07.14.09

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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

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