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

05.11.10

Despite Security Lies and Security Failures, Microsoft Instructs Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protect your money
Billions or trillions of dollars are lost or saved based on one’s security

Summary: Microsoft is telling lies about the number of flaws in its software, it admits failing to secure its software (statistics indicate exacerbation), and yet, Scott ‘Windows zombie tax’ Charney gets to tell participants of the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit what to do next

IN OUR most recent post about Windows insecurity news we showed that nothing is improving at Microsoft when it comes to security. It’s only the messages (engagements with the public) that seemingly change. Last week we wrote about Microsoft pretending that it supports standards, which is an utter lie only PR can buy. Here is part of the PR where Microsoft joins Apple [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] in its attack on Flash, not just its attack on Theora, which we covered in:

Microsoft — like Apple — is being denounced for the hypocrite that it is:

MS criticises Adobe over security and performance. Physician, heal thyself!

Let’s not forget that Microsoft does exactly the same thing as Adobe (only with limited platform support) whenever it markets Silver Lie. Microsoft went further than that when .NET toys got secretly injected into Firefox without permission, thus creating security and performance issues without users’ consent.

Microsoft is also being somewhat hypocritical when it makes some statements as covered in the article “Adapt or die, Microsoft warns business”.

Microsoft has failed to adapt to a connected world and a world of computing mobility. Now it has debt to repay.

Addressing the subject of security, Microsoft spreads lies with its secret patches, which probably mean that there are fake figures in this latest ‘security’ report where Microsoft is conveniently blaming “ISVs” for security problems in Windows. The ‘Microsoft press’ plays along with this talking point and other publications are trying to make it an excuse for expensive Microsoft “upgrades”, which Microsoft urges/advocates using withdrawal of support. How ruthless and deceiving. Here is an example of Microsoft’s tactics:

The bottom line comes down to this: if your company plans to stay with XP well into 2011 and you’re still using IE6, you’ve got to upgrade that browser. Knowing that IE9 won’t support XP, you can safely move to IE8 knowing it’s the end of the line for IE on XP. Or, you can move to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera — but a company that’s still stuck on IE6 isn’t likely to be that adventurous. The web developers of the world will be happy with anything that gets you off IE6.

It is a “bait and switch” manoeuvre in a sense. Microsoft did the same thing to Windows 2000 users some years ago, for no practical reasons except the profit motive.

Going back to the hidden patches scam, can anyone believe that Microsoft is patching with just two “critical” bulletins? For several years Microsoft has been hiding its flaws and patching them silently for vanity purposes.

Microsoft on Tuesday will issue two critical bulletins that will fix vulnerabilities in Windows and Office, which if exploited successfully, could allow a remote attacker to take control of the computer, the company said Thursday.

There were also some broken patches which needed to be re-released.

Let’s consider this news in light of last week’s reports, such as:

The allegations are so serious that Microsoft could not afford to keep quiet without a carefully-crafted piece of spin. Here are the latest excuses from Microsoft (it’s the psychology of lying without technically lying):

Note that a policy such as this implies that Microsoft will not patch known, internally-discovered vulnerabilities if an externally-sourced vulnerability of the same or lesser severity is not available for the silent patch to piggyback on. They’ll sit on it, and we won’t know for how long because they don’t document it.

Utter spin. Groklaw has just found this new article which nicely explains Microsoft’s lies in this case:

#3 Tell the truth, misleadingly. The hardest lies to catch are those which aren’t actually lies. You’re telling the truth, but in a way that leaves a false impression. Technically, it’s only a prevarication – about half a sin. A 1990 study of pathological liars in New York City found that those who could avoid follow-up questions were significantly more successful at their deceptions.

Microsoft has also added a formal statement to The Register’s article on the subject (silent patching) because it received a lot of attention. Apologists of Microsoft also left comments trying to defend what Microsoft did there. It means it’s extremely damaging.

“Microsoft’s security record continues to be poor simply because Microsoft does not handle security issues properly, having for example ignored known flaws for 5 months until a disaster came.”In other insecurity news, SharePoint 2007 has a 0-day vulnerability (meaning that it’s already under attack). Microsoft has confirmed this [1, 2] and only issued a “workaround” rather than a solution [1, 2, 3]. As this one blogger puts it, there is “no SharePoint fix” and it says nothing about Microsoft’s hiding of patches and flaws (clustering them is possible if one wants to crunch the numbers). How many flaws does Microsoft patch in SharePoint silently? In this case, Microsoft had no choice but to publicise it (someone beat Microsoft to it).

Microsoft’s security record continues to be poor simply because Microsoft does not handle security issues properly, having for example ignored known flaws for 5 months until a disaster came [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. That’s just negligence [1, 2, 3].

As a result of such negligence, IDG reports that “Conficker found on 25% of enterprise Windows PCs,” according to Microsoft.

Conficker was far and away the most prevalent threat found on Windows machines in the second half of 2009 in the enterprise, Microsoft says. The company’s security tools cleaned the Conficker worm from one quarter of enterprise Windows machines.

“25% of enterprise Windows PCs” is a lot of computers. But then again, for several years now we have known that hundreds of millions of Windows zombies were out there waiting to be commandeered. Google says that fake antivirus software is 15 percent of all malware. That’s what happens when Windows refuses to implement repositories like GNU/Linux does. GNU/Linux has had that for ages and it keeps it more bulletproof.

Going back to Microsoft’s own figures, even Microsoft admits that it’s getting worse for Windows in practical terms:

Microsoft Sees Infected PC Numbers Climbing

[...]

The numbers of PCs cleaned by Microsoft’s anti-malware software worldwide during the second half of 2009 continued to trend upward, suggesting that more PCs are getting infected in total, according to the company’s latest Security Intelligence Report (SIR).

More here.

It’s interesting that even Microsoft admits that it’s failing to tackle the problem it created (or helped create).

Microsoft’s Charney, the former government (ish) person who wants charge Mac and GNU/Linux users for Microsoft to clean up its own mess [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is now intervening in international affairs, based on this AP report:

“Lots of times, there’s confusion in these treaty negotiations because of lack of clarity about which problems they’re trying to solve,” said Scott Charney, vice president of Microsoft Corp.’s Trustworthy Computing Group, before a speech at the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit.

[...]

Charney, of Microsoft, believes cyber threats should be better differentiated. He proposes four categories: conventional computer crimes, military espionage, economic espionage and cyberwarfare. That approach, he argues, would make it easier to craft defenses and to discuss international solutions to each problem.

What is Microsoft doing in a Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit? And why does it tell the world how to address these issues that it itself helped create? Microsoft cannot even issue disclosures of its own flaws (because it lies pathologically), so why should anyone believe Charney and maybe implement his outrageous idea of taxing all computer/Internet users for damage caused by Windows botnets? Microsoft should be held liable for knowingly refusing to patch known flaws.

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

5 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    May 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Gravatar

    “Addressing the subject of security, Microsoft spreads lies with its secret patches, which probably mean that there are fake figures in this latest ’security’ report”
    Or more precisely that at best the figures include only the externally-reported ones.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    May 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Gravatar

    “Note that a policy such as this implies that Microsoft will not patch known, internally-discovered vulnerabilities if an externally-sourced vulnerability of the same or lesser severity is not available for the silent patch to piggyback on. They’ll sit on it, and we won’t know for how long because they don’t document it. ”
    Yea, MS seems to be trying hard to pretend like that the internally-discovered vulnerabilities do not exist, with nasty side-effects like this one.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes. it is important to show that they are doing this.

    Microsoft rarely gets caught because it’s hard to review binary-only patches.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Yea, one reason why this can be nasty is that the security patches can be reverse-engineered using for example the BinDiff plugin of IDA, which would provide all necessary info that would be needed to exploit them.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That’s still an excuse for telling fake numbers.

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/8/2019: KDE ISO Image Writer, GNU Parallel ‘Jesper Svarre’

    Links for the day



  2. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

    "This library is not just for cultural works, but also for software."



  3. Linux Foundation's Linux.com in 2019: Zero Articles (Nothing Original) and a Terrible, Rookie New Design

    Linux.com has become a curated syndicator of news (edited by one single Microsoft proponent); the site has also eliminated its traditional design in favour of something only 'hipsters' can appreciate



  4. Managing IP as Team UPC's Megaphone and Lobbying Front

    Managing IP is lying on behalf of Team UPC yet again; the site's long history promoting the UPC hasn't ended even when prospects of the UPC are slim to none



  5. No More Rights for EPO Staff?

    The oppression and the crackdown on labour rights in Europe's second-largest institution has deepened to the point where staff is paid as little as is legally possible



  6. Links 22/8/2019: GNOME 3.33.91, Systemd 243 RC2, Cockpit 201, Ubuntu Touch OTA-10, FreeIPMI 1.6.4

    Links for the day



  7. Some Patent Attorneys Dislike Techrights Not Because It's Wrong But Because Software Patents Are Wrong (and Sometimes Illegal)

    Odd rants which misuse common law and ignore alleged Fair Use (and misinterpretation of copyright law, for censorship purposes) would have people believe that we're wrong; but it's more likely that the person in question is jealous, insecure, or offended by our stance on patent scope, which is very much rooted in the law itself (and the views widely held by software developers globally)



  8. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema

    "Every time a distro does not suit a user's purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one's own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born."



  9. Links 21/8/2019: Dell's XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

    Links for the day



  10. Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

    Links for the day



  11. Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

    Bristows LLP is at it again and it's getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual



  12. Guest Post: António Campinos' European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

    The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices



  13. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead

    "This strategy is not far from when Microsoft talked about "de-commoditizing protocols" in the late 90s, as part of their plans to control, dominate, and end Open Source and Free software."



  14. EPO Cannot Handle Patent Justice With a Backlog of About 10,000 Cases at the Boards of Appeal

    The EPO's long war on judges and on the law has proven to be costly; it's difficult to pretend that the EPO functions like a first-world legal framework



  15. The European Patent Office Increases Surveillance: Can't Get Food Without Being Spied on

    The infamous "War on Cash" has been 'won' at Europe's second-largest institution, where people's diet can now be monitored and indefinitely retained on the system



  16. To GNU/Linux, the Operating System, GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) is Not the Threat. Microsoft is.

    Don't let Microsoft get away with its bogus narration; GNU/Linux is primarily under attack from Microsoft, whereas Software Freedom in general is under attack from many directions



  17. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

    Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship



  18. Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

    Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the 'bad boy' of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there



  19. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

    "AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won't be followed all the time."



  20. Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

    Links for the day



  21. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

    "Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important."



  22. Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation



  23. Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

    Links for the day



  24. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

    "If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages."



  25. Links 19/8/2019: Another Linux 5.3 RC, OpenSUSE's Richard Brown Steps Down, Slackware Creates Patreon Page, Qt 6 Initiated

    Links for the day



  26. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm



  27. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech

    "While a new breed of so-called anarchists campaign against expression that even the state allows, people are also foolishly overplaying the relevance of the state to free speech issues -- as if it's not a freedom issue when a project is increasingly thought-policed, because the thought-policing isn't on a state level."



  28. Toxic Culture at Microsoft

    Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called 'GAFA'



  29. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction

    "The FSF isn't just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently."



  30. Linux Journal and Linux.com Should Have Been Kept Going

    There's apparently no good explanation for the effective shutdown of Linux Journal and Linux.com; London Trust Media Holdings (LTMH), owner of Linux Journal, saw numbers improving and the Linux Foundation, steward of Linux.com, is loaded with money


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