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

01.04.11

Microsoft Cannot Provide Security

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Indecision

Summary: A roundup of security news showing what an utterly poor job Microsoft is doing when it comes to securing customers’ systems and telling them the truth

WE HAVE not been covering these issues for several months now, but over the weekend there was time to catch up with about 2 months of security news. This post contains a concise summary of some key security problems Microsoft has been having, with fresh examples towards the end (a lot of bad news around the Christmas period).

Let us begin with the not-so-distant examples of DLL hijacking. “Most Microsoft DLL Hijacking Vulnerabilities Remain Unpatched” said this report which implied neglect and irresponsibility from Microsoft. They had not patched or addressed known problems, as usual.

Many new flaws were found in Windows, including one that evades Windows’ UAC pseudo-security. There was a privilege escalation exploit and an issue with buggy Internet Explorer [1, 2], whose low quality gives crackers many opportunities to hurt its users. Over Christmas there were many headlines about an Internet Explorer zero-day warning [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Microsoft just warned about it but did not patch it. Microsoft also said that there was no exploit and soon enough it dealt with a second zero-day vulnerability. It did not take long for exploits to surface and IDG said that researchers revealed attack code for new IE zero-day vulnerability. It’s important to remember that it’s terrible to leave people in this state over the holidays. It prevents some people from taking a break or be mentally peaceful. Microsoft produced only a workaround, a hack [1, 2]. It wasn’t a patch. Soon thereafter, on December 30th, it was announced that Microsoft was also warning about Microsoft Word attacks (which means that exploits exist too).

“The priority is reputation rather than the safety of systems. Microsoft’s financial security comes before real security.”Microsoft deserves mocking for this. When there was previously an IE vulnerability the company produced nothing for months, until December according to IDG (also see this other IDG report or this report which says that “Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday for November does not include a fix for a zero-day flaw in Internet Explorer”). Microsoft left users vulnerable for far too long simply because it could get away with it, under the assumption that many users are stuck with Windows. One must not allow Microsoft to fool the public by claiming its responses to be fastest because only a Microsoft spin site like Neowin would so conveniently ignore silent patches and recent studies on the subject. Neowin parrots Microsoft when it says that Microsoft patched 247 exploits in 2010. It’s inaccurate because those numbers are fake. Many more patches were applied silently, in order to give Microsoft bragging opportunities (hinged on falsehoods). For PR reasons, Microsoft just does not deliver patches sometimes. The priority is reputation rather than the safety of systems. Microsoft’s financial security comes before real security.

The matter of fact is, Microsoft can’t even secure Windows itself. “Hackers hijack Microsoft’s servers for fake-drug spam” said this recent headline and on the seventh of December Microsoft was warned of the “protected mode” flaws we mentioned earlier. This has not been addressed yet.

Security researchers have issued a warning to Microsoft that the much-vaunted Protected Mode introduced into Internet Explorer in recent releases offers little or no protection in its current form.

When it comes to patches, some people will reject them anyway, as yesterday's post about AP downtime ought to teach everyone.

Going about a month back, we also find reports relating to the handing of Windows sources code to Chinese hackers, which led to reports that we missed such as this one (“Chinese firm hired Blaster hacking group, says U.S. cable”), this one (“Leaked Cables: Chinese Hackers Used Microsoft Source Code To Attack Google & US Government”), or the redacted cable itself (“US embassy cables: China uses access to Microsoft source code to help plot cyber warfare, US fears”). How about this one (“China Used Microsoft Source Code To Hack Google — And You?”) which says:

A State Department cable released by WikiLeaks says the Chinese government used Microsoft source code in its attacks on Google and in its cyber warfare efforts in general. (Via The Guardian)

How did they get their hands on Microsoft’s closely guarded source code, you might ask?

Well, two Chinese IT security companies, Topsec and Cnitsec, are licensed to access and use Microsoft’s source code. In yet another example of incredibly blurred lines between the government and business in China, those companies gave the source code to the government.

Later in December, a Microsoft booster called Emil Protalinski spoke about Microsoft’s largest Patch Tuesday ever and so did some other sites [1, 2]. We covered this at the time, but the important point to be made is that invisible patches are not being named or counted by Microsoft, so the real numbers can be much greater.

From older reports we also learned about the effects of Zeus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which in a world where one in two Windows PCs is said to be a zombie PC is doing a lot of damage despite a token of response from Microsoft [1, 2]. The headlines are “Microsoft: Botnet infection plague continues despite wins” and “Zeus Trojan defeats Microsoft security tool”. “Microsoft tool unable to detect new versions of Zeus” says another report.

Neil J. Rubenking writes to warn people that Passware found Bitlocker in Windows to be broken:

Password-recovery experts at Passware warned Friday that the security of Microsoft’s Bitlocker whole-disk encryption is seriously compromised on a computer configured to use sleep mode. The same is true of the open-source TrueCrypt whole-disk encryption tool.

Now we come to some of the latest news. “Microsoft ActiveX Security Bugs ‘Highly Critical’” said Ziff Davis some days ago:

Researchers at Secunia are warning users about ActiveX bugs the firm described as ‘highly critical.’ Microsoft is unaware of any attacks targeting the issues.

[...]

Besides the ActiveX bugs, the company is also investigating a denial-of-service issue impacting IIS FTP 7.5, which ships with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Proof of concept exploit code has already been made public, according to Nazim Lala, IIS security program manager at Microsoft.

It relates to an older report from the same publication:

With attack code public, Microsoft said it is investigating a report of a new vulnerability impacting Internet Explorer.

“Microsoft reports drop in data breaches” said this less-than-recent headline and shortly afterwards it turned out that Microsoft messed up in a major way. To name some headlines, “Microsoft Corporation Cloud Security Breached”, “BPOS: a data leak in Microsoft’s cloud”, “Microsoft BPOS cloud service hit with data breach”, and “Microsoft Cloud Data Breach Heralds Things to Come”. Quoting from that last one:

Microsoft announced that data contained within its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) has been downloaded by non-authorized users, possibly making it the first major cloud-based data breach.

[...]

Encryption isn’t the final word. Even encrypted data has a history of being compromised, usually due to bugs in the encryption software.

All of this means that, if your business is going to put data into the cloud, you will have to factor in the very real possibility it will be made public at some point. It will happen. It’s just a matter of when, and what damage will be caused. It would be interesting to visit the offices of Microsoft, Google, and others to see if they eat their own dog food: Does Google rely on Google Docs for all of its hypersensitive business data? Somehow I suspect not, although I look forward to being proved wrong. There are laws in place covering data breaches, requiring companies to enforce reasonable security systems, but none of that amounts to a hill of beans once the data has escaped the cloud. And should stolen data be turned into a bit torrent, as appears to be the fashion at the moment, there’s absolutely no chance of discreetly cleaning up by getting the data back from those who stole it.

Wired has just taken a “Four-Day Dive Into Stuxnet’s Heart”, noting at least that it’s a Windows problem:

It is a mark of the extreme oddity of the Stuxnet computer worm that Microsoft’s Windows vulnerability team learned of it first from an obscure Belarusian security company that even the Redmond security honchos had never heard of.

The sophisticated worm, which many computer experts believe was created as a specific attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear power plant centrifuges, has written a new chapter in the history of computer security. Written to affect the very Siemens components used at Iran’s facilities, some analysts have even speculated it may have been the work of a state, rather than of traditional underground virus writers.

For more about Stuxnet’s damage see the posts below.

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
  19. Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
  20. Security Problems in iOS and Windows
  21. Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
  22. Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild
  23. Windows Kernel Vulnerability for Thanksgiving, Insecurity Used for Surveillance Again
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

What Else is New


  1. Links 3/5/2016: Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1, More Jolla Funding

    Links for the day



  2. New Paper About the UPC Explains Why It is Bad for Small- and Medium-sized European Businesses

    A detailed academic analysis of the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court reveals/concludes/asserts that it is being marketed or promoted using a misleading premise and promise



  3. [ES] Gobiernos en Europa Todavía Activos en Contra de la Gerencia de la EPO

    Todavía hay trabajo político que está siendo hecho — aunque discretamente — contra Battistelli y sus chácales en la alta gerencia de la Oficina Europea de Patentes



  4. Links 3/5/2016: International Day Against DRM, 25th Anniversary of Linux (Kernel) Near

    Links for the day



  5. Interesting Supreme Court Cases About Patents in the United States

    A quick review of some of the latest developments regarding SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court) as far as patents go



  6. Governments in Europe Still Active Against EPO Management

    There is still political work being done -- albeit rather discreetly -- against Battistelli and his goons at the European Patent Office's top-level management



  7. The European Spam Office (EPO)

    EPO budget at 'work', days after doing copy-paste jobs and also working overtime in the weekend for an extravagant and needless/purposeless event (except for Battistelli's own pride)



  8. Not Just Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (EPO): Željko Topić Too Thinks He is Above the Law, Avoids the Judges and Courts

    The latest developments regarding some of the criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Topić, who is now a Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  9. Nefarious Forces for Patent Abuse and Software Patents in the United States, Australia, India, Korea, and Europe

    A roundup of news from the weekend and today, with emphasis on the elements inside the system (or the media) which push for regressive policies that benefit them financially at the expense of everybody else



  10. [ES] El Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU: Donde Uno Desperdicia Años en Corte y Gasta $8,000,000 en Honorarios de Abogados Peleándo una Patente Falsa

    un sumario de noticias acerca de las patentes de software en los EE.UU. Y ha lo que han llevado, debido en gran manera al decline en calidad de las patentes por parte de la USPTO (dejando que otros se las arreglen limpiando el desórden)



  11. [ES] La Oficina Europea de Patentes Todavía Sigilósamente Abusiva, Pagará $15,000 en Compensasió a Trabajadora Tras un Tardío Fallo de la ILO

    La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (ILO) emite un fallo en un caso de abuso de la EPO y nota “la excesiva duración de los procedimienteos internos de apelación.”



  12. Links 2/5/2016: Linux 4.6 RC6, DragonBox Pyra

    Links for the day



  13. Links 1/5/2016: Wine 1.9.9, Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  14. The US Patent System: Where One Wastes Years in Court and Spends $8,000,000 in Lawyers' Fees Fighting a Bogus Patent

    A roundup of news about software patents in the US and what they have led to, owing in part to the USPTO's declining patent quality (leaving others to clean up its mess)



  15. The European Patent Office Still Silently Abusive, Will Pay $15,000 in Compensation to Female Worker After Belated ILO Judgment

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) issues a judgment on a case of abuse by the EPO and notes "excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings."



  16. [ES] Alice Continúa Quebrando Patentes de Software Asi Que los Abogados de Patentes, Cabilderos de los Monopolistas, Etc. Ahora Atacan a la Corte Suprema por Hacer Esto

    los cabilderos Corpórativos y abogados de patentes están tratándo de poner a Alicia en la tumba, por su impacto en las patentes de software que es muy profundo y así hasta ahora casi indetenible



  17. [ES] ¿Cómo Salvar la Reputación de la EPO?: Crear Más Jurados de Apelaciónes en Europa y Abolir la Malgíada/Malintencionada Fantasía de la UPC

    Una crítica evaluación de lo que ocurre en la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO), la que rápidamente se está yendo para abajo (y degradando sobre todo) a el nivel de los sistemas Chinos, en conjuntamente con corrupción, los abusos, y la bajísima calidad de las patentes



  18. [ES] La Corte de Apelaciónes del Circuito Federal (CAFC) Acaba de Ponerse a Favor de los Trolles de Patentes

    la tristémente célebre CAFC, que manifestó las patentes de software en los EE.UU, acaba de dar un regalo a los trolles de patentes quienes típicamente usan las patentes de software para extorsión enc complicidad con los jueces del Este de Texas



  19. [ES] Análisis de los Últimos Datos de Lex Machina Acerca de la Litigación de Patentes Muestra Como está Declinándo

    el Professor Mark Lemley de Lex Machina resalta las tendencias en litigation al colectar y analizar datos relacionados con patente y concerniéntes a monopolios intelectuales en general; actualmente muestra una sequía de litigaciones (muestran que ha disminuído)



  20. [ES] La India Está Teniendo Otra Prueba de los Peligros de las Patentes Occidentales, Debe Aprender a Rechazar Completamente las Patentes de Software en Medio de Gran Presión

    El gigante de software que es la India continua enfrentándos ea la cruel y agresivo cabildeo de Occidente, haciéndo que este controle a la India por patentes que no deberían de existir en primer lugar



  21. [ES] Microsoft Dice que Continuará Extorsiónando a Compañías Que Distribuyan Linux, Usando Patentes de Software Usuallmente

    La guerra de Microsoft contra Linux, una guerra que es peleada usando patentes de software patents (por ganancias y/o por chantáje con arreglos empaquetados), todavía continúa a pesar de todas las tácticas de relaciónes públicas de Microsoft y sus sócios



  22. Alice Continues to Smash Software Patents So Patent Lawyers, Monopolists' Lobbyists Etc. Now Attack the Supreme Court for Doing This

    Corporate lobbyists and patent lawyers are trying to put Alice in the grave, for its impact on software patents is very profound and thus far almost unstoppable



  23. How to Salvage the EPO's Reputation: Create More Boards of Appeal in Europe and Abolish the Misguided UPC Fantasy

    A critical evaluation of what goes on at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is quickly descending down (and overall degrading) to the level of Chinese systems, along with the corruption, the abuses, and the low quality of patents



  24. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Has Just Sided With Patent Trolls

    The notorious CAFC, which manifested software patents in the United States, has just given a gift to patent trolls that typically use software patents for extortion down in Texas



  25. Analyses of the Latest Data From Lex Machina About Patent Litigation Show Some Litigation Declines

    Professor Mark Lemley's Lex Machina highlights litigation trends by collecting and analysing data related to patents and pertaining to intellectual monopolies in general; now it shows litigation droughts



  26. India is Having Another Taste of the Dangers of Western Patents, Must Learn to Reject Software Patents in the Face of Great Pressure

    The growing software giant which is India continues to face cruel and aggressive lobbying from the West, enabling the West to control India by patents that should not exist in the first place



  27. Links 29/4/2016: GNOME 3.21.1, Fairphone

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Says It Will Continue to Extort Companies That Distribute Linux, Using Software Patents As Usual

    Microsoft's war on Linux, a war which is waged using software patents (for revenue and/or for coercion in bundling deals), is still going on in spite of all the PR tactics from Microsoft and its paid partners



  29. Australia Might be Next to Block Software Patents If Commission's Advice is Followed

    Australian advice against software patents, which can hopefully influence Australian politicians and put an end, once and for all, to all software patents in Australia



  30. [ES] ''Si la Forma de Pensar de la EPO fuese Seguida, Guantánamo Sería Posible en Suelo Alemán.”

    La EPO está todavía bajo fuego, pero mucho de ello pasa detrás de las cortinas y envuelve abogados y/o burócratas


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