EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.03.09

Microsoft Adopts Malware Techniques to Advance .NET

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LAST MONTH we very briefly mentioned what Apple had done to Mozilla/Firefox. It not only pretended that Firefox would die but it also used dirty techniques to push its non-Free software through the update mechanism for iTunes. This got Apple a lot of bad press and it relented.

Microsoft is not only doing the same thing. It’s doing something far more cheeky. It’s not only pushing unwanted (uncalled for) software into people’s desktops but it also injects that into a Free software competitor, namely Firefox, and to an extent also using its update mechanism to install Microsoft software that’s an impediment to cross-platform. Slashdot has a decent short overview of this widely-reported new situation.

While doing a weekly scrub of my Windows systems, which includes checking for driver updates and running virus scans, I found Firefox notifying me of a new add-on. It’s labelled ‘Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant,’ and it ‘Adds ClickOnce support and the ability to report installed .NET versions to the web server.’ The add-on could not be uninstalled in the usual way. A little Net searching turned up a number of sites offering advice on getting rid of the unrequested add-on.

This not only violates trust and fairness; it’s also a serious breach that can harm security. Speaking of which, Conficker keeps getting worse and worse, but the press hardly covers it anymore [1, 2].

The Microsoft RPC worm, known by many as Conficker/Downadup, has multiplied across corporate networks infecting an estimated 10 million machines. Though the damage has been minimal, the worst is yet to come, said researchers.

Conficker may have already killed people and now comes a formal report labeling this a “substantive failure.”

A worm attack that forced three London hospitals to shut down their computer networks late last year was entirely avoidable and represented a major failing by the organizations’ IT staff, according to an independent review of the incident.

Where life and death are at stake 24 hours a day, look what has happened because of Microsoft Windows viruses.

The PCs at St. Bartholomew’s, the Royal London Hospital and The London Chest Hospital were infected with Mytob, a mass-mailing worm also known as MyDoom. Emergency patients were temporarily diverted to other facilities, but officials said no personal data was lost.

This is not a joke, right? According to the report, “officials said no personal data was lost.” Were lives lost? Where is the liability when people die? How can this damage be measured?

Here is another new report: Data theft ‘cost a trillion US dollars’

INSECURITY outfit McAfee has told the World Economic Forum that data theft cost the world a trillion US dollars and if more work was not done to buy its products the figure could get worse.

Well, it figures. When almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs is a zombie, then the notion of “data theft” is like the notion of possession theft in a city where only half the buildings have doors.

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

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Open gate
In a world without windows and gates, who
needs to worry about breaches?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

21 Comments

  1. ZiggyFish said,

    February 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Gravatar

    It very interesting how the botnet controllers have not used these botnets to find exploits in encryption algorithms.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Gravatar

    If they already control so many PCs (and Secunia says 99% of Windows PCs are open to hijacking at all times), why even capture PCs at line/protocol level? It’s like breaking down a door when there’s an open window(s).

  3. Charles Norrie said,

    February 4, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Gravatar

    Instead of telling people how bad and even wicked Microsoft is, why not tell them how easy it is to install and use Linux systems, especially Ubuntu?

  4. Homer said,

    February 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Gravatar

    Because Roy and his chums feel elevated by their belief that everyone else is either clueless or evil.

  5. Jose_X said,

    February 4, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Gravatar

    [Charles Norrie] >> Instead of telling people how bad and even wicked Microsoft is, why not tell them how easy it is to install and use Linux systems, especially Ubuntu?

    You must be joking.. right?

    That’s like saying we should say how good are the shoes made by AAA Shoes Boutique, while failing to say anything about what a rotten SOB is Al Capone and his band of thugs that have been extorting anyone seen within a block of AAA Shoes Boutique.

    Dropping Microsoft, whether you go to Linux or to something else, is a plenty wonderful message to get out.

    Of course, it doesn’t help the Linux installation process that Microsoft keeps breaking the law throwing hurdles in front of Linux’ path through various levers deriving from their monopolies.

    ["Homer"] >> Because Roy and his chums feel elevated by their belief that everyone else is either clueless or evil.

    It’s so easy to spew garbage from the mouth when such garbage need not be backed by any evidence, so please support your comments if you don’t want to look foolish.. especially in light of all the evidence to the contrary.

    I take it you aren’t the same “[H]omer” that mans the irc channel on Freenode #boycottnovell. That guy seems a little more honest than you.

  6. Charles Norrie said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Gravatar

    Dear Jose, I think we should try to balance the good news message about Linux with out trenchant statements on the bad guys! That’s all

  7. Jose_X said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Gravatar

    >> Dear Jose, I think we should try to balance the good news message about Linux with out trenchant statements on the bad guys! That’s all

    That’s why I visit Linux Today as well as boycottnovell. The url should tip you off on the subject matter. Clearly the matter discussed on boycottnovell is very important.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Gravatar

    “Homer” is not “[H]omer” or “Slated”.

    “Homer” seems likely to be an OpenSUSE guy.

  9. Jose_X said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Gravatar

    Charles, boycottnovell actually does include lots of news links to Linux. Even if it didn’t, I don’t really see your point. It’s not like if a browser can’t go to more than one Linux website on the same day. Switch your browser, btw, if you are encountering that limitation.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Gravatar

    Pro-FOSS/Linux articles by far outweigh analyses and criticisms, but we cover them daily in the form of links with snippets.

    Attacks on FOSS are a higher priority because they are a greater barrier to adoption than many other factors combined.

  11. Charles Norrie said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Gravatar

    Dear Roy,

    Then why do I find that the average news article about Conficker if it says ‘if you have a Linux sytstem, you are not affected’ and then goes on to tell you how to use an anti-viral ptach or program to avoid that infection and doesn’t give you precise help to put Linux on your compuer (of whatever variety!)

    Charles

  12. Brian Assaf said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:54 am

    Gravatar

    I’d like to field this question.

    Installation instructions for GNU/Linux and advocacy belongs in a separate article than a Windows worm and patch.

    If a Windows user wants to switch OS’s based on viruses/malware/security (in that case there would be very few users still on Windows) it would make sense to provide that as an obvious solution.

    But really, why not post a link to the articles in question?

    Maybe the author isn’t familiar with Linux, but wanted to be accurate and not imply it effects all PCs, just PC’s with Windows installed.

    Perhaps the mere mention of Linux will have someone use Google (which runs on that very thing) and google “Linux”

    If the article provides comments, such as this one, why not just mention it.

    “I use Ubuntu Linux, go to ubuntu.com”
    The site itself has a tour, and simple overview.

    I don’t think a paragraph in an article about another OS entirely would be satisfactory in the least.

    Not only that, many Linux distros can be burned to disc or copied to USB and booted from. Even without an install, so it really is necessary to point someone to a detailed and focused article on that.

    P.S. I would prefer honestly to never insult Windows or Microsoft products in general. But, MS has resorted to dirty tactics, and with the current lock-in and social inertia, sometimes you just have to point out just how it is, so that some will say:

    “Hey, why am I running this crap, I should check out an alternative”.

    I assure you there are happy Windows users with hijacked boxes, filled with malware, cracked software, DRM (i.e. WGA or Vista in general) just unaware of it.
    That may just be the push to get him or her to try something that isn’t frankly, an insulting OS.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Gravatar

    You’re right. Someone raised a similar point before. Should we maybe add a banner somewhere in all pages… something that says “get GNU/Linux”?

  14. Jose_X said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Gravatar

    >> something that says “get GNU/Linux”?

    It might be more fitting to recommend actual branded distros as well.. of course, distros whose patronage would be a positive to the wider Linux community (vs say to Microsoft).

    A distro rotation could be used, perhaps alongside the ads. Maybe even offer limited free ad space to distros where they can put their own messages. And I’m not insinuating that generic GNU/Linux should not be in the mix.

    Boycottnovell could have its own distro. I know I have brought this up before (on irc), but I haven’t yet gotten myself into a position to get back to technical work.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Gravatar

    Shane has already created SueMe Linux.

  16. Jose_X said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I think Shane mentioned recently something along those lines.

    Where is the download button or torrent? What features does it have? How was it put together? I’m interested.

  17. Jose_X said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks. Thanks a lot… I should have clicked before assuming you were a decent human being with tact. Thanks a lot.

    :-)

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Gravatar

    The main post is here, but the domain name was cyber-jacked.

  19. Shane Coyle said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Gravatar

    SueMe had died, I don’t remember what it was based upon – probably Slackware or Gentoo – the main point of the site was it was ‘Disclosing your Balance Sheet Liabilities’, and prominently displayed Microsoft’s FUD claims regarding the number of their patents infringed by GNU/Linux systems right on the frontpage.

    That being said, it was fully functional, even if patent encumbered ;^ ). The domain was jettisoned during a financial crisis, (we had kept all of the boycott____ names, but I couldn’t afford ‘em all…)

    If there really is a desire, we could certainly spin something new up.

  20. Brian Assaf said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Go for it Roy.

    I stumbled upon this site in a blog comment somewhere:

    http://www.getgnulinux.org/

    Looks very nice, and is quite simple to peruse. Recommends Ubuntu, Fedora, and gnewsense. I figure your site would not want to advocate SUSE. ;)

    Also, groklaw has a “switch to Linux” link on the side of the main page.

    http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2006061302494935

    It may indeed be worth while for boycottnovell to offer something like that.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Gravatar

    @Brian,

    Thanks. Yes, I linked to http://www.getgnulinux.org/ earlier on in a post and earlier today I also thought about doing what Groklaw did, probably in our Wiki.

What Else is New


  1. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  2. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  3. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  4. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  5. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  6. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  7. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  8. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  10. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  11. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  12. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  13. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  14. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  15. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  16. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  17. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  18. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  19. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  20. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  21. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  22. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  24. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  25. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  26. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  27. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  28. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  29. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  30. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts