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02.20.20

Former Microsoft Employees Don’t Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To the point of blocking those who speak about it, then smearing them behind their backs (NDA clauses can contribute to it)

I can't defend Microsoft anymore... Run for the choppa'

Summary: In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the ‘Softers’ run away and block any further debate

THE relationship between the NSA and Microsoft isn’t as secret as it used to be, thanks in part to Edward Snowden with his leaked documents. Over the past few months I was challenged by people who had left Microsoft. They denied what Snowden offered and when confronted with links to press reports about it they didn’t bother apologising, they just fled. We actually catalogued some of these things in this Wiki page, which helps keep things organised (with external links to hard material, proof, substance). It includes articles like "Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors" and much more. Microsoft hopes people will forget and it very well knows that puff pieces in the media will make such reports hard to find/access/assess.

“Microsoft hopes people will forget and it very well knows that puff pieces in the media will make such reports hard to find/access/assess.”I won’t lie about it; I never shy away from polite confrontations with former (and existing) Microsoft staff as sometimes they unwittingly expose evil agenda. For instance, managers of the WSL team love or at least accept the patent blackmail (of Linux!) and managers at Microsoft totally support GitHub’s war on GPL/copyleft. It’s the same old company; speak to individuals rather than some carefully-drafted press releases from liars at the top (upper echelons and PR department).

This morning I was greeted with a special — albeit not rare — badge of honour. After losing an argument (regarding NSA back doors in Microsoft’s systems) the former employee not only fled but also blocked me in Twitter. The funny thing is, I said nothing to offend him; it was someone else who brought forth evidence to contradict Microsoft talking points (there’s ample evidence and when shown evidence the sceptics tend to run away!). Who was blocked for this inconvenient fact? Me, not him. From following me in Twitter he turned to blocking me. Without me saying a thing! I almost never speak to these people; 90% of more of the time it is them who initiate contact.

Great. Well done, Microsoft alumni. Your own actions say a lot about you.

01.25.20

Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The story of FortiClient resembles what I’ve often encountered over the years with other proprietary VPNs (not of my choice)

Proprietary Software. You pay to be abused.

Summary: Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)

OVER the years I’ve encountered and used a lot of VPNs. It’s one thing I’m quite familiar with, having configured and debugged VPNs quite a lot. At work, we use Free/libre VPNs that we host and manage ourselves (typically OpenVPN and IPSec/StrongSwan). But clients’ choices of VPN are another matter. Occasionally I must access a client’s GNU/Linux server to carry out maintenance, patching and software upgrades. It’s quite a routine thing.

“Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’?”VPN software varies from client to client and some VPN tools are so awful that it’s not even funny. It can be painful. At times impossible!

Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’? Suffice to say, many of these proprietary things have holes in them (kept under the rug), so one might actually be paying for additional security holes rather than security. Snowden’s stash of leaks revealed some evidence to that effect.

“Much time down the drain.”One might say I’m opinionated, but I’m not alone. It’s not only me who complains by the way; a colleague explained that “[a]t the moment the only access we have for [client] is via a horrible proprietary VPN. You are only able to get clients for Windows and Mac officially, however an Ubuntu client has been found that works too. To make things more complicated it does not appear to work at all in Windows Server, meaning we can’t provide access though the Windows [shared/remote virtual] box. If you have a Windows or Mac box, you can download the client from http://forticlient.com/ and the Ubuntu one can be found here https://forticlient.com/repoinfo…”

Well, nothing that I’ve tried allows me to access the client’s network. Much time down the drain. You can try again and again (dealing with binary blobs). The FortiClient software is defective, however, as it shows an unimpressive blank window each time it starts (I tried other, more complicated things) and there’s no way to debug this.

FortiClient
So-called ‘Client’; Whose exactly? Spy agencies?

If I run this from the command line it says:

"Platform detected: fedora" (which is false by the way, it’s not even an RPM-based distro, so I think they need to do more work on their client-side tools if it’s advertised as cross-platform)

“The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken.”Our internal wiki indicates that we cannot access this over a virtual Windows Server, either. Because that too is not supported. What other access options may there be? And why need they complicate access to the point where they shut out people who merely try to keep their machines secure and up to date? As a Techrights associate recently noted, the whole concept behind VPN is flawed. It seems to assume that operating systems in use aren’t safe if connected to the Web (there are NSA back doors, for starters), so complete separation and insulation from the network is seen as desirable. Later this year our combined lifetime for Tux Machines and Techrights will be 30 years. We’re a high-profile target for attacks, Techrights in particular (many DDOS attacks over the years), but we never had any security incidents and we never used VPNs. We even gave up on so-called 2FA, knowing that it sounds better in theory than (how it works) in practice.

The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken. Moreover, the quality of proprietary VPN software is utterly appalling. The same can be said about proprietary software other than VPNs, but these companies compensate for that with heavy marketing campaigns and waves of FUD directed at Free software counterparts.

01.14.20

Vista 7 is Dead, Long Live GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 8:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PC tax

Summary: A reminder of Microsoft’s universal “PC tax” ambitions — evidence that the company was never interested in ‘playing nice’ with anybody

01.05.20

Windows User Retention Policy

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft wants you to be using Windows always, even when you think you use ‘Linux’

OK, you can use a Microsoft Calculator with telemetry and source code on GitHub...  OK, OK... tell you what... no ads in Windows for a month (a month!)...  Alright, we'll throw in a terminal with Bash and call it 'Linux' something...  No, no, no... don't think about installing GNU/Linux. We control the UEFI keys!

Summary: There’s always a way! Microsoft will deny people the ability to explore ‘proper’ GNU/Linux whilst insisting that it “loves Linux”

I See Dead Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2020 figures

OS market share

I see dead people/I See Dead Windows/I See Dead Microsoft

Summary: “I see dead people” 2020 edition

12.31.19

Why Large Nations Like China and Russia Will Gradually Move to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sunday’s news report suggests that China proceeds with its GNU/Linux migration

'Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system...'~Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008

Summary: Microsoft Windows is an imperialistic operating system (or bootable malware) and it is therefore imperative for nations that pursue real sovereignty to wean themselves off it altogether

IN a recent public talk of Richard Stallman he succinctly explained in very clear terms that many people are led to assume that they give instructions to computers they use. They think they’re actually the owners of these computers, whereas the topology is all ‘in reverse’; in practice, owing to the way software was coded or hard-coded, the real owner is the company behind the software and instructions are transmitted to the computers by this company instead of the user. To them, the user is just something to be exploited, ‘monetised’ (when the user is spied on there’s data to be sold, as we noted yesterday in relation to Phoronix). Windows, for example, is designed for data-mining and therefore — by its very design — it’s optimises for insecurity (remote access, harvesting) rather than security. Windows will never be secure because it’s not supposed to be. Those who think that Windows can be made secure evidently fail to grasp what Windows actually is and who it works for.

In countries that wish to control their computing — including their servers — Free software is imperative. Thankfully we’ve been seeing policies implemented by large governments in recent years that will bring rise to GNU/Linux use, even on desktops and laptops.

Michael S. Rogers
“I don’t want a back door. I want a front door.” — Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), 2015

12.16.19

When You Cannot Convert GNU/Linux Into Windows (Mono, DLL Files Etc.) You May Try to Make It Subservient to Windows (Vista 10 and WSL)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Ubuntu, Vista 10, Windows at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scoble on Mono

Summary: Microsoft needs people outside Microsoft to promote WSL; some of them have already entered GNU/Linux companies

THIS may not be very publicly visible (except to those who read our IRC logs, which are public), but we’ve been researching what drives WSL development and who takes the lead.

“There’s absolutely no practical reason to use WSL; it’s a lot easier and technically far better to get something like VirtualBox, which is also Free software, then install under it one’s distribution of choice.”Isn’t it curious that lawyers rather than geeks are in charge? Earlier this month we took note of their support for USPTO-granted software patents (despite 35 U.S.C. § 101) that Microsoft still uses against GNU/Linux, even this year.

We are still drilling and digging. Many parallels can be found between the people who promoted Mono inside GNU/Linux and are now Microsoft employees (they weren’t at the time).

There’s absolutely no practical reason to use WSL; it’s a lot easier and technically far better to get something like VirtualBox, which is also Free software, then install under it one’s distribution of choice. But WSL is a lot easier for Microsoft to spy on, remotely break/brick and add Windows-only “extensions” to (the second “E” in EEE). It doesn’t take a genius to foresee what Microsoft will seek to accomplish with WSL and one only needs to assess the background of those who promote it. They’re not GNU/Linux people but Microsoft/Windows people. They view GNU/Linux as something to merely be exploited.

“…Kirkland left after 10 years; hard to imagine he was proud to have turned Ubuntu into an ‘app’ for spyware disguised as an operating system with obligatory ads.”Months ago Will Cooke stepped down As Canonical’s Ubuntu Desktop Director (Rick Spencer, head of Ubuntu’s desktop a decade ago, had come from Microsoft) and Canonical also lost the person who initially announced WSL (on behalf of Canonical), Dustin Kirkland. He now works for Apex Clearing, having left his position at Canonical (Product Manager or VP Product).

“After 7+ years at IBM,” he once explained, “I joined Canonical in (February 2008)…”

So Mr. Kirkland left after 10 years; hard to imagine he was proud to have turned Ubuntu into an ‘app’ for spyware disguised as an operating system with obligatory ads.

All in all, there are many warning signs ‘in the air’ and while our investigation continues we’ll refrain from saying anything we cannot verify (at least not yet). Remember this: WSL is not good for GNU/Linux. WSL is good for Microsoft. WSL is promoted not by GNU/Linux people but by Microsoft proponents. Just like Mono was…

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

11.30.19

Windows (Vista 10) is Nowadays Being Sold as ‘Linux’

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

'Windows Terminal does the splits' so Microsoft can now do what gnu/linux did decades ago? Why do 'Linux news' sites push WINDOWS NEWS? Please remove

Summary: The tactic is working; over the course of Thanksgiving many sites that claim to be about GNU/Linux relayed Windows news, instead

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