Reasons to Avoid Microsoft
These pages are a compilation of links and quotes to news articles and
others sources that might help convince you to switch to Linux.
Next 25 Articles
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- Got Spyware? Throw out the Computer!
'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
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
[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
- Norwegian Minister: Proprietary Formats No Longer Acceptable in Communication with Government
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
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,
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
- RSA: Microsoft on 'rootkits': Be afraid, be very afraid
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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