields, events, operators, and parameters; implementing extensibility mechanisms such as subclassing, using events, virtual members, and callbacks; designing, throwing, and catching exceptions

Develop code for implementing secure cloud data services and storage

Design and implement data roaming
Roaming user settings and preferences, roaming app session info
Design and implement a RESTful data solution (oData, JSON)
Using the ASP.NET Web API, implementing JSON serialization, adding a service reference to the project, using Windows.Web.Http.HttpClient objects
Design and implement Azure and cloud data sources
Implement offline data sync, implement caching, support OneDrive integration, implement file access and management (including File Picker and file access APIs), upload images to Azure Storage

Integrate Azure data services
Call a custom Cloud Service API from a client, schedule backend jobs in Mobile Services
Design and implement removable and embedded local data sources
Support SD card storage, implement SQLite on mobile devices

Develop code to implement authentication and business security requirements
Implement code to manage authentication and identity
Web authentication broker; Azure authentication; implement code to manage identity; implement biometric identity verification, including Windows Hello; implement Credential Locker, implement single sign-on
Implement code to manage authorization and access to resources
Implement authentication requests; authorize users and apps; manage authorization IDs; restrict access to resources, including data, files, folders, and devices
Implement cryptography within an app
Create cryptographic keys, hash and sign content, create message authentication codes, encrypt and decrypt data
Support enterprise security considerations
Implement security transparency, implement code access security, implement role-based security

Integrate cloud services and Azure App Service services
Build native and cross-platform apps using services
Integrate Azure App Service mobile app functionality within an existing mobile app, use a .NET client with Mobile Services, call a custom API from a client
Connect to your enterprise systems using services
Build a service that uses an existing SQL database, connect to an on-premises SQL Server from an Azure mobile service using hybrid connections, scale mobile services backed by Azure SQL database, authenticate your app with Active Directory Authentication Library single sign-on, add role-based access control to mobile services with Azure Active Directory, access Microsoft SharePoint on behalf of the user, schedule backend jobs in mobile services, troubleshoot a mobile services .NET backend
Connect to SaaS APIs using services
Implement single sign-on using credentials from third-party identity providers, build a service that uses MongoDB as a data store
Build offline-ready apps with sync using services
Allow employees to work offline when connectivity is not available, synchronize with your enterprise backend systems when devices comes back online, recover in the event of a disaster
Push notifications to users using services
Add push notifications to your app, send push notifications to authenticated users

Develop code that is maintainable and that supports app versioning, compatibility, and coexistence
Develop code using version control (TFVC or Git)
Develop code using a standardized coding convention, implement best practices for assembly versioning
Implement best practices for assemblies and side-by-side execution
Use strong-named assemblies, including version, culture, and publisher; use the GAC to provide version-aware storage; create an app that runs in isolation
Implement best practices for assembly placement and the GAC
Using an app configuration file, using codebases, providing a binding context



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The Rewards of Microsoft Certification


Microsoft certification is a vast combination of rich and varied spectrum of job and responsibilities. To successfully perform the critical IT function we should earn a specific credential providing objective validity of the ability. One of the most effective ways to reach a long-term career goal, which is even embraced by industry professionals worldwide, is Microsoft certification.


What are the benefits of achieving a Microsoft Certification?

Microsoft Certification enables you to keep your skills relevant, applicable, and competitive. In addition, Microsoft Certification is an industry standard that is recognized worldwide—which helps open doors to potential job opportunities. After you earn your Microsoft Certification, you have access to a multitude of benefits, which can be found on the MCP, MCT, or MOS member site.


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Advancing with long-term career goals Microsoft certification has helped countless IT professionals work more effectively. Individuals have started quoting their valuable experiences during the Microsoft certification course on the websites available. The professionals of Microsoft certification course are very different from the IT counterparts. They not only keep on fighting the challenges of IT field but also have keep themselves a step ahead from them by developing and improving their skills. These certification processes gives one a kind of knowledge to know how to get recognized in any field.


The professionals of Microsoft certification are called at the Microsoft certified professionals or MCP. For the this Microsoft certification they have to pass current Microsoft certification exam which will proved a reliable and valid measure of professional and technical expertise. The validity of a current exam is only considered and not which is retired. Microsoft certification exams reflect how Microsoft products are used in the organization.


