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

08.09.09

Journalists Suggest Banning Windows, Maybe Suing Microsoft Over DDoS Attacks

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baywatch

Summary: Recent DDoS attacks (Windows botnets running amok) affect many people and lead to hard questions

NOW that Facebook and Twitter are under siege by Windows zombies [1, 2] (it’s not over yet), a lot of people are negatively affected, not just taxpayers and hospital patients. Hundreds of millions of zombie PCs are living proof that there is no end in sight, not as long as Windows remains ubiquitous on the desktop.

Over at IDG, SJVN suggests getting rid of Windows. It’s a modest proposal.

I thought that the massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that knocked Twitter and other social networks out was because of Iran’s government trying to shut down its protesters. I was wrong. Hundreds of millions of Internet users were annoyed because of Windows botnet-based DDoS aimed at one (1) person.

According to security company McAfee’s director of security research Dave Marcus, “This was a very targeted attack, and what the research shows is that it was aimed at one particular person, and that person’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LiveJournal.” The target is a pro-Georgian blogger, but he’s still just one man.

For some details on that person, here is the New York Times:

The cyberattacks Thursday and Friday on Twitter and other popular Web services disrupted the lives of hundreds of millions of Internet users, but the principal target appeared to be one man: a 34-year-old economics professor from the republic of Georgia.

Also:

That latter link comes from Glyn Moody, a journalist who wrote in Twitter that Twitter was killed “with a Windows botnet, probably. Time to start suing Microsoft, maybe…”

It is a question of liability, but before anyone claims that GNU/Linux would solve nothing, here is a new article worth reading. Code scans do suggest that mature Free software is inherently more secure.

“The fact that any security issue can be seen by thousands of eyes, in fact, makes it easy to find and fix security issues. If you got proprietary software, just because the security vulnerability may not be seen in the open doesn’t make the code more secure,” Kant told LinuxInsider.

Microsoft prepares to bring many more “critical” patches. It never ends, and it’s remotely exploitable. Vista 7 will bring no change to the table. We wrote about this before, e.g. in:

Also see: When Does it Become Appropriate to Take Windows off the Information Highway?

“Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system…”

Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008

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

15 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 9, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Gravatar

    Windows and M$ products should have been banned long ago. It’s good that the idea is being broached once again in this new decade, but too little action has been taken since the problems first were discussed last decade.

    The topic of ditching M$ products was more widely discussed back then even though the situation was not as dire as it now is. Many M$ applications serve little purpose other than to lock end-users into the M$ stack and are more often than not little more than security holes masquerading as useful applications.
    It’s not the products gone wrong, it’s the people inside your company pushing these M$ products that have gone wrong. It’s an H.R. problem when company employees push a political agenda that harms or destroys the company’s ability to operate.

    Look at the cost of these incidents. The cost of upgrading every last M$ chump on the planet in the course of 12 months to viable technology can’t exceed more than a tiny fraction of the quarterly damage. M$ communism costs too much to keep around. Withdrawn the corporate charter and dozens of IT companies will take off: Oracle, Sun, Red Hat, to name a few.

    So will just about every company or institution that currently uses either desktop computers, servers or both.

    zatoichi Reply:

    Windows and M$ products should have been banned long ago.

    That’s idiotic. On what basis do you “ban” an entire company’s line of (legal) products?

    It’s good that the idea is being broached once again in this new decade, but too little action has been taken since the problems first were discussed last decade.

    Nobody’s “broaching” this idea, at least not anyone who thinks things through to see whether they, in fact, have anything to do with reality.

    twitter Reply:

    A lot of less damaging “products” have been banned through class lawsuits but economic forces are even more powerful. M$ is in a position similar to but far weaker than US automobile manufacturerers. Reality is calling as M$’s proffits errode in the face of superior competition.

    zatoichi Reply:

    A lot of less damaging “products” have been banned through class lawsuits…

    Name a few, please.

    Generally products are forced off the market because they either represent a danger to life and limb (and I’m not sure how many people you want to claim have died as a direct result of using Microsoft software), or because they make illegal claims about what the product does.

    Have you read the EULA? There’s definitely some language in there (as in most software licenses) about not warranting the software for any particular purpose… Even the GPL contains such language.

    So what are you talking about, Willy?

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    For the time being it is legal to sell M$ products or even for M$ executives to continue the false claim that they are in the software or software services business. However, that need not be the case in the future and after having been tabled for a few years, it is time for the discussion to continue.

    Even with the current ‘legality’ of M$ products, have you read the EULA? The blame rests squarely on those betraying their positions and promoting or deploying M$ products. Aluminum spanners would be legal, but a shop steward purchasing and, worse yet, deploying said spanners would be sacked. If not sacked the first time, the second or third time would involve needing the help of a proctologist to retrieve said spanners once the floor crew got done with them.

    Oh, did you read the EULA? It may *not* be legal to deploy M$ products in situations where privacy is required. Clinics, hospitals, schools and military bases are out. HIPAA = no Windows.

    Get rid of M$ products and your productivity goes up by 20%: Windows causes spam, Exchange causes lost mail, Office causes incompatible and corrupt documents, and then you have worms, worms, worms, and more worms.
    The savings from avoiding one single outbreak of a Windows worm, tens of billions of dollars, will more than cover any upgrade to Ubuntu or Red Hat plus development of a few custom applications.

    It’s legal to sell fertilizer. It’s not legal to call it a dessert topping or a floor wax. The M$ EULA might as well say in big letters “FOR NOVELTY PURPOSES ONLY. NOT FOR DEPLOYMENT ONLINE”

  2. phel said,

    August 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Gravatar

    Something has happened to investigative and critical journalism over the last couple decades. Tech media should have pushed the importance of security and robust applications all along. Systems and applications with inadequate security would not have been viable on the market had they been slaughtered in reviews across the board. How many articles praising windows do you see for every one that criticise it for its fundamental flaws?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Look at what Microsoft does to journalists who dare to say that Windows is not secure. Microsoft understands how to police coverage. More on that soon (leaked “Microsoft McCarthyism” list which tells them which journalists are “bad”). We’re still parsing through Comes exhibits…

    zatoichi Reply:

    Look at what Microsoft does to journalists who dare to say that Windows is not secure.

    Roy, plenty of people say WIndows is not secure. It’s generally accepted that Windows systems are less secure than Linux systems. Are you claiming that Microsoft goes after everybody who does a story on Vista security issues?

    All twenty-seven and a half million of ‘em…?

    zatoichi Reply:

    Tech media should have pushed the importance of security and robust applications all along.

    I don’t think you understand the “tech media” terribly well. Aside from folks who have a vested interest in security issues (e.g. Bruce Schneier), the tech media has always been largely supported by the advertising largesse of the tech industry.

    Systems and applications with inadequate security would not have been viable on the market had they been slaughtered in reviews across the board.

    One additional issue here is that media product reviewers, by and large, understand security issues about as well as the general public does, i.e. not at all.

  3. zatoichi said,

    August 9, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    This is another moronic misrepresentation of the facts, Roy. One journalist suggested “banning Windows”—something unlikely to happen—and one other suggested (stupidly) suing Microsoft for a DDOS attack initiated against a third party by a fourth party.

    If your psychotic neighbor gets mad at you and cuts the brake lines on your car, and you crash into a wedding reception, you don’t get to sue Ford, even though they designed the car in such a way that the brake lines were accessible.

    Do you even think this stuff through before you publish it? (That was a rhetorical question, it’s clear that the answer is “no”.)

    twitter Reply:

    You clearly missunderstand the issue and the impact it will have on Windows use. M$ botnets have finally done something that annoys M$ users in an unforgivable way. For a long time, M$ users managed to get along, despite their platform problems. Free software and cracked commercial software provided them with browsers, email clients, IM clients and other programs to mitigate previous damage. Now we see a demonstration of individuals using M$’s incompetence to remove the current killer applications for everyone. Facebook and twitter have influential and intelligent users who will soon make the rational choice to protect what they enjoy. These users were already leaving M$. Now they will question M$ use at work. M$ will try to spin this in favor of Windows 7 deployment but their goose is cooked. This story is just going to get bigger and uglier because Windows 7 is not the answer and the botnet problem will only get worse until Windows is gone.

    zatoichi Reply:

    M$ botnets have finally done something that annoys M$ users in an unforgivable way.

    Well, if you think many enterprises are going to be dropping Microsoft because their employees were unable to use Twitter or Facebook, I’d have to say you’re mistaken…

    In point of fact, we haven’t yet managed to get the majority of users off of Internet Exploder.

    …the botnet problem will only get worse until Windows is gone.

    Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you that, overall, Windows is not likely to be “gone” any time soon. You’re tilting at windmills here, Señor Quixote.

    The further sad fact is that, if your dream came true, and Linux systems suddenly represented a significant proportion of the desktop, the folks who write malware would certainly turn their efforts to subverting Linux systems, probably with some degree of success.

    Just as with OS X, which is arguably a lot less secure than Vista, low market share affords a level of protection from exploitation: Linux systems don’t represent an attractive or large enough target for anyone to want to take advantage of…

  4. pinguinpat said,

    August 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Gravatar

    Mister zatoichi,

    Maybe you could look to it this way: when a gas station sold fuel with lead in it, it would have been very normal because it was the normal stuff to sell.

    If the same gas station would do the same thing today it would be sued it’s ass of. Compare the situation with Microsoft: they start to sell operating systems in a period where internet didn’t exist. Measurements against all kind of security issues where not needed (?) Today Microsoft still makes new software on a proven base thats insecure. Why didn’t Microsoft change it’s architecture long time ago? Why shouldn’t they be kept responsible for there structurally failing of there software?? Is it really normal that they keep restaurating a new building before it’s even build ??

    zatoichi Reply:

    Today Microsoft still makes new software on a proven base thats insecure.

    Well, I wouldn’t use it, then. Plenty of people still do, however, and neither inarticulate comments, nor demands that they be free the way you tell them to, will keep them from doing so.

    Why didn’t Microsoft change it’s architecture long time ago?

    How would I know? Ask ‘em.

    Why shouldn’t they be kept responsible for there structurally failing of there software??

    Because you agree not to hold them responsible when you install and use their software, if you choose to do so: that’s what “no warranty” means. Just like with GPL-licensed software.

    Always read the fine print.

  5. pinguinpat said,

    August 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Do you know the song from the Bloodhoundgang: the bad touch? We are not more than mammals!! When there’s a critical mass, you can make a human eat shoe laces for breakfast!! When you sell a computer to a newbie there’s a good change that he/she doesn’t care about the os. If there’s not a penguin with a gun pointed in they’re back they simply wont leave the shop with Linux on there laptop, that is if they can :(

    I did try to ask Microsoft about the architect problems but my cellphone ran out of power after a 3 hour call, I heard a friendly lady say “For Bill Gates pres” she didn’t tell me the rest :(

    About the license: imagine, I buy a laptop with Windows on it (I woke up in sweat when I had that dream) the license is OEM of course so I am the only possible owner if you read the license. Someone steals my machine (you stupid, it got Windows on it) and puts a botnet on it. Now you: hacking and stealing are the same things > someone takes over you’re computer. What can a judge say? You bought a computer, you installed a intrusion alarm, you locked up your front door and you install updates automatically just like most users do. Microsoft judges exist, but what can an other judge say then: You agreed with the license, you’re guilty: you have to pay a symbolic 500 million euro to twitter , I know you had a criminal visitor who exploited the top 500 bugs from Microsoft, but you were the only one that didn’t run away in time??

What Else is New


  1. Understanding Thierry Breton: Chirac's Entrepreneurial “Joker”

    Minister in charge of the public treasury was not a career politician but an “entrepreneur” with a proven track-record as a financial wizard and “cost-killer”



  2. Links 16/11/2019: New Debian Release, Wine staging 4.20

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 15, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, November 15, 2019



  4. Microsoft Doesn't Love Linux, It Just Buys Linux

    Microsoft's takeover or abduction of its opposition's voice isn't an act of love but an act of occupation, a hostile colonisation that enables digital pillage and plunder



  5. Koch's Reply to EPO Through ILO and Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO Documents Help Show That ILO-AT is Played by EPO Management

    Sending cases back and forth, without the complainant being involved, means that justice is in eternal ‘limbo’ and thus the abusive management of the European Patent Office (EPO) — first Team Battistelli and now Team Campinos — can get away with anything the bullies do (no judgment of substance being delivered)



  6. EPO Running ILO's Tribunal (ILO-AT) 'in a Loop' to Perpetually Delay and Drain the EPO's Complainants (Aggrieved Staff) Out of Money

    ILO’s Administrative Tribunal — a court for aggrieved EPO staff and other international organisations’ staff (usually known as ILO-AT for short) — is a major farce; when “time is money” and lawyers charge as much as 400 euros an hour the EPO’s management can exploit/misuse its cash reserves to also game justice and buy legal outcomes



  7. ILO is Not Functioning and ILO-AT Helps the Abusive Management of the European Patent Office

    It is becoming increasingly clear, based for example on Koch v EPO, that ILO-AT is where a lot of money will be spent on lawyers and rarely will that result in real justice (but it certainly helps EPO management pretend that staff has safeguards)



  8. Links 16/11/2019: Wine 4.20, Picolibc 1.1

    Links for the day



  9. Understanding Thierry Breton: Moral Responsibility for “a Capitalism That Kills”?

    "...France Télécom which had previously been defined by an ethos of public service, by egalitarian working conditions and by a sense of universal mission, had now been transformed into a "cash machine” whose sole purpose was to generate shareholder value on international financial markets."



  10. FOSSPatents Conference is Against FOSS, Promoting the FOSS-Hostile Construct Known as RAND or FRAND

    Do not be misled by the term Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in the name FOSSPatents and whatever relates to it (e.g. FOSSPatents Conference); it's not about FOSS but against FOSS, or pro-FRAND



  11. Europe is Under Attack

    European politicians or political candidates pretend to be 'candid'; but they're agents of Power, or put another way, they're there to make the rich and powerful class even richer and more powerful by passing new, ruinous laws in the name of 'the people' or 'for SMEs'



  12. Links 15/11/2019: New Opera and Brave, GNU/Linux Flatpa(c)ked

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 14, 2019



  14. Understanding Thierry Breton: Toxic Management Goes on Trial in France

    "In each of these cases, the suicide served as a symbolic act of protest to denounce workplace conditions at France Télécom and attract public attention to its practices."



  15. Thierry Breton's Video/Live Grilling is Over, But the Grilling Continues Online

    Elite politicians aren't reluctant to give Thierry Breton the high seat (or throne); but everyone else realises that this resembles a corporate takeover more than anything



  16. The EPO's Low Patent Quality is Not Just Suicidal; It is Illegal

    With help from the besieged Boards of Appeal (BoAs), which complain that they can no longer judge cases (appeals/referrals) autonomously and independently, the Office in Munich continues to grossly violate the EPC and mimic China's ridiculously low patent bar, which even formally permits patents on algorithms



  17. Links 14/11/2019: Mesa 19.2.4 and GCC 7.5 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company But Microsoft Bribed and Took Over Many Open Source Authorities (Rivals' Voice Hijacked)

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and GNU/Linux are being taken over by Microsoft moles, bought by Microsoft Corporation, and the collective voice of the alternative to Microsoft and Windows is being muzzled (they tell us they "love" us while they're attacking us and sometimes suing us)



  19. Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO: The EPO's Management Still Attacks Staff Representatives

    The EPO hopes to get its victims (of EPO abuse) to not only foot their own bills but also the EPO's



  20. Understanding Thierry Breton: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom

    The psychological harassment of the France Télécom workforce led the "suicide wave" after Breton had left France Télécom



  21. The Breton-Battistelli Relationship and Breton Hiding His Employment Record at Rothschild & Cie Banque

    EPO scoundrels such as Battistelli are closer to Breton than most people care to realise; Breton is hiding part of his career ahead of today's grilling



  22. A Lot of EPO Staff on Dutch Land Protested (Despite Abusive Threats From Management) and a Strike is Reportedly Next

    EPO management in Rijswijk tried hard to prevent workers from protesting on their free time (lunch break), reaffirming that same old belief that nothing is changing at the EPO and nothing will change without truly disruptive action



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 13, 2019



  24. Links 13/11/2019: Docker Enterprise Bought, WordPress 5.3, Qt 5.12.6 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Rebranding Malware and Spyware as 'Linux' to Dilute the Brand (and the News)

    Signal-to-noise ratio continues to be reduced, as a lot of "Linux" news has nothing to do with GNU/Linux or even with Free software



  26. Understanding Thierry Breton: In the Beginning...

    Career roundup of Thierry Breton, possibly the next EU Commissioner



  27. Startpage Has Been Delisted, But it Ought to be Blacklisted

    Startpage has just warned its fans (I am a former fan) of what Startpage itself covertly became months back



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 12, 2019



  29. Links 12/11/2019: Plasma 5.17.3, More Intel Defects, Bytecode Alliance

    Links for the day



  30. You've Gotta Go When You've Gotta Go

    How most staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels these days


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