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. Patent Dangers to Linux and Android: Qualcomm, Apple, and Nokia

    The prevailing problem which is companies with mountains of patents going after OEMs, using a bulk of infringement accusations, and demanding 'protection' money



  2. Colossal Institutional Failure Surrounding the European Patent Office (EPO) and EPO Chickens Out of Debate About It

    Shielded by a network of institutions, governments, and departments that facilitate the EPO's abuses by inexcusable inaction, Team Battistelli continues to hoard more money and power



  3. The United States Has Already Tackled Both Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    An outline of some notable responses to TC Heartland and where we go from here



  4. Cloudflare Wants to Completely Squash the Patent Troll Blackbird Technologies by Squashing the Only Thing It Has

    Putting more of its money to good use, for a change, Cloudflare goes for the kill against Blackbird Technologies, which has no technologies, just patents and lawsuits



  5. Links 25/5/2017: Mesa 17.1.1, Qt 5.9.0 RC, and Much More

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/5/2017: New RHEL Beta, SteamOS Updated

    Links for the day



  7. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  8. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  9. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  10. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  11. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  12. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  13. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  14. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  15. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  16. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  17. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  18. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  19. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  20. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  21. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  22. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  23. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  24. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  25. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  26. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  27. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  28. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  29. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  30. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day


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