Microsoft certification exams are developed from the inputs received from the IT industry professionals. The independent testing organizations administer these exams. There is one very big reason why IT professionals and developers become Microsoft certified professionals is that they all know that their clients, peers, employees and the IT industry shall acknowledge their expertise in working with the Microsoft products and technologies.


There are various steps towards obtaining Microsoft certification. Firstly, one should decide which Microsoft certification is correct for the person. As Microsoft offers a vast variety of professions within the IT industry one should understand which course would be the best for him. One should also get handy with the Microsoft products, which can be done only after working in the IT industry. Experience should be expanded with training by taking advantage of the training resources.


For obtaining Microsoft certification, it is also better to know what to expect in the exam. Previous question papers or taking consultation from those who have appeared or cleared the test is always a good choice. Taking helps from the help guides for Microsoft certification exams is also an added advantage. These help provide guidelines and suggestions to the person appearing for the exam. It is also suggested to take trial tests before appearing for the final exam. The test center should be selected from the worldwide locations. Also certain details like area of study, testing program and region etc should be mentioned.


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About The Author

Hi I educated in the U.K. with working experienced for 5 years in multinational companies, As an IT Manager and IT Instructor, I am attached with certkingdom.com here they provide IT exams study material, the study materials included exams Q&A with Explanation, Testing Engine, Study Guides, Training Labs, Exams Simulations, Training Videos, Audio Exams Training, etc. for certification like MCTS Training, MCITP MCTS, MCSD, MCSA, MCSE  Training, CCNA exams preparation, CompTIA A+ Training, and more Certkingdom.com provide you the best training 100% guarantee. “Best Material Great Results”
My Specialties

I’ve worked with a lot of technologies, but these are where my focus has been in recent years:

* Microsoft SQL Server (particularly high availability and disaster recovery)

* VMWare Virtualization

* Oracle (yes, Oracle, I’ve worked on 7-11)

* Microsoft Clustering

* Red Hat Linux (I can still write shell scripts)

Microsoft releases six critical security bulletins for October

For October’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released 10 security bulletins, six of which it’s rated as critical. (The remaining four updates address two moderate threats, one important threat, and one low threat.) In addition, several of the bulletins affect Office applications for the Mac.

Redmond released 10 security bulletins for October’s Patch Tuesday, rating six as critical. Due to space constraints, I’ll review the critical updates this week, and I’ll wrap up this month’s Patch Tuesday coverage with the rest in the next issue.

Keep in mind that attackers are actively exploiting some of these threats, so make sure to examine each update on a case-by-case basis. To learn about specific workarounds and mitigating factors, read each security bulletin in detail.

Fortunately for managers and “patch masters,” most of these threats are only critical for older platforms and applications—a fact that greatly reduces the impact of these critical patch warnings. In most cases, Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) 2.0 or Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 will identify the need for a patch, but earlier versions may not work properly. However, MBSA 2.0 and SMS 2003 may not work in some instances, particularly for Macintosh platforms and Office 2000.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-057, titled as both “Vulnerability in Windows Shell Could Allow Remote Code Execution” and “Vulnerability in Windows Explorer Could Allow Remote Execution,” addresses the Windows Shell Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3730). There have been reports that attackers are actively exploiting this vulnerability.

This is a critical threat for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and all versions of Windows XP; it is a moderate threat for all versions of Windows Server 2003. This bulletin replaces Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-045 for Windows XP SP1 only.

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Possible workarounds include patching the registry, disabling ActiveX controls, and altering Internet Explorer security zones—all of which can have serious side effects. See the security bulletin for more details.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-058, “Vulnerabilities in Microsoft PowerPoint Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” addresses four separate problems:

* PowerPoint Malformed Object Pointer Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3435)
* PowerPoint Malformed Data Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3876)
* PowerPoint Malformed Record Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3877)
* PowerPoint Malformed Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-4694)—attackers are actively exploiting this vulnerability.

This is a critical threat for PowerPoint 2000; it is an important threat for PowerPoint 2002, PowerPoint 2003, PowerPoint 2004 for Mac, and PowerPoint v.X for Mac. This bulletin replaces Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-028 for all affected versions.

See the security bulletin to learn about possible workarounds and mitigating factors, which are numerous.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-059, “Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” is another threat that affects both Windows and Macintosh platforms and addresses multiple vulnerabilities:

* Excel Malformed DATETIME Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-2387)
* Excel Malformed STYLE Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3431)
* Excel Handling of Lotus 1-2-3 File Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3867)
* Excel Malformed COLINFO Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3875)

While both the Lotus 1-2-3 and STYLE Record vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed threats, there were no reports of active exploits at the time of publication.

This collective group poses a critical threat for Excel 2000; it’s an important threat for Excel 2002, Excel 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, Excel 2004 for Mac, and Excel v.X for Mac. This bulletin replaces Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-037 for all affected versions.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-060, “Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” is another threat that affects both Windows and Macintosh platforms and addresses multiple vulnerabilities:

* Microsoft Word Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3647)
* Microsoft Word Mail Merge Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3651)
* Microsoft Word Malformed Stack Vulnerability (CVE-2006-4534)
* Microsoft Word for Mac Vulnerability (CVE-2006-4693)

This collective group poses a critical threat for Word 2000; it’s an important threat for Word 2002, Word 2003, Word 2003 Viewer, Word 2004 for Mac, and Word v.X for Mac. This bulletin replaces Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-027 for Word 2000, Word 2002, Word 2003, and Word 2003 Viewer. These are newly disclosed threats, and there had been no reports of active exploits at the time of publication.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-061, “Vulnerabilities in Microsoft XML Core Services Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” addresses two separate threats:

* Microsoft XML Core Services Vulnerability (CVE-2006-4685)
* XSLT Buffer Overrun Vulnerability (CVE-2006-4686)

This bulletin affects Windows 2000 SP4, all versions of Windows XP, all versions of Windows Server 2003, Office 2003 SP1, Office 2003 SP2, Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0, and Microsoft XML Core Services 6.0. While the XML Core Services Vulnerability poses an important to low threat—depending on the version—the XSLT Buffer Overrun Vulnerability is a critical threat, so the collective rating is critical for all affected versions.

These are newly disclosed threats, and there had been no reports of active exploits at the time of publication.

Note: While Microsoft updated the bulletin to remove a mistaken update note, this bulletin doesn’t replace any prior security patches.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-062, “Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” addresses four separate threats:

* Office Improper Memory Access Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3434)
* Office Malformed Chart Record Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3650)
* Office Malformed Record Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3864)
* Microsoft Office Smart Tag Parsing Vulnerability (CVE-2006-3868)

This bulletin affects Office 2000 SP3, Office XP SP3, Office 2003 SP1, Office 2003 SP2, Office 2004 for Mac, and Office v.X for Mac. It also affects Project 2000 Service Release 1, Project 2002 SP1, and Visio 2002 SP2. It is a critical threat for Office 2000, and it’s an important threat for all remaining versions.

This bulletin replaces Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-048 for all affected versions. Microsoft has updated the security bulletin itself to V1.1 to clarify some details.

The Microsoft Office Smart Tag Parsing vulnerability was the only publicly disclosed threat, but there had been no reports of active exploits at the time of publication.
Final word

And if six critical patches aren’t enough, don’t forget that Microsoft also recently released a critical patch out of sequence—Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-055 for XML problems. Yes, folks, these critical threats are the ones Redmond felt could wait for the regular scheduled Patch Tuesday! Tune in next week for details on the remaining security bulletins.

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Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) is one of the most popular certifications awarded by Microsoft. This certification will help you demonstrate your range of expertise, practical skills, and a thorough knowledge of Microsoft technologies. The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential endorses the knowledge and skills of an IT professional with respect to performing a given job role including those like database administrator or enterprise messaging administrator. One of the most distinguishing features of this certification process is that it is built by Microsoft on the technical proficiency assessed by the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS ) certifications. This fact will enable you get one or more MCTS certifications as you progress on your way to securing an MCTS Training.

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MCTS certification attests that the candidates have the necessary set of skills to deploy, build, optimize, design various applications operating technologies with respect to a particular job role and that they are capable of designing and making a number of technology decisions crucial to accomplish successful technology implementation projects.

While the Microsoft Certified Techonlogy Specialist (MCTS ) credential enables IT professionals with a more focussed and simpler framework to display their technical and professional skills, some reputed MCTS certification training programs available on the net enables the candidates to systematically acquire the required knowledge and skills needed to make their cherished IT dreams come alive and besides easily securing a great paying job in the purview of the IT industry.

