SEVERAL MONTHS AGO we wrote about the disasters which the FAA had been experiencing, probably due to its reckless choice of Microsoft Windows. Now we’re witnessing planes that are being grounded due to similar problems (Microsoft denies this). But it may all be just be ‘small potatoes’ compared to a crack of this scale, which the Associated Press wrongly characterises as “hacking”.
Hackers broke into the Federal Aviation Administration’s computer system last week, accessing the names and Social Security numbers of 45,000 employees and retirees.
TechDirt has meanwhile gotten around to commenting on related news.
Unpatched, Virus-Infected Windows To Blame For Grounded French Fighter Pilots And Halt To Traffic Arrests In Houston
Reader Calvin sends in two separate stories of government institutions who apparently failed to patch their Windows machines to protect against the Conficker virus — despite the patch being available for many months. First, Houston police have stopped arresting people with outstanding traffic warrants and shut down the municipal court system for a few days to try to deal with their computer systems being overrun by the virus.
Whether a person is troubled by use of Windows or not, the side effects appear not only in billing (damage is compensated for collectively) but also in people’s E-mail. This is made possible owing to massive Windows-based botnets.
Virus authors are attempting to hoodwink unwary and lovestruck internet users with malware that poses as Valentine’s Day-related games and email greetings.
The hacker tactic is a familiar companion to annual holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. McAfee reports that the Valentine’s Day spam links to URLs pushing the Waledac Trojan, a strain of malware that has copied many of its techniques and features from the infamous Storm Trojan.
OpenDNS has added a feature to its Domain Name System (DNS) services to fight a widespread worm, with help from Russian security company Kaspersky Lab.
OpenDNS has its own network of DNS servers that translate domain names into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses so, for example, Web sites can be displayed in a browser. The company says its system is faster than using the DNS servers run by ISPs (Internet service providers) and provides better protection against phishing as well as other features such as Web content filtering.
As far as Microsoft is concerned, there is no solution to this (not even Vista 7) and some people are meanwhile dying. This is totally preventable because secure platforms like GNU/Linux exist and are readily available. █
“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”
“David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista.”