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01.30.09

Microsoft Puts the “P” in “Propaganda”; Windows Zombies Make More Extortions

Posted in Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No bullshit
How lies can lead to deaths

Jeff Jones Output Needs to be Embargoed

LIES AND LIES AND LIES just carry on coming from Microsoft's Jeff Jones. While deleting legitimate comments that he does not like (including mine) from his blog, he’s pushing — on behalf of his employer — bogus statistics that they deliberately ‘massage’ in order to daemonise Firefox and glorify Internet Explorer (with ActiveX and other competition- and security-hostile add-ons). Way to go, censorship!

Despite Microsoft’s great control in the Washington Post (also mentioned in relation to the Abramoff fiasco), one of its writers is challenging these lies from Microsoft and Jeff Jones.

In analysis published on his Technet Security Blog and at cio.com, Jeff picked apart research I conducted in 2007, which found that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was unsafe for 284 days in 2006.

According to Jones’s analysis, Firefox users were instead more “at risk” than their IE counterparts in 2006 — albeit just by a single day — 285 days in 2006, he concludes.

What Jones neglected to mention was that in my analysis I only examined the longevity of unpatched browser vulnerabilities that by each company’s definition earned the most dangerous security ratings.

In addition to being a Big Lie, these fake numbers conveniently tend to confuse “Firefox” with “Firefox on Windows”. Many of the flaws are inherent in the platform, not the Web browser alone.

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this. [...] Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Spyware-Soft?

Internet Explorer suffers from other deficiencies, general characteristics or problems that are user hostile. Internet Explorer 7 was already spying (eavesdropping) on people’s surfing habits by default and since it is installed and cannot be removed from Windows, it makes Windows nothing less than spyware, by the very conservative definition of the word. According to this report from The Register, Internet Explorer 8 makes it even worse. It compares what Microsoft is doing to deep packet inspection, which was implicitly ruled illegal by the EU Commission.

Privacy activists are crying foul over the “Suggested Sites” feature in IE8, but Microsoft insists concerns about the feature, such that it might be used to serve up targeted advertising or that it poses a security risk, are misplaced.

Speaking of Phorm, which was mentioned only among our daily links on occasions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17], there is something truly bizarre about the British Government’s attitude towards Web surveillance (for purely commercial reasons). This is disturbing on so many levels and
The Register has the following new article about it:

Digital Britain: A tax, a quango and ISP snooping

Did anyone expect more from Stephen Carter CBE? The former Ofcom boss and No.10 strategy chief (sic) has spent his career moving between the world of advertising and public relations, quangos and party. So it’s no surprise that the “vision thing” involves a tax, a quango and a burden by private parties to snoop on the public. It’s an administrator’s answer.

This might explain why the British government is so deep in the pockets of Microsoft, as we have shown time and time again [1, 2]. They think alike.

Government and Microsoft in Bed

The Opera complaint is taking its toll, but it has no effect in the country where Microsoft operates from. People like Richard Stallman treat the US Department of Justice like it’s a joke (RMS puts scare quotes around “Justice”) and they have many valid reasons to [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. In fact, it has become rather conventional to say that the USDOJ is simply riddled with corruption, much like the FTC and even like the FCC. It is therefore not surprising that, according to this report from Dow Jones, the USDOJ is not willing to properly intervene, despite all the pressure that constantly arrives from the EU. Why can’t a national authority take appropriate action against reckless/rogue companies within its own borders but instead rely on justice that’s enforced or restored from overseas?

Federal and state antitrust regulators involved in a long-running settlement with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) told a federal judge Wednesday that they could not yet say if they will ask for court oversight of the software giant to extend beyond this year.

Microsoft, meanwhile, assured U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., that none of its recent announced layoffs will reduce the number of employees working to satisfy the company’s antitrust obligations.

This whole case has been a farce [1, 2, 3] for many years and there’s new hope that the European Commission can resist and overcome pressure from talking points/Microsoft pressure groups.

A bad soap opera?

[...]

A trial against Microsoft on any particular point of its monopoly (and for that matter, on any corporation perverting the market because of its illegitimate monopolistic position) essentially conveys the message that regardless of the possible sanction against the company, its wrongdoings are not morally tolerable anymore. Were it only because of this last point, I still do find that that legal actions are sometimes justified.

Obama Fights Windows

Well, not the president but the worm. Yes, how privileged he must feel to already have a worm named after him.

The worm spreads via USB drive, using the Windows autorun feature to install itself automatically on any drive it connects with. Unlike most of today’s profit-driven malware, the Obama worm doesn’t steal your credit card number or turn your PC into a remote-controlled zombie system. In fact, it isn’t designed to do anything besides float a small picture of Obama at the bottom right corner of your desktop all day every Monday.

Will there be shunning of Windows? Not likely [1, 2, 3]. It might not even matter that entire nations are under attack by Windows zombies, as we noted yesterday. Today we find another new artifact of Windows botnets: extortion.

The botnet-powered assault was accompanied by blackmail demands posted on the site’s forum through compromised zombie machines. These threatening messages claimed the site was been carpetbombed with spurious traffic generated through a 9,000 strong botnet of compromised machines.

And herein we close a loop. As long as people like Jeff Jones are permitted to lie in public, they are simply allowed to spread the illusion that Windows is not more vulnerable than counterparts, so Windows botnets weighing hundreds of millions of computers carry on wreaking havoc without legislation that bars them from the Internet. That’s why the Internet becomes dangerous, its infrastructure unreliable, E-mails a SPAM-filled mess, and people die too.

It all begins with a Big Lie. That’s an issue that must be addressed because Microsoft is knowingly contradicting itself.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Microsoft Admits Novell is Its GPL Proxy

Posted in GPL, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Quote at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THIS was said by journalists before, but there’s nothing better than hearing it from Microsoft itself:

“While Microsoft can support GPL-based code through its partners, as it does with Novell, the company can’t contribute directly to projects due to the GPL’s license terms and requirements, he [Ramji] explained.”

David Worthington, last night

As Microsoft's Jim Allchin put it, “GPL is the licensing model. We think it’s very bad for — on an education, telling the world why we think it’s bad. We don’t think it’s the same as public domain. Somebody wants to put in a free DSB, we don’t have a problem with that, at least on licensing. But GPL, we think it’s very bad basically for the world, but especially for the United States.”

“Why does Microsoft vehemently hate Freedom?”This was not the only time that Allchin described the GPL as anti-American. It’s just so much easier to combat basic freedoms by describing them as demons, calling them a “threat” and — in Allchin’s case — inciting US ” policymakers” against this “threat” (GPL), to use his own words.

Why does Microsoft vehemently hate Freedom? Enough to fight it even? As we’ve demonstrated before, thanks to antitrust evidence, Microsoft employees are trained (indoctrinated) to believe that “[they're] the Good Guys!” The same techniques are routinely used to maintain war atmosphere (as in "evangelism is WAR!" or “Jihad” [1, 2, 3]) and instill aggression in troops’ minds.

Meanwhile, Novell and friends are poisoning GNU/Linux with Microsoft technologies. They use “GPL” as a moral disguise that Microsoft won’t intervene with.

Darth Vader Microsoft
Picture by SubSonica

Related posts:

Linus’ Old Employer Swept by Microsoft’s Patent Übertroll

Posted in Antitrust, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

GLYN Moody calls him/it “super patent troll”, whereas The Register is careful not to say the truth too directly.

Transmeta patents trolled, company dies

[...]

Intellectual Ventures (IFV), a patent troll invention company, headed by ex-Vole Nathan Myhrvold, who had tried to score some patents from Transmeta in May 2008, got a secret deal going with Novafora and Transmeta’s board.

[...]

The Transmeta board finished off its merger, quit its job (ironically as part of the deal no Transmeta board member will serve on the Novafora board) and still found time to sell off 140+ of its patents to Intellectual Ventures.

In the future, we intend to expose more of Nathan and Cameron Myhrvold’s participation in crimes inside Microsoft. There is plenty of them among antitrust evidence (we are in the process of classifying and sorting about 300 additional exhibits). Cameron Myhrvold, who is Nathan’s brother, is still keeping close to Microsoft. They both seem to be serving the company from the outside.

Related posts:

Quick Mention: Novell Shares Mail with Crackers

Posted in Mail, Novell, Security at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GroupWise

Novell’s proprietary mail systems are out of control again.

Security researchers have identified two critical holes in Novell’s GroupWise WebAccess, the web front end for the company’s email and employee collaboration package, that allow malicious hackers to steal user messages with ease. All supported versions of the program are vulnerable.

One vulnerability allows an attacker to forward all of a user’s email simply by sending a specially crafted email, according to Adrian Pastor, an employee for ProCheckUp, a penetration testing firm based in London. The cross-site request forgery bug allows attackers to add new forwarding rules simply by tricking a user into opening the email, no clicking of links necessary.

Is this what Novell might call “security through obscurity”? Either way, it’s a nasty little bug.

Speaking of GroupWise, GWAVACon 2009 has just ended and it received almost no coverage.

Sun Vice President Battles the “Intellectual Property” Propaganda Term

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SUN at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought.”

George Orwell

THE verbal phrase farce known as “Intellectual Property” was discussed last night in the IRC channel.

Sun’s ambivalent approach towards patents seems to be softening a bit because Simon Phipps has suggested a departure from the notion of knowledge as property as opposed to just a privilege.

[T]he term “intellectual privilege” seems to work. It’s got the right initial letters, which is a huge win! But it also correctly describes the actual nature of the temporary rights we’re considering.

The use of words like “property” encourages the use of words like “stealing” and “theft”, even “piracy”.

Another thing that was mentioned yesterday is the gradual stagnation of software patents, on which TechDirt has this update.

With the CAFC’s decision on Bilski being appealed to the Supreme Court, it’s worth thinking about how the Supreme Court might actually view the question of software and business model patents. While patent system defenders go through all sorts of twists and turns to explain why software should be patentable, Tim Lee has a detailed explanation of why software should not be patentable, based on earlier Supreme Court precedent.

Here is the beef of the argument:

Ctrl-Z: a return to the Supreme Court’s software patent ban?

With the USPTO and courts cracking down on software patents, Ars looks closely at the Supreme Court’s software patent decisions. Yes, the Supremes really did say that algorithms can’t be patented. In spite of the fact that their rulings have been functionally ignored for almost 20 years, the tide may be about to turn.

It’s reassuring to see companies like Sun Microsystems/SUN adjusting to this change. Will Novell join the conversation or will it carry on playing ball for software patents along with Microsoft?

Links 30/01/2009: Moblin and More GNU/Linux-based Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • V.i. Labs Announces CodeArmor Intelligence Support for Linux Platforms

    V.i. Laboratories, Inc. (“V.i. Labs”),a provider of software protection solutions for securing high-value and mission-critical applications, today announced that its CodeArmor® Intelligence solution now supports Linux platforms. Built upon V.i. Labs’ software protection technology, CodeArmor Intelligence enables independent software vendors (ISVs) to gather intelligence on pirated use of their software and recover revenue lost to unlicensed use.

  • Moblin2 first impressions — wow, does it boot fast!

    A lot of notebooks and even netbooks these days run Windows, but also offer a minimalist Linux environment that boots in seconds. Now, with the Intel-sponsored Moblin project’s alpha release of Moblin 2 Monday, it looks like insanely fast boots will become a standard feature of full-featured Linux desktops, too.

  • Cray and atsec Achieve CC Security Certification of Cray Linux Environment

    Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) and atsec information security announced today that the Cray Linux Environment (CLE) has been certified by the National Information Assurance Partnership’s (NIAP) Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme as conformant to EAL3+ (enhanced with Flaw Remediation ALC_FLR.1). This evaluation took into consideration a number of new functionalities: the Lustre network file system, Portals high-speed Remote DMA and the application placement scheduler ALPS. The evaluation covers Cray Linux Environment 2.1 running on the Cray XT4 and Cray XT5 computer systems.

  • Five’s VOD service now works for Macs/Linux

    UK broadcaster Five has moved to a flash-based system for its Demand Five service, meaning that it’s now available for Linux and Mac users.

    Five’s online television on-demand service had previously used Windows Media Player, but the decision has been made to switch to Flash, allowing the service to reach a wider audience.

  • Open Access Astro-Observatory Runs GNU/Linux

    Montegancedo Observatory is the first free open access astronomical observatory in the world. It is located in Building 6 of the School of Computing. The dome is equipped with a computer-automated, robotized 10” telescope, and several computers operating as a web applications server. The observatory also links and broadcasts images and videos captured by the webcams arranged around the dome… All servers run on GNU/Linux systems.

  • Speak your brains

    We’re planning A New Thing here at LXF Towers, and as part of that we need to know what you think. Not just random thoughts mind; we want to know what you think about Mono.
    Is it bloated junk, or does it point the way to a brave new cross-platform world?

  • Open source device companies recognized

    TheVARGuy.com announced a list of the 50 top open source companies in the “channel.” Alongside well-known picks like Red Hat, Sun, and Novell (ranked one through three), several smaller, embedded-related firms made the top-25, including Digium, Openmoko, and Opengear.

  • Kernel Space

    • Phenomenon Redux: AMD Phenom II in Linux Test

      A recent Linux Community test compared the AMD Phenom X4 with a Turion X2 and Intel P9400. Meanwhile AMD has sent us its new Phenom II processor, prompting a new test. These are the latest benchmark results.

    • Phenom II Breaks 6.5GHz, Enables New 3DMark Record

      Prior to the official release of AMD’s next-generation 45nm Phenom II processors, the Sunnyvale, California-based chip maker held a number of events where it approached the opportunity of demonstrating the overclocking potential of its latest desktop processors. Soon after their official release at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the processors were used in yet another demonstration, where one of AMD’s Phenom II products was pushed to record clock levels and was used to break the Futuremark 3DMark05 record.

    • Initial ext3 vs ext4 Results

      We’ve started to do some internal benchmarking of ext3 vs ext4 at myYearbook.com to see if what we’ve seen and heard about ext4 was really true. While the following benchmark is not in-depth, it does represent our initial findings, which match our anecdotal findings. If all of these findings hold true, we expect them to have a large impact on our PostgreSQL OLTP workload where machines are IO bound.

    • Linux 2.6.29-rc3

      It’s out there, and while it’s a bit larger than I’d wish for, that size is pretty understandable considering that it’s closer to two weeks than one in between -rc2 and -rc3 (due to LCA, obviously).

      And it isn’t really _that_ big: part of the reason it looks bigger as a traditional patch (which is what I upload when I upload patches) than it really is due to a lot of m68k include file renames, so if you look at the git rename-aware patches it all actually looks much smaller.

    • NVIDIA Releases Yet Another Linux Driver

      It was just yesterday that NVIDIA released four new Linux drivers, but today they have pushed out a fifth proprietary Linux driver update. Yesterday one of their drivers released was version 180.25, which brought a host of VDPAU fixes and new GPU support, but replacing that is now 180.27.

    • AMD Catalyst 9.1 Brings OpenGL 3.0

      AMD has just released its first official Catalyst driver update for the new year. AMD had delivered several key improvements to their proprietary Linux driver stack last year as we shared in our AMD Linux 2008 Year in Review, but what’s there to get excited about in Catalyst 9.1? Well, first and foremost there is improved Composite support during video playback, Hybrid CrossFire support, and a number of fixes. Oh, and there’s also OpenGL 3.0 support!

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE 4.2 Screen Shots
    • KDE 4.2: I’m tired of Pundits, Here’s MY Take

      For those who say that they cannot deal with a new desktop, get over yourselves. KDE 4 is not really that radically different in the big picture. I mean, you run programs on a desktop! Sure things are being done a little differently than KDE 3.5, but get a grip for a second, the KDE 4 series is definitely still KDE at its core. It is not rocket science to learn KDE 4.2 if you really knew what you were doing in 3.5, and the payoff will be a very refined desktop that is both visually pleasing as well as very functional.

  • Distributions

    • How To Choose The Best Linux For Your Business

      For IT decision makers in small and midsize businesses, Linux is all about choice. But the dizzying array of different distros, service, and support options can make the choice a challenge. This guide to understanding the differences will help you pick the distro your business needs.

    • Red Hat

      • S&P Endorses Linux, Raising Red Hat (RHT)

        You do not see too many upgrades in corporate credit ratings during this part of the business cycle, let alone in technology and software. But Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) was just raised by Standard & Poor’s ratings today on the corporate credit side. You might even wonder if S&P is almost endorsing Linux after all these years after you look through the notes.

      • Vendor: Open Systems Help During Financial Crisis

        “Oracle Unbreakable Linux is a support program. It is not a distribution,” Boom explained. “Oracle Enterprise Linux, however, is another distribution. It supports any enterprise Linux.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny DLP projector ships

      Digi-Key has started distributing a tiny video projector from Texas Instruments (TI) that could prove small enough to embed in mobile phones. The 10-lumen Pico Projector uses TI’s DLP (digital light processing) technology, and is sold as part of a development kit targeting the Linux-ready BeagleBoard.

    • VC conf. scouts Moblin, Android apps

      A start-up incubator will host a free conference for Moblin and Android developers, Jan. 29 in Santa Clara, Calif. The Girvan Institute’s “Mobile Internet Developers Conference” is billed as the first in a series of developer-focused conferences tailored for the demands of the “global economic downturn.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Acer plans Linux, SSD version of 10-inch netbook

        On Wednesday, an Acer spokesperson told ZDNet UK that the 10-inch Aspire One “will be available with XP or Linux, and HDD or SSD”, and confirmed that the Linux distribution would be Linpus. However, buyers will not have these options in the initial release of the netbook, which will launch in mid-February and cost £299.

      • Netbooks: Emtec moves from peripherals

        Emtec, a company which has in the past been more focused on delivering laptop peripherals, is moving into the increasingly lucrative netbook market with the Gdium.

        Steering clear of Microsoft, this device uses the Madriva version of Linux and comes in at a small size – just ten inches.

      • Beyond Lightbulbs, Sylvania Enters Netbook Fray

        You probably know them best as makers of a variety of lightbulbs, but Sylvania has recently expanded its portfolio to include a colorful new line of netbook PCs.

      • Google Android Running On Eee PC 701 Tutorial

        We all know that the Google Android operating system was specially developed to run on cell phones, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot tweak it to run on netbooks as well.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source DNA

    As far as I can tell, if you visited my home today it is legal for me to slyly snatch an “abandoned” sample of DNA from you (from the lip of a cup, a fallen hair, etc.), sequence it in full, and publish your DNA online for the world to read. Of course I wouldn’t do that, but in April 2008, a seller on eBay peddled the remains of Barak Obama’s restaurant breakfast claiming that “his DNA is on the silverware.”

  • Programming

    • Jetty proposes to Eclipse

      The Jetty project has now formally proposed to join the Eclipse project. Greg Wilkins has previously discussed the potential move to place the open source Java HTTP server and servlet container under the umbrella of the Eclipse project, and now the formal proposal has been made. The proposal notes that the Eclipse IDE already uses Jetty to serve help pages and that Jetty is a mature project and technology. The plan involves moving Jetty from its Apache 2.0 license to a dual Apache 2.0/Eclipse Public Licence model and moving the package name to an org.eclipse name, during the transition.

    • Plug-in architecture on the way for the gcc

      When Richard Stallman began writing Bison in 1983, he was only trying to build the bits of an operating system he would need to write another operating system. But that recursive goal was no stranger than the recursive name he would create for the software he would eventually create: the GNU Project, where GNU standard for “ GNU is Not Unix.”

      And now, 25 years later, one of the most important tools to come out of the GNU Project’s drive for the GNU Operating System—the GNU Compiler Collection—has received approval from the Free Software Foundation to begin work on a plug-in architecture.

      Mark Mitchell, founder of CodeSourcery, confirmed that the FSF gave its permission to prepare the gcc for plug-ins. This is the first time that such permission has been granted.

  • Google

    • Updates from Googlers Contributing to Open Source Projects

      You may recall some of our previous posts about Google employee contributions to Open Source during their 20% time. While many engineers spend their 20% time on releasing code created internally at Google, many more spend their time contributing to external projects just to scratch their own itch. We’re pleased to bring you some updates about what our engineers have been doing over the past few months:

      For all you version control geeks out there, you’ll be interested to know that Ben Collins-Sussman has been working on rewriting Subversion’s HTTP protocol. While the rewrite will still be WebDAV compatible, he’s busy removing all of the DeltaV formalities that cause numerous extra requests. Once complete, users should see much faster network traffic when speaking to an Apache server. For more details, check out the write up on Ben’s blog.

    • Gmail Goes Offline

      Imagine your Internet connection dropping out, but still being able to use e-mail.

  • Bait

    • Look beyond the license type and find the best product

      Another busy week here at FierceContentManagement. Lots of big news, so much that I had my top five stories chosen by last Friday, an unusual occurrence, but you will note one clear pattern this week, the emergence of open source tools. Several of today’s items involved open source projects and services, and this was on the heels of last week’s Alfresco’s major release of Alfresco Labs 3.

  • Funding

    • 75,000 Euros awarded to open source businesses

      On Wednesday, as part of the Open Source Meets Business conference in Nuremberg, the third annual Open Source Business Awards were presented. The Open Source Business Foundation provided a prize total of 75,000 Euros for the top 3 open source companies.

    • Tides Now Accepting Nominations for $10,000 Pizzigati Prize

      SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest will go to a software developer whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the nonprofit sector and ongoing efforts for positive social change. Tides, partner to forward-thinking philanthropists, foundations, activists and organizations, has just opened the process that will select this year’s Pizzigati Prize winner. Nominations for the prize, the largest annual award in public interest computing, will be accepted through March 2, 2009.

  • Sun

    • Debian Founder Murdock Now Sun’s Cloud Strategist

      Debian Linux founder and former OpenSolaris chief Ian Murdock is taking over the role of chief strategist for cloud computing at Sun Microsystems.

      The result of a restructuring at Sun last November has given Ian Murdock the new role of VP of Cloud Computing Strategy, which Murdock recently announced in a video interview with his former Sun colleague Barton George.

    • Sun Shares Jump After Sales, Earnings Top Estimates (Update3)

      Sun Microsystems Inc., the fourth- largest maker of server computers, rose the most in eight years in Nasdaq trading after earnings topped analysts’ estimates.

    • Open source puts a shine on Sun’s quarter

      Sun Microsystems is getting some love from Wall Street after its sales and earnings topped estimates, as detailed by Bloomberg. Software sales jumped 21 percent year-over-year.

  • New Zealand

Leftovers

  • ISP Capitulates to IFPI, Agrees to Disconnect Pirates

    Up until today, the ‘Big Four’ record labels were taking legal action against Ireland’s biggest ISP, Eircom, in order to force it to employ filtering technology to stop online pirates. The case has been aborted as Eircom, at the behest of the music industry, has agreed to start disconnecting those accused of illicit file-sharing.

  • ISPs Ready to Assist the RIAA?

    There’s also the question of what kind of impact these actions will have on AT&T and Comcast. If they are the only ISPs sticking their necks out, then they may see their customer base flock to other providers who won’t work with the RIAA.

  • Canada’s Private ACTA Talking Points

    While the Canadian government has dutifully followed the U.S. line on ACTA with bland releases following each of the four 2008 negotiation sessions, newly obtained documents under the Access to Information Act reveal that the Canadian delegation may be speaking out on some of the public concerns that have been raised around transparency and the exclusion of many countries from the negotiation process [download here]. The documents include several noteworthy revelations:

    First, the documents confirm that the leaked ACTA document from last year was indeed the ACTA Discussion Paper distributed among governments. At the time, there was some question as to whether this was an industry wish-list or a government document. The Canadian documents confirm that this was a government document, a suggested intervention notes that “we would like to raise the issue of communications. As you all know by now, the ACTA Discussion Paper has been leaked . . . “

  • EFF Explains Why You Should Be Allowed To Sell Promo CDs

    Last summer, a district court ruled that selling promo CDs is perfectly legal. This was an important ruling, because it reinforced the right of first sale — which has been a part of copyright law for ages — and it made it clear that companies couldn’t wipe out the limits of copyright law simply by declaring them void. The case involved a guy, Troy Augusto, who was selling CDs on eBay. Many of the CDs were “promo” CDs that had been sent to reviewers and radio stations — stamped with the words to the effect of “Promo: Not for Resale.” I’ve got a few such CDs in my own collection.

  • More Evidence that File Downloaders Buy *More*

    So that seems to say that 25 per cent of the Dutch population share stuff, but that they represent 45 per cent of the sales. In other words, they are buying quite a lot more than people who don’t.

  • Obama Hires Lobbyists of Various Stripes

    As PRWatch has noted, lobbyists of various backgrounds are finding jobs in the new Barack Obama Administration. Some recently hired include Eric Holder, one of whose clients was Global Crossing, Tom Vilsack who represented the National Education Association, William Lynn who was a top exec for military contractor Raytheon, William Corr who lobbied for The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Mark Patterson, recently a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs…

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

John William Templeton looks at Free Open Source Software and African American culture and innovation 08 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 29th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

01.29.09

Entire Nation Paralyzed by Microsoft Windows Zombies; Windows Mobile Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system…”

Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008

LAST WEEK it was DNS and this time around it’s an entire nation that’s brought down thanks to the hundreds of millions of Windows zombies out there. When will people learn?

The central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan was effectively knocked offline for more than a week by a Russian cybermilitia that continues to flood the country’s internet providers with crippling data attacks, a security expert said.

This has nothing to do with patching. Bad engineering has led to cyberstorms of biblical proportions and not only personal computers are participants (with mortal cost on occasions). Even telephones (running Windows) are heading down the same route, based on reports like this new one:

Windows Mobile Bluetooth vulnerability allows access to any files

A directory traversing vulnerability in the Bluetooth OBEX-FTP server of Windows Mobile 6 allows attackers to access files outside of the permitted list. According to the report, using “../” or “..\\” as part of the path name, is sufficient to traverse to other directories. An attacker could use the technique to copy files from a device, or to install their own software, such as a key logger, or other spyware.

It is almost amusing that only a week or so ago it was reported that Microsoft had lobbied Obama to move to Windows Mobile for "security". Other people advise Microsoft to just drop Windows Mobile altogether. Several years ago this division was losing a fortune and it’s unlikely that anything has changed since. Microsoft combined this division with another in order to conceal the losses.

Smashed phone

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