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05.31.11

Microsoft’s Lies and Internet Explorer Hubris Cost Society a Lot of Money

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

“Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

Summary: Why Internet Explorer should be a candidate for exclusion if not banning, especially given that Microsoft knowingly ignores security problems that in turn pass the cost to society, collectively

Negligence is a matter of routine at Microsoft, but this is a subject we wrote about many times before (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), so we shall look at this from another angle today.

Microsoft desperately wants its Internet Explorer (IE) monoculture back. It uses many dirty tricks to get there and around my house there are many billboards promoting IE this year. It is not something that Mozilla, for example, can afford. But the reality is that Microsoft deliberate and well-understood negligence is costing everyone a lot of money. A couple of years ago a lot of businesses including Google got burned by users and/or staff that insisted on using IE. As a result, Google essentially banned Windows and the damage to the economy was great, not to mention the effect on national security (Wikileaks released cables related to this).

Only a monopoly can get away with it, but it does not escape scrutiny from the journalist who likes to expose Microsoft security problems:

Microsoft today downplayed the threat posed by an unpatched vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer (IE) that an Italian researchers has shown can be exploited to hijack people’s online identities.

The bug, which has been only discussed and not disclosed in detail, was part of an attack technique described by Rosario Valotta, who dubbed the tactic “cookiejacking,” a play on “clickjacking,” an exploit method first revealed in 2008.

At Microsoft they simply hide the vulnerabilities in order to pretend that these do not exist. By silently patching in addition to secrecy and evasion, Microsoft can also game the numbers and fraudulently claim that Windows is more secure.

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4 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    May 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Gravatar

    A friend works for the US State Department, and, according to him, State Department employees are forbidden to use IE because it is such a security risk. I would really like to see it banned altogether until it is totally separated from the operating system, as a matter of national security!

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    The only way to preclude the use of MSIE is to ban Windows, too, because MSIE is spread throughout the system. MSIE is responsible for much of the bad image that M$ has on the technical side of things. If the issue were only about providing web access, M$ would have ditched MSIE for Opera or, now, Chrome long ago.

    It’s good to hear that the State Department is wising up. Hopefully soon, they will take the next steps: prohibiting Windows because it is such a security risk.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The US government would be las to do such a a thing.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    s/las/last/

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