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

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 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

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. Links 17/8/2019: Unigine 2.9 and Git 2.23

    Links for the day



  2. Computer-Generated Patent Applications Show That Patents and Innovations Are Very Different Things

    The 'cheapening' of the concept of 'inventor' (or 'invention') undermines the whole foundation/basis of the patent system and deep inside patent law firms know it



  3. Concerns About IBM's Commitment to OpenSource.com After the Fall of Linux.com and Linux Journal

    The Web site OpenSource.com is over two decades old; in its current form it's about a decade old and it contains plenty of good articles, but will IBM think so too and, if so, will investment in the site carry on?



  4. Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

    At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?



  5. Caturdays and Sundays at Techrights Will Get Busier

    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  6. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  7. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  8. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  9. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  10. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  11. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  12. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  13. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  14. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  15. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  16. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  17. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  18. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things



  19. Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

    Links for the day



  20. Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

    Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we've sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called 'Open Source' groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of



  21. Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

    Links for the day



  22. Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

    Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft's most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects



  23. Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

    Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues



  24. Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

    There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux's steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in... Linux



  25. 2019 Tech Glossary

    This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays



  26. The Silence of the Media Lamb

    There are reasons that are perfectly legitimate to criticise media which is unable and more so unwilling to cover particular scandals for fear that coverage can be detrimental to the media's owners and sponsors



  27. LINUX.COM Managed by Apple’s MacOS Users, Open Source Managed and Covered by People Who Reject Open Source

    The narratives are being hijacked; people who we're supposed to assume speak for Linux and for Open Source support neither of these things; they're only in it for the money



  28. The Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit is a Proprietary Software Marketing Venue

    The distortion of the term Open Source and promotion of proprietary software such as GitHub shows that the foundation called after “Linux” is actually more of a front group of hostile corporations — large brands and rich people to whom Open Source represents a threat that needs to be controlled



  29. Links 13/8/2019: Mir 1.4 Released, Qt PDF Discussed

    Links for the day



  30. Links 13/8/2019: KDevelop 5.4.1 and DragonFly 5.6.2 Released

    Links for the day


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