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03.22.15

Michael Silver Back to Acting as Gartner’s Microsoft Agent, Promoting Vista 10 Based on False Promises

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marketing time!

Michael Silver

Summary: Vista 10 in the headlines as its marketing propaganda zones in on false perceptions around cost, aided in part by longtime foes of GNU/Linux such as Gartner, especially its Microsoft-embedded elements (Michael Silver and co-workers)

8 YEARS ago Gartner publicly predicted that Vista would be a smashing success. It was a lie (not really a prediction), albeit a promotional lie because the Gartner Group is Bill Gates- and Microsoft-connected (they fund Gartner). It only ever pretends to be an independent analysts firm. PR is a more suitable label. We have had particular interest in Michael Silver because he and his cronies worked on blocking the competition, such as GNU/Linux, in large European cities. They also pressured companies to embrace Vista 7 (Silver did that himself) and OOXML lock-in. Silver is a liar with a career. Somehow he is still around, despite bad ‘predictions’ (sales pitch).

The latest propaganda from Michael Silver can be found in IDG where it is claimed that Windows will be free (we debunked this utter nonsense earlier this year). Silver is once again acting not like an analyst but like a salesperson of Windows, giving the impression of cost parity between Windows and GNU/Linux (this time without the “TCO” buzzword). This pattern ought to end and people should call him out on it.

“Silver is once again acting not like an analyst but like a salesperson of Windows, giving the impression of cost parity between Windows and GNU/Linux (this time without the “TCO” buzzword).”Only a couple of weeks ago Gartner also amplified popular FUD against Android. Those who claimed that Apple was gaining at Android’s expense were playing a nasty game that warps statistics because to only make a comparison when there’s a major new release of iPhone is highly misleading (even narrowing down to one quarter despite the infrequent releases of new iPhone models). Gartner played a special role in this FUD, badmouthing Android not for the first time (we covered similar examples before). Two weeks ago we also saw a Microsoft-linked site letting an admitted Apple shareholder bash Android with this misleading propaganda. What we see here is an information war and Gartner plays a big role in it.

What bothers us the most is that people from Gartner, Michael Silver in particular, are willing to just lie in order to sell an operating system that is blocking the competition (GNU/Linux) at UEFI level. See the latest in the saga.

Responding to what Vista 10 means to GNU/Linux, Sam Varghese writes that “Microsoft will leave the option of including a switch to turn off secure boot in computers that are loaded with Windows 10 up to the manufacturer, leaving open the possibility of locking out users of alternate operating systems.”

Paul Hill says that “Microsoft tries to block Linux” and starts by stating: “Remember the most talked about story of 2014? It was Microsoft loves Linux. It looks like Microsoft’s love for Linux is more like Mark Wahlberg’s love for Reese Witherspoon as we saw in the movie Fear.”

Hill reminds us that “Red Hat had to pay [Microsoft] for the privilege of getting Fedora signed.”

The world needs Vista 10 like dogs need rabies and if we allow liars from Gartner to mislead the public about Vista 10, then the Free software-destined future will remain further away. Windows is not free at all, it’s just a marketing charade and corporate media is happy to give it a hand. Why do journalists from IDG give the liars a platform without a challenge (let alone fact-checking)? Is it enough to put the “Gartner” label on a lie to make it seem credible?

Despite Media Propaganda About Security, Microsoft Windows Remains the Least Secure Operating System, by Design

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Summary: Amid highly misleading security-centric reports that rely on Microsoft’s bogus number of vulnerabilities (Microsoft already admitted hiding many of them) Techrights presents recent news about Windows ‘security’

WINDOWS is not a secure operating system. It’s not intended to be, either (Microsoft's actions show that security is not the goal). One cannot ever patch NSA back doors safely. When these are patched, it’s already too late and newer back doors remain in tact or are being added. Trusting Microsoft to secure Windows is misunderstanding the goal of Windows (‘privileged’ access) and as Stuxnet serves to remind us, the real owners of Windows are spy agencies, not people who use Windows (renting it from Microsoft in exchange for payments). See this new report titled “Stuxnet Redux: Microsoft patches Windows vuln left open for FIVE YEARS”. It says that “[w]hile most of the attention this Patch Tuesday has been focused on the FREAK encryption vulnerability, Microsoft’s latest batch of fixes also addresses another longstanding threat to Windows: Stuxnet.” So they hadn’t fixed it for so long and finally decided to do something about it? Knowing that espionage agencies were exploiting holes and taking control of PCs that have Windows installed? Wake up and smell the coffee. These actions speak volumes.

Adding insult to injury, last week we learned that “Microsoft RE-BORK[ED] Windows 7 patch after reboot loop horror”. To quote the report itself: “Reports are emerging that a twice-issued Microsoft Windows 7 patch is still causing pain for users, with some claiming the fix is triggering continuous reboots.

“The patch was first issued as KB2949927 and withdrawn in October due to system faults, before being re-released this week as KB3033929.”

So our conclusion is that even when Microsoft offers so-called ‘patches’ or ‘security’ there are negative consequences which are too risky to accept. For more information see this article titled “Problems reported with Microsoft patch KB 3002657, warning issued on KB 3046049″. A lot of people are still using Windows XP, which receives no patches at all. Some genius, eh?

Some Web sites are now claiming that the NSA and fellow espionage operations have been largely responsible for the SSL hole someone dubbed “FREAK”. Of course, despite media spin and a clear Microsoft role (perhaps inside knowledge becoming public), the flaw affects Windows as well (all versions) and Microsoft failed to properly address the problem when it was already known (advertised as public knowledge). “The response of Microsoft and cloud companies to the Freak vulnerability has been far too slow say commentators,” according to one British news site/magazine which focused on security. CBS covered this only after it had been wrongly spun as a Linux and Apple issue. “Microsoft was late with the announcement so that the press could focus on Android and iOS and make it look like their problem,” said iophk. Microsoft took many weeks to do anything, which gave enough time for passwords to be intercepted and for entire networks to be compromised. So again we are being reminded that Microsoft just doesn’t take security seriously. While some reports try to frame Windows as most secure because Microsoft hides many flaws and games the numbers to make the competition look bad, anyone with experience in this area ought to see that Microsoft’s encryption was always bogus, and very much by design! Here is another brand-new example of Microsoft ‘security’ in action: “Microsoft is scrambling to block a fraudulent HTTPS certificate that was issued for one of the company’s Windows Live Web addresses lest it be used by attackers to mount convincing man-in-the-middle attacks.”

Soon enough, based on some observers, Microsoft Windows-running “PC will become slower as it will serve the updates to another client.”

It is a peer-to-peer approach that externalises cost and liability. Is Microsoft really trusting this to work better given the above reports about man-in-the-middle attacks and fraudulent HTTPS certificates? Platforms with back doors cannot ever be relied on for serving security to other systems. It’s a collective compromise. Botmasters will love it!

Our last piece of relevant news deals with Pwn2Own. The headline says that “security [is] still a myth on Windows PCs” [via] and that it took just one day to crack Windows. To quote: “Day one of the 2015 Pwn2Own hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada, saw big wins for contestants and headaches for software makers: competing teams successfully exploited fresh vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Reader, Microsoft’s Windows and Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox, to hijack PCs.”

Was it Firefox on Windows as so often is the case? Not even Tor is secure on Windows.

02.01.15

Marketing Illusions Shattered: Vista 10 is Not ‘Free’ and Not Even a ‘Free’ Upgrade

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is no free lunch at Microsoft

Gas prices

Summary: The truth about Microsoft’s pricing strategy is revealed almost a fortnight after Microsoft lied about it for the sake of diversionary publicity

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft was overwhelmed by bad news, so it launched a propaganda campaign to help distract from it all. It was probably an expensive campaign of lies and it relied on the obedience of journalists, maybe even bribing of some (yes, Microsoft bribes journalists and bloggers, as we have shown many times before).

“As Pogson correctly points out, this is about making more “slaves” who are dependent on Windows and then pressuring business to follow suit.”In our responses to the propaganda campaign we tackled the delusion of ‘free’ Windows, but this delusion refuses to die. Microsoft tries to keep the myth alive (Microsoft Peter persists with his 24/7 Microsoft advertising at Condé Nast, so Ars Technica has become a laughing stock in the area of software), but some realise what Microsoft is really doing. See Robert Pogson’s take on this news:

Microsoft has confirmed that, unlike your average Alice and Bob, enterprises won’t get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when the new operating system is finally released.

As Pogson correctly points out, this is about making more “slaves” who are dependent on Windows and then pressuring business to follow suit. It’s about creating a monoculture and monopoly. There is nothing ‘free’ about it. It’s an expensive mistake.

01.22.15

Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft’s Outlook Cracked

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 10, Windows at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Journalists currently under heavy barrage from Microsoft marketing (outsourced and in-house)

Office of telemarketing

Summary: Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up

IF YOU believe the hype (Microsoft has been talking about it for nearly 2 years), you will easily believe that Vista 10 is the return of Windows monopoly and supposed OS ‘leadership’, even though Microsoft is shrinking along with its notorious back doors and criminal behaviour (less Microsoft means less crime).

Those of us who have watched Microsoft closely for years saw a lot of the company’s boosters ebbing away. Microsoft laid off a lot of marketing people. It’s a ‘luxury’ it cannot afford anymore as breaking/infiltrating the media is not cheap. Last week we learned that Paul Thurrott left as well; he had been one of Microsoft’s leading boosters and now, according to a source of ours, he “[p]robably moved to be able to change focus, adding FUD against non-Microsoft stuff in the guise of coverage. This is how far he has gone.” (notice the usual and typical propaganda we have been seeing for weeks now).

Some falsely claim that Android is losing share and others try to paint Windows as running Android apps even though it cannot. That is the type of FUD we have been debunking here for years. This FUD is not dead yet. Just notice the patterns, part of the PR campaign perhaps. If many people repeat the same lie in unison, then the lie gains legitimacy. Just watch Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media trolling FOSS yet again over ‘security’ (only yesterday). A lot of this PR/FUD started last April when a Microsoft-connected firm gave a name and a logo to a bug in OpenSSL. It did it exactly when Windows XP ran out of support (i.e. left totally vulnerable to crackers).

“A lot of this PR/FUD started last April when a Microsoft-connected firm gave a name and a logo to a bug in OpenSSL.”Either way, Microsoft boosters continue to be dissolved. We used to see many more FUD attacks on GNU/Linux or Free software several years ago and as Soylent News put it: “Longtime Microsoft-centric journalist and blogger Paul Thurrott has left Supersite for Windows, and the website he founded sixteen years ago, and its sister site Windows IT Pro, for reasons explained in his farewell post. The sites (the former of which is still branded ‘Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows’ for now, but that will surely change) will be maintained by a staff of journalists employed by Penton, an information services conglomerate.”

Microsoft very much relies on propaganda agents who blame Google for Microsoft's failings and incite against Microsoft’s top competitors (Chromebooks seem to be Microsoft’s nightmare at the moment, not just Google Docs and ODF). Consider this rebuttal from Thom Holwerda:

First, this article makes the usual mistake of calling these vulnerabilities “zero day”. They are not zero day. They are 90 day. A huge difference that changes the entire context of the story. Microsoft gets 90 days – three months – to address these issues.

The accusations against Google were repeated later, at around the beginning of last week (second time) and the end of last week (third wave). This is totally insane an accusation to make, but given that those blaming Google are longtime Microsoft boosters, one can expect it.

In other news, a new Bloomberg puff piece glamourises Microsoft privacy violations, milking the Paris shootings for Microsoft PR. What an unbelievably shallow puff piece; then again, it’s Bloomberg. In similar news, Outlook has been cracked [1]. Even Microsoft cannot maintain a state of security. “Clumsily done” labelled it our source. Maybe the back doors have taken their toll in the wrong country. That won’t be good for business.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Outlook hacked following Gmail block in China

    Microsoft’s Outlook email service was subject to a cyberattack over the weekend, just weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China.

    On Monday, online censorship watchdog Greatfire.org said the organization received reports that Outlook was subject to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack in China. A MITM attack intrudes on online connections in order to monitor and control a channel, and may also be used to push connections into other areas — for example, turning a user towards a malicious rather than legitimate website.

01.13.15

Microsoft’s Strategy for Dealing With Back Doors: Blame Google

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Closed doors keep the back doors out of sight and resistant to change

Closed doors

Summary: Microsoft willingly leaves Windows users exposed to costly attacks and surveillance, but its propaganda blames the messenger that warned Microsoft about the problem 3 months ago

BASED on Microsoft’s own actions, the company is not at all interested in security and as we last noted the other day, the company is now pulling out of (withdrawing) notifications of back doors, except for the NSA. One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication? We have put some related articles in our daily links for those who wish to know more.

“One might guess this would appease British Prime Minister Cameron, who now openly calls for back doors in everything and a ban on everything without back doors, but will this appease the rest of us, including journalists (never mind banks) who require encryption for secure communication?”For those who missed last week’s news, here is what the British press wrote: “MICROSOFT HAS ESCHEWED the first Update Tuesday, or ‘Patch Tuesday’, Advance Notification of the year to announce that it is killing off the Advance Notification Service (ANS) for the general public and, as such, from next month there will be no Advance Notification.”

This basically means that while the NSA, GCHQ etc. know about back doors (or bug doors) that are not patched, the rest of us will know nothing. Since it is secret proprietary code, there is nothing that can be done about it either.

Earlier this month there were also report about Microsoft knowingly failing to patch a serious Windows flaw. It took Microsoft 3 months to actually do anything and when it did do something it was after Google had forced it to. It was Google that originally told Microsoft about this flaw 3 months ago. Here is what a reader of ours insists on calling “Microsoft apologists” wrote about it. They basically blame it all on Google rather than chastise Microsoft for leaving a lot of Windows users vulnerable due to Microsoft’s own laziness. It is worth emphasising that “the problem was not fixed within 90 days.” That’s how much of a priority security is to Microsoft.

Amid the calls for encryption bans in the UK it is clear that everyone who cares about privacy should move to Free software. Software freedom is imperative for privacy because only when the code is free can one be sure there are no back doors and also remove any that exist. Proprietary software exercises unjust power and control over its user, as Richard Stallman said all along, and the calls to ban encryption in the UK reinforce Stallman’s views. Microsoft’s negligence and reluctance to patch known flaws which are very serious also prove Stallman’s point to be valid. It is almost as though Microsoft actually chose to leave users exposed. Remember that the so-called ‘Sony hack’ was due to use of Microsoft Windows, based on numerous reliable reports. Also remember that about half a decade ago Google prevented its staff from using Windows. That was due to recognition that Windows was Swiss cheese when it comes to security.

01.09.15

Dear Microsoft: Windows-Only With DirectX is Not ‘Open Source’

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another misleading piece (a puff piece) from Beta News helps Microsoft openwash itself and promote proprietary software, proprietary APIs, etc.

AN OCCASIONAL Microsoft boosting site, Beta News, published a misleading PR piece that reads like it was ghostwritten by Microsoft (not just embedding Microsoft quotes).

Suffice to say, when Microsoft talks about “open source” one need to take a boulder of salt; in this particular case, as in many other cases, it is Windows only, DirectX-dependent, etc. It is more like openwashing than “open source” because without proprietary software this code just won’t run. In other words, you have to be a paying client of Microsoft (paying a bunch of thugs) to use the code and you have to support Microsoft APIs. To quote right from the source: “Version 5.1 Gold runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8, in either 32- or 64-bit mode, depending on your operating system. It also supports native DirectX 11, DirectX 10, and has some support for down-level DirectX 9 hardware running through the DirectX 11 API.”

Yeah, that has “open source” all over it!

Perhaps it’s time for Beta News to give coverage to some real Free software projects rather than drive Microsoft’s agenda.

01.05.15

Windows Becoming Less Relevant and is Not Even a Target Platform for Microsoft Anymore

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Spiral of death” clings onto Microsoft for a change

Nautilus

Summary: The demise of Windows is demonstrated by various data sources and Microsoft now makes its bread and butter available to Windows rivals before even bothering with Windows itself, showing Microsoft’s own recognition of this trend

IT was Vista 8 that really killed the Windows franchise, following the already-terrible Vista. Is Microsoft saving the other cash cow, Office, now that Windows is quickly becoming irrelevant, thanks to a large degree to Android and other mobile operating systems? It is evident that Google — not just Free software office suites — gives a big challenge not just in operating systems but also in office suites, especially now that it is embracing OpenDocument Format (ODF).

The demise of Windows is measurable. The other day we showed a Windows- and Microsoft-friendly firm, Net Applications, demonstrating quick demise of Vista 8. It’s not just Net Applications indicating this. “StatCounter reports that 8.* has peaked and is in decline,” notes Robert Pogson today. He has followed StatCounter closely for several years now and produced perhaps hundreds of graphs based on StatCounter. “I have some influence in my family’s choices,” he writes, “but I was teaching up north most of the year when my family was growing up, starting professional careers and making choices in IT. Most of them use GNU/Linux. Most of them use Android/Linux, but none use that other OS, not one.” The same is true in our house.

“There is no denying that Microsoft is in serious trouble.”Windows is becoming such a fringe player that even Microsoft starts to ignore it. According to this new report:

Range of Office and Windows Phone announcements coming soon following iOS and Android launch

A senior Microsoft Office spokesperson has reassured Windows Phone fans that, despite a dearth of new products recently, the company is still very much behind its mobile platform.

What it basically says is that Microsoft brings Office first to Google’s and Apple’s platforms. There is not yet a version for Windows (Phone)! Over the past few weeks I have been speaking a lot with a Microsoft developer who told me that Microsoft was silently shrinking, cutting ties with external workforce (does not count as layoffs) and squeezing about a dozen people in a single office (they used to all have an office of their own). The company even moves into smaller buildings. There is no denying that Microsoft is in serious trouble. The common carriers — and hence the cash cows — are dying. The company’s friends at IDG now badmouth a move [1] from Windows XP (a lot of people still use it) to GNU/Linux for the most ridiculous reasons, showing the company’s great reliance on propaganda and non-technical brainwash.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Migrating from Windows XP to VDI, Linux or BYOD. Is it a Non-Starter?

    While VDI, Linux and BYOD might look like an attractive alternative to trudging down the Windows Client path once again, they all come with considerable baggage.

01.03.15

Microsoft Does Not Want to Make Windows Secure

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Barbed wire

Summary: Windows is not designed to be secure and Microsoft is not even trying to make it secure when advised on how to make it so

YESTERDAY we wrote about the latest extensive evidence that Skype is a spy. Microsoft knows damn well that it is being used to spy on people, but it does not bother hardening the proprietary software program or even fix critical bugs that facilitate wiretapping (e.g. through weak encryption). Security is simply not the goal.

“Security is simply not the goal.”Today we learn that the NSA, which Microsoft tells about flaws before even fixing them (hence providing the NSA with back door access), sure is enjoying access to the latest version of Windows even if it is fully patched and up to date. For several months now Microsoft just didn’t bother patching the holes. Google, which banned Windows for internal use but remains negatively affected by Google users who are on Windows-running PCs, shows Microsoft a serious flaw (local back door) in the very latest Windows. Microsoft just simply does nothing for three months (except showing the NSA, as usual), whereupon Google increases pressure on Microsoft: [via]

Google has made public the details of a security vulnerability in Windows 8.1 a mere 90 days after disclosing it to Microsoft, sparking debate over the wisdom of the online giant’s Project Zero security initiative.

The bug, which was privately reported to Microsoft in September, can potentially allow a logged-in user to execute code on Windows 8.1 machines with administrator privileges.

What we learn from this is that Google tried responsible disclosure, as was the case when the OpenSSL flaw was discovered by Google, well before a Microsoft-connected firm gave it a name, a logo, and very irresponsibly sent out the word, even before OpenSSL’s own site was patched.

Google waited patiently for months, but Microsoft is simply not interested in the security of Windows. Those who are using Windows are not able to patch the flaw themselves because it is proprietary software. It serves to show why every company — not just individual — should shun Windows where security is a priority (it’s a top priority everywhere). Sony is being severely hit by a doxing problem that reportedly started with cracking of Microsoft Windows.

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