02.13.09

Botnets and Bounties Versus Real Security

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THERE ARE many reports this week about Windows security problems, but one that really stood out is this one from yesterday:

Microsoft is offering a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the virus writers behind the infamous Conficker (Downadup) worm.

This was also covered in:

So Microsoft plays sheriff and puts money on people’s heads rather than actually produce secure and robust systems. That’s the equivalent of jailing many people for possession of illegal drugs rather than looking for ways to prevent the trafficking of such drugs. It completely ignores the causes and instead addresses an outcome. The outcome is not just tens of millions of hijacked computers in this case; the ‘outcome’ is also teenage cyber-criminal who are empowered by badly engineered systems. Will there be a bounty presented to combat each and every Windows virus that exists (there are over a million, including variants)?

In other news, 8 “critical” vulnerabilities have just surfaced in Microsoft software.

Microsoft Patches 8 Critical Vulnerabilities

Microsoft Tuesday patched eight vulnerabilities — three of them marked “critical” — in the company’s Internet Explorer (IE), Office, Exchange and SQL Server software.

“Critical” is the highest degree of severity in Microsoft’s scale, so it’s only reasonable to expect larger botnets. Speaking of which, Microsoft is again addressing the wrong problem in the wrong way when it tries to take apart botnets rather consider the reasons for their creation in the first place.

Microsoft has beefed up the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) that ships with its Windows operating system so that it will detect and root out the notorious Srizbi botnet code.

“This month’s MSRT takes on one of the largest botnets currently active worldwide,” wrote Microsoft spokesman Vincent Tiu in a blog posting Tuesday, the day the update to the software removal tool was released. “Win32/Srizbi has been accused of being responsible for a huge chunk of spam e-mail messages sent in the years after its discovery,” he added. “We hope to make a positive impact with the addition of Win32/Srizbi into MSRT.”

This is also covered here.

In other security-related news:

i. Fake Infection Warnings Can Be Real Trouble

Michael Vana knew something was up when he saw the pop-up from “Antivirus 2009″ in the middle of his screen. The former Northwest Airlines avionics technician guessed that the dire warning of a system infection was fake, but when he clicked on the X to close the window, it expanded to fill his screen. To get rid of it, he had to shut down his PC.

ii. Fraudsters cream opposition in cybercrime wars

The celebration of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday was marked by warnings that cybercriminals are staying ahead of defenders in their attempts to defraud or otherwise abuse internet users.

iii. Germany deploys cybersoldiers

GERMANY HAS REVEALED that it has a team of 76 soldiers who are trained to defend the country from cyber attacks and software piracy.

Once again, Windows and the Web are unable to play nice with each other:

New Windows virus attacks PHP, HTML, and ASP scripts

Researchers have identified a new strain of malware that can spread rapidly from machine to machine using a variety of infection techniques, including the poisoning of webservers, which then go on to contaminate visitors.

The malware is a variation of a rapidly mutating virus alternately known as Virut and Virux. It has long proved adept at injecting itself into executable files, which are then able to attack uninfected machines through network drives and USB sticks.

A reader has just alerted us that a man is moving from the Ministry of Finance to Microsoft, hinting at possible government connections. Microsoft has already 'pulled an EDGI/MOU' around there.

Regarding news coverage like this one, wrote the reader, “the non-cached page has some nasty tricks to wipe out non-Javascripted browsers.” Further he added: “I have often wondered if the sudden push to web 2.0 is to compensate for loss of access that various interests have as people depart Microsoft Windows. The reasons for snubbing client-side javascript are still valid, perhaps more so than years past. Certainly there has been no value added. What does get added, aside from slowness and loss of functionality, is a whole slew of ways to remotely access content or activities on the client.”

Those who want a secure system ought to look at GNU/Linux.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/02/13/botnets-and-bounties/

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

6 Comments

  1. Jose_X said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Gravatar

    Don’t bad guys sometimes get more motivated when there is a bounty on their head?

    The FOSS way is better. They give. They open up. They give you reasons to be a white hat. They also allow for many white hats so as to keep black hats in check/ineffective. The varied ecosystem limits damage. Etc. Etc.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Gravatar

    Someone has just raised the valid point that it’s important for Microsoft to point its finger at someone, so the company pays up.

    Hospitals across the UK become botnets due to Conficker? Don’t blame Microsoft. Blame… *that* guy.

    If you leave your door open every night, expect intruders to come through the door one night.

  3. Jose_X said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Gravatar

    PHP and HTML.. like apache and firefox and ?? are having their names tarnished through associations with Microsoft. It seems whenever Microsoft messes up, they pull down these guys so as to appear to stay even.

    Not smart to embrace a viper.

    These devs should dissociate themselves with Microsoft.

    Tomorrow, these apps may need a paying license simply to run on MSware and maybe even on wine http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/ . In any case, why support their monopolies http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/25/jose-on-mono/ . And let’s not forget the deception that defines Microsoft http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/08/microsoft-evilness-galore/ .

  4. Jose_X said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Gravatar

    >> Don’t blame Microsoft. Blame… *that* guy.

    From the article: “This month’s MSRT takes on one of the largest botnets currently active worldwide,” wrote Microsoft spokesman….

    -> Microsoft is taking on bad guys for people’s sake. Microsoft is helping us fight the evil forces of humanity. [Shoot that robot.]

    Anyway they try to spin it, this doesn’t change: Microsoft keeps tons of secrets to themselves (until these escape) so that they can take much more of all our money. The result is that there are fewer people equipped to defend against attacks because Microsoft is not sharing.

    Anyway you look at it, Linux is more responsive to security/safety needs because it’s secrets belong to everyone (and not just to greedy employees and criminal spies).. not coincidentally, making it less expensive than Windows in many ways.

    I wonder if this Conficker tapped into an MS secret or vuln or design flaw that Microsoft can’t afford (isn’t willing) to really fully fix.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 13, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Gravatar

    Some holes are designed to be there for the secret services. It was officially confirmed more recently.

  6. Jose_X said,

    February 13, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Gravatar

    >> Not smart to embrace a viper.

    In the future, I’d expect WinFOSS (and not MS’ apps) to be affected by certain types of malware (because of vulnerable system hooks given to FOSS by Microsoft).

    Thus some FOSS devs sell out to Microsoft (and enrich their hostile closed monopoly platforms to the detriment of Linux&friends) only to be betrayed. ..Tell me something new.

    Speaking of betraying “partners”… and of having their hand forced too early, initiating costly ventures, and unbridled ambitions: http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE51B7K620090213 “Microsoft to open own stores, take on Apple”

    Besides their own brand, they will probably do more new partnering (eg, with companies run by their ex-execs) to produce brand name FOSS derivatives to eliminate the vanilla apache, php, etc.

    To get into MS’ store, you will need to kiss their ring and take you seat back in the auditorium (for the most part, unless you are an ex-softie — though these too will be sacrificed as necessary).

    Just what we need. Microsoft’s arrogance, bullying, and profit-hoarding, extended into more areas affecting consumers and existing markets.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 06, 2021



  2. “The Lolita Express” and Prince Bill

    “The Lolita Express” scandals return to haunt pool old Bill, as it turns out his wife was upset and it's quite likely the reason for their divorce



  3. Links 7/5/2021: GNU/Linux Preinstalled, Plamo 7.3, LibreOffice 7.1.3

    Links for the day



  4. The Latest Reports About Bill Gates Serve to Confirm or at Least Reaffirm Many People's Suspicions

    So, just as many people suspected, Melinda Gates did not appreciate her husband sneaking behind her back to meet someone who had trafficked thousands of underage girls for sexual exploitation and there are high-profile calls right now for greater transparency, seeing the impact on the world’s biggest tax evasion vehicle



  5. Disregard Web Sites That Call Themselves 'News' and Instead Promote Proprietary Software for Companies Like Microsoft

    Publishers like IDG have long been paid-for marketing in ‘article’ clothing, sometimes with the veneer of ‘reporting’ (as if they have some inside knowledge or insight, e.g. speaking with or for the company they secretly coordinate with or market for); but sadly we’ve been seeing some so-called ‘Linux’ sites doing the same thing, in effect acting like de facto Microsoft marketers



  6. [Meme] Who Needs Examination Anyway When There's 'Hey Hi' (AI)?

    The patent production line could do away with 'pesky' and 'opinionated' examiners who actually wish to scrutinise alleged 'inventions'



  7. Europe's Second-Largest Institution Corrupting the Media and Buying Expensive Puff Pieces

    As annual reports reveal, the EPO wastes an extraordinary amount of money on reputation laundering campaigns and it pollutes the signal by paying publishers; we examine this issue using the new 'reports' shown in the video above



  8. Links 6/5/2021: Fedora’s Compiler Policy and Celemony Software GmbH Adopting Free Software

    Links for the day



  9. Free Software Proponents Don't Fall for Bullshit (Same is True for EPO Examiners)

    There are parallels between what happens in the Free Software Movement and the EPO, where well-meaning people — and usually hard-working scientists — are besieged by people who never really contributed anything to society



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 05, 2021



  11. Lessons From Another Failed Coup Against the Free Software Movement

    The coup has very clearly failed and we should prepare for future attempts (they go in cycles); the monopolies really dislike software they cannot control fully (e.g. copyleft/GPL-licensed software)



  12. Links 5/5/2021: Mesa 21.1 Released and New Releases of Python

    Links for the day



  13. Links 5/5/2021: StarLabs, GNU Zile 2.6.2, Fedora i3 Spin

    Links for the day



  14. Phony 'Scandals' From Phony 'News' Site ZDNet

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols continues the coup against the FSF (trying to separate it from its founder, Richard Stallman), funded by IBM and Microsoft to engage in libel at a marketing company-owned ‘news’ site called ZDNet



  15. Links 5/5/2021: Windows Security Breaches and GNU Pokology Launched

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 04, 2021



  17. Links 4/5/2021: Taiwins 0.3, KDE Plasma 5.21.5 Released

    Links for the day



  18. EPO Already Wasting Money on Media Manipulation Campaigns for European Inventor Award

    An online-only European Inventor Award 'event' is being used as a pretext/excuse to flood European publishers with money they can rightly perceive as 'hush money'; everyone out there with no spine would likely buckle at the sight of EPO euros and just produce mindless puff pieces that serve to distract from EPO corruption



  19. The Timing of This Melinda Gates Tweet Was Always Curious...

    Remarking on her trip to Africa, where the Gates family lobbies for monopolies on seeds (for profit or course, notably through Monsanto/Bayer, which the Gates family heavily invests in), she posted pure fluff and old photos. And it’s hard to believe she had nothing better to do at the time (better than such nostalgia). As we noted last year: “The above tweet of a beach was posted [by Melinda Gates] on the date of the arrest/search of their employee, who was at their residence at the time.” He was arrested around the very same time this tweet was posted. As we wrote last year (based on detailed documents obtained from the police department): “This tweet was posted 2 hours and 40 minutes after the door was breached and incriminating evidence collected.” He was arrested later that morning at the mansion of Bill and Melinda Gates (the police records contain detailed timelines to confirm the chronology). Melinda’s first name was also in the CP 'stash'.



  20. Media Frenzy Around Gates Divorce Helps Distract From Bill's Crimes

    The distraction from many Gates scandals is cushioned by yet another personal fluff; we would rather see investigative journalism pursuing real answers about real scandals



  21. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, May 03, 2021



  22. EPO Disregards Animal Welfare

    An often overlooked issue surrounding the second-largest institution in Europe is its impact on millions if not billions of animals; there's ongoing research into that



  23. Links 3/5/2021: Sparky 5.15, Bill Gates Divorce, Netflix Fraud

    Links for the day



  24. Links 3/5/2021: New in OpenBSD 6.9 and Audacity Acquired By Muse Group

    Links for the day



  25. Adding, Seaming Together, Merging, or Concatenating Videos From the Command Line With FFMPEG (Scripting for Streamlining of Workflows)

    In order to enrich the looks of videos with almost no extra time/effort (all scripted, no GUIs should be needed) use ffmpeg with the concat operator; but there are several big gotchas, namely lack of sound and need for consistency across formats/codecs and even sampling rates



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 02, 2021



  27. StatCounter: In May 2021 Windows Market Share Falls Sharply to Just 28%, Whereas GNU/Linux Climbs to 2.31% in Desktops/Laptops

    StatCounter isn't an authority on truth; nevertheless, it helps expose some trends and it shows that Windows is consistently falling, whereas GNU/Linux moves up steadily



  28. Links 3/5/2021: Ubuntu EoL Dates and Nitrux 1.4.0

    Links for the day



  29. Richard Stallman: “Google Can Forcibly Impose Software Changes and the User Can’t Say No.”

    "This is the same thing that Microsoft has in Windows," Stallman told me, "so Microsoft can also impose software changes. Any malicious feature that's not in the program today could be remotely installed tomorrow."



  30. It's Not About Richard Stallman

    First they came for the Founder...


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