One of the most important aspects that you need to note regarding this certification is that it also highlights your exclusive field of expertise as there are about twelve concentrations available within this one certification. This will help you distinguish yourself among other IT professionals by possessing the up-to-date skills and surpassing job-role capabilities to effectively work with a comprehensive set of Microsoft technologies.

While choosing the right site for getting trained for this certification, always look for programmes that are offered by certified instructors. This will help you with a quality education necessary to enhance your IT career. One of the greatest advantages of securing this certification is that you are actually letting the employers know that you are more capable than others to get the job done right.

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In-depth look at Microsoft Home Server – CES 2007

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I had a chance to speak with members of the Microsoft Home Server team at CES about Microsoft Home Server 2006.  I managed to get some in-depth questions answered on the product so here it is.

Question:  Will Home Server be available to the do-it-yourself buyers or will it only be available as a packaged deal?

Microsoft:  For the time being, it will only be available as a packaged deal from major PC makers.  But there is a lot of interest from the do-it-yourself market and Microsoft is looking in to it.

Question:  What is Home Server based on?  Is it based on Windows Server 2007 (or what ever it will be called)?

Microsoft:  It’s based on Windows Server 2003 R2 along with some other components that the Home Server team developed for the home product.

Question:  I noticed a fairly nice looking rich client management console.  Is that web based or is that a rich client that needs to be installed?

Microsoft:  Neither.  It’s a rich Win32 application hosted on the server delivered to the client’s desktop seamlessly using the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).  This is a feature similar to Microsoft Terminal Services in Windows Server 2007.  The user interface is also available to remote users via web interface.  The connection from the client to server is extremely thin and efficient (often less than 2 kbps in my experience on RDP).

Question:  On the custom domain names that buyers may get if they adopt MS Home Server early (details not worked out yet), will that support DDNS Dynamic DNS non-static IP Internet connections typical of most DSL and Cable broadband connections?

Microsoft:  Microsoft will support Dynamic DNS for custom domain names.

Question:  How does the remote access work?  Is that an HTTP tunneling technology that can bypass firewalls or is it just using RDP on TCP 3389 or some other redirected port?

Microsoft:  It’s not using HTTP tunneling, but Microsoft Home Server can act as an RDP proxy which allows a single server on a single IP address to simultaneously host multiple RDP connections to multiple PCs.

Question:  How does Microsoft deal with the issue of security.  It’s hard enough for an IT professional to secure a publicly available server exposed to the Internet let alone someone in the home.  This opens up a whole new can of worms on the security front because we now have millions of homes connected to the Internet with a wide-open server 24×7.

Microsoft:  Microsoft has put a lot of work in hardening the home server using technology from Windows Server 2003 R2 with IIS 6.0 web server.

Note that IIS 6.0 since 2003 has only had two moderately critical flaws which is really quite amazing for a web server.  Apache 2.0 has had more than 10 times the number of flaws in the same time period and some of which were more critical.  But the biggest security issue with web servers besides poor administration is poor custom ASP or PHP coding which thankfully is not an issue with most home servers.  Homes are currently safe if they have a firewall or router even if a serious flaw exists on the home network because it isn’t open to the public Internet.  This is not just a Microsoft problem since the same thing is being done with Linux-based servers and appliances, but we’re talking about the server that holds all the user’s data open to the Internet.  Only time will tell on the cyber-crime front but my prediction is that it will be a huge problem afflicting the industry in general as we move to a more connected digital society.

Question:  One of the biggest security headaches in running a secure web server is the secure authentication issue and the pain of setting up and buying expensive SSL certificates.  A lot of IT shops don’t even get this right and they set up these untrusted self-signed digital certificates that violate fundamental SSL security principles and many American Banks can’t even seem to get this concept straight.  What chance does a home user have of dealing with this huge implementation challenge?  What is Microsoft doing to make this easier?

Microsoft:  We’re working on this.

Question:  Wouldn’t it make sense for Microsoft to offer free SSL certificate signing with every Home Server and automate the whole thing?

Microsoft:  That’s good feedback.

Question:  Cisco has a technology on their firewalls called cut-through-proxy where ports aren’t open until a user authenticates.  Wouldn’t that type of technology be good for the home and in general to minimize the open ports and vectors for attack?

Microsoft:  We’re aware of this technology and it’s good feedback.

Question:  How does Microsoft Home Server deal with PC backup?

Microsoft:  Microsoft offers a full PC backup solution that includes data and system imaging.  Even if a hard drive died on a PC, the customer can put in a blank hard drive and do a bare metal recovery using a bootable recovery CD.

Question:  How does Microsoft deal with the issue of offline-backup from the home server?  Let’s say the user’s computer is hacked and the hacker destroys or encrypts all the user’s data on the client and file shares on the Home Server.

Microsoft:  Microsoft will have an add-on product that supports offline backups like an external USB/Firewire hard drive.  The home server will run as a separate service that has exclusive access to the offline backup.  The normal home server services will not have access to the offline backup.  Microsoft Home Server also has point-in-time snapshot capability so that users can recover files from a previous state like a day or week before.  (Vista also has this feature natively).

Question:  Does Microsoft Home Server support single instant storage like Windows Server 2003 R2?  (This means if two people in a home had separate folders with the same files on the same server, Home Server will only store one instance of the file)

Microsoft:  Not at this point.

Question:  Does Microsoft Home Server have the IAS (RADIUS) authentication server component of Windows Server 2003 built in?  (This allows people to run Enterprise Class wireless LAN security that’s easy to manage.)

Microsoft:  Not at this point.

Question:  Is Microsoft Home Server an Active Directory server?

Microsoft:  No, Windows XP home and Vista basic can’t support domain joins.  Only business editions of Windows can support domain joins.

Question:  But wouldn’t this make file sharing difficult since users are often prompted to enter in a username and password?  Furthermore, Workgroup networking and file sharing has never worked consistently in Windows XP even if you manually sync up the usernames and passwords.

Microsoft:  The Home Server client agent will synchronize passwords so that file shares on different machines can be seamlessly accessed.  It’s also made Workgroup network file sharing more consistent and users won’t need to type in passwords for different shares.

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The practice exams are must for getting the information technology certifications. The MCSE certification provides the features for becoming a system engineer in a comfortable manner. This will be useful not only for the job seekers, but for the working professionals also. The ways for becoming a high quality system administrator will be provided by this certification such that it gives the best solution. A person should know the exam codes that are required for getting this certification in a proper way. This will be helpful for solving the complex problems in the information technology companies.

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The examinations are playing a main role in analyzing the skills and knowledge of the person in a proper way. The exams are also helping you to get a good job in a big concern also. There are different types of exams available to you to do to get a job. You can search the different useful exams for getting a good job in your life. Those will help you to start a good career also. The Microsoft exams are the best one to improve your skills and also to get a secure job in your life too.

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Trend Micro issues virtualisation security warning

Companies could be at risk if hackers turn their attentions away from the desktop

Attacks targeted at datacentres and virtualised environments could represent the next vanguard of threats if cyber criminals begin to shift their attention away from the increasingly well secured desktop, according to security experts.

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Trend Micro chief technology officer Raimund Genes told V3.co.uk that, despite the many benefits of cloud computing, the back-end virtual infrastructures of many clouds are potentially at risk.

“If the desktop becomes more difficult to attack they will focus on the datacentre,” he said. “VMware has done a good job with security, but is it 100 per cent flawless? The same is true with other providers. It’s something we need to be aware of.”

Genes also criticised Microsoft’s Essentials security tool for relying on an outdated anti-virus signature update system which is poor at protecting against zero-day threats and lacks the agility of a cloud-based protection network.

“Every malware is now zero-day,” he said. “Microsoft’s detection is lousy. It doesn’t use the cloud and it doesn’t offer exposure layer protection.”

Genes criticised the “security monoculture” that the free Essentials security tool could create, claiming that it will make it easier for hackers to circumvent.

His argument echoes that of Panda Security, which also railed against Microsoft’s free anti-virus product last month, calling for a European anti-trust investigation over the policy of pushing out the software via the Microsoft and Windows Update services.

Windows @ 25: 25 things you didn’t know about the Microsoft OS

It’s 25 years since Microsoft launched the first version of Windows, and what started out in November 1985 as a graphical front end for DOS has grown into the most widely used operating system. To mark Windows’ 25th, we’ve put together 25 facts about the OS to highlight some of the more memorable moments in its history.

1. The origins of Windows can be traced to September 1981 when Microsoft began working on a project entitled Interface Manager.

2. The release of Windows 1.0 in 1985 was actually two years later than planned. We’d be on Windows 8 now if they’d stuck to their schedules.

3. Microsoft supported Windows 1.0 until the final day of 2001, some 16 years later.

4. Windows 3.1, despite being first launched in 1992, found a niche role as an embedded operating system, and was still in use in 2008 by Virgin Atlantic and Qantas in some onboard entertainment systems on long-distance flights.

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5. Fortune named Microsoft as the ‘Most Innovative Company Operating in the US’ in 1993 as sales of Windows started to rocket.

6. Many editions of Windows required endless floppy disks to install the system. For example, Windows 95 came on 13 disks.

7. Microsoft used Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones on adverts for the launch of Windows 95. The Stones were reportedly paid between $8m and $14m, but this is said to be a gross exaggeration.

8. Music was also part of the obligatory free stuff that Microsoft bundled in with Windows 95 – to be exact, a video of Buddy Holly by rock band Weezer to show off the system’s multimedia capabilities.

9. Microsoft also cashed in on the success of Friends in the 1990s by commissioning a promotional video, labeled a ‘cyber sitcom’, featuring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry showing off the top 25 features of Windows 95. The firm claimed it was a “fast and funny” guide to the new operating system. It was anything but.

10. In the US, the Empire State Building was lit up to match the colours of the Windows logo for the 95 launch.

11. In the UK, Microsoft paid for 1.5 million issues of The Times to be given away with a bundled supplement about Windows 95 on the day it launched. This was twice the daily circulation of the paper at the time.

12. All this advertising clearly worked, as more than a million copies of Windows 95 were sold in the first four days after its release. How Microsoft executives must wish for a return to those days, instead of watching Apple enjoying queues of fans waiting for new products.

13. Nevertheless, Windows has a 91 per cent market share for client operating systems that use the internet, so those executives needn’t be too glum.

14. Bill Gates appeared in two adverts with American comedian Jerry Seinfeld in 2008 in which, as well as displaying what we’ll kindly refer to as questionable comic timing, he and Seinfeld made some sort of left-field comment on the way Windows had helped connect billions of people on the planet, or something like that.

15. Musician Brian Eno, of Roxy Music, composed Windows 95’s startup music. He produced 84 pieces before settling on the now famous sound.

16. There are estimated to be some 25 million Windows crashes everyday.

17. The successor to Windows XP, which eventually became Vista, was codenamed Longhorn during development stages, which is also a type of cow. You can draw your own comparisons.

18. Bill Gates is actually called William Henry Gates III and has a knighthood bestowed on him by the Queen, although more for his charity work than for Windows.

19. During the pre-release phase of Windows 98, Gates was hit by the Blue Screen of Death when showing off the new Plug and Play feature, something he managed to laugh off rather well.

20. Windows supports 34 languages including Hebrew, Latvian and Arabic.

21. Windows 8 is most likely to be released sometime around 2012, based on previous operating cycle timelines.

22. Windows XP is said to have 50 million lines of code, the figure rising with each new release.

23. It’s impossible to name a folder as ‘Con’ on Windows. Try it. On the desktop, in the hard drive, wherever you try, it will just revert back to the name ‘New Folder’.

24. Microsoft used US cities for codenames of some of the new Windows developments, such as Chicago for Windows 95 and Memphis for Windows 98.

25. And finally, while Windows has been a staple of the desktop computing environment for the past 25 years, another Microsoft attempt at providing a user interface for personal computers proved less successful, and was even placed in Time magazine’s 50 Worst Inventions.

It’s name? Microsoft Bob, a “front room” layout of the desktop environment that was essentially Clippy on steroids. It didn’t last long.

Making Windows 7 Home Premium the Ultimate OS, Part 4: Disk Encryption

As you step through the various Windows 7 product editions, an interesting picture emerges. Windows 7 Home Premium is, quite clearly, the sweet spot from a functionality perspective and the reason I consider this version to be the starting point for any Windows 7 user, and the focal point of this article. When you move up from Home Premium to Professional, you get a smaller bump in functionality, and if you look over the past two parts of this series, you’ll see some of the key Windows 7 features that are unique to Professional edition and the free or cheap tools I recommend to Home Premium users to replace them. But when you jump up from Professional to Ultimate, there’s an even smaller leap. In fact, there are really only two key features that are unique to Windows 7 Ultimate. And they’re both based around the notion of encryption-based data protection.

These features are so key, in fact, that I consider it almost criminal that Microsoft doesn’t make them available to all Windows users. I’d like to see that change in the future. But for now, you’ll need to seek out other ways to duplicate the functionality in the features Microsoft provides via its BitLocker and BitLocker To Go functionality.

BitLocker came first, in Windows Vista, and provides full-disk encryption for fixed hard drives. BitLocker To Go, meanwhile, debuts in Windows 7 and adds this same encryption functionality to removable storage media like USB memory keys. You can find out more about BitLocker To Go in my Windows 7 Feature Focus article.

I’ve found an excellent replacement for BitLocker, but have yet to find anything that is as seamless and well designed as BitLocker To Go. Fortunately, there’s a nice (if temporary) workaround you can take advantage of if you’d like to use BitLocker To Go. Here’s what I found.

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Full disk encryption replacement: Zone Alarm DataLock

Cost: $20 (Normally $30)
Download: http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-data-lock.htm
Description: Hard drive encryption makes everything on your computer’s hard drive unreadable to unauthorized eyes. It jumbles the data in such a way that it cannot be deciphered unless a special password is entered. If your laptop PC is stolen or lost, hard drive encryption prevents your personal data from getting into the wrong hands, even if you never recover your hardware. All your data is fully protected – even temporary and deleted files. Your encrypted hard drive is inaccessible unless a special login and password are entered. No password, no access – thieves are locked out. This login cannot be bypassed by removing the hard drive or by booting off a CD.

Notes: ZoneAlarm DataLock is essentially a consumer version of a Check Point product that’s been around for a while. I’ve been using it on my own Windows 7 Home Premium-based laptop (a ThinkPad SL410) and it appears to work quite well. As with any disk encryption solution, the actually encryption process is time consuming. But once it’s done, you won’t notice that it’s there–it doesn’t impact performance at all, from what I can tell–other than when you boot the computer, since there is a separate security logon at boot time.

There are a couple of interesting differences between DataLock and BitLocker (aside from the boot time logon). First, DataLock also works with Windows XP and Vista as well as Windows 7. Second, if you forget your boot-time logon, you can actually call ZoneAlarm to get it; Microsoft doesn’t offer any kind of BitLocker recovery functionality.

There are a few questions here. ZoneAlarm notes that “not all systems will be compatible” but doesn’t explain what that means. (I had no issues installing it, but I only did so on one system.) The product costs $20, and while ZoneAlarm says you don’t need to pay a yearly license fee, once you go beyond the first year of usage, you will need to pay a small renewal fee after the first year for ongoing technical support, which presumably includes logon recovery. Also, I noticed that Windows Home Server-based PC backup stopped working after installing DataLock. I will test whether reinstalling the WHS Connector software fixes this after I return from the trip I’m currently on.

Making Windows 7 Home Premium the Ultimate OS
There’s not a lot of UI to show here: It just sits in the background, protecting your data.
Other alternatives to BitLocker and BitLocker To Go

Here are some other reader recommendations for BitLocker and BitLocker To Go replacements that you may want to check out.

Cost: FREE
Download: http://www.truecrypt.org/
Description: TrueCrypt is free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Main features:

* Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.
* Encrypts an entire partition or storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.
* Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed (pre-boot authentication).
* Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent.
* Parallelization and pipelining allow data to be read and written as fast as if the drive was not encrypted.
* Provides plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password.
* Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS.

Notes: TrueCrypt is hard. But if you don’t mind navigating through a technical interface, it can basically do everything that BitLocker and BitLocker To Go can do. So you may find it worth the effort.

Cost: FREE
Download: http://www.7-zip.org/
Description: 7-Zip is an open source file archiver with a high compression ratio. It supports strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats, so it’s possible, in a very manual way, to protect important documents and other data files on a USB hard drive or memory stick.