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

09.22.14

Home Depot Confirmed a Victim of Microsoft’s Bad Security, Microsoft Lays Off Security-Related Staff

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security

Microsoft is not a company that cares about security. It seems to care about the security state (i.e. surveillance), which is why it makes its products so easy to infiltrate (by the “Good Guys”). As we showed before, Microsoft’s layoffs focus in part on security-related staff, or staff that’s associated with security state type of stuff (restricting operation of computers, back doors, etc.).

Microsoft uses secrecy as a weapon against fear-induced exodus because layoffs are company-wide and it's not about Nokia but about parts of the company which Microsoft would rather keep secret. To quote one source:

In a statement sent to Channelnomics sister-site CRN UK, Microsoft said the staff reductions in the latest round have been “spread across many business units and many different countries”, but did not go into specifics as to where it is swinging the ax.

“Trustworthy Computing group” is one of the affected units, based on Seattle-based press. Reportedly, according to this press (heavily biased in Microsoft’s favour), the group was “folding into other units”. It’s a clever and rather classic way to disguise layoffs (like the term “reorg”). “A spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated from the Trustworthy Computing group as part of the changes,” said the report that we cited last week. So by “folding into other units” he basically meant “layoffs”.

It is rather amazing that given all that is known, some businesses and even governments continue to procure and/or purchase more stuff from Microsoft. It’s worse than irresponsible, it’s suicidal. Ask Home Depot why it should not be using Windows anymore. According to reports such as [1], this retailer faces a massive security breach and it’s all the fault of Windows. Staff knew about it and also ignored the issues. It makes it both
irresponsible and suicidal. The company’s name is now tarnished.

Increasingly here in the UK I see businesses that move to Free software and GNU/Linux, usually for security reasons, not just cost savings (the migration itself can be pricey). Some months ago staff at Ryman (a large UK chain) told me that they had moved from Windows to Ubuntu GNU/Linux due to virus infections.

Now that Microsoft is eliminating security jobs people will hopefully realise that Windows security is not improving. It’s only going to get worse. Time to move to GNU/Linux…

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Home Depot ignored security warnings for years, employees say

    Former information technology employees at Home Depot claim that the retailer’s management had been warned for years that its retail systems were vulnerable to attack, according to a report by the New York Times. Resistance to advice on fixing systems reportedly led several members of Home Depot’s computer security team to quit, and one who remained warned friends to use cash when shopping at the retailer’s stores.

09.17.14

Italy is Cracking Down on Microsoft’s Monopoly Abuse While Gradually Moving to GNU/Linux

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux at 4:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Italy's flag

Summary: Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs

“Last year,” says Pogson, “I wrote about Udine using FLOSS in their infrastructure. Well, it’s in the news again.”

There were several reports recently about Turin following the footsteps of Munich and the main report surprisingly came from the CBS-owned ZDNet, albeit from a guest writer.

Well, guest writers in ZDNet (people from Italy) now tell the story of Italy moving to GNU/Linux in the public sector. It is not exactly news. Here is another one that says: “The City of Udine is moving from Windows for OpenOffice – and may soon ditch Microsoft at an operating system level too.”

That means GNU/Linux!

And if that’s not enough, Italy is now barring Microsoft from imposing the inclusion of Microsoft Windows (NSA-infested malware) in computer sales. As the FSFE reported some days ago: “Italy’s High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica, the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.

“The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. The court slammed this practice as “monopolistic in tendency”. It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these programs or not.”

Pogson added that: “When I approached the Canadian Competition Bureau on the matter, they parroted that I had no standing, not being in competition with M$. Shame on them. Who is in competition with M$ when M$ has eliminated the market? They should do their job and protect consumers and businesses from an unfair tax on goods and services in Canada. What’s your government doing to protect your freedom of choice in operating systems?”

That’s a fair point. Notice how Microsoft is using its abuses to eliminate reports about its abuses. We saw that in areas other than operating systems.

It sure looks like Germany and Italy and rapidly moving away from Windows. Perhaps all those explosive revelations about NSA espionage (especially in Germany) will accelerate the migrations. To deny bundling of Microsoft Windows with PCs is to basically protect many citizens from being malicious spied on by foreign governments.

09.16.14

The United Kingdom Should Dump Microsoft For the Sake of National Security

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism

TECHRIGHTS has published dozens of articles — including some “exclusives” — about the UK and its dangerous dependence on Microsoft. The UK is a lot more dependent on Microsoft than other nations and it’s a huge problem because such dependencies facilitate spying on lawyers and journalists, not to mention politicians. Being one’s “ally” does not mean exclusion from the “targets” list, as revelations about Germany and Turkey served to show. Microsoft is as bad as one can get when it comes to privacy and it habitually colludes with the state (the United States, not Britain).

The other day a reader sent us this link about Microsoft Office spying. “Delve pulls content from within your organization’s OneDrive, SharePoint, and Yammer accounts,” says the article. The scary thing is, CTOs and CIOs in the UK are sometimes using stuff like this on the government’s Windows-running PCs, which can cost $10,000 per year (per PC) merely to maintain. Have we learned nothing from Stuxnet? Is the UK begging to be a vassal of another nation?

Dependence on Microsoft Windows also leads to virus epidemic in the UK right now. It turns out that British businesses are now struggling with a so-called ‘undetectable’ Windows virus. So much for ‘competitive advantage’, eh? To quote the Torygraph: “A Peter Pan pantomime in Bournemouth is being used as part of a sophisticated hacking attack from Eastern Europe that is targetting thousands of British businesss.

“An email claiming to be a £145 invoice for nine tickets to a performance of Peter Pan at the Bournemouth Pavilion theatre contained an attachment that if opened installs a virus onto the receipent’s computer.

“The malware, which the email claims are the tickets for the pantomime performance, captures highly sensitive personal and commericial information including passwords and is almost “undetectable” by current anti-virus software.”

It is baffling to see the London-based Canonical still feels comfortable putting GNU/Linux under/alongside a surveillance platform. As one Microsoft-friendly article put it: “Ubuntu’s popularity with the OpenStack crowd can’t be lost on Microsoft, and Microsoft has learned that it must play nicely with Linux in its virtualization and cloud product lines. Now, Canonical has reported that it has completed work with Microsoft on tools for Windows Server to run on top of OpenStack and Ubuntu.”

This is unwise because putting Windows in the stack is the same as granting the NSA access to the stack. Microsoft should in principle be purged, along with its software. The company has already proven that it is the best friend of illegal surveillance, espionage, political sabotage and other shenanigans. How much evidence need one see before it becomes crystal clear that Microsoft has no place in the public sector, except perhaps in the United States?

Microsoft Has Just Killed Minecraft for GNU/Linux and the Possibility of Free/Open Source Releases

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Persson sells out to Microsoft and lets the abusive monopolist destroy the popular cross-platform game that a community has been built around

Microsoft likes buying companies just to kill their GNU/Linux versions (unless a program spies on the users, like Skype does). We have given many examples over the years. Minecraft seems to be no exception.

Some days ago it became quite apparent [1, 2] that Minecraft was on its deathbed. As OpenSource.com put it: “A lot of very big, very reputable sources are claiming that Microsoft is acquiring Mojang, the makers of the astoundingly popular sandbox game Minecraft, and that the deal could be finalized as early as next week.”

Watch this appalling hogwash. “Spinning Microsoft continued destruction of the industry as only “not cool” rather than the malice it is,” told us one of our readers. “Notch’s objections to Vista8 might be partially behind the discussed takeover.”

“Passionate Players Fear Acquisition of Upstart Videogame Maker Will Destroy Its Indie Spirit” says the summary. Here is another article from the same publication. It shows the times “When Minecraft Founder Markus Persson Blasted Microsoft”.

Despite all this, Markus Persson sold out. Minecraft will probably never release GNU/Linux versions anymore. See also this old article about “GPL Non-Compliance” in “Minecraft Plug-Ins” and this old page where Mincraft’s Persson states: “I will release the game source code as some kind of open source.”

Nonsense. Microsoft killed off this possibility. Persson threw away his principles and completely sold out. He sold out a community.

“Minecraft for Linux Conveniently Missing from Mojang-Microsoft Deal” says one article’s headline [1, 2] as “Microsoft acquires Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 billion”. In our IRC channels Sosumi says he “never played minecraft nor I am interested in playing it” (it was always proprietary).

MinceR says that “Mojang is dead now… like terminal reality and ensemble studios” and Sosumi replies with “I’ll probably follow the same line as it did with bungie… with support dropping for non-Microsoft platforms as new releases come”

XFaCE says: “Expect an immediate rewrite to C#”

This is not “greener pastures”, it is a deathbed. But Persson enriches himself in the process.

“Microsoft asserts that it “plans” to continue distributing Minecraft across PC, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS, and Android, but obviously the game’s cross-platform future is called into question by this acquisition,” says the article above. Notice how GNU/Linux gets omitted. It is not a coincidence.

Another Reason to Boycott Intel UEFI

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More anti-competitive aspects are revealed inside UEFI, which helps merginalise GNU/Linux

Boycotting Intel is not hard to justify. The company is deeply corrupt. We spent over two years explaining why its UEFI antifeatures too should face a boycott and Silviu Stahie provides yet another reason in this article about a new petition. It says: “The Intel Atom Bay Trail tablets have been out for a few months already, but none of the hardware vendors is providing 64-bit firmware builds for them, which means that you can’t install any Linux distros.”

Here’s more: “In fact, you can’t install Linux on any 32-bit UEFI PC, because the boot loader only supports 64-bit, and this is a major issue for people who really want to used their Intel Atom Bay Trail-powered devices with a Linux OS.”

The solution is quite simple; avoid Intel, potentially dodge x86 (where practically possible), and definitely avoid anything with UEFI on any kind of device. It is not only a patent trap but also means for securing Microsoft’s monopoly. In addition, it’s a potential back door for bricking computers remotely. Intel should be shamed of itself.

09.03.14

Microsoft Should Not be Considered Too Big to Jail

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jailed cats

Summary: Microsoft continues to use dumping as a strategy which revolves around starving the competition, not beating the competition

OVER THE years we have covered very many examples of Microsoft crimes; it was rare to see Microsoft executives going to prison and when they were sent to prison — which did occasionally happen — it usually wasn’t for their activities inside Microsoft. It is abundantly clear that the company attracts anti-social people who are knowingly and consciously applying for a job in a company that's widely recognised for crimes and abuses.

Techrights is not unique with its views regarding Microsoft. We often agree with people like Robert Pogson who now says that “Admits Defeat” and shows that, based on this report, “Microsoft has recently reduced the number of chassis suppliers for its Surface tablets and is now outsourcing all the orders to Ju Teng. Microsoft stopped placing chassis orders with its China-based supplier in August, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.”

These products have been an utter failure in the market. Microsoft loses a lot of money on them. Microsoft would even sell them at a loss just to ensure that it can somehow impede the competition’s growth. Known as negative pricing, this strategy is illegal, especially for monopolists. Microsoft even resorted to bribes and technical sabotage, licensing restrictions (anti-competitive) and other means. Microsoft is more focused on destroying the competition itself than actually producing decent products.

We are saddened to see that a lot of the corporate press, which is often funded by Microsoft one way or another, continues blaming GNU/Linux for lack of growth (or for very slow growth) on the desktop. This biased media would conveniently ignore explosive leaks about Microsoft’s abuses — leaks which are publicly available. The corporate press likes blaming GNU/Linux itself, pretending that Free software has inherent technical issues or usability issues. As GNU/Linux does not have a vast marketing budget like Apple’s, the media can actually get away with it, too. Repetition leads almost to a complete acceptance, even by the victimised (learned hopelessness). It becomes challenging to challenge. Journalists in corporate press will therefore carry on bashing GNU/Linux rather than discussing all the sabotage directed against its adoption, including the latest in Munich.

