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2012 May 28 09:01

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.

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  • Got Spyware? Throw out the Computer! (Slashdot.org, 2005.07.16)
    [Virus/Worm] [WOW!] 'While no figures are available on the ranks of those jettisoning their PC's, the scourge of unwanted software is widely felt.' ... Twenty percent of those who tried to fix the problem said it had not been solved; among those who spent money seeking a remedy, the average outlay was $129.

  • Microsoft's OPM for the masses (Engadget, 2005.07.14)
    [License] [WOW!] Sure, monitors can get a big dated ... but when have you had to upgrade your monitor to avoid functional problems in the new OS? That all changes with Longhorn. ... Whether you're plunking down money for one of the new ultra-fast LCD displays ... or you're becoming the envy of neighborhood with [a] widescreen display, you're buying a monitor that won't play nice with premium content in Longhorn. So what will happen when you try to play premium content on your incompatible monitor? If you're 'lucky', the content will go through a resolution constrictor. The purpose of this constrictor is to down-sample high-resolution content to below a certain number of pixels. ... The result is a picture far fuzzier than it need be. ... If [Microsoft's 'Output Protection Management' system] determines that your monitor falls below the security restrictions ... you could be greeted with a 'polite message explaining that [your monitor] doesn't meet security requirements.' ... 'But I use VGA with my monitor,' you say. Too bad. Unless you upgrade your monitor...

  • The 12-minute Windows Heist (Slashdot.org, 2005.06.30)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] [There's] a 50 percent chance unprotected Windows PCs will be compromised within 12 minutes of going online. ... almost 8,000 new viruses [were released] in the first half of 2005 ... up 59 percent on the same period last year.

  • Norwegian Minister: Proprietary Formats No Longer Acceptable in Communication with Government (Tatle, 2005.06.27)
    [Linux/Open Source] [Government] [WOW!] The Minister, as part of the plan, has charged all government institutions, both at the national and local level, to by the end of 2005 have worked out a recommendation for the use of open source code in the public sector. Further by the end of 2006 every body of the public sector in Norway must have in place a plan for the use of open source code and open standards.

  • Detroit high school opens its desktops (NewsForge, 2005.05.26)
    [Linux/Open Source] [Education] [WOW!] The school had about a hundred older computers running Microsoft Office 97 and Windows NT, and some kind of upgrade was clearly required. It would have been an easy decision to simply upgrade to Microsoft Office 2000, but that would have required replacing all the computers with more powerful systems -- a large expenditure which could be better spent on other technology needs. Hansknecht had a better idea: OpenOffice.org. ... Realistically, upgrading the older PCs to Windows XP would require a complete hardware replacement. As an alternative, Hansknecht thought the older PCs could be converted to Linux terminals using software from the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). Although it would be necessary to purchase Linux servers to support LTSP clients, no PC replacements would be required. The cost analysis was compelling -- the Linux option could be implemented for around $21,000, more than $100,000 less than the Microsoft Windows alternative.

  • eSN Special Report: Open-Source Software (eSchool News Online, 2005.05.02)
    [Linux/Open Source] [Education] [WOW!] Not only did the Linux-based labs cost half as much as the Windows-based labs to equip--but system upkeep is much easier, too... Ron Gerstenmaier, principal of Norton High School in Norton, Ohio, has a similar story. Norton High School has been using open-source software for six years now, according to Gerstenmaier. Not only does the school pay a fraction of the cost it would require to run proprietary software programs, but "we've never had a virus problem--and the downtime is zilch," he says. ... At a time when budgets are so tight, it would make sense that a growing number of schools and other institutions would turn to a solution that is free to license and distribute. But many schools are citing enhanced stability, too, as a primary reason for making the switch from proprietary to open-source software.

  • RSA: Microsoft on 'rootkits': Be afraid, be very afraid (ComputerWorld, 2005.02.17)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] Microsoft Corp. security researchers are warning about a new generation of powerful system-monitoring programs, or 'rootkits,' that are almost impossible to detect using current security products and could pose a serious risk to corporations and individuals. ... Some newer rootkits are able to intercept queries or 'system calls' that are passed to the kernel and filter out queries generated by the rootkit software. The result is that typical signs that a program is running, such as an executable file name, a named process that uses some of the computer's memory, or configuration settings in the operating system's registry, are invisible to administrators and to detection tools...

  • Hackers Tune In to Windows Media Player (eWeek, 2005.01.10)
    [Security Hole] [WOW!] Hackers are using the newest [Digital Rights Management] technology in Microsoft's Windows Media Player to install spyware, adware, dialers and computer viruses on unsuspecting PC users. Security researchers have detected the appearance of two new Trojans ... in video files circulating on P2P (peer-to-peer) networks. ... 'In this case, they're using technology meant to secure content.' ... [These] files can [also] be distributed via e-mail, FTP or other Internet download avenues. 'All told, the infection added 58 folders, 786 files and an incredible 11,915 registry entries to my test computer. Not one of these programs had showed me any license agreement, nor had I consented to their installation on my computer...'

  • IE Plagued by 'Extremely Critical' Flaws (TechNewsWorld, 2005.01.10)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] Secunia recommends users drop IE and use an alternative browser. ... Millions of Internet Explorer 6 users are at risk from three 'extremely critical' security holes that give hackers open access to PCs running the browser -- even if Windows XP Service Pack Two has been installed. ... '[A] very critical vulnerability has been developed that can compromise a user's system without the need for user interaction besides visiting the malicious page.'

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities (Secunia, 2005.01.07)
    [MS Windows XP] [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] Some vulnerabilities have been discovered in Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system, conduct cross-site/zone scripting and bypass a security feature in Microsoft Windows XP SP2. ... Vulnerability 1 and 2, or 3 alone, in combination with an inappropriate behaviour where the ActiveX Data Object (ADO) model can write arbitrary files can be exploited to compromise a user's system. This has been confirmed on a fully patched system with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Microsoft Windows XP SP2. Solution: Use another product.

  • Who Profits from Security Holes? (Benjamin Edelman's website, 2004.11.18)
    [MS Windows XP] [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] How bad is this problem? How much junk can get installed on a user's PC by merely visiting a single site? I set out to see for myself -- by visiting a single web page taking advantage of a security hole (in an ordinary fresh copy of Windows XP), and by recording what programs that site caused to be installed on my PC. In the course of my testing, my test PC was brought to a virtual stand-still -- with at least 16 distinct programs installed. I was not shown licenses or other installation prompts for any of these programs, and I certainly didn't consent to their installation on my PC.

  • Windows v Linux security: the real facts (The Register, 2004.10.22)
    [Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt] [Linux/Open Source] [WOW!] Myth: Open Source Software is inherently dangerous because its source code is widely available, whereas Windows 'blueprints' are carefully guarded by Microsoft. Fact: This 'inherent danger' clearly has not manifested itself in terms of actual attacks. Windows-specific viruses, Trojans, worms and malicious programs exist in huge numbers... the claim itself hinges on the view - rejected by reputable security professionals - that obscurity aids security. ... we find that vulnerability metrics used by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) return 250 results for Microsoft, with 39 having a severity rating of 40 or greater, and 46 for Red Hat, with only three scoring over 40. So simply making claims based on that one metric (as Steve Ballmer did, again, earlier this week) is like judging a hospital's effectiveness in dealing with emergency cardiac care from its average speed in dealing with all patients.

  • New, dangerous Microsoft JPEG exploit released (InfoWorld, 2004.09.23)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [WOW!] New computer code that exploits a recently disclosed hole in Microsoft Articles) Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser is circulating on the Internet and could allow remote attackers to take full control of vulnerable Windows machines, according to warnings from antivirus companies and Internet security experts. ... The new exploits could be spread by a virus in corrupted JPEG images sent as e-mail attachments or served from Web sites.

  • Microsoft software caused air traffic shutdown (Silicon.com, 2004.09.20)
    [Bug] [WOW!] A bug in a Microsoft system compounded by human error was ultimately responsible for a three-hour radio breakdown that left hundreds of aircraft aloft without guidance on Tuesday... Nearly all of Southern California's airports were shut down and five incidents where aircraft broke separation guidelines were reported. In one case, a pilot had to take evasive action.

  • New Worm Installs Network Traffic Sniffer (Netcraft, 2004.09.13)
    [Privacy] [WOW!] A new worm whose payload includes the SDBot trojan tries to install a 'sniffer,' seeking to use infected computers to capture login and banking information for other computers on the same network.

  • Windows XP SP2 Has a Dangerous Hole (PC Magazine, 2004.08.26)
    [MS Windows XP] [Security Hole] [WOW!] Windows XP Service Pack 2 promises to raise the security bar for the sometimes beleaguered operating system. Unfortunately, one of the new features could be spoofed so that it reports misleading information about system security, or worse, lets a malicious program watch for an opportunity to do damage without being detected. ... it's almost like Microsoft has given attackers the path, door and keys, Windows itself contains a test utility, WBEMTEST.EXE, that allows you to view, add and edit the values in the [Windows Management Instrumentation, where firewall and security information is managed.]

  • Meet the Peeping Tom worm (The Register, 2004.08.23)
    [Security Hole] [Privacy] [WOW!] A worm that has the capability to using webcams to spy on users is circulating across the Net. Rbot-GR, the latest variant of a prolific worm series, spreads via network shares, exploiting a number of Microsoft security vulnerabilities to drop a backdoor Trojan horse program on vulnerable machines as it propagates. Once a backdoor program is installed on a victim's PC it's game over and an attacker can do whatever takes their fancy. ... 'If your computer is infected and you have a webcam plugged in, then everything you do in front of the computer can be seen, and everything you say can be recorded...'

  • Computer 'spy' that could clean you out (The Guardian, 2004.07.31)
    [Privacy] [WOW!] Spies sitting in your computer could be sending signals to international fraudsters determined to clean out your bank account or use your credit card. ... Deats believes criminals have details of more than 1,000 financial institutions including all the major UK banks. The code transmits that you are online to the bank. But the real killer application is that it reads every keystroke you make, as you make it. This means it can replicate your user name and password for future use.

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities (Secunia, 2004.07.13)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Security Hole] [Privacy] [WOW!] [Vulnerabilities] in Internet Explorer [allow] malicious people to bypass security restrictions and potentially compromise a vulnerable system. ... Successful exploitation allows execution of arbitrary script code in the context of another website. This could potentially allow execution of arbitrary code in other security zones too. ... Successful exploitation may potentially cause users to open harmful files or do other harmful actions without knowing it.

  • U.S., citing security concerns, steers consumers away from IE (EE Times, 2004.07.01)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [MS IIS Webserver] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [Government] [WOW!] The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team touched off a storm this week when it recommended for security reasons using browsers other than Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer. ... The particular virus initiated this week ... allows keystroke analysis of user information. The target is believed to be credit card numbers. CERT estimated that as many as tens of thousands of Web sites may [have been infected with the malicious code, via a vulnerability in Microsoft's 'Internet Information Services' webserver software].

  • New scam targets bank customers (SANS, 2004.06.29)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [WOW!] The victim of the attack found that a file ... been loaded onto their machine. ... The second half of the file consists of a ['Browser Helper Object', which Internet Explorer loads when it starts up]. Created BHO's then have access to all the events and properties of that browsing session. This particular BHO watches for HTTPS (secure) access to URLs of several dozen banking and financial sites in multiple countries. [The malicious code] grabs any outbound POST/GET data from within IE before it is encrypted by SSL.

  • Internet Explorer Is Just Too Risky (BusinessWeek, 2004.06.29)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [WOW!] People who browsed there on Windows computers got infected with malicious code without downloading anything. ... The biggest security problem in IE, one that has plagued Microsoft and its customers for at least four years and is at the heart of the recent exploit, is a flaw that lets a Web site trick the browser into running an alien program in violation of its own security settings. In effect, an unknown program on a Web site is treated as though it were a trusted program on your computer. Compromised Web sites can covertly install programs ranging from nuisances that cause ad pop-ups to real threats that record your keystrokes, allowing the site to steal your passwords and account information.

  • Web browser flaw prompts warning (BBC News, 2004.06.26)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [WOW!] Users are being told to avoid using Internet Explorer until Microsoft patches a serious security hole in it. The loophole is being exploited to open a backdoor on a PC that could let criminals take control of a machine. The threat of infection is so high because the code created to exploit the loophole has somehow been placed on many popular websites.

  • Microsoft warns on IIS 5 and IE attack (vnunet, 2004.06.25)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [MS IIS Webserver] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [WOW!] Sites are appending JavaScript to the bottom of web pages that, when executed, attempts to access a file hosted on another server. 'This file may contain malicious code that can affect the end user's system. US-CERT is investigating the origin of the IIS 5 compromises and the impact of the code that is downloaded to end-user systems,' the organisation said.

  • DoS Attack May Tap Web Graphics Flaw (eWeek, 2004.06.24)
    [MS Internet Explorer] [Privacy] [Security Hole] [WOW!] When visitors to a few particular Web sites-including popular auction, shopping and price-comparison sites-request pages that include the malicious graphics, the code automatically downloads itself onto their machines. Once installed, the code unpacks itself and loads a keystroke logger on the PC. NetSec officials said the attack seems to exploit a vulnerability in Internet Explorer.

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

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