Microsoft

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Latest Microsoft Patch Collection

Microsoft yesterday released their latest collection of patches for vulnerabilities in Windows and Outlook Express. There are four patches total, but each covers multiple vulnerabilities, including several "critical" vulnerabilities. For thos Windows users out there, I'd recommend patching ASAP.

Overview article on SecurityFocus
Microsoft Security Bulletins

"Blue Screen of Death" Collection

Even if you don't know what BSoD means, you've undoubtedly come across them before. They're the really annoying blue screens that appear whenever Windows crashes (and lets face it, that's quite often). I just came across a gallery of some very visible (and very funny) BSoDs. Enjoy!

Here's the gallery.

How Microsoft's Misunderstanding of Open Source Hurts Us All

Robert Cringely has written a fantastic article on how and why Microsoft just doesn't simply doesn't get it, and what that means for consumers. As Cringely says, these ideas are both obvious and old hat to people in or around the Open Source movement, but he does an excellent job of analyzing one of Ballmer's recent spearches, and breaks it down for techies and non-techs alike.

This is a must read. Here's the full story.

Breaking up with Bill

This is a really good article on one man's switch to Linux. Instead of focusing on the actual migration, however (as many of these types of articles do), this one focuses on the reasons why he made the switch. It's a short and entertaining read, but he brings up several important points. My personal favorite quote?

It wasn't just the virus, or the thrice-weekly crashes, or the forced upgrades or even the massive, bloated resource hog that Microsoft Office has become. It was the realization that Microsoft is building the Great Eye That Never Sleeps, which, in combination with your government identification number, will be used to track you, verify you and determine if you are a properly obedient little wage-serf.

Here's the full article.

MSfreePC.com

Here's an interesting new twist on the MS Anti-trust settlement. Basically, MS owes CA customers $1.1 billion dollars as repayment for their uncompetitive practices. Not one to miss an opportunity, Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson setup MSfreePC.comwhere "eligible consumers who act quickly can receive their share of the $1.1 billion settlement." See the site for additional details.

MS, however, did not take kindly to this, and sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action. Michael Robertson has just replied with his own press release, and while I'm not personally a fan of Lindows, this is a very worthwhile read. It very nicely sums up many of the "issues."

China looks into Windows code

Yes, I've been lazy about updating the site. Lots going on lately. Got a couple new items for you today, though, beginning with ...

China is about to begin studying the source code for Microsoft Windows. This is part of an effort to verify the security of the platform, as well as ensure that there are no "backdoors" into the OS for any U.S. agencies to exploit.

Now, I'm all for security, but am I the only one that feels this is a bad idea? Considering that Windows (unfortunately) runs ~90% of our nation's computers, do we really want the Chinese government to have full access to the source code? Especially when our own government does not? Especially when during the antitrust trials Microsoft said themselves that the source code cannot be released for the sake of national security?

Hmm... Could it be that maybe they care more about making sales than our own national security? Nooo, not MS. With programs like Microsoft's Government Security Program, which includesmore than 30 "countries, territories, and organizations (though no mention of the U.S.)," how could one even think it?

Read the full story here.

Microsoft Insecurity

Most readers should hopefully be aware of the severe RPC vulnerability announced a couple weeks ago that affects all versions of Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security just released a second advisory about the flaw, urging users to install the appropriate patch ASAP. More details can be found here, and the patch itself (along with technical details) can be found here.

A new vulnerability in IE has also been reported. According to this article, "Notepad popup windows can be displayed from an HTML email message or Web page regardless of browser security settings. In addition, Notepad popups can access files on a hard disk, possibilly causing stability problems in a Windows saystem." A followup post on Bugtraq points out that this IE flaw also affects many other mimetypes and protocols. For now, the only fix is to switch to another browser.