Bonum Certa Men Certa

Inside the Minds of Microsoft's Media Operatives — Part III — Attacking Real Security, Promoting Lies and Fake 'Security'

Series parts:

  1. Inside the Minds of Microsoft's Media Operatives — Part I — Bishops in Rooks
  2. Part II
  3. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Attacking Real Security, Promoting Lies and Fake 'Security'

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Nontechnical talking points from Microsoft 'suits' and paid 'analysts' are promoted by veiled media operatives which saturate the pool of news and end up reducing the signal-to-noise ratio, in effect spreading disinformation (fake news) on behalf of Microsoft so as to hide from very simple (albeit uncomfortable) facts; habitually they also misplace blame (offloading culpability for malware to "Linux") in order to shift the public's attention, partly because GNU/Linux and BSD are optimal alternatives for security-minded governments/enterprises

A number of days ago we published Part II, which was read by a lot of people. A lot more than expected anyway. We're running two Microsoft series at the moment (at the same time), so we expect this current one to take a fortnight or so longer before it's entirely over. In Part II, for those who have missed it, we explained (or rather showed strong evidence) that Microsoft whistleblowers are fighting with Microsoft operatives who work in so-called "tech" (myth) media, challenging them not just over the lies they help spread, by and for Microsoft. As it turns out, those Microsoft operatives are moreover burning sources, in effect smoking them out or sniffing them up for Microsoft. This is not acceptable and we need to talk about it. We must, at the very least, raise awareness. This is not just unethical but a breach of journalists' professional standards. It is misconduct. Microsoft is replacing actual journalism with churnalism (more on that in Part IV when it's ready).

Today, in Part III, we'll focus on security aspects and how Microsoft operatives in the media warp the debate to deflect or distract from Microsoft's extreme incompetence and abject failures. We'll mostly quote the whistleblower, without interjecting any of our own interpretation (Edward Snowden's leaks helped prove that Microsoft does not at all strive to ensure security; real security is not the ultimate objective).

We'd like to point out (in case it's a recurring pattern) that the so-called 'journalists' (Microsoft mouthpieces in "reporter" clothing) go out of their way to pretend they're objective, unbiased, fair etc. Don't fall for it. They pretend to be all nice and welcoming. So upfront, we'd like to quote the "source burner" (pretending to be abundantly cordial after destroying someone's career to suck up to his masters at Microsoft, who reward or reciprocate with "access" and money*): "We can't promise to publish anything without seeing it first, and we rarely publish guest commentaries, but I'd be happy to hear more about what you'd like to write, or take a look at a draft. I would need to go back and find our specific guidelines, but some of the basics are that they need to be relevant and valuable to the broader community of readers, grounded in provable fact, not self-promotional, not libelous, etc. Please let me know what you have in mind."

To put it in very simple terms, what he's saying is, they'll weed out anything Microsoft and its mindset don't agree with, in the name of "facts". As if Microsoft was ever known for uttering facts...

An associate explains that "weed out" (as worded above) "is the wrong verb there, since it looks like they are not weeding out anything Microsoft but weeding out anything disfavorable to Microsoft."

"That’s totally fair and I wasn’t expecting otherwise," the whistleblower said, but "I’ve actually been working on a continuation of Strassmann’s and later my own work on Microsoft’s present state of complexity, defect, and consequent monopoly on ransomware infections/zero days as a national security threat. I'd also like to highlight that Microsoft’s architecture is not only expensive to mange and vulnerable to exploit due to their sheer complexity and level of defect but that it’s grown to a place where we don’t have enough nearly experts to implement, manage, support, and secure it."

Knowing it from first-hand experience, having also witnessed incidents that Microsoft attempted to cover up or simply lied about (after the public found out).

To quote further: "I can support this empirically with the sheer amount of vacant IT jobs in this country (600,000 for cybersecurity alone), Microsoft’s major uptick in non-feature updates over the years, and with Microsoft’s hyper-monopoly on <insert any major threat vector here>. And I can approach it a priori by way of the fundamentals of defect density (thermodynamics) as this outcome is actually predictable, but it may take 2,000-2,500 words due to having to backfill readers on a few fundamental aspects of IT finance and software engineering."

There's more coming about this and we've published articles on the subject in the distant past.

"Alternatively," the whistleblower said, "I can write an article about how Microsoft’s partners and consultants seem to operate on a conflict of interest by recommending defective products that generate their long-term necessity the most while avoiding solutions that benefit their clients more while naturally necessitating less of their services. I can also highlight where Microsoft has publicly instructed it’s partners to deploy their services, create stickiness to be exact, so as to entrench their services and maximize switching costs and highlight how they deleted this after I reported on this before."

Readers can guess if this resulted in an actual article published in the Microsoft-affiliated site. It's all pretence. They're not open to new/opposing/factual ideas. "Especially if it contradicts Microsoft or its agenda," as an associate adds. It's like religion, not science.

A day passed and the source burner just said (direct quote): "This is a lot to digest. I'm going to need to spend more time reading it, and exploring some of the links you've referenced. Since you raise the security issue, have you read this story? [Linking to his own Microsoft puff piece about Microsoft] I'd be interested in hearing how this squares with your perception of [redacted]'s coverage of the company. What did I miss? Do you feel that I let the company off too easily? How would you have approached a story on this topic?"

So he barely bothered reading what was actually said (it "is a lot to digest"). Instead, he pushed his own new article, a new pile of fluff (redacted to avoid names becoming too obvious). They're impenetrable to dissent, they just keep parroting their own (and Microsoft's) lies. This is what keeps them at this job, Public Relations and source burning spun as "journalism".

A response came a day later: "I’ve actually danced around this topic extensively over the past 4 or so years. It’s actually a major problem given Microsoft’s reach and lack of adequate response [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (no idea what Hackernoon was thinking with that high contrast/bright green background btw, I have no control over this)".

Unlike the fake "journalist" (Microsoft operative), the whistleblower did in fact read what was sent and responded in great length:

With regard to your article:

It still reads like executive fan fiction to some degree if I’m being honest. Like many other articles, it seems to overlook how much influence corporate counsel has at this level; execs tend to be figureheads that do as they’re told and this is especially true at Microsoft. And even when that isn’t the case, executives at this level are too crippled by plausible deniability to lead effectively; you never see them out in the halls interacting with the commoners or getting their hands dirty. It looks mostly like leadership theater to me where the people less likely to be hands on with any problem are being presented as champions of said problems. In reality their orgs are probably hanging on by a thread made of a few competent vendors that they probably can’t put a name or a face to.

I’m also not sure how geriatrics in the technology space are viewed as its saviors and leaders. Just like American politics where the least fit and capable of us seem to rise to the top, the same is true of tech monopoly leadership; not just as Microsoft. But I digress.

Secondly, Windows is old, defect density/software entropy are things, and there are no shortages throughout the Windows ecosystem to correlate their defect density going out of control. A few obvious examples besides the aforementioned IT labor shortage (40 million+ IT professionals globally isn’t enough apparently) can be found in their their non-feature update velocity which has skyrocketed by 5x over the past 6 years (135 in Win 7 SP1 in 2015 vs. 1000+ in 2021). Windows rate of exploit has also skyrocketed while its stability has plummeted and it’s TCO has consequently skyrocketed even further beyond <insert any flavor of linux here) or MacOS which are already 1/3 of what Microsoft is.

Most don’t argue with this but they also don’t always realize the implications of this. These aren’t just problems that can be engineered out of existence. One problem with bugs is that they are 50-10000x more expensive for software firms to remedy once they hit production as opposed to when they’re caught in pre-production by QA and peer review. In other words, Microsoft has a mountain of technical debt and its highly likely that its more cost effective and prudent to rebuild Windows from the ground up than fix it. This is why I’ve speculated in the past that they’re likely working on their own flavor of Linux to replace Windows as this would satisfy this exact need while further explain them joining of OIN. A good visual on the lifespan of software can be found below: [redacted]

Most software engineers overlook defect density as it’s a rare/abstract area of study but I can't because I have an applied understanding of it from my work with it at Microsoft. And it is not my expectation of journalists to know much, if anything about it. Meanwhile, few entities in the world know more about it than Microsoft which is where I learned about it; it’s not even covered in academia and was pioneered by Capers Jones and others at IBM.

Another roadblock in the way of Microsoft addressing its defective ways is its partner-centric business model that heavily incentivizes them to let their defect density run out of control. 95% of Microsoft’s commercial revenue comes from their partners who resell Microsoft solutions due to them having the highest resale margins while also driving the most revenue for their firms (IT consulting & Managed Services Providers) after purchase in the form of implementation, management, and support services. Meanwhile, simpler, less defective, more secure solutions generate less revenue after purchase and are consequently given less priority among Microsoft partners because they’re less profitable. As such and so long as businesses continue to trust the opinions of Microsoft partners, Microsoft has little to no incentive besides governmental pressure to stop printing its own checks so to speak by letting it’s defect density spiral out of control.

Strassmann’s article relating Microsoft’s monopoly to the same problems mono croppers experience linked in my previous [above] email is still as relevant to this matter today as it was in 1998.

Additionally and when looking at their defective and clumsy nature, lots of people look at Microsoft take Microsoft for buffoon on face value. But they’re overlooking the fact that Microsoft has such a profound understanding of business, lock-in, partner strategy, and software that they found a way to monetize defective software while not having to worry much about quality. This is why their market cap can increase in proportion to their defect density.

And I’m also not exactly seeing any specific commitments or strategies in this article, let alone any that are going to help Microsoft make headway against their defect and consequent security issues. Most of it is just hollow promises from a bunch of industry relics who probably can’t even tell you what information or technology is. Nor has their trajectory changed in the time since this article was published; almost like it’s the same company as before.

"Strassman's most famous article ought to be highlighed more," an associate concludes. Strassman was very high profile. He already explained these issues two and a half decades ago. His article rattled Microsoft so badly that Bill Gates went to see him in person and refused to even pay for his own lunch, as Strassman recalls!

"Our products just aren't engineered for security."

--Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

_____ * As someone put it, Microsoft "tends to freeze out "journalists" that don't toe the line, so over time they become more obedient and compromised until they are so bad that they lose credibility and then they are discarded." Techrights showed a lot of evidence of it in past years.

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