Is that really an email from the EFPTS? Don’t get caught buy a phishing attempt

animals,boys,children,fishes,fishing,fishing nets,fishing poles,leisure,persons,Photographs,sports,sports equipment So, you may be asking yourself: why is the EFTPS contacting me? And who the heck is EFTPS?

It’s likely a phishing atempt.

The EFPTS is a service offered free by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help business and individual taxpayers conveniently pay all their federal taxes electronically (as noted on their website). This time of year, people receiving an email from the EFPTS may be concerned as they may make Federal tax payments on line in the States

But, as noted on their home page the EFTPS, this is someone trying to get your bank information and other personal identifying information, also known as “PII”. This from their home page at  

Remember! EFTPS values your privacy and security and will never attempt to contact you via e-mail. If you ever receive an e-mail that claims to be from EFTPS or from a sender you do not recognize that mentions a payment made through EFTPS, forward the e-mail to or call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

After reporting a phishing attempt, you will receive an email from the IRS confirming your submission:

Please note that the IRS does not contact individuals by email.
Therefore, if you received an email claiming to be from the IRS it is a phishing attempt and should be reported to us.

Additional information on IRS phishing can be viewed here:,,id=155682,00.html

Additional information on avoiding phishing scams can be viewed here:

So, if you receive a mail from someone at the EFPTS, it’s likely not genuine. You may forard the mail (as an attachment is best) to the EFPTS as noted above.

For more info to avoid getting caught in a phishing scheme, see my post “Did you win £450,000 in a “Microsoft Lottery”? Think again: it’s a phishing attempt“.


Tags: Windows Vista, Security, what I read, twitter, Microsoft, Windows 7, Microsoft Security Essentials.

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A few examples of how Microsoft product groups integrate the voice of customers into the development cycle

j0402594A couple of years ago, Steve Ballmer talked about in his email to customers how Microsoft can do a better job of serving its customers. One of the ways we did this was through the creation of the Security Development Lifecycle (aka SDL) in 2004, which helps to improve the security, privacy and reliability of the company’s software. Today I shared with one of our teams today the links to Steve Lipner’s book on The Security Development Lifecycle and an overview of the Microsoft SDL.

In addition to the SDL, I thought that I should also reference a couple of the following available documents on how a couple of our largest product groups integrate the voice of customers at key touch points throughout the software development lifecycle.

Integrating customer feedback during the Windows 7 dev cycle was critical to its success. As you’ll read in this post, the need to include the voice of the customer starts before we’ve written any code, with feedback from our OEM and ODMs, consumer and commercial accounts at all levels. When you have a product like Windows that serves such a large set of customers, we work hard to ensure that the OS release serves the broadest set of needs.

During the Windows 7 development cycle, we featured in this post an overview of the Windows Feedback Program that allow us to bring the voice of the customer into the development process.  And a practical application of how we use CEIP was provided in this post when we considered how to approach and present UAC in Windows 7, by examining customer feedback and telemetry. (You can also find more info here on the CEIP )

Given that we RTM’ed Microsoft Office 2010 has RTM’ed (more on this at let me also shine the light on that team: see Shawn Lipstein’s post on the Office engineering blog gives you such great insight on how our usability labs in the CEIP impacts the drive research and insight into everything we do.



Tags: Microsoft, how to, Windows 7, Office 2010, feedback, customer feedback.

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Your questions: What are the support options for Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) and Decentralized Software Service (DSS) Toolkit 2008? (Whew!)

Microsoft Office Clip ArtToday I continue the effort to cover at least one customer and partner challenge or issue per day … Turns out I wasn’t far off in my estimate of current supported products. Thanks to Jared I have the current list of in-support products we have today, most noted on the Microsoft Lifecycle support Information site.

Ignoring the various versions (e.g. Service Pack 1, 2 and 3, I’ll look at the latest supported SP), I’ll pass by the Alacris Identity Validation Server/Client and look today at the Concurrency and Coordination Runtime and Decentralized Software Service Toolkit 2008 (aka, thankfully, "CCR and DSS Toolkit 2008 R2" ;).

The CCR and DSS Toolkit delivers a set of .NET and Compact Framework class libraries and tools that enable developers to better deal with the inherent complexities in creating loosely-coupled concurrent and distributed applications. (More info on the Toolkit is available here.)

It’s designed to help developers take advantage of the CCR and DSS, originally released as part of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (Microsoft RDS), a Windows-based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. The CCR and DSS Toolkit targets early adopters by providing access to select technologies today, transitioning to Microsoft’s .NET Framework in the future.

You can see the various support options here on the CCR and DSS support page, including these support forums on MSDN:

You can also get Assisted Support via a Microsoft Support Professional; MSDN Subscribers can contact a Microsoft Support Professional using an incident provided with their subscription.

Or, if you need Worldwide support for CCR and DSS, you can find worldwide support resources here.


Tags: Microsoft, how to, customer support, Microsoft Product List 2010, feedback, customer service, CCR, DSS, Toolkit, Robotics.

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When it comes to PC security, don’t be a victim… be a participant in your own rescue. Windows 7 can help, too.

As I Tweeted today, over the weekend I read Paul Cooke’s Windows Security Blog post on Windows 7 Vulnerability Claims. (I’ve added a few links if the terms are unfamiliar to you.)

"…most people don’t knowingly have and run known malware on their system. Malware typically makes it onto a system through other avenues like the browser or email program. So while I absolutely agree that anti-virus software is essential to protecting your PC, there are other defenses as well.

