07.14.09

Windows Security Failures Watch

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Warship
Modern warfare need not be nuclear

Summary: From international zombie wars to domestic issues caused by the use of Microsoft Windows

LAST YEAR we showed that roughly 320,000,000 Windows PCs were believed to be zombie PCs. This is not amusing. Similar independent estimates are not far off and they include sources/names like Vint Cerf.

With sheer numbers of hijacked (or available-for-hijack) computers, high-bandwidth botnets grow very massive and prevalent. As SJVN puts it, Windows is now being used as a weapon “of mass destruction” in cyberspace.

Windows of mass destruction

[...]

For most of this week, prominent Web sites in both South Korea and the United States have been being bombarded by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. At times, these assaults have knocked out multiple major sites. North Korea has been taking the blame for these attacks, but no one has any proof yet. What we do know is that the weapon that’s doing this damage is compromised Windows PCs.

In light of these serious security failures, one blogger claims that it “sucks to be a Windows User.” What about those who are affected by the use of Windows by others?

Linux Today shares this article about a Kentucky incident where Windows was the cause/culprit. As one reader points out, comments on the article bring up GNU/Linux because taxpayers — not Microsoft — usually pay for the damages.

Cyber criminals based in Ukraine stole $415,000 from the coffers of Bullitt County, Kentucky this week. The crooks were aided by more than two dozen co-conspirators in the United States, as well as a strain of malicious software capable of defeating online security measures put in place by many banks.

How about this new confession from Microsoft?

You’ve all spoken up loud on the reports of Windows installing updates automatically when told not to.

Microsoft has issued an acknowledgment of the reports, if not an actual response to them. They say they are investigating the reports, and with problems like this one, which appears to be sporadic at best, it can take a while to tell for sure exactly what’s going on.

Can Microsoft blame people for fearing Windows Update and thus rejecting security patches? The company has itself to blame too (incompetent engineering combined with poor quality control).

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Bing Fails, So Microsoft Proceeds to Anti-competitive Practices

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time
As the world shifts to the Web, Microsoft is running out of time

“It’s not the first entry for Microsoft, They do this about once a year.”

Google CEO, regarding Bing

Summary: Microsoft’s Bing fails to make gains and Microsoft resorts to business as usual

IT WAS more or less clear that Microsoft Bing had failed when an executive quit the team. What remains of this whole gig are some minor gains from an approximately $100,000,000 investment in advertising (paying the press for positive coverage too). According to StatCounter, Microsoft’s gains are only a blip on the radar, but press that Microsoft bribed rewarded will likely tell a different story.

Bing: Not Really Gaining on Google

[..]

All the buzz comes from a new search market analysis by Web stats company StatCounter. Bing, the researchers say, secured 8.23 percent of all U.S.-based searches for the month of June. (Bing officially launched on June 3.) The previous month, StatCounter shows Microsoft sitting at 7.81 percent of U.S. searches. That amounts to a month-to-month increase of just under half a percentage point following Bing’s debut.

According to the Microsoft/Bing-sponsored press, Bing Travel fell offline after fires. Lack of redundancy did not help (single point of failure). This shows that Microsoft is still unable to serve reliably [1, 2].

A fire last night at Seattle’s Fisher Plaza data center has knocked out service to some top Web sites, including Bing Travel and Authorize.net.

Microsoft’s attempts to stop Google seem to involve a healthy dose of FUD right now, but there is also vandalism. Here is what the New York Times says about one role of Chrome OS:

What Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has to fear more than anything else is that he’ll awake one day to learn that the Google search engine suddenly doesn’t work on any Windows computers: something happened overnight and what worked yesterday doesn’t work today. It would have to be an act of deliberate sabotage on Microsoft’s part and blatantly illegal, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Microsoft would claim ignorance and innocence and take days, weeks or months to reverse the effect, during which time Google would have lost billions.

It is already done with IE6 (see links below). Microsoft is using the operating system to discriminate against Google search, but regulators do nothing about it. Here is another New York Times article about a lawsuit against Google. Microsoft participates in this. It was harassing Google in this case, but nowhere is it mentioned in the report.

The Justice Department confirmed on Thursday that it was conducting an antitrust investigation into the settlement of a lawsuit that groups representing authors and publishers filed against Google.

On a related issue, now that Google enters the sub-notebooks arena, Pamela Jones writes in Groklaw: “I can’t help but realize that competing in the netbook space presumably gives them the opportunity to raise antitrust concerns in that space.” For details about what Microsoft did, see [1, 2]. Attempts are being made to rewrite the history of GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks.

In addition, on a separate note, Apple and Microsoft are accused of breaking the Web not just by suppressing <video> and <audio> (Google does the very opposite thing, but its take on Ogg Vorbis/Theora as preferred codecs remains ambiguous at best).

Unacceptable Browser HTTP Accept Headers (Yes, You Safari and Internet Explorer)

[...]

The browsing engine most responsible for killing XHTML prefers XHTML over HTML! It would also prefer PNG over HTML. That’s a little embarrassing, but what is worse: Safari and Chrome accept XML over HTML (and, ambiguously, over XHTML, too). WebKit’s Accept header forces web developers to work against the HTTP spec.

In summary, Microsoft continues to be vicious on the Web, but fortunately enough, Microsoft makes no gains on the Web.

Related:

Microsoft’s Veiled Attack on Google Tries to Incite GNU/Linux People Against Chrome OS

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Diversionary tactics, holding action, and retreats may each seem contrary to the achievement of the overall objective when considered solely in their own terms, but taken in light of the overall conflict, may contribute to overall success.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: How Microsoft works to create civil wars and Google hate/unrest (and even get Apple fans to distrust or dislike Google)

LET US START with some background or an introduction to Google’s real impact in this area of desktop operating systems. Everyone has heard the news by now because the entire mainstream press covered it. Sam Varghese explains quite correctly why Microsoft is so scared (with only another Vista down the road and still no proper support for ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]).

Chrome OS: Nice curveball from left field, Google

[...]

Also remember, this is an operating system that Google has announced, one that will come up against Microsoft’s main cash cows, Windows and, by extension, Office.

According to new research, Chrome OS will gain tremendously because of ARM chips that are inexpensive and very energy efficient. 55 percent market share is projected.

Researcher: Chrome to boost Atom to ARM switch in netbooks

[...]

While Intel’s Atom holds more than an 80 percent share of the 23.5-million netbooks sold in 2009 the ARM processor will to gain a 55 percent market share of the 96.0 million netbooks sold in 2012, according to researchers.

As Slated puts it, “ARM-incompatible Microsoft Windows Vista-7 need not apply.”

Microsoft must respond fast. As usual, Microsoft does not respond by making better products; Microsoft just attacks its competition with vandalism or words.

Several people disparage Google and Ubuntu (even quite publicly) right now. Microsoft is also trying to have UNIX/Linux people attack Google over Chrome OS in particular. We have found Enderle, Yankee and Gartner doing it and as wallclimber puts it, it’s all aimed at making these products less appealing. “I have mixed feelings about it,” she adds. As another reader emphasised yesterday, “Microsoft is trying to spin Google OS as an attack against Linux.” As we shall show in a moment, Enderle apparently incites Apple fans against Chrome OS and Google (Safari and Chrome are both based on WebKit, which used KHTML). It’s a divisive role and we previously showed that Microsoft’s strategy includes trying to create ‘civil wars’ inside or between competitors (for example, the use of Novell/patents against GNU/Linux and Mono/Ximian against critics and doubters of Microsoft).

Let’s proceed to some actual new examples. We wrote about Rob Enderle just days ago because he continues to spread Linux lies and he incites people against Chrome OS (the Guardian does this too). But as Pamela Jones at Groklaw puts it (in reference to other punditry), “I must point out that Chrome runs on the Linux kernel. The Google announcement linked to by the article says so: “The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.” So, it’s just Linux getting wings into the cloud, and Chrome running on the kernel. So Google is using Linux to challenge Microsoft. Once again, we see how appropriate it is to distinguish between the Linux kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system, so folks don’t get confused as to which you mean. Here the author means GNU/Linux operating systems, like Ubuntu or other desktop distributions.

“Microsoft is also trying to have UNIX/Linux people attack Google over Chrome OS in particular.”Enderle is again spinning the Chrome OS announcement. He uses ECT (owner of LinuxInsider, which is considered rather GNU/Linux-hostile) to attack Apple and Google at the same time, thereby creating tension between the two (angle: Chrome attacks Apple). That is on top of all the lobbying against Google, whose important role in on-line office suites Microsoft had dismissed until it got something of its own ready and then re-announced old news (it was last re-announced only yesterday).

FUD like this is not uncommon, but one reader illustrates the nature of this attack by quoting and responding. For instance, Enderle writes: “The good news for both companies is that it doesn’t look as though Google fully understands what it will take to succeed in this space. That means this move may be riskier for Google than it is for either Microsoft or Apple, unless Google focuses, builds up marketing competency, and executes better than it currently is…

Our reader says: “This is a disguised directive from Redmond trying to bait Google into changing direction and fight Microsoft own battle on Microsoft’s own territory, rich desktop applications. Whenever you see Microsoft giving advice to anyone, you can be guaranteed it isn’t for the other fellas benefit.”

The reader adds that Enderle is “rewriting history on top of it. This is the true function of shills like Enderle. Relentlessly polluting the record with self-serving distortions like the below.”

Enderle writes: “In short, like Netscape, Google may have instigated one of the biggest changes since the beginning of the PC, but it might be unable to capitalize on it…”

The “FUD injection”, as our reader puts it, is: “Netscape failed to capitalize on the PC revolution.”

He argues that the reality goes like this: “Microsoft tried to buy out Netscape, negotiate with the NSCA for an exclusive license, then licensed Spyglass and never paid them as they ‘gave away’ the client. Meanwhile ‘extending’ their web server app with incompatible HTML extensions.”

See some of the gory details in Comes trial documents and this petition.

Enderle was of course not alone in all this. See what Eric Lai (of a Redmond blog) did when he tried to create Google unrest or describe/accentuate a perceived issue of “fragmentation”. As we noted on Saturday, Lai used a FUD-inspiring headline with a question mark (here is the direct link).

But more obvious are probably the attacks on Chrome OS from the Yankee Group, a longtime friend of Microsoft [1, 2]. From IDG comes the same storyline: “Google OS Could Put Squeeze on Other Flavors of Linux”

But just when some Linux distributions seemed to be gaining a foothold, Google may soon curtail their success. The strength of its brand, and its reputation as a company that builds sleek and easy-to-use products, means it could steamroll over the other Linux candidates, said Joshua Martin, senior analyst at the Yankee Group.

Because Yankee Group is surely an unbiased and “independent” party when it comes to Linux, right?

But wait. That’s not all. Yesterday was the last time we wrote about Gartner and Microsoft and here is some fresh Gartner FUD about Chrome OS. The storyline remains: “Will Chrome endanger Android?” (that’s the headline, with the obligatory question mark to save from accusations of trolling, as usual).

It is funny how all the same Microsoft-friendly analysts come out of the woodwork whenever a real threat to Microsoft appears before a receptive audience/crowd.

Chrome OS is by all means good news for Linux (see the remarks from Zemlin et al of the Linux Foundation). The opposite spin is a form of indoctrination that comes from Redmond through the Microsoft-tilted press. Here is a decent new analysis which is titled “Five Ways Google Spits on Microsoft.”

Even the headlines this week fed off that animus. Google Drops A Nuclear Bomb on Microsoft said one, Google Launching OS, Firing Torpedo Into Microsoft, went another.

The 655-word blog post that announced Chrome OS started it all, of course. But almost lost in the hoopla over that manifesto were the shots Google took at its rival, five taunts that jabbed at Windows’ most notable, and cliched, shortcomings.

Google says: “…the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no Web.”

[...]

Translation: Windows is a headache, plain and simple, and getting it to work right takes the patience of Job and requires that users discard any leisure time and instead dedicate hours every week to the chore.

Windows users, to greater and lesser extents, recognize this as a truth, and plan accordingly by taking the estimated time to, say, add a new printer, then doubling it for a real timetable.

Any more Chrome OS mockery from Microsoft-friendly press people? If so, please share.

How the Gates Foundation Helps Getting Children Addicted

Posted in Africa, America, Asia, Bill Gates, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Summary: The Gates Foundation makes children dependent not only on expensive drug patents [1, 2] but on Microsoft also

ON NUMEROUS occasions in the past we explained all those Microsoft addictions that are imposed upon young children and adolescents through their school systems. They essentially get indoctrinated without being offered any choice/escape, and assumed to be receptive of the software they are taught to depend on. It is software which was designed to take away their independence and freedom, turning them to perpetual customers. In our latest post on the subject, we showed that “Elevate America” is somewhat of an equivalent of “EDGI”, which may be specifically intended to make people “addicted”, as Bill Gates honestly put at least once in the past. This does not prevent Microsoft and its loyal press (Seattle P-I in this case) from describing all this “addiction” as generous donation. Spot the latest spin:

Microsoft will contribute up to $50 million’s worth in software, training and certifications to worldwide higher education and workforce training, the company announced today at a forum it hosted in Paris.

If not a shameless lie, this is deception at best. Software has no cost associated with duplication, so Microsoft is inflating numbers and casting the state-funded conversion of schools to Microsoft recruitment camps as something charitable.

To address a similar subject, all schools in Brazil are moving to GNU/Linux and the Huffington Post has just covered this massive transformation.

Fifty million Brazilian students will have Christmas in July when software Santa slips down the chimney to give them a free ticket on the information highway.

With Microsoft software licenses costing up to 1000 percent more in Brazil than in the US, the ProInfo program launched by the government of president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reduces dependence on costly foreign software just as the sugar ethanol program for cars reduces dependence on expensive foreign oil. The program, administered through the national education secretariat. provides free operating systems, backbone and educational content employing Linux, Debian and KD3 freeware.

Beneath the surface, this story is a lot more complicated. Michael has just visited Brazil on behalf of Red Hat or the OSI and here is what he found out about things Microsoft does (or tries to do) in Brazil.

On the alarm front, I heard specific confirmation of a storyline I’ve been following, which is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is basically telling governments: if you want contributions/investments from us, then you’ll give Microsoft cabinet-level access to inform policy, and you’ll use Microsoft products. For example, donations to educational initiatives require installing and teaching Microsoft products. It is similar to another story line reported by Roy Shestowitz. My informant told me that she was fortunately able to point out to the President that this was against Brazil’s sovereignty and interest, and is one of the reasons that President Lula came to FISL, to show is support for the freedoms that “software livre” (aka free software, aka open source) mean to Brazil.

This sure sounds like a form of extortion and it is hardly surprising given what we saw in other countries such as India. Blackmail through withdrawal of incentives in something that we previously saw in Kenya for example. Bill Gates uses the Foundation to pressure governments — and sometimes companies — to buy Microsoft (and only Microsoft). There are of course many other issues such as the fact that Bill and Melinda Gates use their Foundation to avoid paying tax, just as Microsoft uses Ireland to bring taxation down to near 0%. As a timely note on the subject, Groklaw highlights this new document about Xilinx losing its right to play such games around revenue tax. The tide is changing, despite Microsoft's blackmail of Obama.

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts