EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.03.08

Citibank Signs Deals with Microsoft, Deliberately Blocks GNU/Linux Users

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO, Security, SUN, Windows at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Background

Patterns which are learned from history can be useful for the establishment of an hypothesis — in this case it being the hypothesis that Microsoft partners have implicit obligations which favour Microsoft and ‘punish’ its rivals. This can be harmful for many reasons and even cost lives at times.

The US Federal Aviation Administration seems to have gotten itself entangled after choosing Microsoft, but there are many other government departments which follow a similar route. The US Library of Congress comes to mind as a recent example of Exclusion Through Silverlight™ [1, 2, 3].

Just moments ago we attempted to show that the BBC’s deal with Microsoft seems to have resulted in exclusion of GNU/Linux users and even bashing.

Bank of America

In the case of the Bank of America, even Firefox was banned — until recently. To say more about this:

“As the usage of Firefox browsers has increased with our customer base, we will be initiating a full support model for Firefox version 2.x in the very near future,” spokeswoman Tara Burke told Networkworld.com.

Think “the very near future” will prove to be very soon? Don’t bank on it.

This was a case of merely beginning to support something other than Internet Explorer, despite its many known deficiencies and continued lack of adherence to standards. It’s stubborn snobbery. But what about GNU/Linux, the operating system level?

Welcome Citigroup

One reader, Jose, points out that Prince Alwaleed leads to just one link among others between Microsoft and Citibank (“Prince Alwaleed proposes Microsoft operation for Kingdom”). Bill Gates is mentioned there too. Remember where the SCO cash infusion almost came from and witness the many bits of circumstantial evidence.

According to Bill Parish, “[i]t is often forgotten that crown prince Al-Waleed saved Citicorp from going under a decade ago.” So a circle seems to be closing. Moreover, just watching old news, collaborations between Microsoft and Citibank are clear for all to view. Here are 3 examples:

1. Microsoft Business Solutions Joins Forces With Citibank Merchant Services To Offer Enhanced Retail Management System

Building on their strong relationship, Microsoft Corp. and Citibank Merchant Services today announced an extension of their collaboration to offer Microsoft® Business Solutions’ customers — specifically small and midmarket retailers — technology and services designed for the independent merchant. The agreement, announced at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 92nd Annual Conference & Expo, enhances Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) by introducing a new payment processing module.

2. Microsoft Signs Citibank Indian Software Unit Deal

Microsoft Corp has formed an alliance with Citibank’s Indian software unit Citicorp Information Technology Industries Ltd (CITIL) to market the latter’s banking products world-wide. CITIL will use Windows NT and Back Office as its platforms of choice. Microsoft will sell the Indian firm’s banking industry products – Microbanker, Fundpower, and Finware – all over the world.

This pair seems to have gotten pretty close with a joint bill venture dating one decade ago:

3. Citibank joins Microsoft bill venture

Citibank has made an equity investment in MSFDC, a controversial joint venture of Microsoft and First Data for online bill presentment and payment.

Citigroup Snubs GNU/Linux

Blaming security, Citibank refuses to support GNU/Linux. Customers are furious. They deserve to be.

So you use that web browser to fill the application for a credit card at Citibank, and finally receive it. But when you start using that credit card and want to check you card usage on-line, the system won’t work when accessed with Linux. That’s exactly what has got Linux users furious at the banking giant.

Jason Antman, a techie and IT major at Rutgers University in New Jersey, got furious last week after realising that getting a card from Citibank using a Firefox is as easy as a walk in the park, but then checking his card activity on CitiCards.com using the open sauce browser was, well, as hard as a stone.

These complaints about Citibank are nothing new by the way. Here is one other rant from last year.

I hope they hear from enough people to take note. I think the Americans with Disabilities Act may be a powerful argument in favor of making web sites more standards compliant and accessible.

For its Web site, Citigroup deploys Solaris (UNIX), so it seems unwilling to run Windows on the server, yet it conveniently requires that customers do so on the desktop. Given the horrifying statistics which claim that one in two (Windows) PCs is a zombie, it’s a gamble, a Russian roulette. As Geer put it, “in zombie we trust.” What is Citigroup thinking?

Windows in ATMs

Citibank is in no position to brag about security. Here is a recent incident:

The alleged thieves made off with about $2 million between October 2007 until March of this year. Officials believe they remotely broke into the back-end computers that approve cash withdrawals and grabbed the PINs as they were being transmitted from the ATMs to the transaction processing computers, which increasingly use Windows, the report says.

From the comments:

Windows should not be used, nor shout OS X or Linux if it is running a GUI. While Windows can not be striped to a secure level and OS X is a bit of a challenge, Linux is very easy to run with a very minimalistic build.

Check out the NSA version of Linux.

Those PIN hacks seem reminiscent of the disaster which is Windows on ATMs. Here are some references that are relevant:

1. Windows-based cash machines ‘easily hacked’

ATMs, or automated teller machines, today face the Internet-born threat of worms and denial-of-service attacks, as well as being at risk from malicious applications that can harvest customer data or hijack machines.

2. Madness: ATMs Running Windows XP?

3. Pictures of ATM Machine Running Windows XP Crashing

The other day I pulled up to an ATM and it was in the middle of crashing and so I was able to shoot these pics during the crash and reboot. The ATM never did come up fully so I was unable to get some cash.

4. ATM using un-activated Windows

Ok, so lets be realistic for a moment here, first off, is ‘Hackers Best Friend” MS Windows really the optimal choice for an operating system that spits out cash?

5. ATM with Pirated Windows

In Russian you can sometimes meet pirated copy of Windows even on ATM. It warns that this copy of Windows need activation and the work of ATM gets interrupted.

6. Why not Embedded? ATM’s Running XP Professional…

This time, I happened to be there when it suddenly BSOD’d and began a reboot cycle. Obviously, to BSOD it needs to run Windows, and moments later, that was confirmed. But that’s not the story here — believe it or not, most ATMs run Windows nowadays, and there’s absoloutely nothing wrong with that.

[...]

There’s a million reasons why an ATM should must be RTOS, be it Linux or VxWorks or Windows CE, but even if you don’t go with RTOS, Windows XP Professional most certainly isn’t the answer. Especially if it’s not even SP2.

7. ATMs hacked using MP3 player

A criminal gang in the U.K. was able to steal confidential banking data by bugging ATMs with an MP3 player, The Times of London reported in its online edition Thursday.

Only Windows seems to reinterpret device insertion as a call for execution of arbitrary and untrusted contents. NASA recently saw its laptops out in space getting infected in this way (computer viruses passing via USB drives in Windows). With that in mind, how can Citigroup promote Windows for security reasons? Brazil seems to have stepped up to the plate and voted for change.

Brazilian banking giant Banco do Brasil this year is preparing to start a massive migration of one of the world’s biggest ATM fleets to the GNU/Linux operating system.

This is one among many migrations to GNU/Linux in Brazil. It includes hundreds of thousands of voting machine, so no wonder Microsoft is scared and resorting to FUD over there [1, 2].

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Shannon VanWagner said,

    September 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Gravatar

    Here’s the message I sent to them via their Contact Us link at: http://www.citi.com/domain/contact/index.htm

    Hi there. I see that your website discriminates by Operating System. I am using Ubuntu GNU/Linux with Firefox 3 browser and your website tells me I am not “able to take full advantage” of your citibank website.

    I’m not sure why you chose to do this as Firefox 3 adheres completely to Open Web Standards and the GNU/Linux operating system is just as secure as any.

    So as a person who will now NOT be setting up a citibank account, I will also get on to telling everyone I know that your company supports the Microsoft Monopoly with Windows and Internet Explorer.

    Should you ever decide that realize that, 1.) America is a free country, 2.) Monopoly is illegal, 3.) that Open Web standards are better than closed ones, and 4.) to update your website to work with any open web standards compliant internet browsers, perhaps you can let me know so I can stop making a bad name for your online account access capabilities.

    Until then, you can kindly kiss my browser stamp.

    Good day.

    Shannon VanWagner

  2. Yfrwlf said,

    September 3, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Gravatar

    I use Wamu (Washington Mutual) here in the U.S., and their website I believe is 100% web standards compliant. I spoke with them before opening my account with them, and they ensured me that Firefox was fully supported as well as any web standard compliant browser, and three banking staffers there told me they all used Firefox for their web browser. I have had no problems whatsoever using their website, everything works flawlessly and it has the freshest and cleanest website layouts and designs (using plenty of CSS) that I’ve ever seen for a banking website, of which I’ve used dozens.

    I highly recommend them, and highly recommend staying away from any websites which are anti-web-standards. That includes Progressive, by the way, which blocked me from being able to sign required forms online because I wasn’t using IE, so I switched to Geico. (Sad to have to pay any insurance company though as I believe it’s a racket and that any property damage should always be dealt with through the police/court system.)

What Else is New


  1. Team UPC Has Been Reduced to Rubble and Misinformation

    A roundup of the latest falsehoods about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and those who are peddling such falsehoods for personal gain



  2. CRISPR Patent Debacle Demonstrated That Opposition Divisions Do Their Job, But Also Highlighted Serious Deficiency in Patent-Granting Process

    While it is reassuring that EPO staff managed to squash a very controversial patent, it remains to be explained why such patent applications/applicants were even notified of intention to grant (in spite of the EPC, common sense and so on)



  3. Links 23/1/2018: Castle Game Engine 6.4, Qt 5.9.4, SQLite 3.22.0

    Links for the day



  4. Confidence in European Patents (EPs) is Eroding and Stakeholders Are Already Suffering

    The rush to grant lots and lots of patents at the EPO is already taking its toll; quality is declining, decisions to grant are being overturned, and the already-overburdened appeal boards are unable to catch up



  5. Even More Uncertain a Future for the Independence of the EPO Boards of Appeal as Judge Corcoran Too Gets Sent to 'Exile'

    The attack on supposedly independent judges at the EPO escalates further; the judge whom the EPO was ordered to reinstate (by ILO) is being constantly pushed around, not just legally bullied



  6. The Response to Accusations of Censorship by Team UPC? Yet More Censorship to Shield UPC From Criticism

    The Empire of Lies upon which the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was conceived is being exposed for its lies; The Empire Strikes Back with yet more censorship



  7. Links 22/1/2018: Linux 4.15 Delayed Again, Libinput 1.9.901

    Links for the day



  8. Team UPC Calls Critics of the UPC Idiots, Deletes Their Comments, and Blocks Them

    A new low for Team UPC, which is unable to cope with reality and has begun literally mocking and deleting comments of people who speak out truths



  9. How the Opposition to CRISPR Patents at the EPO Sent Shockwaves Through the Industry

    Additional reports/coverage on the EPO (European Patent Office) revoking Broad Institute's CRISPR patent show that the issue at hand isn't just one sole patent but the whole class/family of patents



  10. Unified Patents Says That RPX, Which Might Soon be Owned by Patent Trolls, Paid Patent Trolls Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

    Unified Patents, which helps crush software patents, takes note of RPX’s financial statements, which reveal the great extent to which RPX actually helped trolls rather than stop them



  11. IAM Together With Its Partner, IIPCC, is Lobbying the USPTO to Crush PTAB and Restore Patent Chaos

    Having handled over 8,000 petitions (according to Professor Lemley's Lex Machina), PTAB champions patent quality at the USPTO, so front groups of the litigation 'industry' creep in and attempt to lobby the likely next Director of the USPTO (inciting him against PTAB, as usual)



  12. Software Patents Are Still Dropping Like Flies in 2018, Thanks to Alice v CLS Bank (SCOTUS, 2014) and Section 101 (USPTO)

    Section 101 (§ 101) is thriving in the sense that it belatedly throws thousands of patents -- and frivolous lawsuits that depend on them -- down the chute; the patent trolls and their allies in the patent microcosm are very furious and they blame PTAB for actually doing its job (enforcing Section 101 when petitioned to do so)



  13. Patent Troll Finjan Looks Like It's About to Collapse, But Patent Maximalists Exploit It for Software Patents Promotion

    Patent trolls are struggling in their use of software patents; few (if any) of their patents are upheld as valid and those that miraculously remain in tact become the subject of fascination if not obsession among trolls' advocates



  14. The Attacks on PTAB Are Slowing Down and Attempts to Shield Oneself From Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) Are Failing

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) reapplies patent eligibility tests/guidelines in order to squash likely invalid patents; The litigation 'industry' is not happy about it, but its opposition to PTAB is also losing steam



  15. Links 21/1/2018: Wine 3.0 Coverage, KaOS 2018.01, Red Hat Among 'Admired Companies'

    Links for the day



  16. Blockchain Patents Are a Catastrophe in the Making as Trolls and Aggressors Accumulate Them

    As patents pertaining to blockchains continue to be granted -- even in defiance of Alice/Section 101 -- it seems likely that patent wars will sooner or later erupt, involving some large banks, IBM, and patent trolls associated with the notorious Erich Spangenberg



  17. Qualcomm/Broadcom/NXP Combination Would Become a Disastrous Patent Thicket Which Benefits Nobody

    Worried by the prospect of mega-mergers and takeovers which would put far too much market power (and monopoly through patents) in one place, governments and corporations speak out



  18. Patent Litigation in East Asia: Huawei, Samsung, HTC, Nintendo and COLOPL

    A quick look at some high-profile cases in which large Asian firms are embroiled; it seems clear that litigation activities have shifted eastwards (where actual production is done)



  19. Patent Litigation in the US is Down Sharply and Patent Trolls' Demise Has Much to Do With It

    Docket Navigator and Lex Machina both show a significant decline in litigation -- a trend which is likely to carry on now that TC Heartland is in tact (not for just half a year but a whole year) and PTAB completes another record year



  20. Cheating the US Patent System is a Lot Harder After TC Heartland

    Some new examples of tricks (and sometimes cheats) attempted by patent claimants and their representatives; it does not go as well as they hoped



  21. RPX Might Soon be Owned by Patent Troll Erich Spangenberg

    RPX, whose top executives are leaving and business is gradually dying, might end up as another 'asset' of patent trolls



  22. Patent Quality (Not Numbers) as an Asset: Oppositions, Appeals and Rejections at the EPO

    Benoît Battistelli wants a rubber-stamping operation (like INPI) rather than a functional patent office, but oppositions at the Office prove to be fruitful and many erroneously-granted patents are -- by extrapolation -- already being revoked (affecting, in retrospect, Battistelli's so-called 'results')



  23. Links 19/1/2018: Linux Journalism Fund, Grsecurity is SLAPPing Again

    Links for the day



  24. The EPO Ignores This Week's Decision Which Demonstrates Patent Scope Gone Awry; Software Patents Brought Up Again

    The worrisome growth of European Patents (EPs) — a 40% jump in one year in spite of decline in the number of patent applications — is a symptom of the poor judgment, induced largely by bad policies that impede examiners’ activities for the sake of so-called ‘production’; this week's decision regarding CRISPR is another wake-up call and software patents too need to be abolished (as a whole), in lieu with the European Patent Convention (EPC)



  25. WesternGeco v ION Geophysical (at the US Supreme Court) Won't Affect Patent Scope

    As WesternGeco v ION Geophysical is the main if not sole ‘major’ patent case that the US Supreme Court will deal with, it seems safe to say that nothing substantial will change for patent scope in the United States this year



  26. Links 18/1/2018: MenuLibre 2.1.4, Git 2.16 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft, Masking/Hiding Itself Behind Patent Trolls, is Still Engaging in Patent Extortion

    A review of Microsoft's ugly tactics, which involve coercion and extortion (for businesses to move to Azure and/or for OEMs to preload Microsoft software) while Microsoft-connected patent trolls help hide the "enforcement" element in this whole racket



  28. Patent Prosecution Highway: Low-Quality Patents for High-Frequency Patent Aggressors

    The EPO's race to the bottom of patent quality, combined with a "need for speed", is a recipe for disaster (except for litigation firms, patent bullies, and patent trolls)



  29. Press Coverage About the EPO Board Revoking Broad's CRISPR Patent

    Even though there's some decent coverage about yesterday's decision (e.g. from The Scientist), the patent microcosm googlebombs the news with stuff that serves to distract from or distort the outcome



  30. Links 17/1/2018: HHVM 3.24, WordPress 4.9.2

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts