07.10.09

The Windows Security Theatre

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Airport

Summary: Many security reports from The Register and little more of the rest

McAfee is far from a friend of Free software [1, 2] and its remedies for Windows may sometimes cause more harm than good. Here is a fresh new example of why this paradigm of sold-separately bolted-on security software simply does not work. To quote, “IT admins across the globe are letting out a collective groan after servers and PCs running McAfee VirusScan were brought down when the anti-virus program attacked their core system files. In some cases, this caused the machines to display the dreaded blue screen of death.”

One of our readers says that “admins use Knoppix to fix borked McAfee antivirus” and he points to this new example where someone suggests: “For servers with BSOD we have used knoppix live cd to move files from quarantine to original place…”

In other news, Microsoft is preparing patches for flaws that enable hijacking of Windows, probably remotely. These flaws are very serious. Some of them are already being actively exploited (without a solution available).

Microsoft on Tuesday plans to release updates patching three critical Windows security vulnerabilities, two of which are already under attack.

Attacks must always precede reaction in Microsoft's case.

Why might this happen? Well, maybe because, according to some more news, Microsoft has knowingly ignored a serious flaw for a year. It is so typical.

Microsoft knew of nasty IE bug a year before attacks

The disclosure comes as attacks targeting the MSVidCtl ActiveX control vulnerability have increased exponentially. On Monday, online ads distributed by through the Giant Realm network on popular gaming websites began including code that exploits the bug, according to security firm ScanSafe. The ads mean that anyone using IE to browse sites such as diii.net and incgamers.com are risk if they run the XP or 2003 versions of Windows and have not yet installed a quick fix.

We have already shown that Microsoft deliberately hides its flaws. Victims of this careless, selfish behaviour are all of us who receive spam from hundreds of millions of Windows zombies. To rephrase the news (The Register again), spam levels have returned to normal.

Victims may include more hospitals too, according to this last bit of news from The Register.

The leader of a malicious hacker collective who used his job as a security guard to breach sensitive Texas hospital computers has been arrested just days before his group planned a “massive DDoS” attack for the July 4 Independence Day holiday.

Hospitals are hit by Windows viruses on a very regular basis this year [1, 2, 3, 4] and according to this article from Sam Varghese Microsoft is profiteering from it.

How Microsoft benefits from Conficker

Microsoft experts were among consultants called in by the council – and they took home some of the £1.2 million which the body paid out to get the problem resolved. Exactly how much was paid to the different consultants was not divulged.

In reference to some of these shocking figures, one of our readers asks, “What can be bought?” He uses Manchester as an example:

There was a recent article about the UK city of Manchester which just paid nearly $2.5 million in clean up for the Windows worm Conficker. That’s one worm in one city.

If we take some numbers for the sake of argument and play with them, what could we buy with $2.5 million.

Say for the sake of argument that top developers (in several fields of computing) and UI designers cost $100,000 apiece including insurance, pensions, equipment and work space rental. That would provide for a team of 10 for 25 years, or a team of 25 for 10 years, etc.

So for a decade, for the same price, Manchester could work out a re-packaging of Fedora and some needed applications:

5 development engineers
5 deployement engineers
5 HCI specialists
10 half-time support
3 full-time support
2 managers / marketeers

The magnitude of the money lost pursuing the Windows ideology is mind-boggling.

Contrary to common belief (mind the interesting comments), Microsoft could really use some money which is made through its own incompetence. The reality of the matter is that Microsoft has faltered for years (even financially) and it now amasses some debt.

But going back to this subject of security, Heise reports show that Apple is no role model either, not with its proprietary, DRM-locked phones.

iPhone 3GS cracked

[...]

The Dev Team are well known for their free iPhone jailbreaking and unlocking tools (QuickPwn, PwnageTool, Yellowsn0W, etc.), however, they have yet to release a tool that’s compatible with the 3GS and version 3.0 of the iPhone software.

Symbian faces challenges too. Symbian is still proprietary (in phases of transition).

Security on Symbian mobiles: Early signs of crumbling

[...]

At the recent Pwn2Own 2009 security contest, none of the competitors succeeded in hacking a Symbian mobile.

Free Software Magazine has a good new comic on that subject of security.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2009/07/10/windows-security-theater/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    July 10, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Gravatar

    There are enough people in Symbian trying to make it really open source and to operate as a bazaar, not a cathedral (as Netscaspe and OpenOffice fell into). It’s a long haul, though, for an owned corporate open source project. Remember that the “cathedral” examples in The Cathedral And The Bazaar were free software, not proprietary.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think it was David (Woods?) from Symbian who made remarks that are hostile towards the GPL and factually incorrect. Symbian is more into “open source” (Eclipse). Then there’s DRM and their landmark software patents case in the UK.

What Else is New


  1. Was Microsoft Ever First in the Market?

    Confronting the false belief that Microsoft ever innovates anything of significance or is "first" in some market/s



  2. Links 1/8/2021: 4MLinux 37.0, IBM Fluff, and USMCA Update

    Links for the day



  3. Microsoft Knows That When Shareholders Realise Azure Has Failed the Whole Boat Will Sink

    The paranoia at Microsoft is well justified; they've been lying to shareholders to inflate share prices and they don't really deliver the goods, just false hopes and unfulfilled promises



  4. [Meme] Nobody and Nothing Harms Europe's Reputation Like the EPO Does

    Europe’s second-largest institution, the EPO, has caused severe harm/damage to Europe’s economy and reputation; its attacks on the courts and on justice itself (even on constitutions in the case of UPC — another attempt to override the law and introduce European software patents) won’t be easily forgotten; SUEPO has meanwhile (on Saturday, link at the bottom in German) reminded people that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have driven away the EPO’s most valuable workers or moral compass



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 31, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 31, 2021



  6. [Meme] When it Comes to Server Share, Microsoft Azure is Minuscule (But Faking It)

    Don't believe the lies told by Microsoft's charlatans and frauds; Azure has been a total failure and that's why there are layoffs as well



  7. [Meme] Mozilla Has Turned From Technical to Marketing

    Way back, long before Mozilla and Firefox got hijacked by politics (turning Mozilla into a VPN reseller that lies about its stance on privacy), geeks were driving the company, not corporate lawyers and spying/marketing people



  8. Over 1,500 (Known/Unorphaned) Gemini Capsules and Over 160,000 Page Requests in gemini.techrights.org During July

    Techrights is expanding at gemini:// (Gemini space) and over 1,500 capsules are reported to have been found (less than 4 months ago it was about 1,000)



  9. Links 31/7/2021: Kernel Additions and Linux Mint 20.3 Release Date

    Links for the day



  10. Microsoft Azure Stagnating

    Reprinted with permission from Mitchel Lewis, former Microsoft employee



  11. For 17 Days (and Counting) António Campinos Has Failed to Respond to Call for Compliance With the Law

    Team Campinos has been so arrogant and so evasive that there’s no indication (yet) that it will follow court orders (Willy ‘Guillaume’ Minnoye openly bragged about ignoring court orders and he's still cheering for the EPO's abuses); therefore, staff of the EPO takes collective action



  12. Raw: Elodie Bergot Breaking the Law by Threatening Against the Exercise of Fundamental Rights

    Over the years we saw a number of rude letters from Elodie Bergot, the grossly under-qualified spouse of a friend of Vichyite Benoît Battistelli; most of these we never published (we already have these and can always publish if the need arises), but those paranoid and insecure “Mafia”-like ‘cabal’ need to be exposed for the mobsters they are; for nearly a decade they’ve illegally bullied EPO staff in clear violation of the law (and for over 3 years António Campinos has kept those bullies on board); why does Europe do nothing and why is it never holding high-profile abusers accountable (only low-level facilitators)? Is it because the EU too is being infiltrated by them?



  13. Linspire Should Be Avoided in 2021 Just Like It Was Avoided 14 Years Ago

    The brand "Linspire" was brought back, but the agenda seems to be more or less the same, namely pushing proprietary software and serving Microsoft's commercial agenda (in 'Linux' clothing)



  14. The Death of Freenode Would Be Freenode's Own Fault

    Freenode is going dark and now it’s asking people to create accounts at IRC.com (just to get back into the network that they may have already occupied for decades) as if Freenode owns “IRC” as a whole



  15. Links 31/7/2021: KDE Progress and Activision Catastrophe

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, July 30, 2021



  17. The Smartest Meter of All

    Yesterday a lady came over to take our power readings (electric/gas meter); secure these people's jobs as they help protect people's privacy (dignity) at home



  18. [Meme] A Web of False Dichotomies

    A reminder that Techrights is fully available (all blog posts and wiki pages) in gemini://



  19. Freenode Shrinks by Another Quarter and Gemini Continues to Grow (For Techrights at Least)

    Freenode continues to perish faster than we've imagined; it's a good thing that we've had contingencies set up; regarding the monopolised and increasingly centralised Web, we're still making baby steps towards weaning ourselves off it



  20. Links 31/7/2021: Wine 6.14 and Chrome 93 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. European Media Does Not Care About Europe's Second-Largest Institution Crushing Basic Laws and Fundamental Rights

    New video about the latest publication from SUEPO (the EPO’s staff union); it was published yesterday, seeing that the “Mafia” (what EPO staff actually calls the management!) hasn’t done anything to comply with a wide-ranging set of court rulings from ILO-AT; why has the media said nothing about this and what does that say about today’s media? The material is all in the public domain, in widely understood languages, and SUEPO spoke about it more than 3 weeks ago.



  22. Links 30/7/2021: Distro Comparisons and Tootle Introduced

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] Enforcing ILO-AT Rulings...

    We’re still waiting for a statement — any statement (direct or indirect) — from EPO management, seeing that almost a month has passed



  24. 'Open Source' as a Failed Initiative

    A closer look at the dire state of the Open Source Initiative, or OSI, which no longer protects Open Source (let alone software freedom) but instead helps openwashing, Microsoft entrapment, and a coup against the FSF



  25. [Meme] Rowan and António Sittin' on a Tree...

    How much longer can Team Campinos keep issuing tons of noisy and self-congratulatory puff pieces to (perhaps) distract from the elephant in the 10th floor of the Isar building (EPO HQ)? Staff won't wait for eternity.



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 29, 2021



  27. Half the People in This Letter Are IBM Employees

    IBM seems to be continuing its war on the FSF because IBM wants to own everything (CentOS being ‘canned’ was just part of the plan)



  28. The OSI Song

    The sad demise of OSI, which has become little but a front group of proprietary software companies in pursuit of openwashing services (and outsourcing to proprietary disservices looking to eradicate copyleft)



  29. [Meme] OSI is Doing Just Fine

    So what if OSI is run by someone who raised money from Microsoft (to sell Microsoft a keynote slot in a copyleft event — the thing that Microsoft attacks through GitHub!) while funnelling the OSI's funds to a serial GPL violator?



  30. The OSI's Defunct Elections (Privacy Breach), Conflict of Interest (Nicholson), and Other Lingering Problems

    The above, together with an email from the OSI below, serves to show they’re re-running a bad election and — yet worse! — there appears to be a conflict of interest implicating the OSI’s sole member of staff!


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts