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. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  2. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  3. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  4. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  5. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  6. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  7. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  8. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  9. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  10. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  11. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  12. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  13. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  14. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  15. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  16. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  20. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  21. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  22. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  23. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  24. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software



  25. Microsoft Losing Billions of Dollars is Not News

    Few remarks on Microsoft's latest admission that it is losing a lot of money



  26. Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

    Links for the day



  27. The Technology Sector in the US Has Gotten Fed Up With Apple's Patent Aggression Against Android/Linux

    Apple is desperately trying to stop Android from increasing its levels of dominance (in phones, tablets, watches, and so on), so Silicon Valley is lining up against Apple, antagonising its misuse/abuse of patents for anticompetitive purposes



  28. Patents Regime in Europe: Mixture of Greed, Competition Abuses, and Propaganda

    A roundup of the latest patent news from Europe, focusing on Italy, the UK, Germany, and Hungary



  29. Patent 'Reform' in US Congress Still Under Attack by Patent Lawyers and Corporate Lobbyists

    The latest instances of assault on changes to the US patent system, demonstrated through an elaborative survey of the media (two days' worth)



  30. Don't Ever Rely on Microsoft for Hardware, Hosting, Especially When it Comes to GNU/Linux

    Warning signs over Microsoft hosting, as well as reliance on Microsoft for maintenance of hardware


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts