12.29.10

Microsoft Sued for the Double-Dipping Vista 7 Trick (Class Action)

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dipping sauce

Summary: Microsoft’s faking of Windows sales numbers and abuse of customers who buy a computer with an unwanted operating system lands it in hot legal waters

Microsoft has reportedly just been sued (hard to corroborate with other sources) for the Vista and Vista 7 abuse which we covered here before. To quote the short report from today:

A federal class action claims Microsoft illegally requires consumers to buy a more expensive Windows Vista or Windows 7 program, before they get “downgrade rights” to buy the Windows XP Professional operating system.

Someone from IBM has claimed that those who choose Windows XP (since around 2007) will have their purchase count as two Vista/Vista 7 sales. Not one sale of XP. Not one sale of Vista/Vista 7 but two. He called it “dipping” and it’s one of the tricks Microsoft uses to produce fake numbers, in addition to financial cheats.

Chips B. Malroy has just given us the pointer to it and he adds that he “can’t find any more information on that lawsuit” (if someone can, please alert us in comments/IRC).

12.14.10

Next Windows Release is Windows 6.2 (Vista is 6.0)

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Numbers

Summary: Microsoft is playing a psychological numbers game to give an illusion of progress whilst in fact just marketing a mythical re-wrapped version of Vista

ACCORDING to Microsoft, Vista 7 is actually "Windows 6.1" (6.0 is Vista) and now it turns out that Vista 8 is “Windows 6.2″, as revealed by this article. The reader who alerted us about it asked: “Windows 8 will be only Windows Vista SP4?”

Windows 8 could reportedly sport Windows 6.2 as the version number, according to a third-party source.

Of course, Microsoft has yet to share any details related to the versioning of Windows vNext with the public, but there is a precedent indicating that the version of Windows 8 might end up as 6.x rather than Windows 8.0.

Windows8italia managed to come across a new driver from NVIDIA which apparently references a new Windows kernel, version 6.2, which can only be associated with the next major iteration of Windows.

This information needs to be taken with a grain of salt as there’s no official confirmation from the software giant, an aspect that is bound not to change, at least in the immediate future.

But believe it or not, it’s highly probable to have Windows 6.x as the version for Windows vNext.

Don’t believe the hype. Microsoft is just trying to suspend migration to other platforms. Mr. Pogson has just found a Windows Vista prediction from 2006 (when Vista was finalised):

I came across a prediction from 2006 that Vista would have 40% share by 2008. Now, we are in 2010 and Vista +”7″ is still less than 40%. Granted, predicting is an uncertain art because unknown events intervene. What has made this prediction fail?

* Vista was a dog ( I don’t like dogs)
* Vista and “7″ will not run on most hardware
* Vista and “7″ still welcome malware
* The netbook showed many millions of people GNU/Linux in action
* Snart-thingies showed millions there are other ways of doing things
* Dell and other started selling GNU/Linux to consumers
* A recession put a damper on spending

Vista 7 adoption has not really been good, but Microsoft is fudging numbers to make it look differently.

11.18.10

Why Windows Phone 7 Shows That Windows in General is Collapsing

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 7 is unsuitable for form factors that customers increasingly adopt

WINDOWS is not doing well. Don’t believe the spinners. When it comes to profit, the numbers not only declined over the years; these turn out to be faked figures, too (the rest of the revenue comes from squeezing the goose, inflation, forced ‘upgrades’ and so on). Even Microsoft is now admitting that Windows has an innovator’s dilemma-type crisis. It just doesn’t scale, not even Vista 7 which Microsoft claims to be lighter than Vista (how inappropriate a basis for comparison).

According to this Microsoft booster, Vista 7 is too heavy for tablets. It’s implicit and subtle. By saying that Vista Phony 7 [sic] might be needed for tablets, Microsoft inadvertently admits that Vista 7 is too fat.

If Vista Phony 7 [sic] is Microsoft’s plan for the future, then no wonder we saw more and more people saying that Ballmer is already on the exit chair, awaiting ejection (and it won’t be Ballmer setting off this chair). As my colleague and friend Tim puts it, what Microsoft says is not reality and even its PR is suffering a lot this month. Examples are being given, including some from the overly-hyped KINect:

Today I thought that I would present a list of articles/links which hardly put Microsoft in the same light as its PR agents and boosters would want you to know.

