12.02.10

Wikileaks Reveals Microsoft Involvement in US Security Policy

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Wikileaks and Microsoft discussed, especially in the context of security

OUR daily links this week have been filled with reports about Wikileaks. That site’s fate is important to us because we too host material from close to 10,000 confidential Microsoft documents. It’s not about whether Wikileaks is “irresponsible” or not; it is about freedom of information and freedom of speech.

One new Wikileaks leak caught our attention because it speaks about the Iraq war (invasion in some people’s eyes) and it says that “Karim Ramadan (Microsoft) praised the historic role of USAID in Egypt” (we have mentioned USAID in relation to the Gates Foundation as USAID is accommodated by former Gates Foundation staff [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]).

“Those leaks just provide some more evidence to back the obvious.”This post is not about foreign policy or about USAID, but the point to be made is that Microsoft is involved in politics, even quite directly. Those leaks just provide some more evidence to back the obvious. Wikileaks is merely a messenger/host as the material is raw. And speaking of which, Julian Assange is the author/co-author of surfraw (Free software and Debian/GNU assist transparency and affect politics).

How far will the world go with so much sensitive information available to everyone (bar censorship, e.g. in China)? Amazon has been pressured by US politicians to kick Wikileaks out, Google is slowly indexing the latest leaks (that’s how we found the Microsoft mention), and as for Microsoft… well, based on search at this moment it only indexed 46 pages from cablegate.wikileaks.org whereas Google did well over a thousand. Does anyone take Bong [sic] seriously at all? Microsoft only gets users by paying for them and it comes at a cost of like $3 billions in losses online per year. Having indirectly ensured that even fast boot Linux software like Express Gate depends on Windows, the company is now signing a deal with SplashTop to put Bong [sic] search/toolbar in it, as Phoronix helps reveal:

It was precisely one month ago I was wondering what happened to SplashTop and found the company that we jump-started by our first-in-the-world coverage was still pushing out their instant-on Linux OS to various OEM vendors but they have lost their roots of using the Linux environment embedded on a motherboard’s flash chip to instead being nestled away on the user’s hard drive, which defeats much of its uniqueness and benefits (not to mention it was hacked by Phoronix readers). SplashTop, which was formerly named DeviceVM before the company took up the same name as their premiere product, also started pushing out Apple iPad applications in recent months. Today the company is announcing another set of peculiar changes to their instant-on Linux OS.

[...]

Today’s SplashTop announcements can be read on their blog. There’s also the SplashTop beta page for installing the beta version of their Bing+Chromium-ified SplashTop OS, but it must be installed via Microsoft Windows.

Fortunately the world is heading towards Linux on a large proportion of newly-sold PCs (even if just in the form of fast-booting OS). Schneier believes that software monoculture (monopoly) contributes to the reality where one in two Windows PCs is estimated to be a zombie PC. As Schneier explains right now:

The basic problem with a monoculture is that it’s all vulnerable to the same attack. The Irish Potato Famine of 1845–9 is perhaps the most famous monoculture-related disaster. The Irish planted only one variety of potato, and the genetically identical potatoes succumbed to a rot caused by Phytophthora infestans. Compare that with the diversity of potatoes traditionally grown in South America, each one adapted to the particular soil and climate of its home, and you can see the security value in heterogeneity.

Similar risks exist in networked computer systems. If everyone is using the same operating system or the same applications software or the same networking protocol, and a security vulnerability is discovered in that OS or software or protocol, a single exploit can affect everyone. This is the problem of large-scale Internet worms: many have affected millions of computers on the Internet.

Can Schneier name that “same operating system” or would that have him risk the label “Microsoft hater” [1, 2, 3]? In any event, now that Microsoft’s Charney lobbies to change security legislation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], the above leak is worth remembering.

Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier photo by sfllaw

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

A Single Comment

  1. NotZed said,

    December 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Gravatar

    “Can Schneier name that “same operating system” or would that have him risk the label “Microsoft hater” [1, 2, 3]?”

    But that is his point precisely. It doesn’t matter which operating system it is – although right now it is microsoft windows – it is that mono-cultures are weak and vulnerable, and diversity is strong.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 18, 2021



  2. The US Election Was Not Rigged, But the Nomination Process Was (Undermined to Maintain Control by Oligarchy)

    Cheating/driving the left out of the Democratic Party seems like a longstanding tradition and we know who stands to gain from it; moreover, problems remain in the voting process because it's controlled by secret code of companies like Microsoft (in spite of the openwashing)



  3. InteLeaks – Part XX: Redacted (for Names Only) Release of Intel File About Developer eXperience (DX) Meddling in GNU/Linux

    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  4. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  5. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)



  6. Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

    Links for the day



  7. InteLeaks – Part XIX: Intel's Web 'Experts' Seen as Microsoft Champions Dealing With the Platform Microsoft is Looking to Destroy

    Things aren't rosy at Intel because the hires aren't suitable for the job of documenting and/or presenting GNU/Linux-centric products (whose target audience is Free software developers)



  8. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  11. 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



  12. 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



  13. 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



  14. 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)



  15. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  17. 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



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  19. 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



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

    Links for the day



  21. 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



  22. 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



  23. 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")



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



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

    Links for the day



  26. 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)



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

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 14, 2021



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

    Links for the day



  30. 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


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