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Microsoft Warns of Critical Windows' Flaw (Windows users alert)
Reuters ^ | Tue February 10, 2004 04:09 PM ET | By Reed Stevenson and Elinor Mills Abreu

Posted on 02/10/2004 2:37:35 PM PST by gdyniawitawa

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Tuesday said a critical flaw in most versions of its flagship Windows operating system could allow attackers to run malicious programs on personal computers.

In its monthly security bulletin, the world's largest software maker warned that Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were at risk and offered software updates to fix the flaws, which were given Microsoft's highest severity rating of "critical."

"It does affect all (current) versions of Windows," said Stephen Toulouse, security program manager for Microsoft's Security Response Center. "We're not aware of anyone affected by this at this time."

Marc Maiffret, co-founder of eEye Digital Security, the company that discovered the flaw, criticized Microsoft for taking more than six months to come up with a patch to fix the problem, particularly since the flaw allows an attacker multiple ways to break into a system and could do almost anything they wanted to the system.

"We contacted Microsoft about these vulnerabilities 200 days ago, which is insane," he said. "Even the most secure Windows networks are going to be vulnerable to this flaw, which is very unique."

In response, Toulouse said Microsoft needed to take time to make sure to get the fix right, especially given how pervasive the vulnerability is in the software.

"We wanted to make absolutely sure we were doing as broad an investigation as possible," he said.

Windows users can download the patch for the vulnerability from www.microsoft.com/security.

The obvious steps to take are to run Windows Update and install the patches to fix the vulnerabilities as soon as possible," said Craig Schmugar, a virus research manager at Network Associates Inc.'s (NET.N: Quote, Profile, Research) McAfee anti-virus unit.

The latest fixes for Microsoft's software are unrelated to the latest virus attacks by MyDoom and its variants, Schmugar said.

Microsoft switched to a monthly cycle of releasing security updates in order to make it easier for system administrators to keep their software secure and up to date But the company released a critical update a week ago, ahead of Tuesday's scheduled release, in order to fix a patch in its Explorer Web browser that could make PCs vulnerable to attackers. In addition, Microsoft announced a mid-grade security warning for the latest version of its server products for networked computers.

Two years ago, the Redmond, Washington-based company pledged to make its software products more secure and reliable under an initiative, called Trustworthy Computing, outlined in a companywide memo by Chairman Bill Gates.

But computers running the company's software have been hit by several high-profile attacks, such as the SQL Slammer, Nimda and SoBig attacks.

On Monday, a new worm called "Doomjuice," an offshoot of the MyDoom worm, emerged, which used personal computers compromised by the original MyDoom worm to attack and slow down parts of Microsoft's Web site, according to security experts.

The MyDoom worm, as well as its variant MyDoom.B, were designed to entice e-mail recipients to click open an attachment, which then installed malicious software on a personal computer. The worms then instructed infected PCs to flood the Web sites of the SCO Group Inc. (SCOX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Microsoft in an effort to shut them down


TOPICS: Announcements; Front Page News; Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: lowquality; microsoft; nosecurity; windowsos
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To: Axiom Nine
ping
41 posted on 02/10/2004 11:49:18 PM PST by pax_et_bonum (Always finish what you st)
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To: Bush2000
hence, nobody really cares.

Gee, and here I thought you cared. . . sniff. ;)

Nobody uses Macs...

You're probably right, there are only about 10,000,000 of us nobodies out here... including:

