02.22.10

Microsoft Resorts to Blame Games (Against Exploiters of Microsoft’s Own Flaws and Against Google)

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chinese girl in beijing

Summary: Microsoft is transforming the debate from one which is centered on Microsoft’s inability to secure Windows to one that focuses on external factors (the press is blaming Chinese schoolchildren)

“Blame someone else” is the Microsoft mantra/motto [1, 2]. As we found out yesterday, Microsoft's legal team plays the same type of game. Microsoft is already downplaying the TPM crack and it goes further than this by blaming crackers for blue screens of death. In a world where almost half the machines that run Windows (that's 1 in 2) are confirmed/estimated to be infected, Microsoft can blame the crackers all it wants, but how and why do they manage to intrude other people’s PCs in the first place? According to this message (relating to Microsoft's proposal of Internet driver's licences):

We are sitting on an Internet with *at least* a hundred million fully-compromised, fully-owned systems. Personally, I suspect that the number is closer to double that. Others have postulated still higher values. Whatever that number is, though, it’s (a) big and (b) getting bigger. And there’s no reason, at present, to suspect that the trend will reverse, because nobody’s doing anything that appears to — in any significant way — to be an effective countermeasure.

The new owners of those systems have unfettered access to ANY credentials present on or used on those systems. The overwhelming majority of them are end-user systems, of course, but how many login or email or other access credentials does the average user have? A work email account? One for home? A freemail account? Some number of social networking accounts? How about banks? Utilities? Shopping sites? VPN for a client?

So, according to the above, it’s safe to expect any second Windows PC to be a zombie (the statistics still vary depending on the source). It’s not even improving. Here are some news articles from the weekend:

Cybercriminals Exploit Haiti Tragedy with Malware

There was no let up in spamming and phishing activities last month even as the entire world watched with sympathy the tragedy in Haiti. To add to the sorrow behind the devastating earthquake on January 12, cybercriminals took advantage of the tragedy to launch spamming and phishing attacks.

Chuck Norris Botnet Karate-chops Routers Hard

If you haven’t changed the default password on your home router, you may be in for an unwanted visit from Chuck Norris — the Chuck Norris botnet, that is.

Discovered by Czech researchers, the botnet has been spreading by taking advantage of poorly configured routers and DSL modems, according to Jan Vykopal, the head of the network security department with Masaryk University’s Institute of Computer Science in Brno, Czech Republic.

Olympic skier Begg-Smith known as ‘spam king’

Kneber Botnet: What You Need to Know Right Now

Everything you ever wanted to know about Xbox hacking

Malware – usually in the form of fake point generators – often comes into play. “Fake points generators that run on your PC promise free Microsoft points in return for your login details,” Boyd explained. “Of course, what happens is your data is sent back to base via email should you enter it into the program. Typically, the phishers will also hijack YouTube accounts and place fake ‘it works’ messages on the videos promoting them [phishing tricks],” he added.

BSODs are not the major problem, but their relevance to the cracking cannot be ignored.

The point the author makes about the problem would have been fixed long ago in Linux, or any other FOSS software, is the most important part of the article, in my opinion. The way the situation is today, you have a few people at Microsoft trying to keep up with security issues.

Obviously, people talk about the BSOD issue as one involving Microsoft’s attempt to secure machines, but those machines are already compromised. It means that the discussion has been completely warped [1, 2] and Microsoft’s blame-shifting game has worked effectively (with help from Amarillo). SJVN correctly points out that Microsoft is not off the hook because those BSODs were caused by Microsoft’s inability to secure Windows in the first place.

More than a week after Microsoft released an XP patch that seemed to cause BSODs (Blue Screen of Death), Microsoft announced that the immediate cause was the Alureon rootkit. Fair enough, but what about the 17-year old Windows security hole that the rootkit was exploiting?

I mean, come on. This bug dates back to 1993 when Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows NT 3.1 instead of Windows 7 were the hot new versions of Windows. Many of you have never even seen those operating systems much less used them. Since Microsoft has left this security hole open almost long enough for it to be old enough to vote, shouldn’t they get some of the blame?

After all, the hackers behind Alureon, aka TDSS, Tidserv and TDL3, botnet were able to fix their malware to work around the Windows’ fix before Microsoft finally figured it out. Maybe Microsoft should hire them to work on Windows security instead of relying on their own in-house software engineers. Nah. They’re probably making more money from their botnets than Microsoft is willing to pay them.

Specifically, the problem was caused when Microsoft finally fixed a Windows memory call that no longer could be used to call a specific address.

[...]

Unsupported? After 17-years, I’d say, for better of worse, it was part and parcel of Windows. Of course, if Windows were an open operating system like Linux there wouldn’t be any ‘unsupported’ ways of addressing memory. Heck, maybe someone besides a malicious hacker would have found the bug back before the turn of the century and fixed it.

[...]

The only real fix to this problem is to dump Windows. This is just another of the endless examples of how easy Windows is to attack. Even as Microsoft took care of this problem, it was revealed that the Windows-based Kneber botnet has attacked more than 374 U.S. firms and government agencies. Proper patching might have slowed it down — most of the systems getting hit by it seem to be running Windows XP SP2.

Still, the bottom line is that Windows is being exploited every day and as the Alureon/XP patch mess showed, Microsoft isn’t capable of keeping up with the hackers or their threats.

In another example of blame-shifting, the attacks on Google which were caused by Internet Explorer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and Microsoft’s own negligence [1, 2, 3] are now being attributed to only those who exploited the flaws, allegedly two schools in China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We say “allegedly” because the schools are denying it. From yesterday’s news: “Two schools in China where computers were reportedly linked to cyberattacks on Google and other companies have denied involvement in the hack, Chinese state media said Sunday.” Here again is misplaced focus on people who exploited Microsoft’s defective software which Microsoft refused to patch for almost half a year despite knowing about it. The Washington Post says: “Some of the computer codes used in the recent attacks on the networks of Google and dozens of other major U.S. companies were developed by a diverse group of Chinese hackers, including security professionals, consultants and temporary contractors, according to an industry source.”

But does it really matter? Once again the focus is being shifted to crackers rather than the company which facilitated those attack. Microsoft relied on the same spin when Conficker inflicted huge damage. It’s the blame game being played with PR and once again Microsoft is left off the hook.

Elsewhere in the news we find that Microsoft blames Google for the broken business model of newspapers. “Microsoft Man To Publishers: Google Punches Holes In Your Paywall, But Bing Won’t,” says the headline. We saw this before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. That’s Microsoft playing the blame game in order to get its rivals sued/banned/excluded.

Microsoft plays this game not only in print media but also in books. Here is Google with some publishers and authors defending Google’s side.

Google Inc. and a group of publishers and authors urged a federal judge to accept a $125 million settlement that would create the world’s biggest digital book library.

Among the companies opposing the Google book settlement there is now Amazon, which joins Microsoft just like Yahoo! did.

Microsoft Inc. (MSFT), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and others urged a federal judge Thursday to reject a revised settlement among Google Inc. (GOOG) and publisher and author groups over digital copies of books.

It’s the DRM-loving Amazon, which has been filled with several Microsoft executives as we showed many times before (there is also the geographical factor when it comes to Amazon). It’s funny how allies of Microsoft are typically among those opposing the settlement and blaming Google for the failure of the once-scarce-and-now-abundant information industry.

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

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

What Else is New


  1. Adding Images as Characters to the Daily Bulletins of Techrights

    Our daily bulletins now have inside them coarse graphics, depicted using characters alone, and the tool used to generate them announced a new release earlier today; we showcase some of its features (in a new video)



  2. Links 18/1/2021: Weekly Summaries and Linux 5.11 RC4

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  4. The Oligarchs' Parties Will Never Choose the Side of Software Freedom Because Free Software Cannot Bribe Officials

    The tough reality is that next week's (or this coming week's, depending on what Sunday counts as) inauguration ceremony is partly symbolic as all the same and important issues remain largely untouched, for corporations control almost everything of significance



  5. COVID-19 Has Actually Helped Software Freedom Due to Financial and 'Spare Time' Factors

    Developers and users are increasingly exploring what the Free software world has to offer; this is actually measurable and it contradicts claims to the contrary



  6. Future Plans and Using Videos to Complement Text

    Remarks on recent and impending site changes; We are not replacing text with video, we're just trying to enhance the presentation a bit, especially where visuals help make a point or where browsing through Web sites (or leaks) is more suitable than static, linear presentation



  7. InteLeaks – Part XVIII: Intel Does Not Know How to Properly Do Research and It Seems Apparent Unscientific Methods Are Used to Justify Poor Documentation

    There appears to be a severe crisis at Intel; they cannot recruit scientists (or those whom they recruited are walking away) and as a result the company produces bad products with poor documentation (or highly defective chipsets that top-notch marketing cannot compensate for); in this video we walk through some examples of how studies are being conducted (as already noted in Part XVII)



  8. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part III: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Seems More Like a Victim of Destabilisation Campaigns

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which turns 36 later this year, is looking to raise money that helps support the GNU Project, soon 38 years old and likely the most important Free software project to exist (ever)



  9. Links 17/1/2021: EasyOS on Raspberry Pi and GNU libsigsegv 2.13

    Links for the day



  10. InteLeaks – Part XVII: The High Cost of Microsoft Windows Users in GNU/Linux Development Teams

    A look inside Intel explains what holds back the technical team, which bemoans the lesser technical people getting in the way and not even using the product that they are writing about



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  12. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been 'banished' by the founder



  13. Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

    Links for the day



  14. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  15. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  16. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



  18. Links 15/1/2021: KaOS 2021.01, Whisker Menu 2.5.2, Istio 1.8.2

    Links for the day



  19. InteLeaks – Part XV: Intel is Blind to Blind and Colour-Blind People

    Intel does not seem to grasp very basic concepts associated with accessibility; nevertheless, Intel shamelessly tries painting itself as "woke" and a "justice warrior" (policing speech while overlooking much-needed practical work)



  20. Links 15/1/2021: GStreamer 1.18.3 and Proton 5.13-5

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 14, 2021



  22. Links 14/1/2021: Wine 6.0, Debian 11 Freeze, and Alpine Linux 3.13

    Links for the day



  23. Patent Propaganda and UPC Jingoism Instead of Actual News

    Today's so-called 'news' about the EPO (Europe's second-largest institution) and the failed UPC is nothing short of shameless propaganda



  24. Links 14/1/2021: Season of KDE 2021 Selection, Mesa 21.0.0-RC1, Tor Browser 10.0.8

    Links for the day



  25. InteLeaks – Part XIV: Technical Incompetence and Incoherence Leading to Alienation and Brain Drain

    The idea that Intel "loves Linux" or "supports Linux" is somewhat of a sham; one needs only to consider what Intel insiders are saying about that, having witnessed it firsthand



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 13, 2021



  27. Links 13/1/2021: $150 RISC-V Computer With GNU/Linux, Intel Replaces CEO Again, and New Fedora 34 Plans

    Links for the day



  28. Unitary Patent is Dead and Lies About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Aren't Ending

    Not "Russian agents" but concerned European citizens are beginning to see the truth behind the Unified Patent Court, which the 'media' has wrongly called "Unitary Patent Court" three times in 2 days



  29. InteLeaks – Part XIII: GNU/Linux Documentation From People Who Never Even Use GNU/Linux

    Inside Intel there's a whole bunch of embarrassing secrets about the Developer/Development eXperience ("DX") team; no wonder documentation efforts have been lacking and far too much time wasted putting such documentation together



  30. Links 13/1/2021: Mozilla VPN, NeoChat 1.0.1 and Sci-Hub Under Attack

    Links for the day


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