Summary: The security trouble caused by Microsoft’s software leads to more serious action even at national levels
FOUR months ago it was reported that Australian ISPs may kick Windows PCs which are zombies out of the Internet. That would be a huge number of PCs. The Australian has this new report on the same subject. [via]
COMPUTERS infected with viruses could be “expelled” from the internet under a new industry code to control Australia’s plague of contaminated PCs.
The federal government has given the internet industry an operate-or-legislate ultimatum to identify “zombie” computers involved in cyber-crime.
The Internet Industry Association – whose members include major internet service providers Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, AAPT, Virgin and Hutchison 3G, as well as industry giants Facebook, Google and Microsoft – is preparing a voluntary industry code to come into force this year.
The move follows industry intelligence that Australia now hosts the world’s third-highest number of “zombie” computers infected with malicious software that can attack other PCs, send spam, store child pornography or steal the user’s identity.
“Australian ISPs are making plans to disconnect one third to half of all their Windows users,” is how one of our readers put it. “Pathetic, though, how the editorial staff of the newspaper spin the problem by falsely implying that it is a ‘computer’ problem and not a Microsoft problem.”
IDG has this new article about botnets and it also ‘forgets’ to mention Windows. Why is that?
I caught up recently with Roland Dobbins, a solutions architect with the Asia Pacific division of Arbor Networks, a company that specializes in helping customers defend against botnet attacks. Dobbins said the Google incident a perfect example of how the botnet has enabled what he calls the democratization of espionage.
They do not mention the crucial fact that these botnets run Windows and as the recent Internet Explorer fiasco [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] ought to have taught, Microsoft is to blame for it. It ignored critical flaws for many months, as usual (until attacks on users became too much of a problem).
With all this Internet Explorer insecurity issues coming to light, a common argument is:
“All browsers are insecure, just practice safer browsing by not clicking on links in unsolicited mail.”
Sure, that’s a important part of being safe on the net, but it’s only half of the picture. Of course all browsers will have security holes at particular points in time, no software is perfect.
However, what we should be looking at is a vendor’s response to security vulnerabilities. It’s how quickly a vendor can patch a hole and distribute the fix which is most important. (Of course, security by design and underlying operating system are also important factors.)
DaniWeb asks: “Time to dump Internet Explorer for something safer?”
Time to dump Internet Explorer for something safer?
Another day, another IE flaw! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Internet Explorer water (mainly as Microsoft told you it was after releasing yet another patch to fix yet another vulnerability) comes the news that actually, would you believe it, but Internet Explorer still isn’t safe.
Hopefully — just hopefully — the market will sort itself out. In Europe, where warnings were issued against the use of Internet Explorer*, Internet Explorer loses market rapidly:
According to data released by the AT Internet Institute, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has fallen to under 60% of visits in Europe. The firm suggests that with widely publicized news of a major security flaw and moves being made by competing browsers, IE’s fall may not be reversed in the very near future.
Internet Explorer is not just a Web browser. It is Microsoft’s attempt to control and to change the Internet for its own benefit. Microsoft uses the Internet to suppress adoption of GNU/Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X through all sorts of proprietary extensions that make Web sites and Web applications inaccessible to non-Microsoft customers.
Here is fruit for thought:
Life after Windows: What happens to tech if Microsoft dies
Client applications: Kiss consistency good-bye The client application landscape will be almost unrecognizable in a post-Microsoft world. The deprecation of the legacy Windows API, coupled with the move to an entirely Web-based delivery model, will open the floodgates of innovation — and create massive headaches for support personnel, who must now contend with the rich variety of UI designs and implementations that define the Web application experience.
It is hypothetical, but no monopoly lasts forever; Microsoft too will be just part of the past some day. █
* Internet Explorer was also slammed by the Australian government (and New Zealand) after Germany and France had made the call.