---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 10:09:22 -0500 From: Richard Forno <rfornoat_private> To: rfornoat_private Subject: [infowarrior] - Message To Microsoft: Only The Truth Shall Set You Free Message To Microsoft: Only The Truth Shall Set You Free Richard Forno (c) 2002. Permission granted to reproduce in whole or in part, with appropriate credit. News Flash! Judge Kollar-Kotelly has granted the states access to Microsoft Windows source code as part of this phase of the anti-trust ruling. Of course, the software giant is against this action, and we can only hope her decision stands. If so, not only will this level the legal playing field in the case, as Kollar-Kotelly says (by allowing the states to verify Microsoft's claims about the product) but more importantly, allow IT professionals to see exactly how secure (or insecure) Windows really is, something that many security professionals have been calling for a long time as the ONLY true way to verify and validate Microsoft's claims about the stability, security, and reliability of its pervasive Windows operating system. In Microsoft's defense, releasing the code will go a long way in curtailing the growing negative press and public sentiment about the company and its products, and could be an action that actually generates business for them over the long-term. Considering that nobody outside of Redmond knows what evil lurks in the millions of lines of code compromising Windows XP, by granting external access to Windows source, Kollar-Kotelly has established the basis for what some would call the "ultimate vulnerability disclosure" - namely, finally discovering the truth about Windows product's features, both documented and undocumented, that are the scourge of the IT world and subject of most of the IT-security news stories over the past five years. This is a long-overdue action, and I pray the decision stands. (Actually, one could argue that this is the penultimate example of what "responsible vulnerability disclosure" is all about...) Releasing the Windows source code to the states (parties outside of Microsoft with (hopefully) non-profit interests in justice and not market dominance) would be one government-initiated action that actually improves the security and assurance of America's critical infrastructures and (by extension) the world's IT sector. This would be a real, tangible, action that actually increases security, unlike the FAA prohibitions on carrying Swiss knives, knitting needles, or razors onboard a civil airliner. As such, given that Windows runs some pretty significant, critical systems in our financial, utilities, medical, and defense sectors, releasing the source code for external evaluation is not just a 'nice-to-have' but a MUST-HAVE as we move towards effectively increasing the security of America's critical infrastructures.....for Microsoft, it's the responsible thing to do, given the company's much-ballyhooed 'renewed focus' on security, as outlined in the February 2002 Gates Declaration and its current month-long "security stand-down". ( See "The Gates Declaration and Microsoft Security Day at http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2002-02.html). If the company is truly committed to paying product security anything more than PR lip-service (which many security professionals believe is all they are doing,) Microsoft will embrace Kollar-Kotelly's decision as a significant step in improving the security of - and the public's trust in - the company and its products. By releasing the Windows source code, Microsoft can prove to the world it has nothing to hide and that it can be trusted as a purveyor of mission-critical software. This likely would lead to a restored public image and confidence in the company, quite possibly leading to increased business and sales. So it's a win-win for Microsoft, assuming it ever gets over its corporate hubris and realizes the potential long-term benefits it could reap by simply and accurately complying with court orders. >From a business perspective, Microsoft would be wise to do the mature thing - quietly take its court-ordered medicine (ignoring how bad it might taste in the short-term) and realize that it stands a good chance of getting much better in the long-term. Thank you, Judge Kollar-Kotelly, for taking a pro-consumer and pro-security position with your ruling, one that - assuming it stands and is correctly acted upon in the best interests of the country - will be one of the few government actions actually (and effectively) improving the security of America's critical infrastructures. It would be a public service on an unprecedented scale. Richard Forno infowarrior.org ------------------------- Further Reading: Judge grants States access to Windows source John Lettice (The Register) http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/24095.html Analysis of the Gates Declaration & Microsoft Security Day http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2002-02.html Who Needs Hackers? We've Got Microsoft! http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2001-15.html Counterpane CRYPTO-GRAM 02-15-01 http://www.counterpane.com/crypto-gram-0202.html The Microsoft-English Dictionary 1.5 http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2001-04.html -- - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Feb 18 2002 - 01:53:08 PST