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Reasons to Avoid Microsoft

[Bug] [Education] [Government] [Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt] [Security Hole] [MSN Hotmail] [MS Internet Explorer] [MS IIS Webserver] [MSN Instant Messenger] [License] [Linux/Open Source] [Monopoly] [MS Outlook] [Piracy] [Privacy] [Virus/Worm] [MS XBox] [MS Windows XP] [WOW!]
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These pages are a compilation of links and quotes to news articles and others sources that might help convince you to switch to Linux.

  • Major IE8 flaw makes 'safe' sites unsafe (The Register, 2009.11.20)
    [Security Hole] [MS Internet Explorer] [WOW!] The latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser contains a bug that can enable serious security attacks against websites that are otherwise safe. The flaw in IE 8 can be exploited to introduce XSS, or cross-site scripting, errors on webpages that are otherwise safe... Ironically, the flaw resides in a protection added by Microsoft developers to IE 8 that's designed to prevent XSS attacks against sites.

  • After one year, Conficker infects 7 million computers (Network World, 2009.10.30)
    [Virus/Worm] [WOW!] Conficker first caught the attention of security experts in November 2008 and received widespread media attention in early 2009. It has proved remarkably resilient and adept at re-infecting systems even after being removed.

  • ECIS Provides A History of Microsoft's AntiCompetitive Behavior (Groklaw, 2009.04.21)
    [WOW!] [Monopoly] 'Once Microsoft had achieved wide distribution for its own browser through these tactics, it then moved to "extend" (in effect, customize) industry standards for HyperText Markup Language ("HTML") and Cascading StyleSheets ("CSS") to ensure that users would become reliant on Microsoft's own web browser. Microsoft also introduced its ActiveX technology extensions, which allowed software written much like traditional computer programs to run in the Internet Explorer browser, but that only worked on Microsoft's monopoly operating system.' ... 'Even when Microsoft claims to be implementing a standard, the reality is that Microsoft's implementations routinely either only partially conform or else somehow extend the standard, so that software developed to work with Microsoft's version of the standard will not work with other vendors' implementations of the same standard.' ... '"We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger....If you're going to kill someone, there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger."'

  • Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7 (Slashdot.org, 2009.02.17)
    [WOW!] [Privacy] The days of capturing an audio program on your PC seem to be over... Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to insert themselves stealthily into your firewall exception list. Further, that the OS allows large software vendors to penetrate your machine.

  • Windows worm trickery for Vista (BBC News, 2009.01.21)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] The worm is unusually clever in the way that it determines what server to contact... 'This makes it impossible and/or impractical for us good guys to shut them all down'... [The virus] has spread to an estimated 9m computers globally.

  • 1 in 3 Windows PCs Still Vulnerable To Worm Attack (Slashdot.org, 2009.01.16)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] The worm that has infected several million Windows PCs, Downadup or 'Conficker,' is having a field day because nearly a third of all systems remain unpatched 80 days after Microsoft rolled out an emergency fix.

  • Sneaky Blackmailing Virus That Encrypts [Your] Data [and holds it hostage] (Slashdot, 2008.06.05)
    [WOW!] [Virus/Worm] ... the criminal tells the victims that the file has been encrypted and offers to sell them a decryptor. Is this a look into the future where the majority of malware will function based on extortion?

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  • Hacker, Microsoft duke it out over Vista desin flaw (ZDNet 'Tracking the hackers' blog, 2007.02.13)
    [] [Security Hole] [WOW!] [A security hacker] stumbled upon a 'very severe hole' in the design of UAC (User Account Control) and found out -- from Microsoft officials -- that the default no-admin setting isn't even a security mechanism anymore. ... [UAC] assumes that all setup programs (application installers) should be run with administrator privileges. ... 'That means if you download some freeware Tetris game, you will have to run its installer as administrator, giving it not only full access to all your file system and registry, but also allowing it to load kernel drivers.'

  • Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006 (Washington Post 'Security Fix' Blog, 2007.01.03)
    [Security Hole] [Privacy] [MS Internet Explorer] [WOW!] For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in [IE] was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users. ... In contrast, [the Open Source Mozilla Firefox browser] experienced a single period lasting just nine days last year in which exploit code for a serious security hole was posted online before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.

  • New Windows attack can kill firewall (Network World, 2006.10.30)
    [WOW!] [Security Hole] Hackers have published code that could let an attacker disable the Windows Firewall on certain Windows XP machines. The code, which was posted on the Internet early Sunday morning, could be used to disable the Windows Firewall on a fully patched Windows XP PC that was running Windows' Internet Connection Service... ypically used by home and small-business users.

  • Onerous Vista Activation -- A Time Bomb? (PC Magazine, 2006.10.16)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] There has been a lot of chatter recently over some of the newer activation and validation schemes that Microsoft may or may not implement with its new Vista operating system. ... Microsoft wants to put yet another layer into the mix, and this layer -- Windows Genuine Advantage -- could become a problem if the layer itself is ever targeted by a virus or Trojan horse. ... I'm more worried about some joker creating a virus or exploit that turns the good cop [WGA] into a bad cop, and I can only imagine the destruction and hassle that will ensue. First of all, this policeman program is also a traffic cop. Aside from having the potential ability to turn your operating system off so that it cannot work at all, it is the program that allows your OS to be upgraded. There will be no patches for an exploit against the program that turns off upgrades. Once a virus that makes the cop refuse to authenticate Vista hits the Net, then how can the problem be fixed?

  • Vista & Longhorn Server.s .Improved. Security (The NeoSmart Files, 2006.10.12)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] [If] an operating system doesn't get more secure as it progresses and evolves, there is certainly something fishy going on. ... So what's the problem? Windows "Longhorn" Server is! While Windows Vista.s security has steadily improved build-by-build, and while Longhorn.s kernel and applications may be more secure, Windows Longhorn Server as a whole most certainly isn.t. Why? Because it never prompts you to set an Administrator password!

  • Tracking down hi-tech crime (BBC News, 2006.10.08)
    [MS Windows XP] [Security Hole] [WOW!] If every hour a burglar turned up at your house and rattled the locks on the doors and windows to see if he could get in, you might consider moving to a safer neighbourhood. And while that may not be happening to your home, it probably is happening to any PC you connect to the net. ... When we put this machine online it was, on average, hit by a potential security assault every 15 minutes. None of these attacks were solicited, merely putting the machine online was enough to attract them. The fastest an attack struck was mere seconds... Often once a machine has fallen under someone else's control, a keylogger will be installed to capture information about everything that the real owner does -- such as login to their online bank account.

  • The Vista budget vacuum (smallbusiness.itworld.com, 2006.10.05)
    [WOW!] If your company plans to play the Vista game, start cooking your books now. I estimate each Vista user will cost your company between $3,250 and $5,000. That's each and every Vista user. Money will go to Microsoft for Vista and Office 2007, to hardware vendors for new PCs and components, and possibly a few bucks to Apple for those users jumping to a Mac. After all, if Apple's higher cost has been the factor keeping your company from trying a Mac, that factor just washed away.

  • With Exploits Out, MS Braces for Worm Attack (eWeek, 2006.08.10)
    [Security Hole] [MS Windows XP] [WOW!] A network worm attack exploiting a critical Microsoft Windows vulnerability appears inevitable... An exploit module [exists] that could launch attacks against all unpatched Windows 2000 systems and some versions of Windows XP. ... "The nature of the vulnerability itself is something that should be taken very seriously. The fact that exploits were out even before Patch Day and now that public code is available for anyone to download and use, that's enough to treat this as a high-priority issue..."

  • Flaw finders lay siege to Microsoft Office (The Register, 2006.07.22)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] So far this year, the software giant has detailed at least 24 Office flaws found by outside researchers in its monthly bulletins, six times the number of Office flaws found in all of 2005. The count also surpasses the 20 flaws that Microsoft has fixed so far this year in Internet Explorer, a perennial favorite among vulnerability researchers. ... While a vulnerability in a remote network service could be exploited to create a worm and tends to worry system administrators more, the rash of attacks leveraging the Office vulnerabilities to compromise specific companies underscores the seriousness of the current threat. ... While Office files require some user interaction to compromise a victim's system, most workers are now accustomed to receiving such files, especially if attached to an e-mail that appears to be genuine...

  • Hacked Ad Seen on MySpace Served Spyware to a Million (Washington Post, 2006.07.20)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] An online banner advertisement that ran on MySpace.com and other sites over the past week used a Windows security flaw to infect more than a million users with spyware when people merely browsed the sites with unpatched versions of Windows... online criminal groups have been using the flaw to install adware, keystroke loggers and all manner of invasive software for the past seven months. This stuff bombards the user with pop-up ads and tracks their Web usage. Only a little more than half of the anti-virus programs [tested] flagged the various programs that the Trojan tried to download as malicious or suspicious.

  • Microsoft's Calling Home Problem: It's a Matter of Informed Consent (Groklaw, 2006.06.11)
    [Privacy] [WOW!] No doubt many of you saw on Slashdot the article "Microsoft Talks Daily With Your Computer" or in Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols article for eWeek titled, Big Microsoft Brother, about allegations that Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage validation tool phones home daily to report information to Microsoft about you on each boot. Lauren Weinstein broke the story on his blog. Microsoft has now put out a statement, asserting that the Windows Genuine Advantage tool is not spyware, that they're going to change it some, and that one thing that distinguishes it from spyware is that they get consent before installing it. I question the accuracy of the statement.

  • Rotten Effort (ComputerWorld, 2006.05.08)
    [Monopoly] [WOW!] It's bad enough when Microsoft strong-arms other software vendors into submission as a means of thwarting competition. But when it engages in underhanded tactics to intimidate users in order to land a software deal, we have a very disturbing situation on our hands.

  • OpenDocument Approved by ISO/IEC Members (TheConsortiumInfo.org, 2006.05.03)
    [Linux/Open Source] [WOW!] With adoption of ODF by ISO/IEC now assured, software that implements the standard will now become more attractive to those European and other government purchasers for whom global adoption by ISO/IEC is either desirable, or required. Given the ongoing unhappiness in Europe with Microsoft over what the EU regards as unacceptable bundling and other practices, this may be particularly significant, especially when taken with the desire of many European and other purchasers to use open source products whenever possible. Offerings such as OpenOffice and KOffice therefore should receive a boost in appeal and usage, as well as for-sale versions, such as Sun's StarOffice and IBM's Internet-based offering.

  • Internet Explorer Window Loading Race Condition Address Bar Spoofing (Secunia, 2006.04.04)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] [A] vulnerability in Internet Explorer [has been discovered] which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct phishing attack.

  • Invasion of the Computer Snatchers (Washingtonpost.com, 2006.02.19)
    [Security Hole] [Privacy] [WOW!] Hackers are hijacking thousands of PCs to spy on users, shake down online businesses, steal identities and send millions of pieces of spam. If you think your computer is safe, think again. ... At the moment, [the hacker interviewed] controls more than 13,000 computers in more than 20 countries. This morning he installs spyware on just a few hundred of the 2,000 PCs that he has commandeered in the last few hours

  • January Virus and Spam Statistics: 2006 Starts with a Bang (Commtouch press release, 2006.02.15)
    [Virus/Worm] [WOW!] The numbers are indeed concerning: 19 new email-born significant virus attacks, of which [...] 4 (21%) were massive attacks - a rare phenomenon for a single month. ... Commtouch was able to compare detection times of 21 leading AV engines against 19 new viruses in January. The results: [1] On average, each AV completely missed 6.2 viruses (the attack was [already] completed, and a signature was [still not] available). [2] The average response time to new viruses among all AV engines was 8.12 hours. "The data should be of great concern to AV vendors and IT managers alike. [...] An eight hour response spells a simple truth - a traditional AV solution does not stand a chance against massive attacks that end before a signature is even released."

  • Microsoft probes report of IE flaw (CNet News, 2005.09.28)
    [Security Hole] [MS Internet Explorer] [WOW!] A new flaw in Internet Explorer could be exploited to launch spoof-based attacks, or access and change data on vulnerable PCs, security experts have warned. ... An attacker could spoof a legitimate Web site, access data from the Web browser's cache or stage a so-called man-in-the-middle attack, which taps into traffic between a user and another Web site... Fully-patched computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Internet Explorer 6.0 are vulnerable to this issue...

Next 25 Articles

Collection originally created by, donated to LUGOD by, and maintained by Bill Kendrick.

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