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Can it really be possible? Windows Vista, the newly released operating of Microsoft, is vulnerable to hacking? Yes, you heard it right. It is possible, according to Microsoft itself. Well, it appears that an audio podcast has the capability of hacking Windows Vista’s speech recognition feature. By using recorded audio commands, hackers can run malicious programs.

Based on an initial investigation conducted by Microsoft, Vista’s speech recognition feature can allow an attacker to execute commands verbally on a user’s computer. The commands, however, are limited to the rights of a certain logged on user. Any commands on the administrative level will be barred by the User Account Control.

Microsoft explains that the hacking can done when the user has a microphone and speakers connected to his or her computer with the speech recognition feature configured. Once these exist, the audio file of an attacker could issue verbal commands through the system’s speakers which could be executed by the speech recognition feature. With this flaw, it is possible for a podcast or any other audio file for that matter to delete documents of a Vista user and empty the trash. Users are advised to disable speech recognition within Vista.

Microsoft assures its customers that it is continuously looking into the issue and will provide more guidance to protect them. To avoid this attack, Vista users are advised to take several steps. First is to turn off their computer speakers and microphone. The next thing to do is to close the Windows Media Player, turn off the speech recognition feature and restart the computer if the user runs an audio file that tries to execute commands on their system. A user can disable speech recognition by going to the speech recognition options and unchecking “run speech recognition at startup.” While there, a user can also disable the default speech profile for the system. This is to avoid the risk of outside voices and noise being recognized as valid for input instead of the user’s own voice.

The recent launching of Microsoft Vista is the biggest ever in the history of Microsoft. It was the grandest launch because of the introduction of both a new Windows and Office operating system. It came five years after Windows XP was introduced. This early, Microsoft officials foresee that Vista will be accepted by people faster compared to other Windows operating systems. For the first two years, the firm expects to sell approximately 200 million copies to businesses and consumers around the world. Vista features unique graphics including 3-D icons and folders with the so-called transparent glass effects. The launch of this new upgrade, originally named Longhorn, had been postponed several times as Microsoft took extra efforts to make sure that Vista will be fully secured from more complex and high-tech Internet attacks.

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Microsoft Vista comes in four versions with advanced interface and security tools. To be able to run the system, you will need a minimum of an 800MHz processor, 512 RAM and a hard disk with a 15GB capacity. The firm also guaranteed that Vista will benefit gamers and game developers apart from businesses and regular consumers.


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