Bonum Certa Men Certa

Eyes on Microsoft: Windows Disasters and Gagged Press; Microsoft/NBC Acquire More Press

Microsoft BBC



Summary: Already misguided by the mainstream press, people are not told about the insecurity of Windows; MSNBC buys another independent news Web site

ACCORDING to some sources such as the BBC, 130 million debit/credit card numbers got stolen electronically. The system which was the culprit here gets no mention, but -- reading between the lines -- some suspect that Microsoft is to blame because Windows is commonplace in US-based ATMs.



One man in Florida was arrested by federal authorities (the other two are presumably in Russia) after exploiting Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities in credit card processing terminals in places including 7/11 gas station/convenience stores. The men got away with stealing over 130 million credit and debit card numbers as well as detailed information of millions of people from their bank records that could be used to commit identity fraud.

[...]

When Microsoft talks about security initiatives, they’re talking about the kind of “security” that makes them money. They aren’t talking about securing your data from remote attacks, because they are not being held to account for this. They’re talking about “securing” the RIAA’s music from “attack” by you, they’re “securing” their Windows revenue stream from “attackers” who crack the product activator and costing them money, and they’re “securing” the MPAA’s movies from you, the “attacker”, who is trying to record them on his computer through Windows Media Center to watch later when you get home from work. If Microsoft put half as much work into securing your private and confidential information as they do circle jerking their pals over at the RIAA/MPAA, then maybe there wouldn’t be so much identity theft.


Rarely does the press point a finger at Microsoft. The PR agents of Microsoft harass those who do and Sam Varghese points out that in a 45-minute programme on computer security (just aired on Australian television) the word "Windows" is conspicuously avoided. The BBC did the same thing some months ago when it broke the law [1, 2].

What's the one word that comes to mind when people discuss worms, viruses, spyware, malware and botnets?

Anyone who's not been living under a rock for the past decade knows that one can't start talking about such subjects without a mention of Windows, the glue that binds them together.

But when it comes to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, it is perfectly possible to go through a 45-minute programme on just these topics and avoid any mention of the W word.


Sadly, things are unlikely to improve. Microsoft already has tremendous control over channels like the BBC and (MS)NBC, which has just acquired yet another small(er) broadcaster.

Msnbc.com acquires local news Web site



Msnbc.com has acquired EveryBlock, a Chicago-based Web site that offers news and information down to the neighborhood level in 15 cities, the two companies announced Monday.


This is part of a worrisome trend that applies also to television and radio. There is ever-increasing centralisation of so-called 'approved' sources which express 'permissible' views that are narrow, naturally. Not everyone is wise enough to reach out for more independent sources and net neutrality interferences help not at all.

Going back to Australia, how about this from the news? The UK-based Register summarises it as follows:

Australian Federal police have been humbled after boasting of taking over an underground cybercrime forum - only for hackers to break into a federal police computer system, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.


The Australian Federal Police is very close to Microsoft as deals were signed some months ago (also see what Microsoft did there with EDGI). We wrote about this repeatedly [1, 2, 3] as readers from Australia brought the issue to broader attention in here.

Has the Australian government learned any lessons about the security implications of using Windows? If not, then every script kiddie ("skiddie") may continue to break in and even share nation-wide databases with criminal records of everyone, so punishment can be collective. Windows is designed to permit unauthorised intrusion, which makes it unsuitable for any practical use as such.

On BBC and Microsoft:

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