Sink or leak
Summary: Intel migrates only about 3% of its workforce to Vista 7; many of the rest use an operation system with a “built-in” vulnerability that compromises designs/trade secrets
TRUTH be told, neither Vista 7 nor Windows XP proved to be secure (references gathered at the bottom). Here is where Windows users are at, based on the latest news:
• Intel: Just 3,000 employees run Windows 7 (Intel’s problems with Vista 7 were covered here earlier this month)
Despite the firm’s rapid turnaround of PCs and its very public partnership with Microsoft, Bryant said that so far it had shifted just 3,000 of its 80,000 plus employees onto Windows 7.
• Windows XP’s built-in Wi-Fi Security Hole
I noticed that I kept seeing “Free Public Wifi” APs (access points) showing up. I assumed it was someone trolling for innocents wanting to be infected with malware. I was wrong. It’s actually a much more interesting Windows XP security flaw.
• Botnet takedowns ‘don’t hurt crooks enough’
The takedowns of the Mariposa and Waladec botnets last week were victories for the good guys, but security experts warn that although cybercrooks suffered a bloody nose they collectively retain the upper hand in their ongoing conflict with law enforcement and its security industry allies.
The author completes this article without mentioning Windows! Time for an awareness campaign? We’re working on it. █
- Cybercrime Rises and Vista 7 is Already Open to Hijackers
- Vista 7: Broken Apart Before Arrival
- Department of Homeland Security ‘Poisoned’ by Microsoft; Vista 7 is Open to Hijackers Again
- Vista 7 Security “Cannot be Fixed. It’s a Design Problem.”
- Why Vista 7 Could be the Least Secure Operating System Ever
- Journalists Suggest Banning Windows, Maybe Suing Microsoft Over DDoS Attacks
- Vista 7 Vulnerable to Latest “Critical” Flaws
- Vista 7 Seemingly Affected by Several More “Critical” Flaws This Month
- Reason #1 to Avoid Vista 7: Insecurity
- Vista 7 Left Hijackable Again (Almost a Monthly Recurrence)
- Trend Micro: Vista 7 Less Secure Than Vista
- Vista 7 Less Secure Than Predecessors? Remote BSoD Now Possible!
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Summary: Where Toyota’s problems intersect with Microsoft’s
FOR those who know nothing about the incident that affects Toyota, here is a new article of interest:
Toyoda said that when his company gets a complaint about a mechanical problem, engineers set to work trying to duplicate the problem in their labs to find out what went wrong.
Norton said: “Your answer — we’ll wait to see if this is duplicated — is very troublesome.” Norton asked Toyoda why his company waited until a problem recurred to try to diagnose it, which is exactly what he was not saying.
Members of Congress are generally lawyers and politicians, not engineers. But they are launching investigations and creating policies that have a direct impact on the designers and builders of incredibly complex vehicles — there are 20,000 parts in a modern car — so there are some basics they should understand. Chief among them: The only way to credibly figure out why something fails is to attempt to duplicate the failure under observable conditions. This is the engineering method.
Greenfield from ZDNet has published what he calls “Microsoft’s Toyota Letter” and a reader sent us some information about the Toyota fiasco.
Is Toyota’s software problem a Microsoft problem? I’m finding their fingerprints on a lot of this. A partner of theirs did a lot of software for them and Microsoft invaded the ITRON world of Japan in 2001 and 2003. Microsoft’s invasion of automotive control systems created similar problems for BMW in the late 90′s.
In 2001 Toyota used Keane to develop software for their cars.
They are a Microsoft Gold Partner.
Just look at their home page:
Am I on to something here? Was Toyota dumb enough to make Prius and other vehicles dependent on .NET and C#? I’d look into this some more, but it’s time for me to sleep. I’ll bet more digging will find a stinking Microsoft center to Toyota’s recent problems.
This forum discussion points to something called itron a sort of non free unix.
They link to the Free software-hostile Linux Insider:
Which has this gem. Microsoft sought to corrupt ITRON
In late September, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) surprised the industry by joining the T-Engine Forum. Microsoft intends to work with the Forum to establish specifications for an environment in which the T-Kernel and Windows CE can coexist on the T-Engine hardware reference platform.Microsoft will continue to develop its own OS, but the company hopes T-Engine developers will be attracted to Windows CE’s user interfaces. The company will demonstrate prototypes derived from the joint effort at December’s Tokyo TronShow. Microsoft’s decision to join the T-Engine Forum is not without irony. The company was the main beneficiary of U.S. government actions against the TRON project in 1989.
A Microsoft damaged ITRON malfunction would be about as damaging to Microsoft as a Windows malfunction because it shows that non free software from Microsoft does the same sorts of things regardless of OS. Junk is junk no matter what you run it on and GNU/Linux infused with Microsoft will be not do well.
Given these hints of Microsoft involvement in the cock up, it’s funny to see Microsoft pretending to come to the rescue.
Inside the car QNX from Lucent Actel provides wide area networking and other services
The vehicle uses Bluetooth to suck information from cell phones, so that the car’s built in phone is synced with the one in your pocket. This was the center of some Windows-centric security hype and it may have been a vector for Microsoft corruption but nothing seems to have come of that.
The car is also supposed to be able to talk to iPhone.
Well, iPhones are becoming widespread. And now that Apple’s market valuation soars, former Microsoft employee John Carroll blasts Apple in his ZDNet blog. He also smeared OLPC while hiding his Microsoft roots.
“Microsoft promises to be more like Apple,” says Fudzilla.
The New York Times, which is one of Apple’s favourite newspapers, has been seen giving Microsoft a bit of a hit with a rubber hose. Microsoft is quoted as saying that it has learnt a lot from the way Apple has gone into the mobile market and it will be learning from what it did.
So Microsoft admits copying Apple, just as Steve Jobs admits "stealing" from other companies. █
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Summary: A look at what Microsoft is doing to Google and what it has done to Yahoo!
IT IS no longer a secret that Microsoft is behind investigations of Google in Europe. Microsoft admits this after being pressured. There are still some articles about it [1, 2] and the ZDNet theatre discussed this last month before it was confirmed, at which point it was mentioned as well [1, 2]. Here are some articles that stood out:
John Dvorak wrote an article titled “Is Microsoft Behind Google’s Italy Woes?”
Microsoft is up to its old tricks again. Google is under all sorts of attacks right now—all somehow related to Microsoft. There are a slew of stories about how Microsoft managed to get Google into anti-trust trouble with the EU. This proxy fight may also have had something to do with the situation in Italy, in which Google executives were indicted for allowing some dopey video to be uploaded in that country.
• EU Regulators and the Microsoft Antitrust Issue
No sooner did Microsoft settle its antitrust woes with the European union, than it turned around and allegedly threw Google under the very same bus.
• Yahoo CEO Doesn’t Favor Google Antitrust Investigations
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has taken the high road as more and more antitrust regulators start to display an interest in Google’s practices. Rather than cheer on the investigations – or instigate new ones – Bartz has stayed mostly neutral on the matter, perhaps even supporting her biggest rival a little.
Yahoo’s position is interesting given what Microsoft did to it and news like this. Following some interview/s, there was the following additional coverage:
• Why We Have A Hard Time Thinking Of Yahoo As A News Company
• Yahoo Could Take Years to Recover, Says CEO Bartz
• Yahoo Is Marching Forward, We’ll Prove It: CEO Bartz
• How Yahoo has evolved over 15 years
• Yahoo Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary: Now, Is It Finally Time to Buy AOL as a Gift to Itself?
Microsoft Nick published an article that says: “If Bartz were Yahoo CEO then, would she have accepted Microsoft buyout? ‘Sure’”
Microsoft is still trying to defend its abuse of Yahoo!, pretending that it was a saviour rather than a bully. It is crucial to remember Bartz’s past ties with Microsoft and how she came to power (proxy battle).
BNET writes: “It’s Official: Yahoo Is Available for Purchase. But Who Wants It?”
Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz put in an appearance on CNBC yesterday during her company’s 15th anniversary. There was the bravado you could expect from any CEO of a publicly-traded company trying to convince listeners why the company is doing better than many may think. However, one interesting tidbit that came out was that any company could buy Yahoo for the “right price”. The question is, of the potential suitors, who would bother with an acquisition?
Microsoft is getting Yahoo! users (including Ubuntu users [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]), so it doesn’t need to buy Yahoo! anymore. Microsoft got what it wanted from Yahoo! very cheaply.
So anyway, Microsoft has not only abused Google but it was abusing Yahoo! too. Microsoft is trying to hurt its competition rather than improve its own product. Microsoft’s entire history is like that.
A world where Microsoft is relevant in search is a rather scary one because Microsoft — being the control freak that it is — changes the search results to suit its own agenda. Here is a new look at what Microsoft does in the Arab world: [via]
Sex, Social Mores, and Keyword Filtering: Microsoft Bing in the ‘Arabian Countries’
It is unclear, however, whether Bing’s keyword filtering in the Arab countries is an initiative from Microsoft, or whether any or all of the Arab states have asked Microsoft to comply with local censorship practices or laws.
Microsoft’s declared aim from this type of censorship is to filter out “results that might return adult content.” However, filtering at the keyword level results in overblocking, as banning the use of certain keywords to search for Web sites, not just images, prevents users from accessing—based on Microsoft’s definition of objectionable content—legitimate content such as sex education and encyclopedic information about homosexuality.
In our past writings about Bing we mentioned the calls for a Bing boycott in China (where Microsoft censors heavily). Homophobia at Microsoft is not news, either. But anyway, in China Microsoft still censors “sex”, according to this new article from Forbes:
Where Microsoft Censors Bing For ‘Sex’
Microsoft, unlike Google, never said that it wouldn’t be evil. So when it comes to censorship of its search engine Bing, it should come as no surprise that the company is much more willing than Google to block content rather than risk upsetting censorious governments around the world.
That doesn’t just apply to China, where Google says it plans to stop filtering search results.
Google is changing its position in China, with an announcement to come shortly (according to Google’s CEO). Microsoft Nick has meanwhile assured that it’s business as usual for Microsoft in China where it will maintain operations. Microsoft is generally close to the Chinese government, for diplomatic reasons that we covered here before.
Microsoft’s fear of Google does make sense. Google is no longer a search company (maybe the googol refers to money); it threatens Microsoft’s fattest cash cow and this new acquisition (announced here) is doing more to undo Microsoft lock-in in office suites:
Stepping up its fight against Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. acquired DocVerse, a technology startup that allows people to edit Microsoft Office files online.
This is also covered in:
• Google Buys DocVerse For Reported $25 Million
• Google Takes Another Shot at Microsoft Office
• Google DocVerse Buy Builds Bridge For Google Apps, Microsoft Office
• Google to plug self into Microsoft Office
• Google fends off Microsoft Office with DocVerse acquisition
• Google takes aim at Microsoft with acquisition
• Google To Steal Office Web Apps’ Thunder?
• Google to steal Office Web Apps’ thunder?
Google has stepped up its assault on Microsoft’s productivity software with the acquisition of a start-up company that allows Office users to edit and share their documents on the web.
People ought to avoid both Microsoft and Google when it comes to mail and office suites. both are proprietary.
Here is another proprietary software firm that’s after Microsoft’s customers.
NetSuite woos Microsoft resellers with commissions
NetSuite Inc (N.N), which makes Web-based business accounting programs, is offering software resellers commissions to promote its products over those of bigger rival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).
Microsoft is feeling the heat on the Web, where it is losing over $2 billion per year. █
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Summary: This is a list of news items of interest to Free software supporters
• Ex-Sun Chief Dishes Dirt On Gates, Jobs (covered yesterday)
• Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wanted to sue Sun
• Ex-Sun boss punts Apple-Microsoft-world ‘tried to sue me’ missive
• Judge puts Apple-Nokia case on hold (this case was covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9])
A JUDGE has put the Apple and Nokia legal battle on hold.
The move is to give the feds a chance to investigate the matter, which involves patent infringement claims from both Nokia and Apple.
• US judge Puts Apple-Nokia Legal Battle on Hold
A US federal judge has put the Apple-Nokia legal battle on hold, until the feds get their chance to investigate into the whole matter that seems to have tangled itself to no end. The federal agency will scrutinize the details of the case, which involves patent infringement claims.
• Nokia files a mobile device power patent (hardware patent, but Nokia favours software patents too)
• Microsoft battles an alleged patent troll (more on VirnetX in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6])
SOFTWARE BULLY Microsoft threw its toys out of the pram in court yesterday at the beginning of the jury trial against Virnetx.
According to the Seatle PI, the Vole said that Virnetx only existed to sue it and would collapse if the court case failed.
In his opening statement, Virnetx attorney Douglas Cawley told the jury that the inventors of an automatic vitual private network (VPN) technology for the CIA, SAIC employees Edmund “Gif” Munger and Bob Short, obtained patents and shopped around, trying to get companies to purchase their technology.
• Blu-ray licensing cartel starts operation
AFTER HAVING LAUNCHED exclusively by a few companies, Blu-ray is about to be licensed to the world plus dog but don’t expect prices to drop.
Interested parties are also free to negotiate separate license agreements, rather than taking a single portfolio license, with each of the four companies, which have committed to provide such licenses for their respective essential patents under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions., the outfit said.
• ‘Soy far, soy good’ for Argentine importers (Glyn Moody adds that “Monsanto [is] slapped down by EU on GM soya”; also see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8])
It’s available in various official European Union languages, including Latvian, but not in English. Still, with the help of his friends, the IPKat has been able to piece together the deeper inner meaning of Advocate General Mengozzi’s Opinion in Case C-428/08 Monsanto Technology LLC v Cefetra BV and others, a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling from the Dutch Rechtbank ‘s‑Gravenhage.
Right: Monsanto’s latest genetically modified bean?
From the talented Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg) the IPKat learns that the Advocate General is advising the Court of Justice to rule that Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, can’t rely on a European patent for its Roundup Ready soybeans as it seeks to block imports of soy meal from Argentina. This is because the European patent for the trait that makes soybeans resistant to some herbicides doesn’t extend to soy meal made from the patented seeds.
Argentina, the world’s third-biggest soybean exporter after Brazil and the US, is one of the few countries where Monsanto does not hold a patent on the herbicide-resistant seeds. However, a ruling that Monsanto’s European patent is enforceable would let it block those imports.
• The USPTO-Pfizer collaboration to change India’s laws on patents and test data (this is essentially murder with patents)
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a joint program with Pfizer to fund and manage seminars in India on “misconceptions of evergreening” and “the importance of regulatory data protection and patent linkage.” KEI has submitted a FOIA request to USPTO on this topic, and received a small installment of documents on Friday. Attached to this blog are 4 pages of documents that we received from two meetings held in Mumbai, India on September 9, 2009. Ten journalists and 15 NGOs attended the meetings. The USPTO and Pfizer each paid $3,190 for the days events ($6,380 total).
• USTR pressures Taiwan on pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices
• US Government Working With Pharma Companies To Raise Drug Prices In Other Countries
Then, over in India, it appears that the USPTO is putting on co-branded events with Pfizer about drugs, health care and patents. Along with this, Love points to growing concerns from folks in India about a project between George Washington University and various pharmaceutical companies to “train” Indian politicians and judges on the importance of patents in pharma. Except, of course, that’s very much in dispute. Many studies have shown that patents on pharma do more harm than good — especially in countries with big healthcare issues.
• If You’re Going To Sue For Patent Infringement, It Helps To Say What Actually Infringes
Last year, we wrote about a guy, Greg Bender, who holds a patent (5,103,188) on a “buffered transconductance amplifier,” that he’s decided is infringed upon by pretty much any electronics device.
• Vaguely Identified Devices in Patent Complaint Fails Twombly
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” If a complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8, it “must be dismissed” under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
• KEI looks at USTR letter to Wyden, and conflicts between ACTA and patent reform (thus the great relevance of ACTA to Free software)
On January 6, 2010, Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to the USTR asking a number of questions about the U.S. negotiating objectives in ACTA. On February 28, 2010, USTR responded. The USTR response focused mostly on the official U.S. “asks,” rather than the state of the negotiating text, which also reflects also the views of other parties. For this reason, the USTR letter to Wyden only tells part of the story about what ACTA may do.
On March 1, 2010, a European Union document leaked discloses several key sections of the ACTA text, including those relating to damages, injunctions, provisional measures and the Internet. This note highlights a few issues in the USTR letter to Wyden, in the context of what is known so far about the ACTA negotiating text.
Patents included in ACTA
USTR is now acknowledging, for the first time, that the U.S. has asked that patents be included in ACTA. In briefings in 2009, USTR said the US only wanted ACTA to cover trademarks and copyrights, and that it was the position of the European Union to include patents and other types of intellectual property. The leaked EU analysis reported the US had supported including “all intellectual property” in the civil enforcement sections of ACTA, and this is now finally acknowledged by USTR. It is unclear why the USTR had said the opposite in several briefings to Congress and the NGOs in 2009.
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