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 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  2. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  3. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  4. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  5. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  6. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  7. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  8. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  9. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  10. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  11. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  12. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  13. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  14. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  15. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  16. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  17. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  18. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  19. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  20. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  21. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  22. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  24. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  25. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China



  26. Patent Maximalism -- Like Copyright Maximalism -- Relies on Misconceptions and Mass Deception

    The latest examples of discussions about patent scope, courtesy of those looking to benefit financially by pushing such monopolies to the max



  27. Software Patents Still Promoted by IBM and Its Lobbyist (and Former Employee) David Kappos, in Defiance of Much-Needed US Patent Reform

    While the corporate media celebrates IBM as though it's some kind of 'champion' for hoarding patents that it then uses to attack companies which actually grow



  28. Brexit/Trump Effect: Patent Systems With Institutional Corruption and Nepotism

    Rumours about Britain's head of patents (and copyrights etc.) being the brother of the Brexit campaigner and Foreign Minister; meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, rumours suggest that the corrupt judge Rader might be the next head of patents in the United States



  29. Links 11/1/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.1, GitHub's Atom 1.13

    Links for the day



  30. The Patent Microcosm is Already Sucking up to Donald Trump in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Everyone's Expense

    Four new examples of patent maximalists embracing/adopting the pseudo-populist slogan to advance their goals of increasing litigation (which they profit from) and undermining PTAB (which made patents great in the quality sense)


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