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Comment Re:If only... (Score 1) 143

I don't like windows just as much as the next guy, but this is a pretty dumb statement. Users are targets, the OS is just a medium.

*sigh* I really shouldn't feed the Trolls, but one that uses the word "dumb" in almost every sentence in their post, obviously has an affinity for the word and needs some help.

In some instances, users are the "audience" (e.g. adware, phishing, etc) but that's only secondary, their systems are still the target. Unless the malware/virus writers start programming in AminoAcid++, they can't "target" a user, only their systems. And when someone's system is infected by a botnet and that botnet then launches a DDoS on, oh, let's say whitehouse.gov, is that user the target? No. Is Obama the target? No. Is the whitehouse.gov webserver the target? Yes.

So I'd be careful about telling someone that they said something dumb when you follow it up with a clueless statement of your own. But, perhaps you already knew that, since you posted anonymously.

OK, if you must phrase things in this backwards 'clever' way, how's this:

Malware doesn't target dumb users because they use Windows, malware targets Windows because that's what dumb users use.

Feel better?

You obviously missed both the point of logic and the point in general.

I won't try teach you logic, but I'll reiterate the larger point. Malware doesn't target windows because that's where there are "dumb users", it targets windows because that's where the "security" is dumb.

I've met plenty of "dumb users" using OSX, but they aren't getting infected, nor will they ever be to the same extent that their windows brethren are even if MS folded tomorrow and Apple spiked to a 90% market share. Why? Because *NIX security is not inherently flawed like Win* is.

Dumb users will use an infected machine until it no longer functions or something else makes them stop. Smart users know how to use their system in a less risky way, preemptively make their system less vulnerable (e.g. applying updates, using a firewall, using anti-virus).

Guess which OS more dumb users are using?

First off, there are plenty of smart people out there who use Windows and I don't fault them their choice. It's there's to make after all. It's not like they can't afford an alternative or anything.

Secondly, your personal attacks/slights do not add anything positive to the image of our community and in fact, do us a great detriment. Calling the other side dumb is stupid, calling them stupid is asinine and calling them asinine is vacuous. So please stop doing that. We want to be welcoming, not scare them off with psychobabble.

That being said, you can be as smart as you want, keep your system patched, use a firewall, use antivirus and only visit a handful of known and respected sites run by big companies and while all of that effort might make you "less vulnerable", it won't make you invulnerable. At some point, some well crafted packet is going to come in on that wire and it's going to 0-day exploit your up-to-date system. Or one of the few sites you visit is going to have their server compromised, either through a 0-day or because they aren't as carefull as you and when you visit their site tomorrow IE is going to happily hand your system over to a botnet via ActiveX or some other nice friendly hook MS left exposed for such nasty things.

Comment Re:If only... (Score 3, Insightful) 143

They might try to tailor their junk for these environments, but it's like the difference between a normal car (windows) and a car coated with teflon with a motion sensing machine gun on top (OSX/Linux), with the worms/viruses/malware being a type of graffiti paint.

Graffiti will stick pretty well to a normal car (and if you tend to stop in the more seedy parts of town than others, you have more of a chance of having your car "tagged" too), but it's not going to be very effective on the teflon coated ones and the owner is going to have to be silly enough to log in as root to disable the guns so the criminals can get close enough in the first place.

The argument that the reason why windows is being attacked is because it has a majority share is an ass backwards way of thinking about the issue.

Windows is targeted because it's "security" is inherently flawed, it's security isn't flawed because it's being targeted. The fact that it has a majority share is just an added bonus for these people, but it has nothing to do with the underlying problem, (though it certainly does help the problem grow by orders of magnitude).

I'm reminded of Dan Dennett's Ted Talk where he insightfully points out that, we don't like chocolate cake because it's sweet, it's sweet because we like it.

Another way of looking at it is like this... Houses aren't unoccupied, unalarmed and filled with artwork, expensive stereos and silverware because someone wants to break into them, someone wants to break into them because they are unoccupied, unalarmed and filled with artwork, expensive stereos and silverware.

If OSX or Linux took a majority share of the desktop, the problem wouldn't shift like you are thinking it would. Granted, there would be an uptick in attempts and there will inevitably even be a few holes to patch up that were previously unknown, but there certainly won't be an equivalent to the 100,000+ viruses that exist for Windows.

Government

Watergate "Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dead At 95 126

Hugh Pickens writes "W. Mark Felt Sr., 95, associate director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, better known as 'Deep Throat,' the most famous anonymous source in American history, died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. Felt secretly guided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to pursue the story of the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office buildings, and later of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies. 'It's impossible to exaggerate how high the stakes were in Watergate,' wrote Felt in his 2006 book A G-Man's Life. 'We faced no simple burglary, but an assault on government institutions, an attack on the FBI's integrity, and unrelenting pressure to unravel one of the greatest political scandals in our nation's history.' No one knows exactly what prompted Felt to leak the information from the Watergate probe to the press. He was passed over for the post of FBI director after Hoover's death in 1972, a crushing career disappointment. 'People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing by helping Woodward. The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?'"
Music

