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06.07.12

Windows Update Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Microsoft quality at its best; Windows Update becomes malware distribution system

THE UNDER-REPORTED SUBJECT we alluded to very briefly the other day is Windows Update getting cracked, then (mis)used to infect PCs in a peer-to-peer fashion. To quote one report:

The Flame espionage malware targeting Iranian computers contains code that can completely hijack the Windows update mechanism that Microsoft uses to distribute security patches to hundreds of millions of its users, security researchers said Monday.

Here is another report:

According to new information revealed by researchers, three modules of the Flame malware – named Snack, Gadget and Munch – are used to launch what is essentially a man-in-the-middle attack against other computers on a network.

The Windows are open. Those who called Windows Update the largest “worm” out there finally have their case made.

Software Patents Want to Spread and Harm Civil Rights, Fair Competition

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A quick reminder of the threat of software patenting and a new malicious example of software patents

THE sad truth is that development work has kept me away from activism on the issue of patents. The situation with software patents in the EU is far from resolved, but we have not had time to cover it recently. One vigilant blogger from April (France) says the the unitary patent is not dead yet:

On May 30th, 2012, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union was expected to discuss the project of a unitary patent. Although the contents of the discussions are unknown, their result – a failure to reach an common agreement – points out how problematic this messed-up project is. Therefore, April calls once again the French government and Fleur Pellerin to reject the current text. The association also asks that discussions materials be published in order to shed light on every issue of this project.

With the unitary patent the threat of software patents become more real and it could include potentially malicious ideas such as this new one from Google:

To date, the term smartphone’s mostly been a misnomer for larger screen, albeit still dumb, handsets imbued with rich web browsing experiences. With the exception of the Galaxy S III’s SmartStay feature and the Droid RAZR, not many other high-end devices can lay claim to “intelligent,” user-adaptive behavior. Which is why our eyes are trained on this recently awarded Google patent that stands poised to turn future Android (we presume) devices into location-aware assistants. Originally submitted back in September of 2011, the USPTO filings describe a software-based profile alarm that seems eerily reminiscent of Motorola’s own Smart Actions — a fitting appropriation given the just wrapped acquisition.

To me, surveillance has long been a reason to avoid smartphones (PDA and tablets don’t come with tracking built in). The above is bad for two reasons: one is the side effect on human/tech rights and the other is it being a monopoly of Google.

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