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04.25.14

Firm of Microsoft’s ‘Former’ Manager Explains Its Marketing of a Bug That Created Unreasonable Scare and FUD Against Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “We’ve obviously got a lot more name recognition than we did before,” explains the firm of Mr. Schmidt

BRITIAN’S The ‘Guardian’ has a new article which finally asks the right question: “why did a computer bug have a name and a logo?”

We already know, based on a post-mortem and a timeline, that the firm behind the branding had nothing to do with originally finding the bug. It just exploited and capitalised on it to spread FUD against Free software, never really noting the Microsoft connection and the mysterious timing. It was a huge marketing campaign of some kind. Months ago we wrote about some openssl flaws, but none made the press as much as this whole “Heartbleed” thing, which many journalists are finally saying was overblown. We are generally trying not to waste time by promoting distracting articles about this bug which had already been patched (by all major GNU/Linux distributors) before it was made public knowledge.

Watch what the opportunists at Codenomicon are saying (the CEO): “I really believe that the name and the logo and the website helped fuel the community interest in this” (and spread lots of security FUD against GNU/Linux on the very same date that Window XP support ended).

Down at the bottom the article states: “It’s not all altruism. Chartier foresees a boost in Codenomicon’s prospects in the future. “We’ve obviously got a lot more name recognition than we did before,” he says.”

So as we said before, this was self-promotion for a firm that works with Microsoft and has Microsoft connections. It is also timely FUD for Microsoft and its media moles to capitalise on, as they demonstrably did.

04.18.14

Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looking through the tube

Summary: Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)

A LOT has been said about Heartbleed® since the firm of Microsoft's 'former' security chief (who had worked with the FBI, the NSA’s more evil twin) irresponsibly 'leaked' the flaw, and did so at the very same moment that Windows XP users rushed to GNU/Linux for security reasons. I know of such users (even corporations I deal with) and I saw their reaction to this unforeseen ‘leak’. Funny timing.

In this post we outline some key facts (carefully and patiently studied over the past 10 days). As my doctoral degree is not far from cryptography and I have consulted people who do security for a living, I can assure readers that we do grasp the technical details, unlike many so-called ‘journalists’ with degrees in English or history. We are not going to delve into less plausible theories like a connection between the flaw and the NSA although there are circumstantial connections, an NSA program specifically designated to this (NSA operation ORCHESTRA), and we already know that Red Hat relays non-SELinux code directly from the NSA to Torvalds, as we covered earlier this year (meaning that only a developer in the middle knows where the code originally came from). In this particular post we are going to focus on other important points that ought to be made now that Heartbleed® is mostly out of the headlines and little new information will come out during Easter. This post is based on assessment of about 100 reports and subsequent research lasting many hours.

A little and slightly old tidbit shared with us by iophk (a network security professional) said that even the NSA and its circles are negatively affected by Heartbleed®. This article states: “”I am waiting for a patch,” said Jeff Moss, a security adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and founder of the Def Con hacking conference.”

There are reasons to believe that the NSA was not aware of this flaw or had not exploited it. For instance, the government’s demands from Lavabit may suggest that OpenSSL back doors were not known at that time (2013). Also, reading all about the personal background of the man behind the bug, it’s nearly impossible to find any connection to the NSA and its ilk. The guy is German, but another German Danish developer (Poul-Henning Kamp, a FreeBSD and Varnish developer) spoke only some months ago about a US program of introducing bugs into FOSS (see “NSA operation ORCHESTRA” above).

iophk responds to the article about firewalls woes by asking: “Why the hell is he not running one based on Linux or BSD? Something’s not right. Proprietary “solutions” have no place in infrastructure for just these kinds of reasons.”

Well, with Windows, for example, the NSA perhaps assumes a monopoly on back doors. It’s a form of total control.

The BSD community, which is also behind OpenSSH, has begun doing some commendable things [1,2] short of throwing away OpenSSL [3]. There is a new release of GnuTLS [4], for example, but we cannot be 100% certain that GnuTLS is immune to “bug doors”, as Julian Assange recently called them. “GnuTLS was immune to the OpenSSL bug,” writes iophk, “but in regards to the latter was ‘responsible disclosure’ followed? I got the feeling that it wasn’t and that the web site was set up and publicized before even the OpenSSL team was informed. Where can I find a detailed timeline of events?”

Well, a deceiving timeline was later published by the Australian press. Security gurus have widely chastised this form of ‘responsible’ disclosure of Heartbleed®; even the project site of OpenSSL hadn’t been patched before the disclosure. The same goes for the FBI, which again helps validate claims that the government was not fully aware of the issue.

OpenSSL was having limited resources and some articles covered it [5-7]. Regardless, it’s now claimed NSA knew about the bug for 2 years and we should always remember that Microsoft’s Howard Schmidt was connected to FBI before his firm published Heartbleed® for fame, fun, and profit. It’s not just Microsoft that makes his motives a tad suspicious. The whole Heartbleed® thing “has a very media friendly name and a cute logo,” as a British FOSS professional put it. It’s like a branding exercise. Also see this post titled “What Heartbleed Can Teach The OSS Community About Marketing”. “Ties in a bit with what you’ve posted,” iophk told me after I had noted the marketing angle.

As a recap, Heartbleed® was pretty much branded and released like a product by a firm headed by a Microsoft (and FBI) veteran. This firm also works with Microsoft, so the disclosure on Windows XP’s EOL date is too hard to ignore, If this was already known about by the NSA for years, then one may wonder if the disclosure came through whispers rather than research. Glyn Moody was told by Wikileaks (Twitter account seemingly run only by Julian Assange) that “Assange spoke about vulnerability of OS’s to bribes and bugdoors in upstream components.”

Howard Schmidt (chairman of board of company that marketed Heartbleed®) worked with the FBI and another NSA partner/PRISM pioneer (Microsoft). If the NSA knew about the bug, then one wonders what role Schmidt may have played. The last thing that the NSA wants is people (especially outside the US) adopting Free software and GNU/Linux because Microsoft is where back doors are; by design, not by accident. Heartbleed® was reportedly known to the NSA for years (every article that claims this cites Bloomberg, which is notable corporate press and usually a bit dubious when it comes to agenda). If true, this was the type of bug that Edward Snowden’s leaks had alluded to (bug doors, not back doors). Schmidt et al. might be trying to exploit it for FUD and profit, by opportunistically divulging it as soon as mass migration to GNU/Linux in enterprises and homes begins. A decade ago it seemed like a back door had been put inside Linux by the NSA, but the developers caught the intrusion and removed it. There were numerous reports last year saying that the NSA had approached Torvalds, asking him for back doors in Linux, so what Seggelmann did in OpenSSL should not be treated too lightly. The time of the committal is a little suspicious [8] (people away from home to celebrate New Year) and the reputation of OpenSSL is now thoroughly destroyed, which will help its competitors (including proprietary) [9]. There is now a lot of FUD out there about FOSS (the only one we’re willing to cite is [10] because it’s not too malicious), sometimes coming from the mouths of Microsoft boosters or challenging Torvalds’ famous “law” [11,12]. I even get taunted over this in Twitter. The old FUD is back, never mind Coverity’s latest report which again contradicts such FUD.

Mind the article “Heartbleed security flaw may not be as dangerous as thought” [13], which sheds some light on who’s able to exploit and who’s not able to exploit Heartbleed® given the resource limitations (the thing about crackers of the NSA and GCHQ is that they have supercomputers to have a crack at it, and the same is probably true when it comes to the FBI, which is in many ways worse and more aggressive than the NSA; the FBI infiltrates Windows with CIPAV). If the widely-cited reports are true and the NSA knew Heartbleed® (and used it for two years) [14-17], then it’s a massive revelation (the NSA denies this, but denials from the NSA are worthless given its track record when it comes to truth-telling).

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the story is, the NSA may have discovered Heartbleed® years ago (if not made it, which sounds unlikely [18]) and the firm of Microsoft’s ‘former’ security chief is making a profit from this [19] (the Heartbleed® bounty is partly paid by Microsoft and the partly Microsoft-owned Facebook). A bunch of opportunists got paid for irresponsible disclosure that damaged the Internet [20,21] and harmed many people’s privacy (potentially leading to some people’s deaths).

The GNU/Linux brand is profoundly damaged by this (many GNU/Linux sites mentioned it [22-24]) even though the bug also affects Windows and Apple operating systems. To us it will always seem like marketing campaign coordinated to take place at a strategic date (Windows XP EOL).

Has Microsoft’s Howard Schmidt decided to ‘leak’ it to distract from XP EOL (which means insecurity by policy)? Perhaps. Schmidt had worked with the FBI, so he could have some inside knowledge. He might have former colleagues who could tell him about this (even leak it to him) before he would hype it up, give it a scary name, make a dot com web site, a logo, et cetera, essentially ‘merchandising’ the FUD.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL
  2. OpenBSD has started a massive strip-down and cleanup of OpenSSL
  3. Please Put OpenSSL Out of Its Misery
  4. GNUtls: GnuTLS 3.3.0
  5. How to stop the next Heartbleed bug: pay open-source coders to protect us
  6. Will Open-Source Money Prevent the Next Heartbleed?
  7. 3 big lessons to learn from Heartbleed

    The devastating OpenSSL vulnerability proves the importance of data center orchestration, the wisdom of running older versions, and the need to give back to the OpenSSL project

  8. Heartbleed: developer who introduced the error regrets ‘oversight’

    Submitted just seconds before new year in 2012, the bug ‘slipped through’ – but discovery ‘validates’ open source

  9. After Heartbleed: 4 OpenSSL alternatives that work
  10. Heartbleed: Open source’s worst hour”>Heartbleed: Open source’s worst hour
  11. Does the Heartbleed bug refute Linus’s Law?

    The mistake being made here is a classic example of Frederic Bastiat’s “things seen versus things unseen”. Critics of Linus’s Law overweight the bug they can see and underweight the high probability that equivalently positioned closed-source security flaws they can’t see are actually far worse, just so far undiscovered.

  12. Heartbleed: Is Linus Torvald’s law invalid?

    How much data was compromised? How many billions lost? None that we know of. How much does the world loses every year because of Microsoft’s proprietary technologies? Billions of dollars are lost; nations’ securities are compromised and people lives are exposed to risks.

    A majority of NSA attacks won’t be possible without bugs in Microsoft products which the company reportedly shares with the agency so that it can be exploited to hack into computers that NSA can spy on. Microsoft bugs allowed USA to take down nuclear programs of countries like Iran, Microsoft bugs enabled NSA to spy on French president. Microsoft bugs allowed ‘alleged’ Chinese crackers to run a massive scale espionage against human rights activists in the US. In addition there are unaccounted thousands of cases every year where people and businesses lose millions due to security holes in Microsoft products.

  13. Heartbleed security flaw may not be as dangerous as thought

    But today, the content distribution network CloudFlare has announced Heartbleed may not allow access to those private keys after all. In two weeks of testing, the company has been unable to successfully access private keys with Heartbleed, suggesting the attack may not be possible at all. “If it is possible, it is at a minimum very hard,” researcher Nick Sullivan writes. “And we have reason to believe… that it may in fact be impossible.” If true, it makes Heartbleed much less dangerous than many had feared, offering a saving grace for compromised sites. Sullivan acknowledged that, in security tests, some private keys had been revealed by first requests to Apache servers, but he linked this to the process of restarting the server, which would severely limit the exposure to outside actors. Methods have also surfaced to help services tell if attackers have hit their servers using the bug. “Heartbleed still is extremely dangerous,” says CEO Matthew Prince, “but some of the worst fears about it having been used by organizations like the NSA to hoover up everyone’s private SSL keys look pretty unlikely to us based on this testing.”

  14. NSA has been exploiting Heartbleed for two years, leaving Americans exposed to cyber criminals: report [updated]

    As people were wondering NSA’s role in Heartbleed, it turned out that the agency was reportedly aware of the bug, as Bloomberg reports, for the last two years and has been exploiting it to spy on people. If the reports are true and NSA was aware of the bug and instead of getting it fixed it let extremely critical info of US citizens exposed to cyber criminals then NSA does need more oversight from the government.

    Heartbleed was not some minor bug, it affected almost every major web-service including Gmail, Amazon, Yahoo! and many more – holding the potential of exposing sensitive data to criminals. However, as soon as the bug was discovered the Open Source community immediately responded, patched the bug and start pushing the updates.

    While the Americans and the people from around the globe were exposed to cybercriminals, NSA was supposedly busy harvesting passwords and other critical to add it to already massive database.

    Bloomberg quotes Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer, “It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first. They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.”

  15. NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years
  16. Bloomberg: NSA Knew About, Exploited Open Source Heartbleed Bug for Years
  17. The NSA has exploited Heartbleed bug for years, Bloomberg reports
  18. Heartbleed coder admits ‘oversight’ but backs open source

    Seggelmann submitted the code at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve 2011, but claims the timing had nothing to do with the mistake. Although the bug was also missed by the review process for OpenSSL, an open source project written and reviewed by volunteers, Seggelmann told British newspaper The Guardian that the bug’s eventual discovery shows the value of publically available open source code.

  19. Why a hacker got paid for finding the Heartbleed bug

    Microsoft and Facebook have also provided financial backing to Internet Bug Bounty, out of which Mehta’s prize money came, after running their own internal bug bounties that were very successful. Their money is benefiting the internet as a whole, but they don’t decide what money goes where.

  20. The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed
  21. Heartbleed developer explains OpenSSL mistake that put Web at risk
  22. SteamOS Affected by Heartbleed Bug, Valve Hasn’t Updated the OS Yet
  23. Linux Foundation Responds to the Heartbleed Bug

    It’s nearly impossible to know for sure, due to the nature of the vulnerability, how much the Heartbleed vulnerability was used to snoop on secure data. We recommend for our sites the same as for other sites: first, watch for a statement to come out from your financial institutions, email providers, and others, which shares whether they were affected. Start changing your passwords. Use different passwords on different sites and store them in a password safe like KeePass, LastPass or 1Password. That way, if any sites that remain vulnerable leak your password, it won’t affect any other sites. Check back on sites that post statements after you changed the password, and then change the passwords again if needed.

  24. Working Out “Serious Security Flaws” In DRM Drivers

    While many are still busy working through fallout of the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug within organizations, on a separate but security related note, kernel developers specializing in the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) graphics drivers are working to beef up their own driver security.

Microsoft is Leaving Windows — Including Vista 8.1 — Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Install the latest back doors or be left vulnerable to crackers other than the NSA

Back doors

Summary: Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire

MICROSOFT WILL never brag about it to the public (only to the government), but Windows, including Vista 8, contains back doors for the NSA. While FOSS developers work hard to ensure security of their programs, with Microsoft any such concerns are irrelevant because security is not even a goal.

It was rather amusing to see this report which says “Microsoft TechNet blog makes clear that Windows 8.1 will not be patched; users must get Windows 8.1 Update if they want security patches” (the report is titled “Microsoft confirms it’s dropping Windows 8.1 support” and it was published by the Microsoft-affiliated IDG).

But wait, it gets worse than abandonment of users and NSA back doors. According to this: “If you still have XP and use Microsoft Security Essentials you will have problems today.. You will get errors relating to MsMpEng.exe when trying to go into windows and windows will slow down to a crawl mimicking a virus.. You need to boot into safe mode and disable the Microsoft Antimalware Service in your services then boot into your normal profile and uninstall the program.”

“Microsoft makes shutdown of their meaningless “security” application cripple XP,” wrote Will Hill. “I’m surprised that I have not gotten any calls about this. Oh yeah, no one is at work yet. I don’t think the treatment planning computers use this, but I’m going to sent a heads up.”

So Microsoft goes further in making Windows XP users less secure from non-government crackers. Wonderful!

04.08.14

No Need For ‘Disclosure’ of Security Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Software as Microsoft Helps NSA Crack Microsoft Software and Freely Access Data/PCs

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft software has back doors by design

Back doors

Summary: A sense of perspective in the debate over security, especially now that Windows XP is left open to crackers (other than the NSA) and Microsoft is known to be ratting on so-called ‘customers’

LAST year it was confirmed that Microsoft had been telling the NSA how to crack its software before this software could even be patched. In other words, Microsoft gave back doors to the NSA. Microsoft gave a bunch of government-sanctioned crackers monopoly or preferential access to the data and computers of Microsoft’s so-called ‘customers’. Microsoft went further than this by providing the NSA with direct access to data of so-called ‘customers’ who put their data on Microsoft servers or used Microsoft networks such as Skype or Hotmail for communication.

“Microsoft gave a bunch of government-sanctioned crackers monopoly or preferential access to the data and computers of Microsoft’s so-called ‘customers’.”Microsoft hardly behaves like a software company. Microsoft is an informant. As one article put it some days ago: “The Snowden documents also revealed that Microsoft allegedly helped the NSA intercept web chats on its new Outlook.com portal.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s stuff such as this which CIOs and CTOs must remember when moving away from Windows and from Microsoft (altogether).

Now that we know there’s 'former' Microsoft staff behind the new Heartbleed® publicity blitz (maybe the latest of or an extension of the security smears against GNU/Linux, which basically accompany that end of Windows XP patches) we should remember what the alternative to GNU/Linux (and BSD) is. The main alternative is PRISM club — a club which conspires with the NSA against computer users.

Trending in Twitter right now is the hashtag “openssl” and the reason for this is Heartbleed®, which was released strategically on this date by a company managed by Microsoft’s ‘former’ security chief. It is a sure way to distract from GNU/Linux as the solution for security woes (associated with Windows XP). Instead of talking about how and why GNU/Linux is great for people to move to after Windows XP (for security reasons) people now talk about security vulnerabilities in GNU/Linux.

Another company which was founded by a ‘former’ Microsoft manager (Black Duck) is now promoting Fog Computing (surveillance-friendly computing in ‘clouds’) under the guise of “Future of Open Source”. How typical.

What needs to be done right now is activity. We must not be passive in the face of what seems like a smear campaign and publicity stunt, well timed and well managed by allies of Microsoft. We need to remind people that Microsoft is by far the worst thing that can happen to security because Microsoft not only has security holes but it also has security lapses by design. These security lapses were designed to facilitate illegal mass surveillance by entities that pay Microsoft in bribes and favours (as emerged in the press last year). This is not exclusive to the US. We saw stories about this even in Russia. “The discussion is getting really mainstream,” iophk writes about this.

Former Chief Security Officer for Microsoft the Chairman of the Board of Firm Behind Heartbleed®

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dagger in the heart of OpenSSL

Heart Bleed

Summary: A serious conflict of interests that nobody in the media is talking about; Codenomicon is headed by Microsoft’s Howard A. Schmidt

SOMETHING fishy was in the news today (since early this morning), including articles from GNU/Linux-oriented journalists [1] and blogs [2], some of which pointed out that a vulnerability discovered and published irresponsibly by the firm headed by Microsoft’s former Chief Security Officer (we wrote about his actions before) are already “patched by all Linux distros”.

Now, looking at the site set up by his firm, you might not know this. It lists the names of many GNU/Linux distributions along with a nasty picture (the one above). This coordinated release (disclosure) of a vulnerability on the last day of Windows XP security patches (they are through unless one pays Microsoft a lot of money) is rather suspicious to us. It came with a trademark-like name, a dot-com Web site (yes .com), and soon we are guaranteed to see lots of FUD saying that GNU/Linux is not secure. We already know that the vulnerabilities industry is well inside Microsoft’s board and at highest level (look at John Thompson from Symantec; he is now Microsoft’s new chairman).

We don’t need to wait for the Microsoft press or a whisper campaign to use Heartbleed® to tell people (again) that Free software, Linux and GNU are very “bad” and are a danger for the Web (some suspect that this bug is the result of NSA intervention in code development — a subject we’ll tackle another day for sure).

“This is a man whose high-paying job required that he beats GNU/Linux at security.”Jacon Appelbaum (of Tor) says that this release was coordinated (with a date and everything) but not responsible at all because even the OpenSSL site, the FBI’s official site (whom Howard Schmidt worked with) and many more remain vulnerable. It should be noted that the flaw has existed for two years, so the timing of this disclosure is interesting. Not too long ago we showed what seemed like Microsoft's role in a campaign to paint GNU/Linux insecure and dangerous becuase of Windows XP's EOL. It was a baseless campaign of FUD, media manipulation, and distortion of facts, ignoring, as always, the elephant in the room (Windows).

For those who treat it like some innocent development at a random time in the news, remember that Howard A. Schmidt, the Chairman of the Board of Codenomicon, was the Chief Security Officer for Microsoft. He joined Codenomicon a year and a half ago. This is irresponsible disclosure and journalists who ignore the conflict of interests (namely Schmidt being the head after serving Microsoft) are equally irresponsible (for irresponsible journalism). They may unwittingly be playing a role in a “Scroogled”-like campaign.

Just go to Codenomicon’s Web site and find it described in large fonts as “A Member of the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) Pro Network” (in many pages). There are lots of pages like this one about involvement in Microsoft SDL.

So to summarise, what does Microsoft have to do with Heartbleed? We probably need to ask Howard Schmidt. This is a man whose high-paying job required that he beats GNU/Linux at security.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Heartbleed: Serious OpenSSL zero day vulnerability revealed
  2. openssl heartbleed updates for Fedora 19 and 20
  3. Heartbleed, a serious OpenSSL bug; patched by all Linux distros

    A new vulnerability was announced in OpenSSL 1.0.1 that allows an attacker to reveal up to 64kB of memory to a connected client or server (CVE-2014-0160) which may consist of our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication. According to OpenSSL Security Advisory report Neel Mehta from Google Security has discovered this bug.

04.06.14

With Incompetence or Back Doors Like These, Who Needs Microsoft/NSA Back Doors?

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Controller

Summary: It’s not a joke; empty password lets you into a proprietary system designed by Microsoft

I HONESTLY had to check the date of this article [via] from the BBC, ensuring it’s not from April 1st. It says that a five-year-old boy “discovered that if he simply pressed the space bar to fill up the password field, the system would let him in to his dad’s account.”

What system? The system which NSA uses to read people's conversations. It’s a Microsoft system known as Xbox. Yes, you can’t make this stuff up! MinceR called it “Microsoft® Security™” after DaemonFC had posted the link in IRC.

Richard Stallman likes to tell the story of how, way back in the hacker days of MIT, he and others would develop systems to accept blank passwords in order to get around artificial limitations imposed by management on users. Microsoft appears to be taking it further than Stallman did, even decades later.

What’s infuriating about this type of neglect/deliberate back doors is that the more insecure Microsoft systems become, the more money Microsoft makes (read the article “Not dead yet: Dutch, British governments [i.e. taxpayers] pay to keep Windows XP alive”). We wrote about this not too long ago.

04.02.14

Red Hat Should Keep Its Distance From NSA Facilitator Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat, Security, Windows at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dragonfly

Summary: Criticism of Red Hat’s increasing proximity to some of the very same bits of proprietary software which are accompanied by back doors (for the NSA)

THE DANGERS of Microsoft are very real, as a former foe of Microsoft, Novell, helped prove. Five years ago Red Hat consented to playing an active part in Microsoft VM hosts, despite knowing (even back then) about Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA, which meant that VMs running RHEL would be accessible (to the NSA) from the back door, Microsoft Windows.

There are many back doors in Windows and therefore in Hyper-V, which sits on top of Windows (back doors further down the stack). Microsoft tells the NSA about these back doors. To give the latest example of back doors, see this new report [2] which says: “Nearly 30 days after reports of a zero-day flaw being exploited in the wild, Microsoft will finally patch this critical vulnerability.”

Relying on Microsoft for technology means that one should also expect and accept back doors. A reader showed us this new article, claiming that “Mono [is] infecting Android,” but it’s not just Android. Even Red Hat is now making such mistakes, in addition to hiring from Microsoft for management of virtualisation. Based on [2,3], Red Hat now accommodates Microsoft .NET applications, despite them being proprietary and potential back doors. A week or so ago some speculated that Microsoft might buy Red Hat (one day) [4,5] and yesterday we found the article “Why Microsoft Will Pick Off Red Hat” (logic of investors, not technical people).

Microsoft is now knowingly abandoning hundreds of millions of Windows users, leaving them with permanent back doors [6,7], so why should Red Hat trust Microsoft .NET applications or anything that comes from Microsoft, including Hyper-V? Articles like [8-10] remind us that in GNU/Linux the main flaw is human error (not changing default passwords or not applying patches, which Red Hat is making easier to apply without any downtime [11]).

The bottom line is, Red Hat’s relationship with the NSA withstanding, it oughtn’t connect too much to Microsoft components like .NET and Hyper-V because these constitute back doors that jeopardise security of GNU/Linux users.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft to Fix an Internet Explorer Zero-Day Flaw
  2. Red Hat Adds Microsoft .NET to Its OpenShift PaaS
  3. A Red Hat stunner: ‘Miccosoft .NET apps on OpenShift’ Yes, you read correctly

    On Wednesday, Working with Uhuru Software, Red Hat is now incorporate a rival Microsoft product – .NET – to its three-year-old OpenShift platform-as-a-service. Really? Red Hat even published a blog to explain what’s going on to those who might find the concept a bit unbelievable.

    Chris Morgan, the OpenShift Partner Ecosystem Technical Director for Red Hat, wrote the blog – and even he acknowledged the incredulity of it all that something from Microsoft, which for years has been an enemy of Red Hat, Linux and Open Source, would be incorporated into OpenShift.

  4. An Indecent Proposal: Microsoft and Red Hat?
  5. Reviews, Indecent Proposal, and Ubuntu Graduation

    Today brings two new reviews. Jesse Smith reviews Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 in today’s Distrowatch Weekly and Jamie Watson posts his latest hands-on. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says folks don’t care about operating systems anymore. Matt Hartley has a few suggestions for those ready to graduate from Ubuntu. All this and more in tonight’s Linux news review.

    Jesse Smith tested the latest LMDE in this week’s Distrowatch Weekly. He found a few bugs but Smith says it “lives up to its description” of having “rough edges.” With all its “nasty surprises” Smith suggests folks just stick with the Ubuntu-based version of Mint. But see his full review for all the details.

  6. Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP

    A decade ago, Microsoft kicked off SDL, or Security Development Lifecycle, a now-widely-adopted process designed to bake security into software, and began building what has become an unmatched reputation in how a vendor writes more secure code, keeps customers informed about security issues, and backs that up with regular patches.

  7. Positive Feedback: M$ Uses XP To Publish The Insecurity Of Using That Other OS
  8. Flaws In People And Their Software
  9. Red Hat Risk Reflex (The Linux Security Flaw That Isn’t)

    News headlines screaming that yet another Microsoft Windows vulnerability has been discovered, is in the wild or has just been patched are two a penny. Such has it ever been. News headlines declaring that a ‘major security problem’ has been found with Linux are a different kettle of fish. So when reports of an attack that could circumvent verification of X.509 security certificates, and by so doing bypass both secure sockets layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) website protection, people sat up and took notice. Warnings have appeared that recount how the vulnerability can impact upon Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu distributions. Red Hat itself issued an advisory warning that “GnuTLS did not correctly handle certain errors that could occur during the verification of an X.509 certificate, causing it to incorrectly report a successful verification… An attacker could use this flaw to create a specially crafted certificate that could be accepted by GnuTLS as valid.” In all, at least 200 operating systems actually use GnuTLS when it comes to implementing SSL and TLS and the knock-on effect could mean that web applications and email alike are vulnerable to attack. And it’s all Linux’s fault. Or is it?

  10. Linux Bugs, Bugs Everywhere

    “We are seeing a lot of crypto bugs surfacing lately because these libraries are suddenly getting a lot of review thanks to Snowden’s revelations,” suggested blogger Chris Traver. “I think one has to separate the crypto bugs from others because they are occurring in a different context. “From what I have read about gnutls, though, it seems to me that this is probably the tip of the iceberg.”

  11. Introducing kpatch: Dynamic Kernel Patching

    In upstream development news, the kernel team here at Red Hat has been working on a dynamic kernel patching project called kpatch for several months. At long last, the project has reached a point where we feel it’s ready for a wider audience and are very excited to announce that we’ve released the kpatch code under GPLv2.

03.21.14

Symantec and (In)’Security’ Firms Still Kings of GNU/Linux FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Articles about GNU/Linux and “malware” are more like misinformation that the press is awash with this week

AFTER some exaggerated panic over GnuTLS we hear a lot of noise about some Windows malware that’s claimed to be coming from UNIX and GNU/Linux servers. One ‘minor’ fact that the likes of Symantec (Symantec and others) always fail to point out is that lazy/negligent people (worse than human error) are to blame, not GNU/Linux.

SJVN wrote this good response (“Linux and botnets: It’s not Linux’s fault!”) which points out: “With Darlloz, which tends to attack devices such as small office/home office (SOHO) Internet routers, it’s one way of infection is to try 13 combinations of the default user names and passwords on a device. If the gadget’s owner has done the bare minimal of security: Change the blasted default user ID and/or password, they can’t be infected. That’s it!”

Don’t relay baseless reports which leave out the real security problem, which is Windows, the operating system with back doors (by design).

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