02.17.10

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Yes, Windows Causes Deaths Sometimes

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Say your prayers

Summary: More evidence and new stories told about how Microsoft Windows deficiencies lead to loss of life

LAST year we gave an example or two of cases where Windows means death, even literally. Our society depends heavily on technology, so defective technology can make a defective society and dysfunctional healthcare system.

Last week we wrote about a British hospital getting infected for using Windows and it was only one hospital among many whose operations got suspended due to Windows security problems. Examples include:

A new article from the Bangkok Post tells it like it is under the headline “When Windows can mean life or death”

In this case a doctor was using his home PC to remote-connect to his clinic at 4:15am to discuss a roadside accident scan with a surgeon. He selected “no” to the reboot message that popped up and Win 7 promptly rebooted, corrupting his medical software, and causing him to lose 15 critical minutes. The doctor now wants a non-Windows box to conduct future critical business.

This is, of course, a single example, but typically where there is one, there are many, and in this case the OS pretends to know more than the user and took control of the reboot even when told not to.

According to today’s reports about Windows Live, prolonged downtime may be related to a catastrophe, which is data being compromised on Microsoft’s own servers.

Microsoft’s online Windows Live estate was hit by a major server shutdown for about an hour yesterday, after some users of the service complained that they could see other people’s accounts.

This is also covered in:

Some recent Microsoft downtimes lasted for over month and this is part of a troubling pattern. To make matters ever more scary, Microsoft strives to control health records right now. How many people must needlessly die before informed experts forcibly put an end to Microsoft’s exercise of bribery against the healthcare community [1, 2]?

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7 Comments

  1. Robotron 2084 said,

    February 18, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Gravatar

    Windows directly causes deaths? No. Could it be a factor in someones death? Perhaps, but it would be about as damning as blaming a pen that runs out of ink when the doctor was trying to write a prescription.

    In the case of the doctor, odds are he’s either lying or negligent himself. I’ve mistakenly clicked “Yes” instead of “No” before and I’m sure the doctor made the same mistake. He seems to want to blame Windows, but if Windows was at fault in this case we should see a rash of reports showing n machines rebooting even after “no” is selected. That isn’t the case.

    If he is indeed using his machine for “life or death” work, he should change the default settings to only permit manual updates. There is no best setting for everyone, but the current defaults are best for the majority of users. End of story.

  2. satipera said,

    February 18, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Gravatar

    Robotron

    The same as a pen running out of ink? You are really grasping at straws. You do return to the party line by blaming the user. This doctor is doing the sensible thing by changing his OS. Microsoft software simply can’t be relied on, especially in critical applications.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The LSE learned this the hard way [1, 2, 3].

    Trolls don’t let facts get in their way.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    Like it or not, sometimes the user screws up and makes a mistake, no matter how badly you want to blame Microsoft. I think that’s the key thing here. The desire for Roy to blame Microsoft is more important than fairness or facts. A gander at just a handful of the 9,000 posts here can back up that claim.

    Granted, Microsoft could make further chances to the update system to make it harder to accidentally reboot. Perhaps a simple “are you sure” prompt would be sufficient. Unless it can be shown that the computer did the opposite of what the doctor instructed the machine to do, the doctor needs to take at least some of the blame for his own actions.

  3. Agent_Smith said,

    February 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Linux never ever reboots… Poor doctor… Hope they can save the arm of the patient…

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Linux does boot when you tell it to. Boycott Novell’s server has now been up for 171 days straight.

  4. uberVU - social comments said,

    February 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: More evidence and new stories told about how #Microsoft #Windows deficiencies lead to loss of life http://ur1.ca/mmet

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