01.06.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Use Microsoft Windows, Get Assassinated

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Julian Assange homepage
The Homepage of Julian Assange

Summary: News reports from around the world illustrate the effect of one’s dependence on a software ‘master’

ACTIVISTS who include folks like the Wikileaks hackers tend to use Free software. Encrypted decentralisation is what keeps them alive (no incentive to engage in targeted killings). Free software ensures that those who defend freedom have the necessary tools to not only work but also to defend themselves, using deterrents, anonymity, and privacy. It’s not only an idealogical choice; Free software is technically better a lot of the time, but more importantly, it has no master who wields an axe over the users. Over the years we wrote several posts explaining why those who challenge an authority — any authority for that matter — should avoid proprietary software even if it’s offered as a ‘gift’. No authority is 100% benign and history teaches that even the Nazis were under attack by some German intellectuals in the early days, before they become powerful enough to squash/imprison/assassinate/drive away all opposition.

A few days ago we found and shared a report about Iran building its own operating system, which some people suspect will be based on GNU/Linux. Now, without going into all the politics, what Iran does ought to show that the independence factor is a matter of control.

“This is Cyberwar,” writes Jan Wildeboer, “not Wikileaks.” He links to this Symantec paper about Stuxnet [PDF] (synopsis available as HTML too), which we covered in posts such as:

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
  19. Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
  20. Security Problems in iOS and Windows
  21. Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
  22. Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild
  23. Windows Kernel Vulnerability for Thanksgiving, Insecurity Used for Surveillance Again
  24. Cablegate Reveals Government Requesting Access to Microsoft Data, Kill Switches

In some of the posts above experts argued that sabotage of Iran’s nuclear programme using Stuxnet suggested a link to Israel. Given that Microsoft gives Chinese hackers access to its source code, the explanation can be even simpler than that and now that “Microsoft confirms [yet another] code execution bug in Windows” it ought to be evident that no back door is needed; there are just too many severe flaws.

Microsoft has confirmed reports that several versions of Windows are vulnerable to exploits that allow remote attackers to take full control of users’ computers using booby-trapped emails and websites.

In an advisory issued Tuesday, Microsoft said it was investigating “new public reports” of vulnerability in the XP, Server 2003, Vista, and Server 2008 versions of Windows. In fact, the first known report of the bug in the way those operating systems process thumbnail images came on December 15 at a security conference in South Korea. On Tuesday, exploit code was added to the Metasploit software framework for hackers.

“Dubai assassins used email trojan to track Hamas victim” says this new report from The Register around the same time that a Norwegian newspaper with access to all the raw cables from Wikileaks reveals more Israeli scandals.

The successful operation to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai in January 2010 followed a botched attempt by the same Israeli hit squad to kill the same target two months previously, according to reports.

Assassins tried to poison Mahmud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in November 2009, but even though the unknown poison was administered it proved only debilitating and not fatal. al-Mabhouh recovered from what he thought was an illness only to be killed two months later, according to a new investigation by investigative journalist Ronen Bergman published in GQ magazine.

In response to this posting (via Glyn Moody), Wildeboer wrote: “And now Microsoft gives away free licenses to NGOs … draw your own conclusions”

Yes, we wrote about that yesterday. Activists must not use proprietary software because of the proprietor. In other security news:

Virus writers are still sticking to the oldest tricks in the book to sucker people into downloading their malware,

An email, which claims to come from Microsoft, has an attachment that says it is a Windows patch.

Never expect security from Microsoft, especially for people who are witch-hunted by those in power. The FBI too has its tool for penetrating Windows remotely and it's called CIPAV.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft Thought Police

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  2. Links 08/02/2023: GNOME Smoother Scrolling of Text Views

    Links for the day



  3. Links 08/02/2023: Transmission 4.0.0 Released and Mass Layoffs at Zoom

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 07, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 07, 2023



  5. When the Pension Vanishes

    Today we commenced a multi-part mini-series about pensions and what happens when they suddenly vanish and nobody is willing to explain where all the money went



  6. Sirius 'Open Source' Pensiongate: An Introduction

    The Sirius ‘Open Source’ series continues in the form of a mini-series about pensions; it’s part of an ongoing investigation of a deep mystery that impacts people who left the company quite a long time ago and some of the lessons herein are applicable to any worker with a pension (at times of financial uncertainties)



  7. Links 07/02/2023: Endless OS 5.0 and Voice.AI GPL Violations

    Links for the day



  8. No Doubt Microsoft Unleashed Another 'Tay', Spreading Bigotry Under the Guise of Hey Hi (AI)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  9. Links 07/02/2023: Fedora 39 Development Plans Outlines

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, February 06, 2023



  11. Links 06/02/2023: Escuelas Linux 8.0 and Many Political Issues

    Links for the day



  12. Links 06/02/2023: Sparky 6.6 and IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 173

    Links for the day



  13. Taking Back Control or Seizing Autonomy Over the News Cycle (Informing People, Culling the Marketing)





  14. Reality Versus Fiction: EPO Insiders Versus EPO Web Site and UPC 'Churnalists'

    The "official" sources of the European Patent Office (EPO), as well as the sedated "media" that the EPO is bribing for further bias, cannot tell the truth about this very large institution; for proper examination of Europe's largest patent office one must pursue the interpretation by longtime veterans and insiders, who are increasingly upset and abused (they're being pressured to grant patents in violation of the charter of the EPO)



  15. Links 06/02/2023: Linux 6.2 RC7 and Fatal Earthquake

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 05, 2023



  17. Links 05/02/2023: Wayland in Bookworm and xvidtune 1.0.4

    Links for the day



  18. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023



  20. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day



  21. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes



  22. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels



  23. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day



  24. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)



  25. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)



  26. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023



  28. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day



  29. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day



  30. Links 03/02/2023: GNU C Library 2.37

    Links for the day


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