President George W. Bush
Rush Limbaugh
Ann Coulter
G. Gordon Liddy
Milton Friedman
Mel Gibson
Clint Eastwood
Tom Clancy
Paul MacCready - Gossamer Condor and Mac!
Burt Rutan - Aeronautical Engineer and builder of the globe cirlcing Voyager plane (which runs on a Powerbook)
Buzz Aldrin - "the Mac is outta this world!"
Spike Lee
Vaclav Havel
Fleetwood Mac - Well, with a name like that you think they'd use a PC???
Peter Jackson - a "Ring"ing endorsement
Mario Puzo - "Make an offer you can't resist... use a Mac!"
Gerry Spence -Constitutional attorney with a pony-tail and a Mac.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers - Macs really help us juggle our files?
Katie Kouric (Choke)
Michael Jackson - uses it to try on new faces?
Tom Brocaw (Urk)
Dr. Murray Gell-Mann - Nobel Laureate Physics
Ice T
Dr. Roger Guillemin, M.D., Ph.D, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
Mannheim Steamroller
Dr. Donald Glaser - Nobel laureate Physics
Michael Crichton - definetly someone who knows futuristic.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Laureate Literature
Madonna
The Late Dr. Timothy Leary - "What a trip!"
Leonard Nimoy - "Macs live long and prosper!"
William Gibson - 'Cyberspace' was created on a Mac!
Bob Dole - It didn't help him keep Clinton out of office...
Stephen Sondheim - Sweeney Todd made him do it!
Mikail Gorbechev
The Grateful Dead
Boris Yeltsin
Al Gore - Ex VP and statue
Martha Stewart - but only to do insider trading?
Douglas Adams
The Late Seymour Cray - yes, THAT Cray... as in supercomputer.
Roy Disney
Michael Eisner
Sir Roger Banister - "I'd run a mile for a Mac!"
Francis Ford Coppola
George Lucas
Malcolm Forbes, Jr.
Bill Gates!!! - Yup!
Scott Adams - "Dilbert"
Oliver Stone
Gray Davis - as I "recall"
King Hussein
Jim Cameron - a "titanicc" user
Robert Zemeckis

All real nobodies.

42 posted on 02/11/2004 12:15:52 AM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: Swordmaker
And I bet they're all real happy with the 6 games they make for the Mac. Us folk on PC know those games are cool because we've played them all 3 years ago.

Yes I know this quote is shamefully stolen, but it still proves a point.

43 posted on 02/11/2004 12:39:38 AM PST by Sabretooth (I'm not SabERtooth, Im SabREtooth.)
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To: Sabretooth
And I bet they're all real happy with the 6 games they make for the Mac.

Most of us adult Mac users utilize our computers to be productive... not play games. Look at that list. Do you see anyone on there that you would suspect spent their time playing the latest and greatest 3D graphic kill-the-bad-guy game or even FreeCell for that matter or do you see a list of people who work hard and get the job done?

Mac users are interested in productivity, not time wasting. That is why we selected a computer that promotes productivity rather than impedes it!

44 posted on 02/11/2004 1:13:26 AM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: Swordmaker
You're probably right, there are only about 10,000,000 of us nobodies out here... including...

Grrrrrrrreat. Maybe you can all enjoy one big circle-jerk while reassuring yourselves how "enlightened" you are that the unwashed masses have rejected your choice in computing...
45 posted on 02/11/2004 1:47:43 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: Swordmaker
Most of us adult Mac users utilize our computers to be productive... not play games.

You have a woefully inadequate notion of what constitutes "wasting time". Some people would consider browsing the web to FR "time wasting"; to others, it's a positive and rewarding experience. Same deal with movies, music, literature, etc. I realize that it's the only defense you could think of. But that doesn't endow it with any better rationale.
46 posted on 02/11/2004 1:50:36 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: Bush2000
...the unwashed masses have rejected your choice in computing...

Bush, you were the one claiming "nobody" and I just invalidated your argument. Being wrong doesn't mean you have to be crude.

47 posted on 02/11/2004 2:48:02 AM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: Bush2000
I realize that it's the only defense you could think of. But that doesn't endow it with any better rationale.

Bush, I have always been interested in the most productive computer I can own. So far, Windows has failed to impress me in that area.

I make MONEY with my computers when I am not 'wasting time' surfing FreeRepublic... and I have five Windows computers around here. Two running XP, one running 2000, one still on 95 and another on 98. I still perfer to use a Macintosh. These computers are here so I can run copies of my clients' vertical software on machines similar to the ones in their businesses. I occasionally need to run their software so I can advise accurately over the phone on processes where they are having problems.

I can be much more productive on my G5 Macintosh on other things I use my computer for than any of those other machines... and that is what counts for me. At any one time, I have between 20 and 25 business clients that depend on me to keep their computers and networks running and secure. Four or Five of those businesses operate on Macintoshes... and the level of complaint and problems from them is extremely low. About the only time they need me is for upgrades or advice on some area of their software they don't use too often.