"Let me recap some of the Windows 7 security basics. Windows 7 is built upon the security platform of Windows Vista, which included a defense-in-depth approach to help protect customers from malware. This includes features like User Account Control (UAC), Kernel Patch Protection, Windows Service Hardening, Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), and Data Execution Prevention (DEP) to name just a few. The result, Windows 7 retains and refines the development processes, including going through the Security Development Lifecycle, and technologies that made Windows Vista the most secure Windows operating system ever released.

"Beyond the core security of Windows 7, we have also done a lot of work with Windows 7 to make it harder for malware to reach a user’s PCs in the first place. One of my favorite new features is the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8. The SmartScreen Filter was built upon the phishing protection in Internet Explorer 7 and (among other new benefits) adds protection from malware. The SmartScreen Filter will notify you when you attempt to download software that is unsafe…"

I agree with Paul and that you should run anti-virus software on Windows 7; our Microsoft Security Essentials is one such way to help keep your PC free of such issues and is available for free.

But you also need to remember: don’t be a victim… be a participant in your own rescue. (So says our COO Kevin Turner, paraphrased ;). 

imageAs I noted in an post from 2006, no matter what OS you run, it doesn’t matter: be prepared. Make you that you have the latest updates to all of your software. Generally, consumers should set up their computers install updates automatically: Windows users may do this by ensuring Automatic Update (AU) is turned on to get the latest updates. (In managed environments (like corporations where an IT Pro manages your machine), talk to your administrator to learn about your updates.) You can also visit Windows Update for the latest updates, but the easiest way is to turn on AU.

"In a comment I received to a recent blog posting on being careful when it comes to viruses, I wanted to mention something when it comes to computer security: whether you have a PC or a Mac, you will have to be concerned about security and protect yourself.

If you own a computer – PC or Mac (and we have both at home) – you should run AV software, have a firewall on your internet connection and practice "safe computing."

"But we have to be careful to reach broad-based conclusions. It’s better to anticipate an attack and be prepared and protected rather than hope that you won’t be the victim of an attack. As I said in a past post, see our Security at home site for more ideas on how to protect your computer. It has info on avoiding online scams with the Microsoft Phishing Filter, anti-virus, anti-spyware, security updates, Office and Windows update tools… well worth your time. Mac users can look here on Apple’s site for more info on protecting your Mac."

For Mac users, of interest is eWeek’s Larry Seltzer’s article on "What Will Apple Do When the Malware Comes?"

As noted in my post earlier this year, follow these six tips for staying safe online, as provided in this article in the Seattle Times on cybersafety:

  1. Protect your privacy and personal information
  2. Be alert online
  3. Delete junk e-mail
  4. Use strong passwords
  5. Use antivirus software and a firewall
  6. Be smart about downloading

Pay particular attention to that last item. As I wrote here, you should only download software from a trusted source – for example, via Microsoft for our products and service – and avoid peer to peer to save yourself an additional security risk.

Additional information and guidance:


Tags: Windows Vista, Security, what I read, twitter, Microsoft, Windows 7, Microsoft Security Essentials.

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PC World’s 100 Best Products of the Year on MSN Tech & Gadgets

Some of the best products are free, as declared by the editors of PC World in their recent article… two of the top five are free: Hulu and Facebook.  The others rounding out the top five are certainly commercial successes: the iPhone, Windows XP and the new Lenovo X300…

“After a good deal of — ahem — lively discussion, the editors at PC World have completed this year’s list of the 100 best technology products available today…

The No. 1 Product of the Year

The 100 Best Products of the Year // Hulu  (© PC World)

1. Hulu (video site, free/ad-based)
Hulu may offer the best-looking, most watchable Web video to date, rivaling the standard-definition content of regular TV. A well-financed joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp., Hulu is ultimately a one-stop on-demand repository for high-quality programming — the holy grail of online video.
Hulu’s content includes current prime-time shows from Fox, NBC, MGM, Sony, Warner Brothers and others, plus TV reruns new and old. Hulu’s list of full-length movies has burgeoned since the site’s debut last October. The high-def content gallery is mostly a clipfest so far, but it should blossom as video compression and broadband speeds improve.

Hulu also lets you cut and share clips with friends as you watch. If Web video is destined to clobber cable and satellite by giving us more control over our TV viewing experience, Hulu represents easily the best attempt yet at that ideal. Review

2. Apple iPhone (smart phone, $400 with two-year AT&T wireless contract)

3. Facebook (online social network, free)link to site

The 100 Best Products of the Year // Windows XP (© PC World)

4. Microsoft Windows XP (operating system, not sold separately)
It has been discontinued except as an option for certain low-end PCs, but XP is leaner, meaner and less bloated than Vista. Despite the outcry from users, however, at press time Microsoft still planned to retire the OS on June 30, 2008. Review | Check prices

The 100 Best Products of the Year // Lenovo ThinkPad X300  (© PC World)

5. Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (ultraportable laptop, $2,500)
As everyone swooned over Apple’s hot Air, Lenovo snuck in the back door with a business-centric notebook that answers most of the Air’s shortcomings. It has processing power to burn, plenty of ports — and a paper-thin optical drive. Stick that in your manila envelope, Steve. Review | Check prices

See all of the products in the article “The 100 Best Products of the Year” on MSN Tech & Gadgets.