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08.20.14

Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Vista 9, Windows at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Esther Dyson
“Influential writer Esther Dyson (pictured here in 2008) popularized the term “vaporware” in her November 1983 issue of RELease 1.0.” — Wikipedia on vaporware (image originally posted to Flickr by eirikso)

Summary: Microsoft’s Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft’s vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)

A few days ago Windows showed why it is widely recognised as a piece of trash. Even Microsoft cannot manage it as Microsoft Azure failure got reported. All it’s good for is mass surveillance by the NSA. At the same time we learned about the latest Vista 8 failure. When not promoting Microsoft at the expense of Linux Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke wrote about Microsoft bricking Windows: [via]

Patch early and patch often is the advice of security professionals when it comes to software updates.

After all, who needs to be left wide open to hackers and malware writers when the solution is delivered by the software’s maker?

Yet sysadmins will be increasingly leery of applying such an approach to Windows systems following Microsoft’s latest botch job.

On 12 August Microsoft released 40 updates for Internet Explorer, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro.

Vista 8 is such an utter mess (worse than Vista) that the editor of InfoWorld at IDG, Eric Knorr, decided to start advertising Microsoft vapourware. Shame on IDG and Knorr. As we showed before, Microsoft had started Vista 8 vapourware half a year before Vista 7 was even released. This was done through known Microsoft boosters. Gavin Clarke was the first.

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

08.18.14

Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software

One might think that the Gartner Group paid attention to revelations about Microsoft complicity and active collaboration with the NSA’s crimes. Apparently, however, being a rogue marketing operation (disguised PR), Gartner is seemingly unable to learn what a lot of the public (and CIOs, CTOs etc.) already know. Let’s face it. Bill Gates’ ‘investments’ in Gartner and Microsoft’s payments to this marketing (‘analyst’) firm did not fail to cloud its judgment. In world of Gartner, even though Vista 8 is a total disaster and the future of Windows is quite uncertain, the only choice one has is between versions of Windows, not between operating systems. To Gartner, anything other than Windows is not even an option. Back doors are here to stay and defects too are “necessary evil”, apparently.

Why is it that so many people continue to treat Gartner with respect? Any morsel of credibility should have been long gone, even by checking who subsidises this firm. It’s like a think tank or a collective lobbying group (for its corporate client who seek to sell, not to buy); that’s not what analysts are supposed to do.

John C. Dvorak published this column the other day, highlighting the fact that Windows is defective and remains defective even decades down the line. He wrote: “You would think that after 30 years of Windows, many of the obvious and consistent flaws would be fixed. Are they unfixable? Or are the people at Microsoft who can fix them uninterested?

“There is a belief within the tech community that Microsoft lost control of Windows years ago as the company turned over personnel—including the programmers who actually knew the base code of Windows itself. It has long since become what people call spaghetti code—a tangle impossible to unravel. Every patch has to be run through a regimen of tests to see if anything breaks. One thing is fixed and soon something else does not work right.”

Incidentally, see this new report about Microsoft bricking Windows with the latest patches. To quote:

Since Patch Tuesday this past week, Microsoft has been receiving reports of severe system errors caused by one or more of the updates.

Yes, that’s Microsoft ‘quality’. This spaghetti code is impossible to manage, apparently. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, also wrote quite recently for “Linux Voice. He wrote about Microsoft’s inherently defective software, inadvertently echoing some of Dvorak’s observations:

The action law enforcement services have taken against the GameOver-Zeus malware syndicate is great news for a change. In the UK, this was communicated with typical tabloid alarmism, framed as “two weeks to save the world” instead of “unusually effective action by law enforcement”. As a result, UK publications have been posting self-preservation information for their readers.

This is a Windows-only issue and since Microsoft does facilitate back doors (bug doors to be precise), Microsoft deserves at least some of the blame here. As Phipps concludes:

So actually it’s somewhat appropriate to blame Windows versions prior to Windows 8 for being vulnerable to many viruses which exploited bugs in this way. The existence of the vulnerability was a conscious choice and a marketing decision; in OS/2, which had no legacy to accommodate, the ring 0 separation was enforced.

Yes, Windows also offers a larger attack “surface” because of its wide adoption, and yes, there are other exploit mechanisms. But this tolerated technical vulnerability is the root cause of a large number of exploits. So while it’s true that malware authors are directly to blame for malware, there’s also a culpability for Microsoft that can’t be ignored.

For Gartner to be advocating the use of such rubbish spaghetti code (in binary form) is worse than incompetent; it’s utterly irresponsible. Why will any serious CIO or CTO ever listen to Gartner again?

Based on publicly-available evidence, even BIOS cracks require Windows. To give “BULLDOZER” as an example: “The technique supports any desktop PC system that contains at least one PCI connector (slot) and uses Microsoft Windows 9x, 2000, 2003 server, XP, or Vista. The PCI slot is required for the BULLDOZER hardware implant installation.”

To give “DEITYBOUNCE” as an example: “DEITYBOUNCE supports multiprocessor systems with RAID hardware and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server.”

No wonder China and Russia are banning x86 and/or Microsoft Windows. It’s not because they’re “anti-American” but because Microsoft Windows and some US-made hardware are anti-users. In Germany, for example, ‘secure’ boot was banned for similar reasons. Perhaps they have not been taking Garner’s advice then. In Munich, Gartner notably tried to derail (with words) the migration to GNU/Linux, as we demonstrated some years ago.

08.06.14

Symantec Deserves a Ban in China for Not Reporting US Government Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tick the box to ban

Symantec logo

Summary: Symantec, a Windows insecurity firm, is miserably trying to divert attention away from reports about distrust that led to a ban in China

According to many reports this week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16], China does not trust some US- and Russia-based companies to take care of ‘security’ in China. It’s about time.

Reports focus on two firms, but another one is seemingly affected (Symantec). While Kaspersky (which we occasionally mention here) does not deny the claims, Symantec does strike back and “Says its Products are Still Allowed in China”. This is a cleverly-worded denial. Some products are definitely banned, but the “Security software developer Symantec Corporation denied its software has been banned in China.” Symantec merely says or emphasises that not everything is banned.

Just to be more specific: “It is important to note that this list is only for certain types of procurement and Symantec products are not banned by the Chinese government.”

Kaspersky is hyping up security threats at the moment and Symantec is trying hard to dodge the negative publicity because trust is fundamental to their sales. Symantec, which has strong Microsoft connections and disdain for FOSS, should not be trusted if China does not trust Microsoft (we already know how China feels about the ‘new’ Microsoft). To quote an IDG report:

Symantec and Kaspersky Lab have become the latest tech firms to be kicked off the Chinese Government’s approved list, according to an unconfirmed report in the country’s media.

The People’s Daily newspaper broke the news at the weekend in a report that claimed that local supplies including Qihoo 360, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising would from now on be the preferred software for antivirus duties.

The news seems to have surprised both firms, which have until now have been approved suppliers for desktop security.

Symantec has been overlooking government back doors such as the ones Microsoft puts in place and lets the US government know about. This is an older debate which made a comeback amid NSA leaks (other antivirus makers seemingly exempt government malware and such, e.g. Stuxnet). Here is Wall Street’s press coverage:

That’s a lesson that Microsoft and Symantec are learning right now. An antivirus company from Silicon Valley, Symantec competes in China against local favorites like Beijing-based Qihoo 360 Technology. According to reports by Bloomberg News and the Chinese media, China has instructed government departments to stop buying antivirus software by Symantec and its Moscow-based rival, Kaspersky Lab. Symantec software has backdoors that could allow outside access, according to an order from the Public Security Ministry. Not coincidentally, Qihoo’s New York-traded shares rose 2.7 percent yesterday, following reports of the move against Symantec and Kapersky.

Well, good for them. After being cracked by the NSA they need to secure their systems by better identifying possible moles (in the software sense).

Dan Goodin, who typically slams FOSS over security issues (less severe than in proprietary software), finally writes about Microsoft’s best known back doors that it tells the NSA about (Goodin does not mention the NSA connection):

There’s a trivial way for drive-by exploit developers to bypass the security sandbox in almost all versions of Internet Explorer, and Microsoft says it has no immediate plans to fix it, according to researchers from Hewlett-Packard.

The exploit technique, laid out in a blog post published Thursday, significantly lowers the bar for attacks that surreptitiously install malware on end-user computers. Sandboxes like those included in IE and Google Chrome effectively require attackers to devise two exploits, one that pierces the sandbox and the other that targets a flaw in some other part of the browser. Having a reliable way to clear the first hurdle drastically lessens the burden of developing sophisticated attacks.

What can Symantec do to stop this other than suggest abandoning Windows (its bread and butter)? Symantec must have known about back doors in the form of IE vulnerabilities, but did it properly protect China from it? No, Symantec makes money from the prevalence of Windows and the company’s management is deeply connected to Microsoft’s.

08.03.14

Windows Will Go Extinct in the Back End and the Desktop

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world is leaving Windows behind (at all levels) and Microsoft is now joining companies that are using GNU/Linux, perhaps acknowledging that the demise of Windows is inevitable

MICROSOFT has suffered a huge decline in sales of Windows. It was very clear. Microsoft wasn’t able to hide it anymore. Not even increased pressure on companies to pay up could make up for the alarming numbers which preceded massive layoffs (almost 20,000 staff). As large nations gradually move away from Windows (not ‘upgrading’ Windows) the company is likely to resort to lawsuits (when extortion tactics fail). Without Windows, the common carrier, Microsoft is reduced to almost nothing. This milking cow is the only reason many people still use Office and other offerings from Microsoft.

Gregg Keizer from IDG says that “Windows 8′s uptake was stuck in reverse for the second straight quarter as the reputation-challenged operating system fell behind the pace set by Windows Vista six years ago, according to data released Friday.

“Web metrics firm Net Applications’ figures for July put the combined user share of Windows 8 and 8.1 at 12.5% of the world’s desktop and notebook systems, a small drop of six-hundredths of a percentage point from June. That decline was atop a one-tenth-point fall the month before, the first time the OS had lost user share since its October 2012 debut.”

Regarding the source of the data, Net Applications, it is Microsoft-affiliated, too.

It sure looks like the Windows franchise is becoming a thing of the past; sales of Android devices outpace sales of computers with Windows and as older PCs (running Windows XP) age too much users may move to GNU/Linux or buy new devices with Linux/Android on them. Microsoft (Nokia) tried to make its own version of Android but failed. Nobody wanted Microsoft.

On the server side too this is happening. Microsoft's share in Web servers has been reduced to just spam and inactive domains. GNU/Linux is highly mature a platform and many hosting platforms now use GNU/Linux by default. I see this in my daytime job. There’s an influx/inertia leading to FOSS, albeit quite silently. This means that a lot of companies will make the migration sooner or later, especially now that Windows Server 2003 becomes orphaned [via]:

The end of extended support for Windows Server 2003 is just under a year away. One manager says the average migration will take 200 days, so start thinking about migrating if you haven’t already.

Hopefully he speaks of a migration to GNU/Linux. There is no reason to stay with the Vista equivalent on the server side. There is nothing in it, except newer back doors, increased fees, and more lock-in. Based on the trend in nations such as Russia and China, many systems at the back end will be converted to GNU/Linux, perhaps when support lapses for the current version of Windows (that’s what happened in Munich, Germany).

Microsoft has become so desperate on the server side that it is now liaising with one of the largest users of GNU/Linux, namely Akamai. There is no suggestion that Akamai will be using Windows; in fact, even years in the past (e.g. the Olympic Games in Beijing) Microsoft relied heavily on GNU/Linux (at Akamai) for data delivery. For Microsoft to grow closer to Akamai is rather telling; perhaps Microsoft too is already seeing the writings on the wall. The world is moving beyond Windows, and there’s absolutely nothing Microsoft can do to stop it (except perhaps trying to tax it using software patents).

07.06.14

Microsoft Struggling to Make Sales and More Future Products Axed

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lack of demand

End of season

Summary: The software bully which manipulates its financial reports is said to be unable to sell the latest Windows and a new Microsoft product running this version of Windows is axed before arrival

Microsoft’s criminal behaviour does not work quite so well in hardware, where bribes are harder to get budget for (unlike with software, which can be copied infinitely). Microsoft was already forced to kill many products and divisions and it has many famous failures in hardware, including Kin, Windows Mobile, and Xbox (which lost money). Now we learn that Microsoft has ditched yet another product. This article uses promotional language which fails to explain what a colossal failure Surface has been (the big table as well as the tablets with the same brand name).

Based on other reports like this one from ZDNet (citing the Microsoft-funded Net Applications), right after China banned Vista 8 and various countries/businesses rejected it for technical reasons:

Net Applications has found that Windows 8.x actually lost user share in June 2014, while Windows 7 has really been the operating system to gain from XP’s end of support.

This is not good for Microsoft’s financial bottom line. It’s also embarrassing because it shows systematic pushback.

Another ZDNet report says that Microsoft enables XP to still receive patches (a month ago IDG reported inaction from XP users). The NSA is going to benefit from this as more PCs have lots of back doors piling up. The NSA flags GNU/Linux users (or people who read GNU/Linux sites) for extra surveillance, based on leaked source code. Those who want security (e.g. Russia, China, Korea) will surely move to GNU/Linux very soon.

06.18.14

Microsoft Scares Away Customers With Misguided, Short-term Strategy of Extortion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harvesting by force

Ice

Summary: Microsoft is trying to bribe the defectors and squeeze the existing clients in order to stay relevant in today’s Linux-dominated world

Microsoft is trying to impose its will on companies. Sometimes Microsoft extorts, blackmails, or bribes companies. Having taken control of some of Dell, the company’s gaming division (in a sense), despite its promises to GNU/Linux [1], leans towards Windows again. This is the type of attack we saw in the case of Nokia. This is not sustainable because it requires either buying the partners (sometimes potential competitors) or bribing them. It is a desperate attempt to remain relevant using big spendings; as we saw in the case of Nokia, this is bound to fail. One cannot just buy one’s way out of trouble when the products are fundamentally flawed.

According to Carlo Piana, the man who fought Microsoft in Europe while Microsoft bribed Novell to drop out of his antitrust case, there is another short-term and shortsighted strategy from Microsoft. “Microsoft is becoming annoying with its audits to clients,” he writes, “insisting on charging six-figures clients for menial inconsistencies. From what I hear, they are carpet-bombing with audits, which is not a brilliant marketing move, methinks.”

Citing Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA Will Hill asks himself:

Why might they be doing that? Thanks to Snowden, people are dumping NSA spyware like Windows, so revenue must be down. Microsoft is acting like their OS is going out of style because it is.

Well, this sure is a way to alienate customers, maybe even partners like Alienware. Windows PCs are no longer selling. Android and other Linux-based platform are the present and future. Some newer reports (cited in our daily links) already insinuate that Alienware is turning back again to GNU/Linux. We may revisit this at a later stage when Alienware makes it official.

Later this week we are going to publish an extensive post about China’s action against Microsoft’s patent extortion.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why is Alienware launching a Steam Machine with Windows instead of SteamOS?

    While I can understand the financial difficulties inherent in waiting for a final release of SteamOS, I’m not sure that this is such a great idea on Alienware’s part. Is there really a market for this kind of device based on Windows? It seems to me that SteamOS was the big attraction for users who might buy a Steam Machine. I can’t really see the appeal of a Windows-based Steam Machine.

06.05.14

Windows is Dying Quickly, Even on the Desktop

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China flag

Summary: The inertia of Windows is impeded by bans and disruptive trends (or form factors) where Linux is a key platform

Microsoft is wishing for public ignorance. It trying to pretend that it cares about privacy and Open Source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. This is despicably in the eyes of informed people and it is tied to a paid marketing/deception campaign. As we showed some days ago, China’s ban on Microsoft (and promotion of Linux-based alternatives) led to some shameless openwashing, seeking to paint Windows as “open”. Microsoft’s spokesperson pretends that Microsoft code can be audited, but there is already evidence that Microsoft tells NSA about flaws before these are patched. China’s government does not get that kind of treatment, so it is abundantly clear who Microsoft is loyal to (not the users’, that’s for sure). The latest call for abolishment of Windows [1-4] makes press again (notice the dishonest response from the spokesperson of Microsoft). The corporate media or the Western press tries to ridicule the Chinese or echo Microsoft’s lines. There are gross media campaigns about it, playing along with these Microsoft lies (or lines) which are hogwash, diversion, and innuendo. We covered only some of those lies before. It is truly a disgrace. The NSA works closely with Microsoft and Microsoft under Nadella (not really in charge) continues to engage in racketeering against FOSS. China would be right to eradicate all Microsoft software. It is the reasonable thing to do not just for business reasons. Bill Gates is pro-NSA and against Snowden; China should take that as a clue. Remember that the NSA engages in espionage against prominent Chinese companies like Huawei.

Based on this Microsoft puff piece, Microsoft spyware is now trying to enter Android, doing what we said Nokia would do (Microsoft spy phone on top of Android base). The puff piece says “That’s great news for Android tablet owners” as if spyware like this is necessary. Here is the interesting part though: “it’s also likely to disappoint and even anger some Windows users, who feel Microsoft is ignoring its own backyard while bringing this polished and finger-friendly Office experience to Windows rivals. But this is the trajectory that Microsoft must follow to succeed in what Nadella recently labeled a “post-post-PC era.” “There are going to be Windows devices and there are going to be other devices and we have to make sure our services run on all of them,” he said during last week’s Code Conference. Nadella suggested that Office for iPad won’t the last time Microsoft launches a major app on a platform other than Windows; today’s Android rumors seem to back that claim. Nadella said that while a touch-first Office for Windows is coming along, he’s unwilling to let it hold the company back.”

In short, the world is already abandoning Windows, so Microsoft tries to rescue its bigger cash cow.

Software developers and users no longer need Windows. China does not need Windows. Business can gradually adapt to homegrown Linux- and GNU-based systems. This, in turn, makes OOXML (and Office) obsolete. It makes Microsoft a thing of the past.

Interestingly enough we missed this article from March where Microsoft is shown to be sabotaging software projects of potential partners. Fernando Cassia sent us this link, highlighting bits like:

Defense Grid was dead. That was the message, delivered by Microsoft in the summer of 2008, just a few months before the game’s planned release.

Hidden Path had poured all the money it could spare into a small project to make an original game: Defense Grid, a downloadable sci-fi tower defense title that it could call its own and that would prove Hidden Path was a company that knew how to make games.

It’s what every developer wants to do. It’s why people make anybody’s games at all: to eventually make their own. And Hidden Path had struck out to do it right out of the gate. And it had almost worked.

The story begins in 2007, shortly after Jeff Pobst, Mark Terrano, Michael Austin, Jim Garbarini and Dave McCoy founded Hidden Path. It begins after they’d begun making Defense Grid and pitched the game to their contacts at Microsoft.

The founders had deep connections to Microsoft, so they pitched them a distribution deal: Hidden Path would make the game, Microsoft would distribute it on Xbox Live. For Microsoft, it was an easy sell. Microsoft, initially, loved the idea. The concept for the game was bold and brash. It was a downloadable title being developed for twice what downloadable titles normally cost to make at the time. The extra money was to be put into producing and polishing the game, potentially making it a premium offering for its Xbox Live lineup. Defense Grid, built by the men who worked at Microsoft’s Advanced Technology Group and who made sure Xbox games played and looked better on Xbox than anywhere else, would be one of the most highly produced downloadables on Xbox.

Microsoft was hot for the game. It wanted quality games to announce at the 2007 Game Developers Conference as part of its then-new Xbox Live Arcade program. The problem: Hidden Path hadn’t named the game yet. The working title “The Last Stand” had been taken by someone else. Hidden Path hadn’t expected to need a name for months, but suddenly it had only weeks. Hidden Path scrambled, spent money and came up with Defense Grid. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it worked. And it was theirs. And best of all, Hidden Path suddenly had a game in development for a flagship service on the best-selling console. With the increased attention and aggressive demand from Microsoft, the little studio, still in its first year of existence, felt like it had won the lottery.

For Microsoft, Hidden Path was just the sort of company to help promote Arcade — it was indie but comprised of veterans. Pobst had run a support department at the Advanced Technology Group at Xbox. Terrano had created Age of Empires 2. Austin also came from Xbox, and McCoy and Garbarini from the MechWarrior developer FASA. These five men threw their combined development expertise into one game: Defense Grid. It couldn’t lose. It was planned for release in 2008. Everyone was excited. And then things changed.

[...]

Shortly after a Microsoft reorg in early 2008, the “new team” called for a meeting with its partner, Hidden Path, to see the results of development on Defense Grid, which already had the green light from the “old team.” Everything went right in this meeting with Microsoft. The game looked great, played great and was running on schedule. But a strange thing happened: According to Hidden Path, the more right things went, the more frustrated the Microsoft people became. The game, they eventually said, was too good. They’d wanted it to be bad. They’d planned for it to be bad. Now they didn’t know what to do.

[...]

The new crew from Microsoft had come with orders to shut down Defense Grid. It was too similar, they said, to another game, one more dear to the new team leader’s heart. Defense Grid was part of the old plan. The new guy had a new plan. Defense Grid had to go. But … It was a great game. It was too good to cancel. Chaos.

This is classic Microsoft. Nobody should be working with and for this company. It should be universally abandoned for its behavior. Thankfully, Xbox continues to fail and production reportedly stalls. Why would anyone at all bother with this platform? It is spying on users (more so than any console) and betraying developers. Not only China will be better off without a company that spies on it, betrays it, and denies the truth.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. China puts Windows 8 on TV, screams: ‘SECURITY, GET IT OUT OF HERE!’

    China has stepped up its war on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system with a report in state-backed media that questions the security of the software.

    In a one and a half minute segment aired on China’s CCTV television channel, journalists reported that the Chinese government is concerned by the security of the Windows 8 software and is increasing efforts to develop its own rival system.

    “Microsoft would no longer open its Windows 8 source code to the Chinese government, however the security scheme of the Windows 8 operating system is designed to provide better access for Microsoft to users’ database. For China it’s a big challenge for our cybersecurity,” said Yang Min, a professor at China’s Fudan University, through a translator.

    “Your identity, account, contact book, phone numbers, all this data can be put together for big data analysis,” explains another academic, Ni Guangnam. “The US has a law that requires anyone that has this data to report to the government. The data might be a good way for the US to monitor other countries.”

    This report follows the Chinese government banning Windows 8 from a chunk of its public sector PCs in late-May.

    In March 2013, El Reg reported that Canonical had partnered with various Chinese government agencies to develop and support a Linux distribution named Ubuntu Kylin for the country. Given this television segment, we imagine installations of that OS are about to increase.

  2. China escalates rhetoric in campaign to ban Windows 8

    CCT pivoted on the official reasoning today. According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) the segment quoted experts who argued that operating systems’ makers can steal data from computers, including phone numbers and financial information.

  3. Microsoft faces new difficulties in China over Windows 8
  4. Chinese Media Says Apple Google Microsoft Etc Spying for NSA

    The official Chinese state run media outlet, People’s Daily, is accusing U.S. corporations of representing a spying front for the NSA, and the PRISM program. The outlet stated “Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China.” The outlet wants fierce punishments against the corporations, and promised they would pursue all those involved in spying activities. David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer released a statement Wednesday, advising the U.S. government has no access to Google servers, including no access to any “back door, or a so called drop box.” The leading search engine giant advised they only “provide user data to governments” in accordance with the law.

04.29.14

Federal Government Warns About Microsoft Windows Back Doors

Posted in Security, Vista 8, Windows at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Back door

Summary: Back door in all versions of Windows (for Internet Explorer has been embedded deep inside Windows to suppress browser competition) worries governments around the world, including those behind NSA and GCHQ

IT HAS long been known that Microsoft and the NSA work together and share information about back doors, voluntary or involuntary. Any government that still uses Windows is leaving itself vulnerable to espionage and sabotage like Stuxnet. It’s a strange mystery that many governments still have Windows in their networks. Technically it makes no sense and strategically it’s suicidal.

A few days ago we learned about a permanent back door in Windows XP. To quote one site: “Microsoft reported an alarming security flaw exposed by security farm FireEye, Inc. that affects all versions of Internet Explorer from 6 to 11. Though the newer versions of Windows operating systems will be patched in a couple of weeks, Windows XP users should be worried. Windows XP support was discontinued by Microsoft from April 8, 2014 and it is not going to get any more security patches.”

“Even when a flaw in OpenSSL was found and reported it had already been patched by all the major GNU/Linux distributions. It hadn’t yet been patched by Microsoft and Apple.”Feds are genuinely concerned about this based on the Canadian and the US corporate press, not just because Microsoft will leave Windows XP vulnerable but because at present every version of Windows is vulnerable and there is no fix. Since it’s proprietary software, nobody other than Microsoft can create a fix, either.

This latest back door shows that moving to GNU/Linux makes the most sense. Even when a flaw in OpenSSL was found and reported it had already been patched by all the major GNU/Linux distributions. It hadn’t yet been patched by Microsoft and Apple.

For those who think that Vista 8 (or 8.1) is going to offer some kind protection, mind this unfavourable new analysis. To quote just one bit: “Before shutting down, I manually told it to check for updates. It found one. The description says “Windows 8.1 Update”, and the accompanying text says the stuff about you must install this update to ensure that your computer can continue to receive future updates. So, was my HP updated or not? According to the test described by Microsoft, it was; but according to the Windows Update that is waiting to install, it was not.

“Which is correct? Beats me. How do you tell for sure? Beats me.”

Windows is a mess and this mess is filled with back doors. No government anywhere (not even the US government) should rely on it. The world is moving on and it’s time to move with it. GNU/Linux is the secure option.

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