[...]

Can Microsoft compete with the Nintendo with Kinect? – On the basis of this and other reports around the net, I wouldn’t think so.

[...]

It also seems Microsoft advocates/boosters will tell you that demand has it sold out. This doesn’t appear to be the case and at time of writing HMV had these in stock. Maybe Microsoft is trying to generate some interest? Maybe Kinect sales are suffering with the same type of lag that the device reports to have (as per the BBC Click review) . Maybe the people who part with cash for this contraption can let us all know.

“Will Microsoft ride Kinect tiger or go Wii Wii Wii all the way home,” asks one of ZDNet’s FOSS-leaning bloggers, who adds:

As I noted Friday, Microsoft has backed down from earlier legal and technological threats against the programmers who turned Kinect into a general computer interface. But now Google’s Matt Cutts has tweaked the Green Monster with his own contest for the best Linux and open source applications using the device.

Note that this is not a Google contest. It’s a Matt Cutts contest. He just happens to work at Google.

As our Adrian Kingsley-Hughes notes, the Kinect’s parts cost just $56. Even at $149, that’s a healthy profit margin, but he also notes that Microsoft’s research costs mean it must sell “a lot of Kinect devices to turn this one into a serious money spinner.”

Based on the billions (in losses) which Xbox cost Microsoft, one should not be too optimistic here. KINect will definitely sell better than KIN, but again, this is not a proper basis for comparison. Any Wii sold already contains the equivalent of KINect. Microsoft is playing catch-up here and allegedly spends half a billion dollars just marketing this thing. The same goes for Vista Phony 7 [sic] marketing, which — as we predicted — will be money down the toilet. The Register ponders: “So did Windows Phone 7 ‘bomb in US’?”

40,000 devices is still embarrassing, even if it’s just the USA and leaves out the 90,000 or so Microsoft employees who’ll be getting one, and even if figures elsewhere are rather better. But before drawing any conclusions it’s worth thinking about the numbers.

Charles Arthur, who is working for a Bill Gates-funded publication (where the sponsorship helps inject bias sometimes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), looks back at the early days of Windows and suggests that we are seeing the end of this era. His headline states: “Has Microsoft’s Windows had its day?”

The bald man in the ill-fitting check jacket doesn’t pause as he stands beside the beige 1980s-vintage PC. The words pour out of his mouth like the sharpest huckster you’ve ever seen. “How much do YOU think this advanced operating environment is worth? WAIT just ONE minute before you answer,” he instructs eagerly. “WATCH as Windows integrates Lotus 1-2-3 with” – he clutches his lapels – “MIAMI VICE!”

The screen shows picture of a Ferrari pasted into a document. “NOW we can take THIS Ferrari and paste it RIGHT INTO Windows Write,” the man gabbles. “NOW how much do you think Microsoft Windows is worth?… DON’T ANSWER. WAIT until you see Windows Write and Windows Paint and LISTEN to what else you get at NO EXTRA CHARGE!”

We’re only 15 seconds in but already you feel buffeted. “The MS-DOS executive, an appointment calendar, a cardfile, a notepad, a clock, a control panel, a terminal, printer, a RAM driver, AND CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, REVERSI, yes that’s right, ALL these features and Reversi, for just – HOOOOW much did you guess?”

Guess? We had to guess? ” FIVE HUNDRED? A THOUSAND? EVEN MORE? NOOOO it’s just 99 dollars, that’s right, it’s 99 dollars, it’s an incredible value but it’s true, it’s Windows from Microsoft, order TODAY! PO BOX 286-DOS,” he concludes as the address flashes on the screen, before adding weirdly, and without explanation, “…. Except in Nebraska.”

Arthur refers to the viral video below. Tim (of TechBytes and OpenBytes) does not expect Ballmer to survive next year at Microsoft. Vista Phony 7 [sic] is just one of his many recent failures.

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement

10.10.10

EU Concerns Highlight Need to Remove Windows From the Network

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Europe

Summary: With Stuxnet running rampant and security issues at Microsoft reaching an all-time high, employees of the company attempt to distract from the fact that Windows — not “sick” PCs — is the cause

ACCORDING TO this report, “EU calls Stuxnet ‘paradigm shift’” and there is need for change.

While official U.S. response has been comparatively mild, the European Union’s cybersecurity agency says Stuxnet represents a “paradigm shift” in critical infrastructure threats and that current defense philosophies need to be reconsidered.

In a statement released yesterday, Udo Helmbrecht, the executive director of ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency), said that as a “new class and dimension of malware,” Stuxnet represents a “paradigm shift.”

“The attackers have invested a substantial amount of time and money to build such a complex attack tool,” he said. “The fact that perpetrators activated such an attack tool can be considered as the ‘first strike,’ i.e. one of the first organized, well prepared attacks against major industrial resources. This has tremendous effect on how to protect national” infrastructure in the future.

CNET’s Elinor Mills no longer 'forgets' to mention Windows and “let’s hope the[y] draw the right conclusion about Windows” was Glyn Moody’s response to the above.

Stuxnet has become somewhat of a blessing to GNU/Linux because it helps more and more people see the serious ramifications of Windows use. Stuxnet is very much alive and there is no solution to it yet. We wrote about the subject in:

  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

“Stuxnet Used in Black Hat SEO Campaigns” says Ziff Davis which also has this new slideshow-type article about Stuxnet.

That link that you click on for information about the Stuxnet worm might be leading you to a malicious site.

It’s the dark side of search engine optimization; attackers boosting the search engine rankings of malicious sites so they can lure visitors with the promise of interesting news. In this case, it’s the Stuxnet worm that is being used as bait.

Stuxnet has been a regular presence in security articles since it was discovered this summer. The worm was designed to target industrial control systems, and its complexity has made it a source of interest for security researchers and IT admins alike.

As expected, Microsoft is trying to distract from Windows as the source of this problem. In fact, it tries to take advantage of this fiasco and portray itself as a rescuer. As we showed some days ago, Microsoft steps up as the so-called ‘solution’ to the problem which Microsoft itself helped create and the old nonsense from Charney (he started this in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]) has washed the Web, leading to responses like Marco’s “Computer health certificates for surfing the Internet? Are you serious?”

First of all, he has managed to turn a problem that today, in large part, is caused by defects in his company’s products in something that any freedom-loving government would really love to fix for you. This is genius at work. Because presenting (1) virus-ridden computers as “sick PCs”, that is as a “public health” issue that should be fixed by “legal frameworks” that define and enforce “trusted computers systems” is just a way to mutilate computers so they can’t do anymore what you want, but only what somebody else likes. In other words, this proposal could give governments a reason to fix Microsoft problems with their (as in “yours”) money because it also does something else they want. Not to mention that movie and music corporations would surely insist to add “no copy” mechanisms to the “health” checklist.

Secondly, Mr Charney comes and proposes this… just seven months after an equally absurd and offending solution to the same problem, that is taxing ALL citizens to fix Microsoft’s security problems. I am speechless, really.

John Gilmore says: “I’d recommend merely ignoring his ideas til they sink like a stone. But it looks like Intel and Microsoft are actively sneaking up on the free Internet and the free 10% of the computer market by building in these techniques and seeking partnerships with governments, ISPs, telcos, oligopolists, etc to force their use. So some sort of active opposition seems appropriate.”

Here is what SJVN wrote about it:

My friend Richi Jennings is fond of the idea that users with malware-infected PCs should be cut off from the Internet. To this, I say not just “Yes,” but “Hell yes.” And, as he pointed out, other people are getting behind this idea of helping to clean up the litter of spam, malware, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that junks up the Internet highway.

Comcast, as Jennings pointed out, will be letting malware-infected users know that they’ve got garbage on their hard disk, but not keeping them off the net. Darn it.

If this was implemented, up to about half of the world’s computer users would get disconnected. It’s really that serious. Despite Microsoft’s many promises for the best part of a decade, things are not improving. Microsoft does not reveal just how many holes exist in its software (there is silent patching which Microsoft keeps hidden), but this month it claims to be breaking the record:

i. Microsoft Plans Biggest Patch Tuesday Security Update Ever

Microsoft is poised to break its record for the most Patch Tuesday security bulletins ever for the second time in 2010.

On Oct. 12, the company is set to release 16 security bulletins to cover a total of 49 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and the .NET framework. In August, the company set a new record with 14 bulletins. That update fixed 34 security holes across a number of products.

ii. MS planning Patch Tuesday whopper: 16 bulletins, 49 vulnerabilities

This month’s batch of security patches from Microsoft will be a record-breaking one: 16 bulletins addressing a whopping 49 security vulnerabilities.

Windows XP may no longer be sold, but this Swiss cheese of an operating system is here to cause trouble for several more years:

Although Windows XP will no longer be for sale this doesn’t mean that existing users will be left high and dry. Microsoft has said that it will provide support for Windows XP until April 2014. Windows Vista support will also end in April 2014.

Notice what Microsoft is doing with Vista. Support gets cut on the same date, despite the releases being almost 6 years apart. What does that tell people who were foolish enough to fall for Microsoft’s hype and bet on Vista? It’s also a potential lesson about Vista 7. A reasonable upgrade route is to GNU/Linux and Ubuntu 10.10 will be released very shortly.

10.07.10

More Indications That ‘Sales’ of Vista 7 Are Worse Than Sales of Vista

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

Summary: Windows Vista not only brought more money after its launch but it also did not have Microsoft resort to so many big discounts (like with Vista 7)

POGSON has finally banned a Microsoft AstroTurfer from his blog and he also has some revealing new posts about Vista 7. His blog — like Techrights — deals a lot with the opposition’s actions against software freedom and he too has realised that Microsoft is lying/embellishing (mischaracterising) so-called ‘sales’ of Vista 7 (Windows is never sold, it’s being licensed).

Earlier this year we explained why family discounts (or family packs or whatever) of Vista 7 are signs of a failure to sell. Had Vista 7 sold well, those discounts would not be necessary. If one looks at the actual numbers (few journalists do), it becomes evident that Vista 7 has been a lot less profitable than Windows Vista (GNU/Linux too contributes to this) and to use Pogson’s headline, if Vista 7 is so successful, why does Microsoft have to give it away?

Yep. They have brought back the buy one/get two free deal for the anniversary of “7″.

The ‘sales’ are not as good as Microsoft would have people believe and Pogson explains why Windows just isn’t important anymore, noting in part in response to some Vista 7 rave that Vista 7 — like predecessors — is bound to slow down and get worse over time:

Suppose “7″ installs a trojan and invites a dozen of its friends to run on your machine. Do you have a core and a gigabyte for each and a NIC for each and an ISP for each so that no bottlenecks get plugged? Suppose your hard drive fragments so that every file is in a dozen parts and you malware scanner has to sift through all of them as well as the applications and OS…. If you install “7″ on an old PC with slow 40gB hard drive and 256 MB or RAM it will thrash like crazy. That will get worse as the disc fragments and more updates are done and more bloat added.

As a side note, be aware that critics of Vista 7 have always been attacked by trolls. We support Pogson’s decision to ban the AstroTurfer, Bill Weisgerber aka “billwg” or “amicus_curious”, who has been plaguing several pro-GNU/Linux forums for many years (some claim to have blown the whistle on him), insulting people in them.

For those who are proponents of software freedom, consider Pogson’s blog a blog worth subscribing to because the troll problem is now resolved too. OpenBytes had similar issues with a vulgar troll who attacked the editor’s family. The weaker Microsoft becomes, the more aggressive the trolls will be. Both trolls are just 2 among ~4 in total that we’ve ever banned in Techrights. Yes, they systematically target just Microsoft critics and GNU/Linux proponents, trashing their Web sites on purpose.

09.19.10

Microsoft’s Most Profitable Windows (Vista) is Already Dead, Microsoft Camp Urges a Rush to Vista 7

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 9:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Upgrade treadmill reloaded

Gym

Summary: Windows XP is declared clinically dead (although it’s not), Windows Vista has totally vanished from the news, and the shameless PR for Vista 7 continues despite relatively low adoption

“XP is Dead,” says IDG and this is obviously an exaggeration. It is actually good news for GNU/Linux and for BSD (XP-grade computers are not sufficiently powerful for current versions of Windows). One key milestone is Dell’s ending of XP:

Dell has become the first, but it will not be the last, to bid adieu to Microsoft’s workhorse operating system, XP.

This was also covered in articles such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Needless to say, Dell won’t be selling Vista, either. Hyped today, gone tomorrow. But a lot of people may not realise that Vista was far more profitable than Vista 7 at its time (we explained the decline in Windows profit some months ago). We found not a single headline about “Vista” in two weeks (nothing about “Azure” or “Hotmail”, either) and Mary Jo Microsoft is just pushing everyone to Vista 7, helped by Gartner hype (Microsoft is a client of Gartner, which sells bias). One must remember that Gartner was very optimistic about Vista, which made a lot more money than Vista 7. Gartner helped market it by selling the illusion that a lot of enterprises would inevitably adopt it within months [1, 2]. Vista 7 too has adoption problems in enterprises (no compelling reasons for upgrades), but Microsoft does not like to talk about it. Mary Jo Microsoft, Gartner, and the rest of this dishonest clique can shout “Vista 7″ all they want, but enterprises — unlike home users — are more prudent and less susceptible to marketing hypnosis. Two weeks ago we wrote that Vista 7 price drops show its sales are poor. The IE9 preview release is an example of Microsoft's more forceful push for people to buy Vista 7 rather than use another company’s Web browser.

Vista may seem like one of the dead products like SteadyState. Here is a somewhat belated article about the death of SteadyState (one among many dead products from Microsoft). Judging by Vista’s lifeline, it might not be long before Vista 7 too is passé. Why not move to GNU/Linux, which is constantly upgraded reliably and free of charge?

09.05.10

Vista 7 Price Drops Show Its Sales Are Poor

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 9:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sale

Summary: Vast majority of Vista 7 “sales” are licence write-offs and Microsoft tries to convince people to shop for Vista 7, not be forced to get it with a new PC

THE reality behind Vista 7 was never pretty. In many ways it mirrored Windows Vista, which actually seems to have brought more money in its time. Based on news headlines which were published in two weeks (filtered based on occurrences in the headlines), articles about “Vista” were pretty much none. There was this one article about 64-bit Windows (Vista and Vista 7 included) being targeted by a new rootkit. We mentioned it in the previous post and it’s not really about Vista 7. When it comes to Vista 7 headlines, all we found was hype about discounts. These were not “discounts” per se but some words about implicit discounts (“Family Pack”), which help show that adoption has been poor and Microsoft tries to change this (it’s just bundling that worked, i.e. forced sales). When supply and demand rules are taken into account, this is the only sane conclusion to reach. Except for Family Pack there was this puff piece about Service Pack, courtesy of Mary Jo Microsoft (she increasingly writes for Microsoft publications, always saying just positive things).

A couple of headlines we found standing out of the crowd are Vista 7 problems, highlighted by the Washington Post. They are:

i. Fix a Windows 7 System That Randomly Freezes

Of all the hassles that can plague a PC user (and, trust me, there are many), few are as infuriating as random lockups.

There you are, typing along, when suddenly everything just freezes. No error message, no bluescreen, just a locked-up, unresponsive system. I’ve been there. I feel your pain.

ii. Help File: Laptop batteries going unused, upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

Q. I have Windows XP on my computer and want to install Windows 7, but I’ve heard that can be difficult. I also have a copy of Vista — should I upgrade to that and then 7?

Yes. Going straight from XP to 7 will wipe out your existing applications, while a two-step upgrade will take more time but preserves those details.

This is pathetic. Why not rely on the smoother (and more affordable) upgrade experience of GNU/Linux distributions?

08.16.10

Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Security news from the British press and IDG (gathered in recent weeks), affecting all versions of Windows

THE MSBBC (mentioned in the previous post) continues calling a criminal “hacker”, which deceives British readers.

Another report, specifically this one from The Inquirer (there are more such reports outside the UK), says that “[a] scary number of security suites fail on Windows Vista” and this potentially contradicts that story Microsoft had printed in IDG the other day.

Doomed from the start probably because they were tested on Windows Vista Business Edition SP2, the tests found a marked inability of some software to cope with heavy attacks. As opposed to Windows Vista’s inability to cope, full stop. Virus Bulletin’s crack squad also noted that false positive rates were very high, with legitimate files from Corel, Roxio and Adobe having been falsely identified as being infected.

Yesterday I went over to good friend of mine who has been stuck with Vista for a few years and hates it (I showed him KDE and GNOME, then set it up for his brother in law). Vista is in many ways a mess and the fonts are ugly on some screens (BSODs are an occasional problem too); Vista 7 is more of the same but somewhat improved. According to this new eWEEK readers survey, there are more GNU/Linux users there than Vista 7 users. No surprise.

Windows XP scored nearly 44 percent in a poll of which desktops eWEEK readers use to run their business. Microsoft’s Windows 7 came in behind Linux, while Vista languished with a handful of votes in the “other” category.

In other security news from this month, let’s look at The Register (UK):

Hoax Facebook virus makes more trouble than a real virus

Blackhole your malware

Anti-virus defences even shakier than feared

A study by web intelligence firm Cyveillance found that, on average, vendors detect less than 19 per cent of malware attacks on the first day malware appears in the wild. Even after 30 days, detection rates improved to just 61.7 per cent, on average.

Waledac zombie attacks rise from the grave

However, over recent weeks, the botnet is making a comeback of sorts. Spammed messages containing malicious attachment harbouring Waladec agents and disguised as tax invoices or job offers and the like have begun appearing, Trend Micro warns.

The same run of spam messages is also being used to spread fake anti-virus and other scams unrelated to Waledac, and there’s no sign that a new command and control structure, much less a fresh round of spamming, has begun.

Scotland Yard cuffs six in megaquid phish ring probe

Botnet that pwned 100,000 UK PCs taken out

Click fraud botnet unpicked

Cybercrooks use of botnets to make money by sending spam or launching denial of service attacks has become a well-understood business model.

But the controllers of networks of compromised PCs have other ways of turning an illicit profit, including using rogue traffic brokers to defraud reputable brands. Trend Micro’s write-up of a click fraud scam sheds light onto this less well-known but highly lucrative cyberscam.

“Malware Reaches An All-Time High,” claims this report.

McAfee found 6 million malicious files in the second quarter, compared to 4 million in the first quarter.

This was also covered by IDG, which published “Malware Call to Arms: Threat at All-Time High and Rising”

Going as far back as last month in IDG, we also have:

Atlanta Has Dubious Honor of Highest Malware Infection Rate

Natural Disasters and Global Warming Fuel the Malware Flames

After worm, Siemens says don’t change passwords

Trusteer Finds 100,000 UK Computers Infected With Zeus

We wrote about Zeus in [1, 2, 3] and about Stuxnet/Siemens in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. “Stuxnet Industrial Worm Was Written Over a Year Ago,” claims IDG.

A sophisticated worm designed to steal industrial secrets has been around for much longer than previously thought, according to security experts investigating the malicious software.

Called Stuxnet, the worm was unknown until mid-July, when it was identified by investigators with VirusBlockAda, a security vendor based in Minsk, Belarus. The worm is notable not only for its technical sophistication, but also for the fact that it targets the industrial control system computers designed to run factories and power plants.

From CNET: “Stuxnet could hijack power plants, refineries”

“For example, at an energy production plant, the attacker would be able to download the plans for how the physical machinery in the plant is operated and analyze them to see how they want to change how the plant operates, and then they could inject their own code into the machinery to change how it works,” he said.

The Stuxnet worm propagates by exploiting a hole in all versions of Windows in the code that processes shortcut files ending in “.lnk.” It infects machines via USB drives but can also be embedded in a Web site, remote network share, or Microsoft Word document, Microsoft said.

Microsoft issued an emergency patch for the Windows Shortcut hole last week, but just installing the patch is not enough to protect systems running the Siemens program because the malware is capable of hiding code in the system that could allow a remote attacker to interfere with plant operations without anyone at the company knowing, according to O’Murchu.

That’s truly a national security issue. Watch this news from Japan: [via]

Computer criminal blows probation

Tokyo police said Wednesday they have arrested a 27-year-old man in Osaka on suspicion of using a computer virus to destroy stored data.

Unless or until Windows is removed, systems that affect many people’s lives will continue to be at risk.

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