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06.20.19

Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

Posted in Microsoft at 12:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cult-like tactics. Or doxing to secure bug doors. Is this what “business intelligence” was all along for?

Microsoft bullying

Summary: Microsoft isn’t changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its “Open Source” (or “Open at Microsoft”) people, who did this to me

IT IS a small world after all. Someone in the Fediverse pointed out to me this new tweet about Microsoft bullying, which reminded me of these cult-like tactics Microsoft used against myself and others. From the original thread (there are also many comments in there):

I think you must be talking about CVE-2010-0232, it wasn’t 90 days, it was more like 180. This was at a time when Microsoft refused to release kernel patches outside of service packs. I begged Microsoft at multiple in-person meetings at Redmond to reconsider and patch, they simply refused and said there were would be repercussions if I disobeyed.
After four months of negotiations, I told that I’m going to publish it whether a patch was available or not. This didn’t have the effect I had hoped, they started threatening me instead. They called me and told me my career would be destroyed. In one particularly memorable call they told me that their PR and legal department only had two settings, “off and destroy” and (in a rather menacing tone) that they would “air my dirty laundry in public”. I still don’t know what that means.

I was shaken, but told them I’m still going ahead. They responded by calling everyone they knew at my employer demanding I was terminated.

There was a trivial mitigation, just disabling a very rarely used feature (vdm support for 16 bit applications). I made detailed documentation explaining how to enable the mitigation for every supported platform, and even made tutorial videos for Administrators on how to apply and deploy group policy settings.

Here are the instructions I wrote:

https://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2010/Jan/341

And here’s a video I made showing how to apply the policy to a Windows Server 2003 machine like yours:

I sent these detailed instructions to all the usual places that advisories are published. I included a test case so you could verify if the bug affected you and verify the mitigation was correctly deployed. As you can imagine, Microsoft were furious.

I know it’s little comfort, but through some hard fought battles over the last decade we have reached the point that Microsoft can reluctantly patch critical kernel security bugs if given around three months notice. They still pull some dirty tricks to this day, you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I could tell you, but those are war stories for sharing over beers :)

It sounds like your attackers compromised you with an outdated wordpress installation, then gained privileges with this vulnerability. I’m not sure I agree the blame here lies solely with me, but regardless, I would recommend subscribing to the announce lists for the software you’re deploying. You could also monitor the major security lists for advisories related to the software you use. It’s high volume and varies in quality, but you can usually identify the advisories that apply to you easily.

We’ve documented many examples like it for over a decade (we’ve lost count!) and we have some wiki indexes for these. Incidentally, we’ve just added the “Librethreat Database”, contributed by an anonymous reader who is also a software developer working on GNU/Linux.

It’s very important to understand what Microsoft is up to; it’s not a friend, it’s just getting closer for the purpose of causing damage (from the inside). Earlier this month Dina Bass wrote a widely-syndicated (dozes of news sites) piece pretending that Microsoft was reaching peace and had already appeased its biggest critics. It’s a lie, but if the media keeps repeating this lie, then more and more people will believe it. To appease the Linux Foundation and OSI Microsoft just had to dump some money of them; that’s not about trust, it’s about corrupting people using money — not the same thing!

“Dina is on one,” Mitchel Lewis told us about this new tweet from Dina Bass. “She’s like their top 5 shill right now.”

“It’s very important to understand what Microsoft is up to; it’s not a friend, it’s just getting closer for the purpose of causing damage (from the inside).”Notice Mitchel Lewis responding to her Microsoft revisionism and white-washing. She has long worked as Microsoft’s de facto PR person, as we noted here before. She’s a “media insider”, just like Microsoft Peter. Several of our readers and active members theorised that Microsoft had long known about his pedophilia (he raped children) and used that to control him; we lack evidence to show/prove this, so we never entertained that angle. Some people urged us to explore that angle, but we never did. Someone told us a story to that effect involving a relative who had worked at Microsoft (and Microsoft used sexual means to manipulate him). Mr. Lewis said so himself and his claim is supported by what people told us over E-mail and IRC. This seems to be an unreported or grossly underreported issue that may or may not relate to manipulation of people through Code of Conduct, NDAs and so on. Mr. Lewis has meanwhile just published “Digital Oxy”, comparing Microsoft’s tactics to those of “legalised” drug dealing. It’s part of his ongoing series of articles exposing the true nature of the Microsoft monopoly — a subject he understands as a former insider:

Despite maintaining a portfolio of aging products that have never been as complex, buggy, vulnerable, or costly to manage as they are today, IT professionals around the world maintain that Microsoft products remain the best in their class. To their credit, Microsoft is the largest company in the world when measured by market cap, the prevalence of their products is undeniable, and Windows is still the de facto gaming platform, so it’s easy to see why so many are under this impression. But market cap, prevalence, and gaming are not the measures of all things and a different narrative immediately becomes apparent when relying on metrics that actually take consumer and business welfare into account to determine which is the best.

Case in point and despite their prevalence or market cap, one would have to scrape the proverbial barrel in order to find a metric that favors Microsoft mainstays relative to their competition when evaluating them based on metrics emphasizing on business welfare that prioritize quality, productivity, simplicity, security, supportability, etc. This is so much the case that, IBM, the inventor of PCs, noticed a reduction in ownership costs to 1/3 that of Windows PC users by migrating users to the Apple ecosystem; which is significant amount of disparity in an industry where even a 1% savings will make executives randy.

[...]

Although many interpret the present complex, buggy, vulnerable, and costly state of Microsoft solutions as the product of ignorance and apathy, these aren’t the actions of a firm ignorant to software engineering best practices. It actually requires a high-level understanding of software to engineer it for entrenchment, dependence, and lock-in, let alone build an extensive partner network to distribute it through and Microsoft’s market performance is a testament to this, not an exception.

No differently than Purdue Pharmaceutical being dependent on a network of profiteering drug dealers masquerading as doctors, it seems as if Microsoft is dependent on a conflicted network of maladapted experts entrenching their own products throughout industry just the same. When combining such a conflict of interest with products streamlined for entrenchment in a woefully under-regulated industry, Microsoft’s success, the prevalence of Windows, and their staying power throughout industry instantly becomes much more palpable and markedly less ethical.

We can warmheartedly recommend his other writings, which we sometimes cite.

Don’t believe that because Microsoft changed (yet again) its logo and CEO it means different tactics and intents. Bill Gates is still in charge of Nadella and can fire him at any time (through the Board). The same people are in charge and they’re still ruthless and manipulative. The software and services are technically shoddy, but we prefer focusing on ethics.

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