EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.25.14

Recent FUD About GNU/Linux Security May be Related to Windows XP EOL Propaganda and Adware

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft propaganda agents occupy the press and pressure people to stay with Windows

Tony Bradley

Summary: Analysis of some of the recent claims that GNU/Linux and Android are not secure, the source of such claims (sometimes Microsoft), and what the timing of these claims may or may not tell us about agenda

WE WOULD like to put forth the possibility that the latest ‘security’-themed negative coverage about GNU/Linux is not a natural outcome of standard/routine research or even amplified naturally because GNU/Linux having flaws is the “man bites dog” equivalent [1]. Microsoft has familiar tactics, partly revealed by leaked documents, of manufacturing negative coverage about competitors like GNU and Linux. We gave many examples in the past (see this page for example). It can take years for relevant documents to be leaked.

It is not at all unthinkable that Microsoft still pays think tanks and partners to flood news site with negative publicity relating to GNU/Linux security. One reader wrote to us the following: “I saw on Diaspora that you were planning to write a story about how Microsoft coordinates PR across what should be an independent press. You might be interested in some old work that I did to highlight a minor revolt against “embargos” by Techchrunch and Wired” (we covered those years ago).

The ‘security’-themed negative coverage goes beyond GnuTLS [1, 2] and the latest from Symantec and others (claiming UNIX/Linux botnets while ignoring the cause and the elephant in the room, which journalists don’t like to name). There were dozens of articles about it, simply relaying the claims without digging any deeper. Earlier this week we saw some headline about Microsoft finding and reporting Android security holes (“paper published by researchers from Indiana University and Microsoft” [1, 2]). Yes, Microsoft sure is “embracing” Android… trying to paint GNU/Linux “equally bad” (another familiar old strategy). Ars Technica, at times the Fox 'news' of tech (depending on the writers), is trying to peddle some other smears against GNU/Linux security. A lot of the latest can be attributed to shoddy ‘reporting’ by Dan Goodin, who started a lot of the other recent panic and continues his long smear attack on GNU/Linux security (this time he blames out-of-date servers that can and should be freely upgraded). This FUD was so bad that entire articles were written to rebut it (after it had spread to other places [2]). See the comments/updates in Cisco’s Web site; it is very revealing. There is also a long discussion about this in Disapora. It seems like some journalists made it their mission to make GNU/Linux look insecure by whatever means necessary (even misrepresentation). As Susan Linton put it: “A lot of Websites are still covering the last couple of Linux security breaches and today Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said, “It’s not Linux’s fault!”” (and he’s right).

Will Hill wrote that the mistakes are starting to get unraveled: “Looks like his source, Cisco, was shredded for saying what they did. Check out all the strike outs and retractions.

“…The observation of affected hosts running Linux kernel 2.6 is anecdotal and in no way reflects a universal condition among all of the compromised websites. Accordingly, we have adjusted the title for clarity. We have not identified the initial exploit vector for the stage zero URIs. It was not our intention to conflate our anecdotal observations with the technical facts provided in the listed URIs or other demonstrable data, and the below strike through annotations reflect that. We also want to thank the community for the timely feedback.”

Will Hill connects this to the following bit, saying “it was also used as XP EoL hype.”

To quote the FUD: “In April 2014, Windows XP will become unsupported. Organisations urgently need to review their use of unsupported systems in operation. Such systems need to be upgraded where possible, or regularly monitored to detect compromise. Organisations should consider their exposure to risks from the use of unsupported systems…”

So they hardly even hide some of their motive, perhaps thinking it would be too subtle. ZDNet and other Microsoft-friendly sites also found the above an opportunity convenient enough to FUD both Bitcoin and GNU/Linux at the same time [3,4].

What we basically have here is an explosion of semi-truths, spin, and fabrications — all trying to make a perception of GNU/Linux not being more secure than Windows. Timing matters here. We previously saw 'former' Microsoft people smearing Android security from academic standing (no disclosures given) and here too we see Microsoft appearing in a paper against Android security, seemingly coming from a university. This isn’t uncommon and it’s one of these cases where showing the Microsoft connection is simple, as in the case of other academics whom Microsoft is paying to be spreading law-themed FUD against Android (also without disclosures).

Windows XP support is ending and many look forward to/towards a GNU/Linux migration, at the very least for security. That is true for the Indian government [5] and some British companies I happen to know about but cannot name (being discreet is important when dealing with a bully like Microsoft). GNU/Linux distributions are typically replacing Windows XP [6,7,8]; Apple is rarely even an option. Indian Banks may switch to Linux [9] and many other banks may soon move to Linux because of security of course [10-14]. There are several separate reports about potential mass migration of ATMs from Windows (XP) to GNU/Linux and Microsoft is of course paying attention to this (maybe it's reading people's E-mails, too). What is the alternative, the truly horrible Vista 8? Microsoft partners like Tony Bradley (shown above; he is strongly tied to Microsoft professionally and has a long history of attacking and smearing GNU/Linux in IDG) desperately try to whitewash Vista 8. “Microsoft apologist gets column space,” wrote iophk, perhaps not knowing that this “apologist” is actually tied to Microsoft (Forbes lets him run Microsoft’s propaganda campaign right now, without disclosures). One can truly see how miserable Microsoft has become.

Now is a good time for many to move from Windows XP to GNU/Linux, even in businesses. This new article says that “the largest percentage (41 percent) found “simply that Windows applications are not compatible.””

Wine might do better at compatibility than newer versions of Windows, including Vista 8. As iophk put it: “Maybe this will lead the removal of Microsoft from SMB environments and the movement to open standards.” Swapnil Bhartiya explained a few days ago that a migration to GNU/Linux is no longer what it used to be. “Don’t get scared,” he argues, “Linux is not what you might have heard about it way back in 2005. Today Linux is dominating the world – Android is powered by Linux, Chromebooks are powered by Linux, your Chromecast runs on Linux. And these are consumer-grade devices extremely easy to use.”

According to another new report, “Windows XP users are mistaking Microsoft’s nag screens for adware” (Windows XP users are faced with Microsoft ads now).

“Just upgrade to a GNU/Linux distro and be done with it,” concludes iophk.

GNU/Linux is the secure option, no matter how much Microsoft spin is trying to convince people otherwise.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why the media loves to exaggerate Linux security problems

    There have been a lot of media reports about Linux security problems recently. ZDNet has taken a stand and pointed out that the problem isn’t with Linux, the problem is with certain Linux users and administrators. I’d also argue that the problem is also with certain media outlets who jump on the “linux security stinks!” bandwagon at the earliest opportunity.

  2. Attack hits Web servers with outdated Linux kernels
  3. Linux Malware Evolves to Mine Cryptocurrencies
  4. Linux worm Darlloz targets Intel architecture to mine digital currency
  5. Is it Linux over Windows?

    Microsoft India has decided to discontinue support for its legacy Windows XP platform. This doesn’t affect too many people — since most users of Microsoft’s products have already moved onto the newer Windows systems —Vista, 7 and now 8. It does, however, hit one of the largest employers of the nation — the Indian government.

    When the support for XP goes out of order next month, the Indian government might start taking on Linux in a big way — if a recommendation issued by the Tamil Nadu government is any indicator.

  6. Windows XP User? Here’s 4 Reasons to Switch to Lubuntu This April

    Support for Windows XP officially ends on April 8, 2014. After this date Microsoft will no longer issues security updates, patch exploits or provide any other means of official, direct support to its users

  7. Meet Xubuntu, For Life Beyond Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Windows XP OS !

    Xubuntu is a distribution of Ubuntu, which uses the same architecture and software repositories as the mainstream Ubuntu. The only difference is that in the regular Ubuntu distribution, it uses a GUI called Unity, which is much more Mac OSX like, whereas Ubuntu uses XFCE which resembles a prettier version of XP. Alternatively, you could also check out Linux Mint, which pretty much feels exactly like Vista, but I stick to Xubuntu due to better Cannonical support – the People behind Ubuntu). Xubuntu is incredibly stingy on resources, and can run smoothly on a Pentium 4 or higher with a measly 512MB of RAM. Recommended specs being any Dual Core Intel/AMD CPU with 1GB of RAM.

  8. Lubuntu might be the best Linux distro for Windows XP users

    In today’s open source roundup: Lubuntu could be the best replacement for Windows XP. Plus: A review of Portal 2 for Linux, and an interview with the creator of educational distro Ubermix

  9. Indian Banks may switch to Linux, rather than taking extended Windows XP Support

    As we have reported you earlier that Microsoft is pulling out their Windows XP support after April 8 2014. Since a vast majority of bank ATMs around the world currently runs on Windows XP, but if they’ll continue sticking to it after the deadline, then they’ll be exposed to all kinds of security threats, as Microsoft will no longer provide the security patches thereafter.

  10. Financial Firms Looking To Linux, Windows 7 As XP Support Dries Up
  11. ATM operators eye Linux as alternative to Windows XP

    Some financial services companies are looking to migrate their ATM fleets from Windows to Linux in a bid to have better control over hardware and software upgrade cycles.

  12. ATM operators decide on Linux over Windows
  13. 95% of bank ATMs face end of security support

    It might sound odd that ATMs are running on aging software better suited to a home PC. In fact, security experts have chastised the financial industry for putting ATMs on a PC operating system in the first place. They argue ATMs should be using software that is scaled down and less buggy, such as Linux.

  14. Huge Swath Of XP Machines May Go To */Linux
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 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

    Links for the day



  2. The UPC Scam Part VII: A Fine Mess in the Making, as Nothing Can be Made of It Amid/After Brexit

    The final part in this multi-part series about UPC, which cannot be implemented in the UK as long as Brexit is on the agenda



  3. The UPC Scam Part VI: The Real Story Which People Missed Due to Puff Pieces Seeded by Battistelli-Bribed Media is That UPC Technically Cannot Come to the UK

    Another long installment in a multi-part series about UPC at times of post-truth Battistelli-led EPO, which pays the media to repeat the lies and pretend that the UPC is inevitable so as to compel politicians to welcome it regardless of desirability and practicability



  4. EPO Spiraling Down the Drain as Experienced Examiners and Judges Are Seemingly Being Replaced by Interns

    Implementing yet more of his terrible ideas and so-called 'reforms', Battistelli seems to be racing to the bottom of everything (patent quality, staff experience, labour rights, working conditions, access to justice etc.)



  5. A Lot of News From the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Today, With Some Important Decisions on Patents Coming Soon

    A roundup of today's outcomes from the US Supreme Court, which intends to review and decide on important patent cases



  6. In Historic Blow to Design Patents, Apple Loses to Samsung at the Supreme Court

    A $399 million judgment against Android devices from Samsung, with potential implications for other Android OEMs, is rejected by SCOTUS



  7. Good Riddance. Ray Niro is Dead.

    The infamous father of patent trolling is dead, so we need to remember his real legacy rather than rewrite his history to appease his rich relatives (enriched by destroying real companies)



  8. EPO Suicides Greater in Number Than is Widely Reported, Unjust System a Contributor to These

    The horrible regime of Benoît Battistelli has an enormous human toll (fatalities), far greater than the Office is willing to publicly acknowledge



  9. Lobbying Disguised as 'Reporting' by the Patent Microcosm, Which Wants More Patents and More Lawsuits (Lawyers Needed)

    A rebuttal to some new articles about patents, especially those that strive to increase patent-related activities (usually for personal gain)



  10. USPTO Echo Chamber That Lacks Actual Software Professionals Deciding on Patentability of Software

    A look at yesterday's "Roundtable on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility," which lacked involvement from those actually affected by patents rather than those who sell, trade, and exploit these



  11. More Examples of Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Taxing Linux, Even After Microsoft 'Joined' (Paid) the Linux Foundation

    A quick look at the past week's news and clues about Microsoft's (and its broad army of patent trolls) strategy for taxing Linux, or imposing bundling at zero cost (to Microsoft)



  12. Heiko Maas, the SPD “Cash for Access” Affair, and Suspicions of Unwarranted Censorship at IP Kat (Again)

    Unsayable views or just a glitch? Readers of IP Kat express concern about a culture of censorship at IP Kat



  13. Endgame for Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Battistelli turns bad into worse by spitting on the very notion of accepting justice (from the highest court in The Hague or even the UN in this case)



  14. Les Échos Chamber: Having Corrupted the Media (With EPO Money), Battistelli Now Uses It for More UPC Propaganda

    The lies about the Unitary Patent are now being broadcast (Battistelli given the platform) by the publication that Battistelli pays



  15. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  16. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  17. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  18. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  19. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  20. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  21. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  22. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  23. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  24. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  25. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  26. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  27. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  28. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  29. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  30. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents


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