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

02.15.11

When Windows Kills

Posted in Australia, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ambulance

Summary: Australian emergency services had their own emergency (a downtime of over a day) due to Windows viruses; a lot more evidence from the news shows the uniqueness of Windows as far as insecurity goes

OVER the years we have gathered examples where Microsoft’s shoddy security cost lives, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. At one point we called it “Death by Microsoft Windows” and it appears to be happening again in Australia, whose government has shared a bed with Microsoft for many years (the OOXML fiasco is an example of that, but it is a month old by now [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). According to IDG:

Computers which co-ordinate NSW’s ambulances are back online in three of the state’s regions after a major virus forced staff to shut them down for more than 24 hours.

The virus crept into the Ambulance Service of NSW’s dispatch system at 1pm (AEDT) on Saturday, prompting staff to co-ordinate paramedics by telephone and handwritten notes.

“Major virus,” eh? What do they mean by “major”? Viruses in this context are not physical beings. Surely a better term would be “Windows virus,” not “major virus,” right? “Windows, presumably,” writes Glyn Moody, “is this so wise when lives depend on it?”

The EFF points out that, based on Bruce Schneier’s analysis, the Microsoft updates are a potential flaw and there is a mention of “SCADA” too (covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

We know the market pressure approach can work. Once Microsoft saw that the market would (at least threaten to) make purchasing decisions on the basis of security, we suddenly got the Secure Windows Initiative and Trustworthy Computing. A key security technique is keeping the heat on vendors.

There is also an operational problem. To get a handle on the state of security of important infrastructure, try a Google search for [ scada security ]. It turns up alarming reports of basic security problems in some of our nation’s most important systems. (“SCADA” stands for “supervisory control and data acquisition”, and is used generally to refer to industrial control systems for things like water purification, electricity, manufacturing, and so on.)

Somewhat related to this is the shocking news that the very notorious HBGary created Windows rootkits like “MAGENTA”, based on some new leaks:

In the new emails released by Anonymous we discover that HBGary Inc. may have been working on the development of a new type of Windows rootkit that was undetectable and almost impossible to remove.

There is also more about Stuxnet, which we last mentioned last night.

The Stuxnet worm repeatedly attacked five industrial plants inside Iran over a 10-month period, according to new data collected by researchers from antivirus firm Symantec.

Three of the undisclosed organizations were targeted once, one was hit twice and one was targeted three times, members of Symantec’s Security Response Team wrote in the report (PDF), which updates findings first released in September. The attacks took place in 12,000 separate infections in 2009 and 2010 and weren’t discovered until July.

Also in the news right now:

A report issued today warns IT professionals that cybercriminals are changing their tactics and, as a result, predicts there will be fresh banking trojans arriving in the wild.

The bi-annual report from M86 Security says that IT managers need to redouble their efforts to patch their IT systems, as next-generation malware is now on the way.

These new types of malware, says the company behind the report, are likely to include application code that takes advantage of social networking service users.

Notice the avoidance of words like “Microsoft” and “Windows”. It suits them well, it does not inform the readers though. Microsoft is one of the major causes of SPAM, owing to the number of botnets that get created by capitalising on Microsoft flaws. Nonetheless, the culprit from Redmond does some new marketing around E-mail ‘surveys’ that are probably intended to exploit Valentine’s Day. Business as usual, right?

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 25/9/2017: XFree KWin, FreeBSD 10.4 RC2

    Links for the day



  2. Battistelli's Club Med at the EPO – Part I: EPO Validation Agreement With Angola

    A series contemplating Benoît Battistelli's sudden interest in Angola, a country with no European Patents but plenty of connections to António Campinos



  3. PTAB Supreme Court Case (Oil States) is a Case of Patent Parasites Versus the Producing Industry

    Ahead of the decision regarding Oil States (probably months away, some time next year), various influential sites confront the misleading and self-serving propaganda from the patent microcosm, e.g. law firms (to whom patent quality is a threat)



  4. Fake News About Software Patents in the United States

    Spinning and twisting the facts (for so-called 'alternative facts'), the patent microcosm is trying to give the impression that software patents are still fine in the US



  5. IBM and IPO Continue Working Behind the Scenes to Undermine Alice and Promote Software Patents

    The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), together with IBM (Manny Schecter, Marian Underweiser and others), is still trying to overturn Mayo and Alice



  6. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Gradually Champions Patent Quality, in a Spectacular Reversal on Its Past Ways

    Some of the latest actions and decisions from the Federal Circuit, which originally brought software patents to the United States and is now taking them away, gradually



  7. The Mohawk-PTAB Fiasco Threatens the Tribe's Reputation More Than It Threatens PTAB

    In an effort to dodge scrutiny from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Allergan Plc offloaded a lot of negative publicity onto the Mohawk people, owing primarily to the Mowhawk Tribe's general counsel, Dale White



  8. Latest EPO Rumours Allege That Benoît Battistelli Rigged the Process of EPO President's Selection

    António Campinos is quite likely the next EPO President, as insiders suspect that many applications for the job got rejected politically



  9. Links 23/9/2017: Mesa 17.1.10 RC, Samba 4.7.0, KStars 2.8.4

    Links for the day



  10. Courts Are Losing Patience for Gilstrap's Unbridled Support of Patent Trolls

    The man whose court has become a trolling ‘factory’ is being refuted (but not reprimanded) by the CAFC, which certainly can see that something is amiss and serves to discredit the system as a whole



  11. Intellectual Ventures, GNU/Linux/Android/FOSS Patents, and the Ascent of European Patent Trolls

    The existing status of GNU/Linux in a world full of patent trolls, which not only target OEMs from Asia -- typically in the US -- but are also dragging them into Europe, aided by the EPO's 'patent bubble'



  12. Shelston IP Blames “Well-Organised and Appropriately-Connected Open Source Lobby” for Ban on Software Patents

    The activism is working and foes of programmers are feeling the pressure, for software patents are being more explicitly banned in some countries



  13. The EPO's Latest Lies About the UPC and SMEs Unraveled, Long-Term Plan Described as Daunting

    The vision of Battistelli and the latest lies (about SMEs) are being criticised anonymously -- for fear of retaliation -- as Europe braces for impact with patent trolls from all around the world



  14. In an Effort to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), EPO and the Liar in Chief Spread the Famous Lie About SMEs

    The EPO wants people to hear just a bunch of lies rather than the simple truth, courtesy of the people whom the EPO proclaims it represents



  15. Links 21/9/2017: Red Hat's Open Source Patent Promise; Qt 5.6.3, Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

    Links for the day



  16. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  17. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  18. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  19. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  20. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  21. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  22. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  23. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  24. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  25. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  26. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  27. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  28. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  29. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  30. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit


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