[Dshield] Microsoft - Threat to National Security?

Kenneth Coney superc at visuallink.com
Thu Sep 25 17:35:15 GMT 2003


They are basically right, but it isn't really a new topic.  There was 
discussion of this back in the computer war days when the decision was 
being made to open more of the Darpa net to public usage.

The question becomes, if all of the Windows based machines went dead 
tomorrow, then what machines and systems would still be functional.  That 
answer has changed for the worst in the past ten years.  The next question 
should deal with how long would it take to recover or get back up.

Most locations don't even have standalone typewriters anymore.  So paper 
flow is clearly vulnerable.  Do you even have carbon paper available in 
your office today?  A long time ago there was (there might still be) a 
program that dealt with a Nation's ability to survive an EMP pulse.  Pre 
computer cars with mechanical distributors were safe, cars with electronic 
controlled ignition for the most part weren't.  Phone switching systems 
with the old style frame rooms and mechanical relays were safe, the newer 
computerized systems weren't.  While a different kind of attack the issues 
are related.  What PBX box is hacker immune?  How many now accept 
instructions from Windows based machines?  Sadly, more and more of the 
Pentagon has become Windows based.  Government and industry was forced by 
software compatibility issues, back in the days, to pick which box was 
going to be the future.  User friendly added impetus to the changeover. 
End consumers didn't want a system that forced them to manually deal with 
"174 If A3$  = DY$, then goto 9382," or arrays, and pixels, etc.  Windows 
software is what 99 out of 100 businesses (including government offices) 
run on.  Oil tankers use Windows based software to steer the big ships. 
Some automated refineries and power systems run on Windows.  If another non 
CPM computer system has a patch that allows it to translate and run Windows 
software, then it becomes just as vulnerable.  The only real world solution 
I see is a risky, highly unlikely, long term one.  If B. Gates would just 
stop  churning out newer, more buggy products every three months and 
instead just focus on fixing the products already released, and release all 
of the source codes, we might be able to identify and close the holes. 
Since that is incredibly unlikely and new defective software will continue 
to flow and we will rush to buy the newest and the cheapest our 
vulnerability will increase.  Even the operational military has begun to 
become Windows dependent and that to me is scary.



Subject: [Dshield] Microsoft - Threat to National Security?
From: Kenton Smith <ksmith at chartwelltechnology.com>
Date: 24 Sep 2003 11:34:41 -0600
To: list at dshield.org

Has anyone else had a chance to read this report regarding how
Microsoft's monopoly position makes it a national security threat? I'd
be curious to hear other people's take on this. I'm still trying to come
up with something coherent, it's certainly controversial, I'll give it
that.
Go here and click on the Read Report link -
http://www.ccianet.org/index.php3

Please don't make this an o/s war thread, that's not in anyone's best
interest.




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