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 28/7/2016: CORD as Linux Foundation Project, Wine 1.9.15 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Loses More Than 80% of Cases at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    The International Labour Organisation (or Organization) helps show just to what degree the European Patent Office (EPO) violates the rights of workers



  3. To Understand What Battistelli Has Turned the EPO Into Look at Turkey and China

    Battistelli and his notorious Vice-President from SIPO (Croatia) turn the European Patent Office, once the pride of Europe, into a human rights cesspool with SIPO (China) connections



  4. Patent Lawyers Move Closer to Battistelli's Rubber-stamping Office While the Appeal Boards Pushed Away as Collective Punishment Which Masks Decline in Patent Quality

    Urgently sending appeal boards away and urgently granting applicants patents without proper examination will be Battistelli's sorrow legacy at the European Patent Office



  5. Software Patents a Dying Breed, But Patent Lawyers in Denial Over it and Notorious Judge Rodney Gilstrap Ignores Alice (Supreme Court)

    A look at what law and practice are saying about software patents, contrasted or contradicted by the patent industry and trolls-friendly courts (which make business out of or together with patent aggressors)



  6. CAFC Meddling in PTAB Affairs; Unified Patents Fights a Good Fight by Invalidating Software Patents

    A look at how the AIA's Patent Trial and Appeal Board is invalidating software patents post-Alice, with or without involvement of patent courts



  7. Early Certainty That Benoît Battistelli is Dangerously Clueless and a Major Risk to the EPO

    The chaos which Team Battistelli is assured to deliver if it doesn't treat scientists like scientists, instead viewing them as a production line with rubber-stamping duties



  8. OIN Makes Claims About “Open Source Innovation”, But It Produces Nothing and Protects Virtually Nobody

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) reports growth, but in practical terms it does little or nothing to help developers of Free/Open Source software



  9. Links 27/7/2016: New CrossOver, Blackmagic for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  10. The Death of Software Patents and Microsoft's Coup Against Yahoo! Made the Company Worthless

    A look at what happens to companies whose value is a house of software patents rather than code and a broad base of users/customers



  11. Munich Attack Mentioned by EPO But Not Ansbach

    The EPO does the usual right-wing thing (exploiting disaster/emergency for domestic crackdowns), but some bemoan the omission of the explosion at Ansbach (also in Germany)



  12. Kluwer Thinks People Are Clueless About the Unitary Patent System and Pretends It's Business as Usual

    Flogging the dead UPC horse at times of great uncertainty (enough to bring the UPC to a standstill)



  13. Almost Everything That the Government Accountability Office Says is Applicable to the EPO

    The Government Accountability Office in the United States produces reports which can serve as a timely warning sign to the European Patent Office, where patent quality is rapidly declining in order to meet 'production' goals



  14. Microsoft Says It Loves Linux, But Its Anti-Linux Patent Trolls Are Still Around and Active

    Highlighting just two of the many entities that Microsoft (and partners) use in order to induce additional costs on Free (as in freedom) software



  15. Links 26/7/2016: Microsoft Growing Desperate, Linux 4.8 Visions

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2016: Linux 4.7 Final, PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3

    Links for the day



  17. Leaked: Boards of Appeal Face 'Exile' or 'Extradition' in Haar After Standing up to Battistelli

    A look at some of the latest moves at the European Patent Office (EPO), following Battistelli's successful coup d’état which brought the EPO into a perpetual state of emergency that perpetuates Battistelli's totalitarian powers



  18. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

    Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents



  19. In the US, Patent Trolls Engage in Patent Wars and Shakedowns, Whereas in China/Korea Large Android OEMs Sue One Another

    Highlighting some of the differences between the US patent system and other patent systems



  20. Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps

    Links for the day



  21. Links 23/7/2016: Leo Laporte on GNU/Linux, Dolphin Emulator’s Vulkan Completion

    Links for the day



  22. Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

    Links for the day



  23. Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

    Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas



  24. EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

    Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office



  25. EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO's Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

    Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)



  26. Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

    Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays



  27. Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

    While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants



  28. Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

    Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars



  29. Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

    Links for the day



  30. Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

    Links for the day


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