Summary: How Windows botnets enable criminals to make a lot of money at the expense of Windows users
WINDOWS means business. Sure, it stands in the way of many legitimate businesses, but at least some bad guys manage to make a living out of Windows’ flaws. Here is the latest example:
Facebook’s 400 million users have been targeted by a spam run that could infect their computers with malicious software designed to steals passwords and other data, according to security researchers at McAfee.
There are two elements at play here; first, there is the brute-force mailing, which typically requires botnets; secondly, there is malware here that only runs on Windows (the article neglects to say this, just like many others). Tracy Anne corrects this in the comments, but it really should not be required if journalists do their job properly.
It wasn’t so long ago that the SEC reported the effects of SPAM (Microsoft Windows zombie spewage) on Wall Street trade. It was reportedly the same outside the United States. Botnets were affecting stock prices with manipulation through brute-force disinformation for pump-and-dump schemes (references here). Wired Magazine reported the following some days ago:
SEC: Hacker Manipulated Stock Prices
U.S. regulators are moving to freeze the assets and trading accounts of a Russian accused of hacking into personal online portfolios and manipulating the price of dozens of stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market and New York Stock Exchange.
A New York federal judge on Tuesday sided with the Securities and Exchange Commission and froze the assets of Broco Investments, believed to be a one-trader operation based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The SEC said Broco capitalized by artificially moving prices of more 38 thinly traded securities — enabling Broco to profit from up-or-down price swings.
The so-called “hack, pump and dump” scheme is among the latest illicit methods of gaming the market though hacking.
Earlier today we wrote about Bitdefender (which is supposed to defend Windows) simply castrating and breaking the operating system. That’s what one gets for trying to secure Windows. Our reader Tim wonders if “Bitdefender is spot on”:
Allegedly Bitdefender has identified several parts of Windows as a trojan, fixed them and subsequently brought down Windows.
Being flippant, one could argue that Bitdefender was merely doing its job and identifying Windows as a trojan was correct, another camp could list it as yet another issue Microsoft’s OS has stumbled into.
By the definition of the words “malware” and “spyware”, Microsoft Windows is both. Just because it’s widely used does not except it from the symptoms and the diagnosis. █
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Summary: Microsoft’s attempts to sell hardware products such as consoles, portable media players, and phones seem destined to burial
BASED on the past week’s news, Microsoft’s RRoD saga takes a turn for the worse. RRoD has already cost Xbox literally billions in losses and Microsoft will be cutting corners from now on by not providing
customers victims with “coffins” in which to bury their dead Xbox 360s and ship them to Microsoft/repair.
These days Microsoft is no longer shipping gamers who have a dead Xbox 360 a postage-paid cardboard packing box (affectionately called the “coffin”) for the return of the console. While Microsoft still pays for shipping both ways, it’s up to the console owner to provide the packing materials for the trip back to the repair center.
But wait, it gets worse. Both Nintendo and Sony shower Microsoft with insults and ridicule. Nintendo says [1, 2, 3] that it “Would Be Embarrassed to Behave Like Sony and Microsoft”. Here are the exact quotes:
Talking to the Kotaku blog, Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, went on the offensive, saying that “I think we would have been embarrassed to do what our competitors are currently doing,” adding that “all I can tell you is that we will innovate. We will provide something new. Something that the consumer and the industry will look at and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t see that coming’.”
Sony too is mocking Microsoft [1, 2], but it’s probably expected. Nintendo and IBM are the only large companies that actually make a lot of money from consoles.
Looking at Microsoft’s failed attempts to become relevant in phones, the latest step disappoints. To name some new articles:
1. Microsoft Doing Little to Reassure Mobile Biz Customers
There is a growing gap between what business technologists want from Windows Phone 7 and what Microsoft may actually deliver.
2. Microsoft Immediately Stumbles in Quest for Well-Designed Phone Apps
Sadly for Microsoft, when you start digging into the actual documents, you immediately realize: Microsoft might suddenly care about design in a new way. But it doesn’t mean that they’ve actually changed as a company.
3. Does Microsoft thinking copying the 2007 iPhone is a good idea?
Check out Todd Bishop’s spin (he is a longtime Microsoft booster):
4. Windows Phone manager’s exit a good sign for Microsoft’s strategy
Normally the departure of a key program manager does not signal positive things about a product, particularly with only a few months to go before it ships. But Mel Sampat said today that his decision to leave Microsoft’s Windows Phone team to start his own app development firm was actually a vote of confidence in the company’s potential to support a strong ecosystem of third-party apps.
Right. So if Mel Sampat had stayed at Microsoft, surely that would be a sign of Windows Mobile failing, according to the logic of Microsoft’s spinners. If a project gets abandoned by a manager, then it means success, right? Spin, spin, spin. Check out the latest Windows Mobile spin from Microsoft Nick. They are truly getting desperate for positive news. Chips B. Malroy wrote about Nick half an hour ago: “Nicholas Kolakowski over on the old MS Watch site is putting all the commentators to sleep with his excessive MS fawning. It’s like a ghost town over there.” █
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Photo by Alan Light
Summary: Key Vista endorser Jerry Seinfeld is named as one of IDG’s top 10 “Lousy Celebrity Endorsements”; Compatibility problems in Vista 7 stressed again to rebut Microsoft’s latest spin
Not a single headline about Vista has appeared over the past week*, but there were about 15 clusters of headlines about “Windows 7″.
We were actually amused to find Microsoft in “10 Lousy Celebrity Endorsements”, which is this new gallery from IDG. It names Jerry Seinfeld as a top example. For those who do not recall, Microsoft buried its Seinfeld ads very quickly because — just like Mojave Experiment — they failed to sell Vista, which Seinfeld is said to have dumped (along with Windows as a whole). Some might say that Seinfeld never adopted Vista in the first place. In other words, it was an endorsement as fake as it can get.
“Some might say that Seinfeld never adopted Vista in the first place.”Instead of Seinfeld brainwash and the Mojave Experiment, Microsoft decided to pretend that it built a new operating system and it even created a new deskbar. Then, it spent half a billion dollars on advertising/spin alone (“perception management” [1, 2]). It’s still going on.
Elsewhere on the Web we now find some creative new spin about the compatibility issues in Vista 7. We wrote a lot about incompatibility in Vista 7, e.g.:
- Vista 7 Roundup: Microsoft Admits Upgrade Errors, People Wait for SP1, Compatibility Issues Identified
- Vista 7 — Just Like Vista — Incompatible with Vital Services
- Vista 7 Incompatibility Issues, Crashes, and More NPD Lies
- Jerry Seinfeld Dumps Vista, Some Users Prefer Vista Over Vista 7 Because of Incompatibility
- Vista 7 Crashes on Certain Hardware, Stifles Samba Compatibility
- Vista 7 Lacks Compatibility But Finally Gains GPL Compliance
- Vista 7 Limitations, Compatibility Issues, and Hype from the Microsoft Ecosystem
- Signs That Vista 7 — Like Vista — Will Pose Compatibility Issues
- Vista 7 Starter Edition Called “Too Wimpy” by IDG, Compatibility Problems Foreseen
- Intel Unhappy With Failed Migration to Vista 7, Radical Microsoft Spin Begins
From the same site that published compatibility spin we also gather a lot of vapourware about Service Pack 1 merely existing (no release date yet). This type of spin appears elsewhere and it’s mostly indicative of effective Microsoft PR, not actual news of much value. █
* Source: Google News search.
“But this is going to end as all tragedies must, with tears. Steve Ballmer is getting taken for the biggest ride of his life, and one day he’s going to find himself dumped out of the limo by the side of the road wondering what happened.”
–Dana Blankenhorn (Liddell destroying Microsoft from within)
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Summary: The Great Microsoft Exodus carries on, particularly in a division that loses obscene amounts of money
MICROSOFT has suffered from some very major departures in recent years. Vice presidents, for instance, are dropping like flies. It’s easy to see why. Looking at Microsoft’s online business, it loses over $2 billion per year and there is no turnaround foreseen (or proven).
Microsoft’s financial situation is worse than most people realise. This is perhaps why Microsoft’s online man in China has just decided to leave after 5 years. Except for reports from China, everything else points at Reuters:
—Microsoft: Xiao Chen, MSN China’s VP of sales is leaving at the end of March to start up his own company, Reuters reports. He had been with the Chinese MSN venture since it it launched in 2005.
Microsoft is losing one of its top sales executives in China, Reuters reports.
Finally, here is the original, which comes in two versions:
Microsoft (MSFT.O) said on Thursday its vice-president of sales for its MSN China joint venture would leave the firm at the end of March to pursue his own start-up.
So, it’s not quite over. The Microsoft staff could potentially extend the company’s presence (ecosystem) from outside its main operation. We saw that before and it’s not an alien concept.
Here is another key man who quits Microsoft because Midori has “failure” written all over it.
It’s been awfully quiet on the Midori front lately. But here’s one bit of news related to Microsoft’s (mostly) secret operating-system incubation project: Midori team Jonathan Shapiro is leaving the company after less than a year.
Midori is just a lot of hype. Does anyone remember “Singularity”? █
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Summary: A new disclosure of names of those who fund SCO’s lawsuit against Linux reveals many former members of SCO
A day ago we wrote about SCO receiving $2 million. SCO is desperate for money because it can hardly pay lawyers any longer and its never-ending lawsuit against Linux is virtually all it has left. Based on SCO’s 8-K which covers the Ralph Yarro cash injection, those who are involved in the transaction are “private lenders including Seung Ni Capital Partners, LLC, Jan Loeb, Leap Tide Capital Management, Inc., Steven Shin, Henry C. Beinstein, Stanley A. Beinstein, Neil J. Gagnon, Robert Dyson, WBS LLC, Ne Obliviscaris, Ltd., Darcy Mott, Clemons F. Walker and Herbert W. Jackson (collectively, the “Lenders”). Other than WBS LLC and Robert Dyson, all of the other Lenders listed above are direct or indirect shareholders of the Company.”
“So now we know the list of names,” says Pamela Jones. “It’s that same ole gang of SCOfolk.” Did they put their own money in the jar or could someone have helped them out and provided assurance (as in the case of BayStar, which offered $50 million)? █
“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”
–Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO
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Summary: The primitivism of Apple’s and Microsoft’s tablets or phones (respectively) as shown using some new information
“COPY AND PASTE” is a fundamental function that borrows its name from the analogy/metaphor of a physical action. Whether there is a patent on this digital process is a separate question, but either way, the nature of the action is one that can scare copyright maximalists. As iPad shows (it does not show much [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]), Apple chose to sidle with the copyright cartel, which Steve Jobs has connections with. It’s all about DRM prisons and prevention of sharing — the very nature and cornerstone of the World Wide Web and modern science.
Here is more new information about the iPad. It’s information which indicates that “Apple will not replace Ipad batteries”:
EXPENSIVE TOYMAKER Apple has made it clear that when the battery dies in its overpriced keyboardless netbook, the Ipad, you will have to stump up $99 for a new discounted machine.
Apple has a powerful brand, but the same cannot be said about its products. Apple has run advertisements here in the UK about the ‘feature’ of “copy and paste” being added to the iPhone (after Apple had maliciously killed third-party software that achieved it). It’s comical. They show this on television — the simple process of copying some lump of text, which they gloat about as though it’s a “killer feature”. It’s comical because my Palm devices have been doing this for over a decade and they are PDAs, yet Apple treats it like some sort of “innovation” (the idea is trivial, simple to implement, and it goes back many decades, according to Wikipedia).
In recent weeks Microsoft has been publicly admitting that it takes inspiration from the iPhone. We have cited several reports about this. Now it turns out that Windows Phone 7 (a renamed Windows Mobile 7) will omit “copy and paste”. The British press confirms this too [1, 2].
Ready for another long, drawn-out copy and paste controversy to overtake your every waking moment for a year or two? Good: Microsoft just mentioned in a Q&A session here at MIX10 in no uncertain terms that clipboard operations won’t be supported on Windows Phone 7 Series… so that’s that.
What a disaster. So Microsoft is making its phones even dumber and less capable over time. Users — in turn — will have no way around this.
Last night we quoted Tim Anderson (Microsoft booster) as saying that “Win phone 7 marketplace can automatically revoke apps – delete them from your device!” (he said this off the record — so to speak — over in Twitter). That’s another antifeature that Microsoft copied from Apple.
“Win phone 7 marketplace can automatically revoke apps – delete them from your device!”
–Tim AndersonNow we find that Anderson is repeatedly boosting the product along with a colleague and Microsoft booster, Gavin Clarke (he also boosts IE 9 despite the true problems [1, 2, 3, 4]). What has happened to The Register that made it so full of Microsoft boosters? This news site is still belittling Google and defending Microsoft (we gave examples before and we keep seeing this pattern every day). The Register is hardly worth following anymore (personally, I read it just once a week now). The ‘old’ Register (the one I once knew) is not the ‘new’ Register, even though it has kept the same name (different writers and funding sources).
Anyway, to wrap up some points that we have raised before, Windows Phone 7 is about taking even more control away from users and Tim Bray says the same thing about Apple (we covered his rants last week).
What about Apple’s attack on GNU/Linux? This sure doesn’t make Apple any less aggressive than Microsoft when it comes to the mobile marketplace. Apple’s anti-Android/Linux lawsuit and prior attacks (e.g. patent FUD against Palm) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which received Microsoft’s support by the way [1, 2, 3], are followed by yet more patent applications from Apple. This new one is about “Mobile Social Networking,” according to IDG News Service.
A recently disclosed patent request suggests Apple may be working on a mobile social networking application that would presumably let iPhone users form ad-hoc groups based on their locations.
That’s a software patent. █
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Summary: Customers who buy new PCs choose Web browsers other than Internet Explorer, so a similar approach should be taken and applied to operating systems
Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) already has some problems in it [1, 2, 3, 4], not just the security problems which led to attacks against many businesses [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. IE 9 will exclude Windows XP and according to another report, Opera is seeing “85% more downloads in UK” now that customers who are forced to put up with Windows on a new PC are given some choice (however biased it is [1, 2, 3, 4]). Our reader Tim writes:
It’s been reported that Opera has experienced a doubling of downloads since the Windows Ballot was introduced. I have argued that the ballot will make no difference to the average user who has never tried anything other than IE. I challenged at the time that the EU anti-trust case would have been better served looking at OEM rather than the browser issue which people seem to be able to make their own decisions about once they have done their own research.
[U]sers finally seeing Microsoft and its associated wares in their true light. With so many happy users enjoying alternate products on so many different platform, does Microsoft look cutting edge or does it look tired and old, struggling to keep up with better technologies and happy users of those products?
The FSF (Free Software Foundation) has recommended that the European Commission should unbundle PCs too, giving customers choice other than Windows (GNU/Linux would cost nothing to preinstall or put on the same image).
Is it not the next logical step? People would get an O/S ballot on any new PC. GNU/Linux distributions like Fedora are free (gratis). Dual-booting as standard is another option; it’s not just about restoration of competition, it’s about punishing Microsoft for crimes with which it got a monopoly on the desktop in the first place (fines are not suitable remedies as they do nothing to cure the problem or undo the crimes). █
“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”
–Paul Flessner, Microsoft
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