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11.09.08

Microsoft and National (In)Security; White House Cracked, Windows Botnets Play Politics with SPAM

Posted in Mail, Security, Servers, Windows at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Internet? We are not interested in it.”

Bill Gates, 1993

“There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.”

Bill Gates, 1995

“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.”

Bill Gates, 2004

“Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so irritating.”

Bill Gates

Earlier in the year, Associated Press revealed that the White House had moved its E-mail from Lotus to Microsoft Exchange servers. Why did they not evaluate and choose Free software? Either way, they receive their punishment now, butthe cost is suffered at a national level.

Chinese hackers have penetrated the White House computer network on multiple occasions, and obtained e-mails between government officials, a senior US official told the Financial Times.

It’s disappointing that the Financial Times refers to these intruders as “hackers”, as opposed to “crackers”.

In another new case, data espionage and theft turn to ransom and guess who pays the cost of damages? It’s collective.

These days, it’s probably best to just assume that any private data you’ve ever provided to a company is public. Given the pace at which the data you’ve entrusted to companies is leaked, whether via malicious hackers or via company carelessness, it’s almost as if the exception to the rule is a company that’s actually been able to keep your data safe. So it’s hardly surprising that Express Scripts, the massive medical benefits management company, has said that its records appear to have been compromised. Apparently, the company was sent a note, detailing the medical records of about 75 people, with an extortion threat telling the company to pay up or face the exposure of millions of patient records.

Using botnets, cyber-criminals also scatter lots of SPAM and exploit the presidential elections. Over 150 billion SPAM messages are sent each day because roughly 320 million zombie PCs exist.

The barrage of Obama-themed attacks are part of a broader trend of using current events to trick people into following links that lead to attacks. The US presidential election has been a favorite source of such attacks over the past year, with the names of candidates such as John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee all invoked.

More information can be found here.

Obama Win Spawns New E-Mail Attacks

[...]

Ballots aren’t the only thing Barack Obama is claiming the majority of this week. Just one day after the Democrat’s presidential win, his likeness is popping up on 60 percent of all malware sent across the Internet, one security firm reports.

This a brute-force attack, so it relies on large botnets and harvesting of addresses from compromised PCs. On the other side of the pond, one man uses GNU/Linux, so he’s not particularly worried.

Another close Microsoft partner, the BBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16], is now suffering from the plague of zombie PCs. It’s not just the White House then. In fact, Windows botnets seem to have brought the Beeb to its knees.

According to a missive we have seen, all its sites were slowed down considerably last night. For a while the BBC home page was either not responding or opening extremely slowly.

In a statement to the INQ, the BBC said the attack originated in a number of different countries but didn’t specify which. When the Beeb’s techies blocked international access to a limited subset of servers, it resulted in a marked improvement of the serving of bbc.co.uk.

The BBC promotes Windows and Microsoft. Good luck with that.

Zombie
Windows zombies running rampant

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