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

02.11.09

Is Windows to Blame for Cracking of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)?

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emergency person

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.

Wonderful.

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.

Another side effect of these turbulent experiences is being combated by a victim of the very same botnets which it fights, namely DNS. IDG published this report:

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.”

Steve Ballmer

“David Smith commented that Gartner will not bash MS if MS chooses to slip Vista.”

Jamin Spilzer, Microsoft

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

7 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Gravatar

    When there was a major, cascading power outage on the east coast of the US, Windows was initially implicated. For about a day, as events unfolded, it looked every hour more and more like Windows was at the bottom. Suddenly all discussion and investigation appeared to stop and no further coverage of the cause was provided afterwards.

    So it’s not just now, during the recession that Gates has been putting salt on the wounds, he’s also been helping make the cuts, too.

  2. Ty said,

    February 11, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Gravatar

    That reminds of of the less serious but similar story about my state government not allowing anyone in the government to go on Myspace or Facebook. NOT because it is a waste of time but because of an uptick in Windows viruses from the sites.

    So instead of recommending that staff and officials get Linux or even get some Macs so the officials can post on their myspace and facebook pages, the IT security dept just wholesale blocked those sites and others!

    Stupid in my opinion!

    Quote:

    “We realize that this may be an inconvenience and we apologize,” Office of Legislative Information Systems Director Michael Gaudiello wrote in a note to the affected parties. “But it is essential that the integrity of the Maryland General Assembly computer systems and facilities are protected.”

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/bal-te.facebook07feb07,0,1339786.story

    “It puts the General Assembly in the Stone Age” Said Del. Christopher B. Shank (R-Washington).

    “This is like China” Said Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s).

    http://mobile.washingtonpost.com/news.jsp?key=348270&rc=tech#___1__

    Sad. People don’t learn.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 11, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Gravatar

    For similar reasons, USB devices are banned in some places.

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 12, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Gravatar

    USB devices are only present anyway because Windows got into the infrastructure and makes it impossible to have networked file sharing. So it’s back to good old sneakernet, this time instead of 5.25″ floppies or even 3.5″ floppies its a dog-leash around the neck with a cluster of USB sticks.

    It’s damage by M$ from multiple angles there.

    Ban M$ products, and penalize the turds that deployed them, and you clear up 99% of today’s security problems. Of course that will mean a greater problem from web 2.0, but throw away all useless client-side scripting, flash and flash-like animations and you will clean up that vector as well.

    For years everyone stayed away from client side scripting cause it sucked and was insecure. It still is both. Some say that the only reason web 2.0 is to compensate for the move away from the permeable M$ products and add holes.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 12, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Gravatar

    What is “Web 2.0″ really?

  6. Ian said,

    February 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    @Needs Sunlight

    Are you serious, or just goofing around?

    USB devices are only present anyway because Windows got into the infrastructure and makes it impossible to have networked file sharing.

    Have you ever heard of CIFS or SMB or Samba or Windows shares or NFS or FTP or NCP? You do understand that you can transfer files over a network between two Windows boxes or a Windows box and a Linux box..right?

    Ban M$ products, and penalize the turds that deployed them, and you clear up 99% of today’s security problems.

    That’s an ignorant comment. Does Microsoft have a good history with security? Not really. Will everyone switching to Linux suddenly make admins impervious to leaving services turned on or not configuring firewalls correctly? Don’t make the mistake of thinking Linux boxes don’t get rooted.

    Some say that the only reason web 2.0 is to compensate for the move away from the permeable M$ products and add holes.

    That doesn’t make any sense. Web 2.0 is nothing more than an evolution of web design. It’s not a Microsoft thing, it’s not a Novell thing, it’s not a Linux thing, it’s not even a Google thing.

    Look, you hate Microsoft. That’s fine. But don’t make things up.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Gravatar

    I think s/he was referring to escape from desktop-bound applications.

What Else is New


  1. Alice Case Beats Microsoft Patent Troll, USPTO Director Michelle Lee Wants Reform

    Latest developments surrounding software patents and patent trolls in the United States



  2. Links 7/7/2015: Lenovo ThinkPad With GNU/Linux, More Containers Hype

    Links for the day



  3. There is No 'New Microsoft': Under Nadella, Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android Carries on

    Kyocera is again being targeted by Microsoft, using patent aggression, with a secret settlement being reached whose negative impact on Android remains to be seen



  4. Patent Propaganda, Glamourisation, and Erosion of Citizens' Rights in the Process

    An overview of recent coverage about patents, demonstrative of inherent bias in the world of patent practitioners and the journalists whom they misinform



  5. Corporate Media Should Stop Grooming Black Duck by Calling it 'Open Source' and Repeating Its Lies

    Black Duck uses gullible (or easy to manipulate) journalists to spread its marketing talking points, which grossly overstate risks of using Free software



  6. Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  8. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  9. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  10. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  11. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  12. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  13. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  14. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  15. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  16. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  17. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  18. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  19. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  20. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  21. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  22. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  23. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  24. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  25. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  26. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  27. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  28. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  29. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  30. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts