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02.16.11

Politically-motivated Proprietary Software

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Excellent new examples of why using Microsoft Windows (and Mac OS X for that matter) can be political suicide

IN an age when almost everything is powered by software, politically-neutral software may be impossible to put one’s hands on, but if the code is out there for inspection, modification, and redistribution, biases can be removed and the software can be reshaped to behave as desired by the user. Yesterday we mentioned how Windows Update, for example, can be used for political reasons. In fact, when any Windows-running computers are connected to the network, they can be forced to receive modification to the system, even personalised ones (in the malicious sense, e.g. insertion of a back door a la CIPAV). Only the naïve would suppose that using a proprietary operating system (or any proprietary system for that matter) can assure security.

As proof of the above, consider how an army dares to spread viruses all around the world for some selfish purposes. This new report seems to confirm what the press has been reporting, but it’s said to be coming right from the horse’s mouth for a change:

But, it now seems that the information from these sources was correct. The Haaretz – Israel’s oldest daily newspaper – reports (via Google Translate) about the a surprising video that was played at a party organized for General Gabi Ashkenazi’s last day on the job.

The video contained references to the successes he achieved during his stint as chief of staff, and enumerated among them was the Stuxnet worm attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and and the nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

There is always the possibility that this was just a way of magnifying the General’s achievements, but it is also possible it is true. As we all know, Israel has never commented on the speculations about its involvement in the attacks.

For a little bit of background also see:

  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
  24. Cablegate Reveals Government Requesting Access to Microsoft Data, Kill Switches
  25. Use Microsoft Windows, Get Assassinated
  26. Iran Shows the Downside of Using Proprietary Software
  27. Whitewashing Inherent Windows Flaws

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s lobbyist hired from the government (Microsoft’s Charney [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) continues to push for disconnecting Windows-running PCs which are infected. He does not say Windows, he says “computers”:

Microsoft Scott Charney is pushing ahead with a proposal to implement a public health model to curb the damage from botnets of malware-laden computers around the world.

During a keynote presentation (see documentation) at the RSA Conference here, Charney trumpeted a “global Internet health model” that uses existing technologies and organizational policies to implement a system that limits what an infected computer can do on the Internet.

One must remember his background in the government (where he came to Microsoft from). Since we know that the FBI and other secret services do in fact ‘plant’ viruses or back door in people’s Windows installations, what do his statements really say given the hypocrisy?

Control of one’s system requires software freedom, not reliance on third parties which claim to produce software but in fact hire people from the United States government. When one’s computer runs Windows, it runs under the full control of these people. The software can even be changed at any time, remotely. For true autonomy Free software is absolutely required. For what it’s worth, an excellent documentary (“The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning”) has just been released on YouTube and we append its three parts below. It’s quite timely and educational.

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2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    February 16, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Gravatar

    PJ spotted Charney’s outrageous proposal in a Computer World article which provided an example, connecting to a bank. Charney says:

    That might end up to be a more workable model for the Internet, Charney said. “The user remains in control. The user can say I don’t want to pass a health certificate,” he said “There may be consequences for that decision, but you can do it.”

    The false choice offered by bullies to blame the victim is so typical. Do as I say or there will be “consequences”. PJ rightly mocks this:

    What? Invade my privacy just to connect to a bank? A *bank*?? I have a better idea. How about Microsoft fixes its insecure software design, or if it must enforce policies on its users, limit it to Microsoft-using people. Requiring antivirus software on Linux users is a joke, like making men wear bras. There’s no need or use for it.

    The good people at Black Box Voting have more direct political concerns about software use in voting. These concerns have lead people like RMS to say that computers of any type should never be used for elections. The US is plagued by the very worst kind of voting machines, non free software (windows with secret additions by the makers) that have been implicated in several fraudulent elections. They point out that “security” is a red herring, the real issue is centralized control and lack of public verification.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Charney’s work spreads the perception that operating systems are not at fault.

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