Pogson has just put together a compact list of Microsoft’s abuses against GNU/Linux adoption and the adoption of competition in general, starting with:

M[icrosoft] has deliberately violated the laws of competition in USA and elsewhere repeatedly, systematically and with malice. They are out to get us. At first they got an exclusive deal with IBM to get their foot in the door, piggybacking on IBM’s branding with business, then they demanded exclusive deals with ISVs and manufacturers, then they punished any manufacturer who stepped out of line and installed competing products, then they created an endless chain of incompatible file-format changes and created whole industries based on the existence of overly complex secret protocols and finally forced the world to accept a closed standard as an open standard… That whole burden has served to render IT more expensive to own and to operate and much more fragile than it should be just on technical merits.

Based on this new article by Swapnil Bhartiya, dumping (selling at a loss) continues to be somewhat of a strategy at Microsoft. As he puts it: “Microsoft is taking a page from its history to counter Chromebooks, an increasing threat to Microsoft’s PC market. They are getting their hardware partners to flood the market with ‘cheap‘ netbooks to combat Google’s Chromebooks. We earlier reported HP’s plans to bring really cheap netbook and now ASUS is also joining the rag-race.”

The funny thing is that Microsoft spent so much time and money on negative advertising, slinging mud at Chromebooks for being too cheap to be workable. Here we have Microsoft putting itself in the same cage it used to rattle, as if it chalked around some carcass and is now laying itself right within the chalk’s boundaries.

One day, one can only hope, Microsoft will get sued severely for its anti-Google tactics and its anti-GNU/Linux tactics. For now it still seems like Microsoft has greased up (i.e. bribed) enough politicians to make itself immune to much-deserved prosecution.

09.01.14

Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good news for “Free software” team

Soccer players

Summary: Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)

Any nation that still uses the back doors which are Microsoft software ought to wake up and make immediate changes. Russia and China are already making rapid changes. Korea (South Korea to be precise) is following suit. But that’s old news.

Microsoft is abandoning operating systems in a way that compromises security in very mission-critical operations. Clients get abandoned and they are helpless. They cannot even access source code, so messy patches at binary level is all they have left.
“Microsoft replaces a broken update with one that’s even more broken than the first one,” says Ryan in our IRC channels, citing Woody Leonhard’s report [via] about increasing fragility of Windows:

Microsoft re-releases botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 ‘Blue Screen 0×50′ patch, buries tip to manually uninstall first patch, and introduces more problems

Windows is a total mess. A lot of those involved in developing it have left and it truly shows. Just look what a mess recent releases of Windows have been, both when released and when patched (bricked).

Some rumours suggest that Microsoft may be gradually abandoning Windows altogether. “According to unconfirmed media reports,” says The Mukt, “IT giants like Amazon, Samsung, Yahoo! and Microsoft are in talks to either acquire or partner with Cyanogen, a company which forked the Android Open Source Project and has become quite popular lately.”

Over at IDG, Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla thinks that Windows for mobile should be completely abandoned. This is quoting a Microsoft advocate who makes money from Windows: “It’s been nearly four years since Microsoft first released Windows Phone, and what it has gotten after many millions of dollars in development and marketing costs, plus its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia, is this: a worldwide smartphone market share of less than 3 percent. And that number has been going down, not up.

“Ask any smart businessperson whether that investment is a good one, and you’ll get a straightforward answer: no. Over at Microsoft, though, they think differently. Rather than abandoning Windows Phone, they’re doubling down and making an even bigger bet on the struggling smartphone operating system. A company with Bill Gates’ DNA will never willingly admit defeat, but in this case it may be time to do just that and instead hitch its mobile wagon to Android.”

Sarcastically, my co-host Tim writes:

Microsoft has deleted 1500 apps which presumably are spam/fakes/malicious from its store. Surely this must only leave about 2 left?

