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03/18/2004 Archived Entry: "Microsoft rant of the week"

"Be afraid?" I think she's bluffing.

If you're wondering why I constantly harp on replacing Outlook and Internet Explorer, read about the latest Bagle worm, Bagle-Q. Thanks to a security flaw in Outlook and IE, this can infect your computer even without an attachment. Windows users who have removed Outlook and IE, and use something else, should be safe. Others should install the latest patches from Microsoft, and set their firewalls to block outbound requests on port 81. (Linux, Unix, and Mac users are also safe.)

Of course, with Microsoft patches, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

If you still somehow believe that Microsoft are a bunch of fine, upstanding, misunderstood entrepreneurs, you need to read about how their software violates your computer, your data, and your privacy. And Microsoft demands that you agree to these terms, or you can't install their security updates.

I'm astonished that they get away with this. It's as though Ford Motor Company, back in the days of exploding Pintos, said "yes, we know the gas tanks are flawed, and we have a fix for them, but we won't install it unless you give us the keys to your house and blanket permission to enter it."

While you're fuming over that, deciding whether to either (a) surrender your rights and privacy to Microsoft, or (b) succumb to endless intrusions and virus attacks... read how a Microsoft exec describes their exorbitant profit margins for Windows and Office. Well, they're certainly economizing on quality control and after-sales support.

But I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that it's all your fault. At least, that's what Your Glorious Federal Protectors are about to say. According to eWeek, the computer security guidelines being drafted by the U.S. Reichshauptsicherheitamt (Department of Homeland Security) are being criticized for being "vendor driven." Freely translated, this means they're recommending users buy more anti-virus products and apply more patches, rather than recommending that Microsoft fix their shoddy software. Guess which megalithic software company was on the "task force."

Still think the government is looking out for your interests?

One more item, then, to raise your blood pressure. When proponents of Patriot Act II, TIA, CAPPS, MATRIX, ad infinitum try to reassure you that the massive database the feds construct will be secure and won't be misused, remind them of the FBI analyst who was caught snooping in people's files ...and passing the data on to his family and friends. How many haven't been caught?


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