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

05.09.09

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (Windows Shop) Gets Cracked Again

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Loading

Corollary: People may start caring about computer security not when businesses become less productive but when disaster eventually strikes

WE’VE already shown that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is relying on a great deal of Windows [1, 2], so it’s not surprising to find it getting cracked again. From the news:

i. FAA admits problems with hackers

According to CNET, the US Federal Aviation Administration has admitted that hackers have broken into the air traffic control mission-support systems several times in recent years. In one case they managed to become ‘insiders’ to the network.

ii. Report: Hackers broke into FAA air traffic control systems

Hackers have broken into the air traffic control mission-support systems of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration several times in recent years, according to an Inspector General report sent to the FAA this week.

Also in the news in recent days:

i. Researchers Release Bootkit Code Targeting Windows 7

Dubbed Vbootkit 2.0, the software was first presented by researchers Vipin Kumar and Nitin Kumar at the Hack In The Box security conference in Dubai in April. At the conference, the two researchers demonstrated how attackers could circumvent security features implemented in the kernel and gain control over Windows 7 (x64).

ii. Microsoft to patch ‘critical’ PowerPoint hole

Microsoft plans to patch a hole in its PowerPoint presentation program, the company said in an advanced bulletin that was notable because it contained only a single update.

iii. Botnet master hits the kill switch, takes down 100,000 PCs

Those behind the Zeus botnet recently decided to press the big red button, bluescreening 100,000 computers around the globe. Security experts aren’t sure why yet, although they have some ideas.

iv. Windows and Viruses – Made for each other

This is the screenshot of the cnet’s download.com which shows the most popular downloads for windows. The first five positions are taken by anti-virus software :-). Sadly there is no ‘Linux’ download section but ‘Mac’ has a place.

v. Microsoft ‘fixes’ its malware problem

Computerworld has an Microsoft WGA/WAT spokesman quoted as saying: “When we went out and talked to customers, we found that activation was the concept that resonated most strongly with them”.

The quote ends there, but may have ended: “…Like memories of the first time they were kicked in the groin.”

In any case, Microsoft’s draconian licensing enforcement ‘technology’ is malware by its own definition. And it’s forced on the user through EULAs of questionable legality.

There is no advantage to it for the user, only advantages for Microsoft. And renaming it won’t make it more attractive to users or any more palatable.

Maybe someday, smart users will stop buying software products that have a built-in remote off switch.

Name changes never resolve problems, except for perceptual problems.

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

6 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 9, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Gravatar

    Keep in mind, the FAA knows better and has experienced at least one Windows- based shutdown of the World’s eighth largest economy:

    http://www.techworld.com/opsys/news/index.cfm?newsid=2275

    http://www.securityfocus.com/news/9729

    http://www.ccsce.com/pdf/Numbers_CA_Rank.pdf

    FWIW, California is ranked just behind Italy.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, it’s a Windows problem.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that the outage was the result of a worker neglecting to perform a monthly reset of a Windows-based control system, resulting in its automatic shutdown after 49.7 days of operation. A backup system also failed.

    Microsoft server crash nearly causes 800-plane pile-up

    twitter Reply:

    The FAA has made some tennative moves away from M$, but apparently has not made the jump to sanity. In 2006, they moved some servers to Red Hat. In 2007 they said no to Vista and considered dumping Windows completely for GNU/Linux. The FAA’s CIO, David Bowen, was quoted at the time about “business case” and problems with compatibility and continued availability of XP rather than security and freedom. He mentions security here but OS is not part of the discussion. A sane discussion would be about getting Windows out of airports entirely because a single compromised machine can do a lot of damage. Every airport I visit has M$ junk prominently placed, often with big error messages displayed instead of information. The FAA has the authority to fix this and should.

    When reading these stories, it is difficult to know if the incompetence comes from the reporter or the FAA. Bowen’s background is in economics and business which is decried, somewhat unfairly here. An older CV is published here. No mention of computing languages or development is made, which may be why it has taken him so long to see the value of free software despite managing so many computers over the last 25 years. He has a guilty hand in the health care mess, having come from Blue Shield. Still, we know how well managed most of the press is when it comes to M$ trash. It is no more surprising to find smears against anyone in power who considers moving to GNU/Linux than it is to find complete incompetents in power. At this point, competent people not only realize what a security disaster Windows is, they realize how it is designed to never properly interact with other systems. Competent people do what Lowes did, they migrate completely away and do so at once. Bowes has indicated he thinks this way, but it is impossible to tell through the reporting that I have found.

  2. ricardo nunes said,

    May 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Gravatar

    OSOR – The Swiss company Skysoft has started development of Albatross, a set of open source applications for air traffic controllers. The project’s website was unveiled on 16 March.

    The software will be published under a GNU Public Licence. The company has not yet decided which version of the GPL will be used.
    http://www.osor.eu/news/company-opens-development-airport-traffic-management-software

  3. Al said,

    May 12, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Gravatar

    It is the incompetence of the security and administration that causes theese problems everys single time. And you people think running open source is a good idea for these morons?? If they can not properly administer a Windows environment how the hell do you expect them to to deal with Linux or Unix??? Please tell me?? So the Windows bashing may be all well and good but let’s get the facts strait in any one of the cases like this you had incompetent people as the cause.. When a competent staff and sound policy is in place Windows is just as secure as Linux! Is it much more expensive? Yes … Does it offer the freedom? No…. But do not blame Windows for complete incompetence!!!!

    Hey we are talking about government here so incompetence is a given!!!

    Think about it the FAA is bueracracy and the follow the government model…

    Spend way more than neccessary… Hire any moron that is related or a friend the let them give their moron friends and relatives jobs… Next pay them entirely to much for doing far to little … After that let them take off whenever they want, throw in double time and a half holiday pay for every holiday possible…. Then when it goes wrong blame the taxypayers and corporations!!!

    Yet so many seem to embrace this idea shouting while they rob us blind knowing our taxes are going sky high in the future no matter what you make and yet we shout YES WE CAN…

    Give in to the Obama/Gates (General Electric,NBC,Microsoft) connection….

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    NBC ‘news’ is a wholly separate issue. :-)

What Else is New


  1. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  2. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  3. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  4. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  5. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  6. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  7. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  8. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  9. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  10. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  11. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  12. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  13. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  14. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  15. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  16. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  17. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  18. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  19. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  20. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  21. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  22. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  23. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  24. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  25. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  26. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  27. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  28. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  29. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  30. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice


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