Over in China people are now being moved to COS, especially for mobile devices on the face of it (although COS is said to be based on Ubuntu). There is an antitrust case there against Microsoft because China may have gotten its documents stuck in Office, which is not running natively on GNU and Linux. The Register is spinning lock-in complaints as “compatibility”, saying that “China’s antitrust regulator has given Microsoft 20 days to hand over a written explanation of how the Windows OS works together with the bundled Office software suite as part of its probe into the firm’s alleged monopoly activities.”

It sure looks like China is very serious about getting rid of Microsoft this time around. The Web version of Office has already been banned and the same goes for the latest versions of Windows.

08.27.14

FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft

A Microsoft Windows (exclusively) infection is having a colossal impact on businesses right now, but corporate press coverage fails to name Windows [1, 2, 3], not to mention any possibility of blaming it. The name of an operating system is only mentioned for negative news when it’s not Windows. This is typical and it matches a pattern we have covered her under the “call out Windows” banner. IDG, the liars’ den, put it like this:

The Target data breach was one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being compromised. In the last couple of weeks, SuperValu said that at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of it UPS Store locations had been hit.

We wrote about this last week because Windows was not being named, despite it being a critical part of this scenario. Instead, there was deflection to FOSS. It helped distract from Windows, which is insecure by design. It is an architectural problem because since 15 years ago, by some estimates, Windows has been a back doors carrier (for the NSA). Here is one British writer complaining about the approach Microsoft takes to composition as well:

In August last year, one-time-sysadmin and now SciFi author Charles Stross declared Microsoft Word ”a tyrant of the imagination” and bemoaned its use in the publishing world.

“Major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems,” he wrote. “And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable.”

To make matters worse, it facilitates surveillance and sabotage, as more stories from last years served to show (Snowden Files at the Guardian for instance). For security reasons Germany and Russia have moved back to typewriters; we can assume they were using Office and Windows beforehand.

Trust the spinners of Microsoft to create and disseminate some “Heartbleed” FUD, an OpenSSL bug that Microsoft likes to hype up and use to generalise so as to create an illusion that FOSS is inherently less secure. This has become Microsoft’s main propaganda against FOSS, based on just one single bug. The FUD started on the day that XP support (patches) came to an end; this timing is unlikely to be a coincidence for reasons we outlined before.

Jason Thompson writes an offensive piece titled “After Heartbleed, Is Open Source More Trouble Than It’s Worth?”

It starts with the following important disclosure:

Jason Thompson, formerly of Q1 Labs, is the vice president of worldwide marketing at SSH Communications Security.

Marketing for proprietary software (for Windows)? This is the type of thing we saw last week when issues in proprietary VPN software were unfairly blamed on OpenSSL. As we pointed out last week, there is also an attack on Android security (usually rogue apps at to blame) and then there is the recent security FUD against Android from former employees of Microsoft. Mind this new article which highlights Microsoft’s hypocrisy:

The Biggest Problem with the Windows Store: Scams Everywhere

Windows 8′s “Windows Store” is a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s a disaster. It’s full of scam apps, designed to trick you into buying an app you don’t need.

Our friends over at the How-To Geek recently wrote a great piece about the biggest problem with the Windows Store, and how Microsoft has apparently done nothing to address it (despite claiming they would over a year ago). For example, here’s what happens if you search for VLC, a popular free video player

Microsoft is creating some new FUD against Google at the moment and Google has responded as follows:

In Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed that more than seven hundred and eighty five customers have switched to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365 from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Apps. Microsoft didn’t give any proofs for this claim, but shown a slide having the names of the pronounced customers who made the switch. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) immediately started investigating this claim and has recently come up with a response. According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), 5,000+ companies sign up for Google Apps on a daily basis and thousands of these companies switch from Microsoft. In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes mentioned Google’s response and said that it was already expected that Google will come up with a befitting response on Microsoft’s claims.

Microsoft is a malicious, criminal company. Its ability to manipulate the press into writing negative stories about the competition is quite flabbergasting. Microsoft’s key strategy right now is badmouthing the competition. AstroTurf and press manipulation is how that's done, as we showed in the previous post.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts