WinInfo Daily UPDATE, February 7, 2005

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In the News

- Phishing Campaign Targets Microsoft Customers
- MSN Music Gives Away GRAMMY-Nominated Songs

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Phishing Campaign Targets Microsoft Customers

Industrious and grammatically challenged scam artists are targeting Microsoft customers with an email-based phishing campaign in which the scammers attempt to fool users into revealing their credit card numbers. The campaign takes advantage of a recent Microsoft antipiracy announcement that warned users that the company will deny most product updates to users who have illegitimate Windows copies.
Here's how the scam works: The scammers flood inboxes with email messages that appear to come from [email protected]; one rendition bears the subject line "Microsoft Windows Update." The message notes, "If you do not comply with our policy, windows \[sic\] will ask you to reactivate your serial number, and it will become invalid ... So you will lose any information on your computer. If you do not validate your serial number, your copy of windows \[sic\] will be labeled as piracy." A similar message offers to give users Microsoft security tools.
The messages then ask users to visit a specific Web page and update or validate their Windows Product IDs and credit card information. The messages note that credit cards won't be charged but that the numbers are required to ensure that users' versions of Windows are legitimate. Humorously, the email appears to come from the Windows XP Activation Team. The message leads users to a non-Microsoft Web site that's based in Romania, however, and there's no such entity as the Windows XP Activation Team. Furthermore, Microsoft would never request credit card information via an email message.
Security researchers note that the scam is even more insidious than it first appears. In addition to stealing users' credit card numbers, the Web site that's linked in the message attempts to install spyware on users' systems when they visit the site. The spyware is delivered in the form of a Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)-based Browser Helper Object.

MSN Music Gives Away GRAMMY-Nominated Songs

Microsoft announced today that its MSN Music online music service will give away one GRAMMY-nominated song each day, beginning tomorrow and running through Saturday, the day before the GRAMMY Awards. Each track the company is giving away is nominated for a best song award in a specific category.
"The GRAMMY Awards celebrate the best music has to offer, and now music fans can enjoy our picks for the best of the best--absolutely free," Rob Bennett, senior director of MSN Entertainment, said. "This is also an excellent opportunity for people to discover songs they might not have tried before--so pop fans can check out an outstanding country song, or rock fans can discover some of the year's best hip-hop."
MSN Music will use the following schedule for the free song downloads: Tomorrow: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance/Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; Wednesday: Best Rock Song; Thursday: Best Rap Song; Friday: Best R&B Song; and Saturday: Best New Country Song. The MSN Music editorial team will select the songs, which will be announced each day.
In related news, Apple Computer is again partnering with soft drink giant Pepsi-Cola in a Pepsi iTunes Music Promotion marketing campaign in which one of every three bottles of Pepsi and other soft drinks will contain a code for a free song download from the Apple iTunes Music Store. You might recall that Apple partnered with the company a year ago in a similar but mismanaged campaign that fell far short of expectations. Since that time, however, the Apple iTunes Music Store has established itself as the dominant online music service.

==== Events and Resources ====

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