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02.24.11

Microsoft Windows: Get Bricked or Get Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Brick
Picture offered by Or

Summary: Another Catch-22 for Microsoft customers as phones commit suicide because Microsoft pushes bad patches; other security problems affect only Windows

IT IS not a good week for Microsoft. Many of Samsung's clients suffer from bricking because they made the mistake of experimenting with Vista Phony 7. Microsoft was trying to ‘bolt in’ some security and instead it killed a lot of phones, as well as its reputation (what’s left of it). Microsoft boosters are all over this [1, 2, 3] and since Microsoft has no official spin (not yet anyway) they put it quite bluntly, e.g.:

Microsoft just can’t seem to get Windows Phone 7 right — this time it’s botched a minor update to Samsung phones that “brick” the devices so that they’re useless. Then it compounded the error by apparently not pulling the update after it said it had. This is no way to catch Android and the iPhone.

Oh, how true this cartoon turns out to be!

Techrights has been tracking Microsoft’s mobile business (the reality of it) for several years, so the above is not surprising at all. There was a period of time in the last decade when Microsoft had the potential to become dominant in mobile, but it blew it. Now it just blows a lot of money in vain (Windows Mobile 6.5, then SideKick and KIN, now Vista Phony 7).

“Microsoft Mobile Running Out of Chances” says the headline of this new short article which states:

More bad news for Microsoft, which can’t seem to get out of its own way when it comes to getting its mobile business untracked. Just yesterday came word that the first update for Windows Phone 7 ran into some major issues, going so far as locking up some phones. news for Microsoft, which can’t seem to get out of its own way when it comes to getting its mobile business untracked. Just yesterday came word that the first update for Windows Phone 7 ran into some major issues, going so far as locking up some phones.

Had users not accepted the patches, the phones would be vulnerable, so it’s a Catch-22 (you’ll never be secure). While it is true that Symbian/Android have their weaknesses too (mostly relying on the user who can install rogue software), nothing beats Windows when it comes to being vulnerable and this new report about Zeus (for some background about Zeus see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) says more. To quote:

AN EVOLVED VERSION of the Zeus trojan that targets mobile phones has been discovered.

Security firm F-Secure published an alert about the Zeus variant ‘Mitmo’, which targeted the ING bank in Poland. It attacks mobile phone based two-factor authentication by stealing mTANs, which are mobile authentication numbers sent via SMS by some banks to authorise an online transactions.

There is also this from the MSBBC, which characteristically avoids naming Microsoft or Windows in relation to the problem:

The proportion of websites secretly harbouring malware has reached one in 3,000 according to security firm Kaspersky.

It found a surge in the number of web-based attacks in 2010, with more than 580 million incidents detected.

What platform is it that the malware affects? Just don’t ask the MSBBC. It has too many former Microsoft UK employees in today’s management. When Microsoft’s OneCare deleted people’s inboxes Microsoft’s Arno Edelmann said: “Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing.”

Yes, Microsoft is a marketing (and increasingly lawsuits) company, which is why controlling the MSBBC is the type of thing that pays off. “Microsoft Is Not A Software Company” as Gordon titled his latest essay which says:

Microsoft don’t write much of their own. They buy, copy or just pilfer from others, and do the re-branding and Windows only lock-in changes to then present it as a Microsoft creation. They also seem pretty isolated in their views of the markets they’re in, to the extent that they seem oblivious to what the competition has done, and what the customers of that market expect as a bare minimum. How else could they release products that are years behind the competition?

Also years behind completion based on the bricking and the lack of basic features like tethering. Microsoft is somehow stuck now. The future is to a large degree all about mobility; Microsoft cannot succeed in mobility, but on the other hand it must try (or die trying).

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