I regret I cannot say the same about the PC using businesses. The PCs businesses experience "downtime" about 10 -15 times more often than the Macs. When they are down, they are down longer. All of this impacts productivity. Since my Mac clients were moved to OS-X, downtime has been non-existent at their businesses due to computers.

In the real world, people want their computers to enhance their ability to make money. Playing games is nice... but it is not what pays the bills.

48 posted on 02/11/2004 3:06:01 AM PST by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: DB
Another Microsoft fanboy repeating the party line. I wont be able to convince you that OS X is as inherently secure as Windows is vulnerable, so I wont even try. Its like arguing with a liberal.
49 posted on 02/11/2004 8:06:38 AM PST by Astronaut
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To: Astronaut
I'm not a "Microsoft fanboy" and nowhere did I say so. Microsoft clearly has serious security issues (among other things)

You're the one with the arrogant blind attachment to an operating system/company.
50 posted on 02/11/2004 10:36:26 AM PST by DB ()
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To: Swordmaker
Well I use my computer to "make money" as well. I don't do too bad at it either.

All of the major engineering programs I use (Mentor Graphics and Xilinx ISE6 among others) are only available for HP & Sun workstations and PCs running 2000 or XP Professional.

There are no Mac equivalents. If a Mac were what was required I'd be using a Mac as well.

So this position that only "serious productive" people use Mac's is false to put it kindly. It depends on what type of productivity you are engaged in. Mac's still have their niche areas but it is shrinking.
51 posted on 02/11/2004 10:49:37 AM PST by DB ()
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To: gdyniawitawa
Oh - enough with the hatchet job and hyper language. MS issues "Critical" updates as they need to and have them ready. I am notified of them and I download it. 30 seconds. This is not new, complicated or unexpected.
52 posted on 02/11/2004 10:53:01 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: mercy
I don't let my PC anywhere near the web anymore.

Far more paranoid than is necessary, but wherever you find comfort....

53 posted on 02/11/2004 10:54:29 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: TechJunkYard
Anything that is popular is vulnerable.

Virus writers get more bang for their time disrupting big numbers of WIN users than they would annoying relatively few mac users. It is return on investment.
54 posted on 02/11/2004 10:59:05 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: All
At home I use Linux (Red Hat 9) only as of last weekend. Does anyone know off the top of their head the number of Linux users compared to MAC users? Since I made the switch I've had a warm and fuzzy feeling. :)
55 posted on 02/11/2004 11:01:59 AM PST by Snowy
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To: All
Bump! Paying for an operating system is so 20th century... :)
56 posted on 02/11/2004 11:09:46 AM PST by Snowy
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To: Bush2000
Still pounding away on a gimpy desktop machine? How quaint.

I dare you to take a test drive on a Powerbook.
57 posted on 02/11/2004 11:58:47 AM PST by mercy
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To: Sabretooth
Computer gaming is a sure sign of a damaged psyche. Or at best damaged character.
58 posted on 02/11/2004 12:01:18 PM PST by mercy
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To: HairOfTheDog
Anything that is popular is vulnerable. Virus writers get more bang for their time disrupting big numbers of WIN users than they would annoying relatively few mac users. It is return on investment.

Oh, okay. It's because Windows is popular. I see.

It's got nothing to do with the "features" of Windows, which make it easier for idiots to use it, which also make Windows easier to exploit.

Got it.

59 posted on 02/11/2004 3:11:04 PM PST by TechJunkYard
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To: gdyniawitawa
I have been using PC's since I was in elementary school, and I have never had a virus. On top of that, Windows XP has been an excellent operating system in almost all regards. I have never been hacked, or compromised in any way.

The vast majority of Windows users are non-technical. Nearly everyone who uses Linux or some Unix variant is extremely technical. Its not surprising that people who run those operating systems take good care of their systems and do simple things to protect themselves.

If you somehow suddenly shifted all current Windows users onto Linux, the problems would follow them onto the new platform. Whoever has the dominate market share is going to experience most of the problems.
60 posted on 02/11/2004 3:43:37 PM PST by ryanjb2
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