Archive for the ‘Windows Vista’ Category

Nvidiea, Windows 7 and Netbook

Friday, February 27th, 2009

NVIDIA is currently working with the top ten PC manufacturers in order to bring their graphic chips to Netbooks for the first time, says an executive from the company. Further more, an important part of this push is getting their silicon working with Microsoft’s Windows 7 which is a Netbook friendly operating system compared to Vista. Nvidia would soon release Windows 7 beta drivers for Ion Netbook silicon which it will be handling over in the market. Additionally, Nvidia also demonstrated the applications running on windows 7 while also announcing that their Ion platform is also certified for Windows Vista.

The Ion chipset strengthens its base from GeForce 6400M graphics chipset of Nvidia which can easily handle graphics tasks in MacBook line of Apple. Their aim is to replace Intel silicon which supports the Atom process and also make the notebook perform much like a standard laptop. Currently the Netbooks form companies like Asus, Acer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard use Atom with a supplementary Intel chipset. Dan Vivoli the senior vice president of Nvidia said in an interview that there is no use in purchasing a notebook that cannot do what a PC can do.

In fact, Intel has taken a small step towards this direction. The company increased their ante by shipping a new chipset and Atom N280 processor on an Intel based Atom system for the first time which is capable of running 720p high definition videos. The graphics silicon which can handle this 720p video is considered a small requirement for the large mainstream laptops. However Nvidia, the largest chipmaker in the world probably believes that minimal graphics would not be good enough. Vivoli said that, according to his when Intel had introduced their 740 graphics chip in 1998 there was a worry about not wanting anything beyond that but it did not happen.

The 740 graphics chip ultimately faded away as a chip from 3dfx, from the ATI Technologies and later Nvidia defeated it in the marketplace. As companies generally tend to exaggerate the prospects of any new products, Nvidia also falls in the same category. However there seems to be much at stakes than usual as getting graphics of Nvidia into small devices, where their graphics have always been almost entirely absent it is imperative for their growth.

Vivoli said that he had never seen a product since long which generated so much of excitement that Ian at Apple and at Microsoft, and with anyone they exposed it said they had no idea of Nvidia bringing this type of experience on a platform that is so small and inexpensive. He further said that the big names you have come across are currently working on the Ion design, which is among the top ten companies. However the CEO of Nvidia Jen-Hsun Haung, claimed that Nvidia had the Ion notebook project taking place throughout the world and so most of this actually depends on the success of their customers and the new platform that is chosen.

Vista security flaw exposed by ATI driver

Monday, January 12th, 2009

One of the unpatched flaw within the drivers, that too, from ATI goes on to create a means for smuggling malware-past improved ‘security defences’ in new-fangled Windows version and in to Vista Kernel. Right now, Microsoft is found working with ‘ATI’ with regards to an update that, as warned by the security watchers might not be that entire straight forward for rolling-out.

The presence of security-flaw within driver of ATI is reported to have come to light following the release of POC, i.e. proof-of-concept tool known as Purple Pill by Alex lonescu, a developer, which is said to have created a simplified way of loading and unloading unsigned, i.e. potentially malicious drivers with regards to Vista. Utility of this type has circumvented novel anti-rootkit defences that were constructed in to Vista by having turned off checks concerned with signed drivers.

Lonescu went on to pull utility hours (after release) after having realized that ATI driver flaw Purple is still left out, in terms of patching. Lonescu had picked this fact up during a presentation conducted by Joanna Rutkowska, a ‘Vista Kernel Expert’.

For the people who have no knowledge about ATI, let it be made clear that Purple Pill’s functionality is identical to Atsiv, i.e. a tool solely designed by Linchpin Labs, a developer of Australian origin. This design was considered to be a portion of research project concerned with driver signing. The response of Microsoft to Atsiv’s creation was by having revoked its certificate as well as classifying its utility in the form of ‘malware’, much to chagrin of ‘Linchpin Labs’. Technocrats would be surprised to know that Atsiv has gotten evolved in to a project which permits legacy hardware’s users to have used their kit with regards to Vista, that too, without any of the signed drivers.

Having followed an identical approach for ‘Purple Pill’ is not straight forward as mentioned above as such a thing piggybacks on the security certificate for hardware driver which has been installed in 50% of laptops.

As per the opinion of Ollie Whitehouse, one of the security researchers at Symantec, the above-mentioned situation can make just anyone associated with Microsoft start to weep. ATI would have to obtain a novel certificate, move ahead with signing fixed versions regarding the affected drivers, and release them through Windows Update. Just then Microsoft would get VeriSign for revoking the ‘signing certificate’.

All these things highlight broader problems in Vista’s code-signing. Atsiv has showed that getting an age-old code signed is very simple. As per the illustration of Purple Pill, signed drivers also have bugs. Symantec goes on to reckon design error occurring in driver of ATI as one of the ‘short-cuts’ designed for making the procedure of software development much more straightforward than ever before. Now, you can go on to imagine that such a thing has come about owing to one of the requirements for extending the core driver with many arbitrary modules with respect to design of ATI.