Chronicling the Failures of DRM 206

Barence takes us to PCPro for a look at the failures of DRM and a discussion of its impending death. Quoting: "Luckily, DRM is dying, at least in the download sphere. Napster's Dan Nash believes that DRM-free is 'the general way things are going.' In his opinion, record companies 'have no choice but to adapt;' those that 'stick to DRM on a pay-per-download basis will not remain competitive.' In the US, Napster has joined Amazon in selling DRM-free content in MP3 format from all the major labels. ... Going DRM-free makes sense not just for consumers, but for the industry. Deutche Telekom says three out of four technical support calls its Musicload service had to deal with were the result of DRM. And when it offered a DRM-free option to artists they saw a 40% increase in sales."
Microsoft

OOXML Rumored to be Approved, Announcement Wednesday 223

dominux writes "Rumors are already circulating that Microsoft's OOXML has been voted in by the standards board. The Open Sourcerer claims to have results of the ballot on dis29500. According to the site Microsoft managed to flip enough countries to make it stick. 75% of the P members who didn't abstain voted for Microsoft (That is 58% of all the P members). 14% of all the P and O members voted to disapprove it, this includes all the new O members that joined just in time to cast their vote. Norway has asked that their vote be suspended due to voting irregularities, but it would take more than that to make a difference to the result. ZDNet is still playing it cautious, noting that an announcement either way is set to be made on Wednesday."
Windows

Windows Vista SP1 Meeting Sour Reception In Places 501

Stony Stevenson writes "A day after it was released for public download, Windows Vista SP1 is drawing barbs from some computer users who say the software wrecked their systems. 'I downloaded it via Windows Update, and got a bluescreen on the third part of the update,' wrote 'Iggy33' in a comment posted Wednesday on Microsoft's Vista team blog. Iggy33 was just one of dozens of posters complaining about Vista Service Pack 1's effect on their PCs. Other troubles reported by Vista SP1 users ranged from a simple inability to download the software from Microsoft's Windows Update site to sudden spikes in memory usage. To top it all off, the service pack will not install on computers that use peripheral device drivers that Microsoft has deemed incompatible."

Microsoft Developing News Sorting Based On Political Bias 234

wiredog writes "The Washington Post is reporting that Microsoft is developing a program that classifies news stories according to whether liberal or conservative bloggers are linking to them and also measures the 'emotional intensity' based on the frequency of keywords in the blog posts." If you would like to jump right to the tool you can check out "Blews" on the Microsoft site.
Privacy

British Airport Will Require Fingerprints From Domestic Passengers 279

ProfBooty brings us a story about England's Heathrow airport, which will begin fingerprinting passengers on its domestic flights later this month. Airport executives claim that the data will be stored for no longer than 24 hours, and will not be shared with law enforcement. We've previously discussed airport fingerprinting measures in the United States and Japan. Quoting: "All four million domestic passengers who will pass through Terminal 5 annually after it opens on March 27 will have four fingerprints taken, as well as being photographed, when they check in. To ensure the passenger boarding the aircraft is the same person, the fingerprinting process will be repeated just before they board the aircraft and the photograph will be compared with their face. Dr Gus Hosein, of the London School of Economics, an expert on the impact on technology on civil liberties, is one of the scheme's strongest critics. He said: 'There is no other country in the world that requires passengers travelling on internal flights to be fingerprinted. BAA says the fingerprint data will be destroyed, but the records of who has travelled within the country will not be, and it will provide a rich source of data for the police and intelligence agencies.'"
Security

Feds Have a High-Speed Backdoor Into Wireless Carrier 229

An anonymous reader writes "An unnamed U.S. wireless carrier maintains an unfiltered, unmonitored DS-3 line from its internal network to a facility in Quantico, Virginia, according to Babak Pasdar, a computer security consultant who did work for the company in 2003. Customer voice calls, billing records, location information and data traffic are all allegedly exposed. A similar claim was leveled against Verizon Wireless in a 2006 lawsuit."
Security

Anti-Botnet Market is Black Eye for AV Industry 204

alternative coup writes "eWEEK is running a story on the emergence of an anti-botnet market to fill a perceived need for software to deal with botnet-related malware (Trojans, keyloggers, rootkits, etc.). The article characterizes this as 'another black eye' for the existing anti-virus industry — asking consumers to pay twice for protection from things that anti-malware suites are missing. Venture capital money is flowing to these anti-bot products, an implicit statement that the AV giants are not doing their jobs. 'For companies such as Symantec, which sells the Sana-powered Norton AntiBot and anti-malware subscriptions, it's a nickel-and-dime situation. Symantec officials say Norton AntiBot is for a specialized, technical market segment looking for high-end tools to deal with botnets, but [Andrew Jaquith, an analyst with The Yankee Group] said it's a case of anti-malware companies double-dipping.'"
Patents

Blackboard Wins Patent Suit Against Desire2Learn 186

edremy writes "Blackboard, the dominant learning management system (LMS) maker, has won its initial suit against Desire2Learn. Blackboard gets $3.1 million and can demand that Desire2Learn stop US sales. (We discussed Blackboard when the patent was issued in 2006) This blog provides background on the suit. Blackboard has been granted a patent that covers a single person having multiple roles in an LMS: for example, a TA might be a student in one class and an instructor in another. You wouldn't think something this obvious could even be patented, but so far it's been a very effective weapon for Blackboard, badly hurting Desire2Learn and generating a huge amount of worry for the few remaining commercial LMSs that Blackboard has not already bought, and open source solutions such as Moodle (Blackboard's pledge not to attack such providers notwithstanding)."

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