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Microsoft Security Your Rights Online

France Tells Its Citizens To Abandon IE, Others Disagree 406

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-fix-it-already dept.
Freistoss writes "Microsoft still has not released a patch for a major zero-day flaw in IE6 that was used by Chinese hackers to attack Google. After sample code was posted on a website, calls began for Microsoft to release an out-of-cycle patch. Now, France has joined Germany in recommending its citizens abandon IE altogether, rather than waiting for a patch. Microsoft still insists IE8 is the 'most secure browser on the market' and that they believe IE6 is the only browser susceptible to the flaw. However, security researchers warned that could soon change, and recommended considering alternative browsers as well." PCWorld seems to be taking the opposite stance arguing that blaming IE for attacks is a dangerous approach that could cause a false sense of security.
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France Tells Its Citizens To Abandon IE, Others Disagree

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:49PM (#30813066) Homepage

    The link to the official French recommendation is here: CERTA-2010-ALE-001 [ssi.gouv.fr]

    Quoting from it (rough translation): "while waiting for the editor [Microsoft] to correct this vulnerability, we recommend people use an alternate browser.

    --
    are you a startup founder looking for co-founders [fairsoftware.net]?

    • by reporter (666905) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:00PM (#30813226) Homepage
      This incident underscores the importance of fighting monopolies and ensuring the availability of competitive choices. If Microsoft had succeeded in driving all other browsers out of the market in 2000, then today, we would not have any other choice and would be forced to use a browser with a dangerous security risk.

      We should applaud the recent work by the European Commission in demanding that Microsoft design their European version of Windows to allow users to choose the browser that they want -- thus, allowing them to never install Internet Explorer. The European Commission has been better advocate of free-market competition than the American Federal Trade Commission.

      Therein lies a bit of irony. Washington often claims that the USA is a freer free market than the European Union. Yet, the Union is the political body which hit -- hard -- Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Microsoft didn't driver browsers out of the market, Opera was "in the market" the entire time you're referring to.

        Microsoft's (serious) competitors gave up, once that happened, Microsoft had no incentive to work on improving IE whatsoever. If Netscape had continued to put out products instead of doing their bullshit rewrite crap, none of this would have happened in the first place.

        That's not to say Microsoft has no blame, but on the other hand if Netscape had stopped releasing products *regardless of the re

        • by SydShamino (547793) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:22PM (#30814154)

          Microsoft didn't driver browsers out of the market, Opera was "in the market" the entire time you're referring to.

          That's the "If" in "If Microsoft had succeeded".

          Netscape gave up because their business model was completely undercut by the fact that Microsoft made IE mandatory on every computer sold. Opera survived as a niche, and Mozilla was born from Netscape's ashes, both of which are signs that Microsoft didn't succeed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Korin43 (881732)
          So in other words, Microsoft "conquered" the market by making the best product, and then once they stopped producing the best product, other companies began reentering the market? It's almost like the free market destroyed a monopoly, but of course that's impossible because everyone knows that the free market props up failing businesses.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bargainsale (1038112)
            No, they conquered the market by abusing their dominance of the desktop OS market to crush competition, by twisting the arm of vendors to make them ship all their computers with the MS inferior product preinstalled.

            If it had really been a superior product, nobody would have been making a fuss. It wasn't.

            Possibly you also believe that Windows' stranglehold on the desktop is due to the intrinsic virtues of the OS too?
            • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:43PM (#30814804)

              If it had really been a superior product, nobody would have been making a fuss. It wasn't.

              I'm sorry, do you *remember* Netscape 4? IE was a far superior product, on both Windows and Macintosh. (And on Macintosh it won the market fair and square, there being no "stranglehold.")

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Andrew_T366 (759304)

                I remember Netscape 4. In fact, I was using it semi-regularly (albeit on my Windows 3.1 computer) as late as 2003.

                Although it wasn't quite as lightweight as Netscape 3 (which was undoubtedly their high-water mark), it was generally stable and ran just fine on a 486.
                It had none of the security issues that Internet Explorer 4 invited by going above and beyond the definition of what a web browser should do.
                If it crashed, it seldom took the whole system down with it as IE would always do.
                It didn't take the ent

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by the_womble (580291)

                I'm sorry, do you *remember* Netscape 4? IE was a far superior product

                Yes, but Opera was better than either at the time, and got nowhere.

                And on Macintosh it won the market fair and square, there being no "stranglehold."

                Not true: IE4 was bundled with MacOS as the default browser as part of a deal between Apple and MS. The crowds reaction to the announcement [youtube.com] this was clearly not what users wanted.

                Notice:

                1) The cross licensing deal (cross licensing is bad because it blocks new entrants [moneyterms.co.uk])
                2) MS also bought this by promising to keep developing MS Office for Mac (i.e. they were trying to leverage the Office monopoly).
                3) MS also bailed Apple put financially as par

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jadin (65295)

        Therein lies a bit of irony. Washington often claims that the USA is a freer free market than the European Union. Yet, the Union is the political body which hit -- hard -- Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior.

        You just disproved your own statement. A free market would allow a monopoly to continue it's anti-competitve behavior even to the detriment of the market. You're arguing for better regulation not a freer market.

        [note: unless my definition of free market is off, which is quite possible]

        • [note: unless my definition of free market is off, which is quite possible]

          Some people define it as free of artificial barriers to entry.

        • Your definition is "off".

          Free market != laissez faire.

          In a Free market there could not be a monopoly.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            In a Free market there could not be a monopoly.

            In a free market there can absolutely be monopolies, and monopolies are not in and of themselves illegal.

            In a free market everyone can decide to purchase services or products from the same vendor. That's not a problem. The problem come into play when the monopoly starts using their position in an uncompetitive manner, like by requiring system builders to install only your browser, and punishing them if they do otherwise. This behavior is perfectly acceptable in a fragmented market, but not in a monopolize

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nmb3000 (741169)

        If Microsoft had succeeded in driving all other browsers out of the market in 2000, then today, we would not have any other choice and would be forced to use a browser with a dangerous security risk.

        This is a completely invalid argument and I can't believe you're at +5 already. The rabid anti-Microsoft/IE crowd is out in force today I suppose.

        Even if every single browser other than IE stopped development in 2000, what bearing at all does that have on potential future development? Firefox was released in 2

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how much of this really has to do with security, versus the corporate and technological schism that is quickly developing between the EU and the USA.

      It's difficult to say for certain, but in terms of population, economy and global political influence, the EU and USA are becoming very similar. There are indeed some power struggles going on now that they are reaching parity.

      Take, for instance, the EU's handling of the acquisition of Sun by Oracle, two mainly-American businesses (although they do have

      • In order to properly answer your question, you'd really have to do a few comparisons:

        Examine European treatment of US corporations vs. European treatment of European corporations.

        Examine US treatment of European corporations vs. US treatment of US corporations.

        There are a few possible outcomes: It could, in fact, be that the EU is playing a game of "trade wars" with the US, and is shafting US corporations preferentially. It could be that, in general, a corporation's ability to achieve high levels o
      • by sznupi (719324)

        EU "gets in the way" of European companies when their practices harm the market, so that suggests it isn't a case of "us vs. them", like you're trying to paint it.

        Also, "in terms of population, economy and global political influence" they are already very similar; EU actually bigger in first two certainly. And I guess the third category depends mainly on whether or not you want to count US eagerness to go to wars.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:36PM (#30814286)

        Every single time EU regulates USA companies, some Americans come and say "They are just being hard on USA companies". But no. They have been very strict to other companies too (Just google about EU and Samsung, Siemens, ABB, Alstom, Saint-Gobain... The list really goes on. Go ahead, check by yourself [europa.eu]. They have been handing out massive fines here and there for anti-competitive practices.).

        It's just that the media in USA doesn't pay that much attention to EU fining european companies. In addition, european countries in general have stricter regulation on national level so antitrust investigations on smaller european corporations are done at that level.

      • The answer is "no".

    • Interesting that it says "while waiting", do this for now. It did not say like the summary implies to abandon IE6 forever. This is still not good news for Microsoft, but it significantly alters what was said.

      Personally, I'm getting tired of this Slashdot sensationalistic audience-baiting. It incites more traffic, and therefore more ad impressions I guess, but really how much longer is this going to last? Aren't we all getting tired of this approach? Personally, I know I'm browsing Slashdot less and less.

    • mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Weezul (52464)

      It's worth noting they qualified the suggestion by saying "while waiting on Microsoft to fix the vulnerability". It ain't some global indictment against Microsoft like /. suggested.

      IE and Safari improve the security of most power users by presenting easy targets whose code base is unrelated to other browsers.

  • Tear down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drDugan (219551) * on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:51PM (#30813088) Homepage

    "Don't Kill the Messenger: Blaming IE for Attacks is Dangerous"

    Actually, IE is not the messenger, its the source of at least one know security hole that participated in this problem.

    The article fails to explain how blaming the software with a known exploit is dangerous.

    They assert it will create a "false sense of security" because there exist other methods of attack (other software with security flaws). Even if they did have support for other security holes, this reasoning is an absurd logical fallacy. Amazingly, the author doesn't even have support for the premise of the illogic it's based on an *implication* from a quote by McAfee CTO George Kurtz.

      FTA:

    The main thing to keep in mind is that these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense.

    This is completely absurd FUD. IE *was used*, it is insecure, and there is no fix (yet). These conclusions come right from this article and others.

    Obvious conclusion: use different software. This conclusion is also supported by the long and consistent history of security issues with IE. I think, after reading this and other articles, it is more dangerous to continue to assert that IE is secure.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Not blaming MS for IE is like not blaming Ford for the Pinto. In both cases the dangers of the product was/is well known. The consumer knows that, in the case of IE, that one should be careful with dangerous sites,and the user should know those dangerous sites. With the Pinto, it no real rear protection, so the driver should avoid other drivers that will collide with the rear of the car.
    • I think you're missing the whole crux of their argument. Yes, IE was the source of at least one of the security holes, but France and Germany are mandating switching as though it's some sort of panacea. IE was just one link in the chain of exploits used in the attack. Maybe destroying one link in the chain destroys the chain, but it is more likely that they will find a different link to continue the attack. Like maybe a zero day in Firefox or one of these known exploits. [mozilla.org]

      I truly believe that Firefox and p
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drDugan (219551) *

        but France and Germany are mandating switching as though it's some sort of panacea.

        I'm not missing this argument. I disagree. Removing IE is not a panacea, nor is this what the announcement means.

        Equating a logical, correct step for a more secure computer (removing IE) as a false panacea is the position in the PCWorld article only, and one that misses the more basic point. IE6,7 and 8, including on Win 7 all have this flaw, and there is no fix yet.

    • I agree. This sounds like the old "criminals can pick weak locks so security is worthless" fallacy. Sure any door can be opened, but that doesn't mean you should just remove the door.

      That said, even if it was true, I'd still want people to abandon IE. Anything that gets people on browsers that render stuff half-decently without gobs of extra code is good.

      Even getting people to IE8 would be a big improvement.

    • by Simon (S2) (600188) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:32PM (#30813616) Homepage

      The main thing to keep in mind is that these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense.

      This is completely absurd FUD.

      It's not. What they say is exactly correct: hat these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense.
      FF has flaws too. An adequate defense would be to install McAfee© VirusScan Plus, McAfee© Total Protection, McAfee© Online Backup, McAfee© SiteAdvisor Plus and McAfee© Anti-Theft File Protection.
      There! *NOW* you are protected!

    • by tuxgeek (872962)

      Yep
      More to the point, IE doesn't run on MacOSX; BSD.any.flavor; *nix.any.flavor
      IE runs exclusively on M$ Windoz.all.flavors operating systems

      IE6 just provides the easiest port of entry for bad guys into anyone's box, than any other version of IE.

      For M$ to claim that IE8 is the most secure browser out there is like saying cigarettes cure lung cancer.

      Simply put, M$ produces the most insecure products for any box that ventures out from your home and into the tubes of cyberspace. I'm not knocking their products

      • by jc42 (318812)

        More to the point, IE doesn't run on MacOSX; BSD.any.flavor; *nix.any.flavor
        IE runs exclusively on M$ Windoz.all.flavors operating systems

        IE6 just provides the easiest port of entry for bad guys into anyone's box, than any other version of IE.

        Emphasis mine. There seems to be a bit of a contradiction there. IE6 can't provide a port of entry on this Macbook Pro or the two linux boxes on the shelves next to my desk, because I don't run any version of IE on any of these machines. It only provides a point of e

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:18PM (#30814104)

      While Microsoft won the browser war they failed their objectives.

      The point of winning the browser war was so Microsoft could change the direction of web standards, eg pushing Active X except for Java Applets. VB script vs Javascript etc. This failed miserably for Microsoft now they are putting time and effort into IE a Free OS Addon to the product and they are not getting anything really out of it. Except for this big push to make IE seem like this great browser they should just well use Firefox it is just as good if not better, we will keep IE going and as secure as possible for a while but will phase it out in about 10 years.

      Staying #1 in the browser market where every version you are pushed to follow everyone elses standards is just a wast of your time and money, espectially when you have a slew of other people making good alternatives. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc... That really want to follow the standards. Let IE fall too 20% market share, this is OK.

  • by viraltus (1102365) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:53PM (#30813114)

    duh!

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:56PM (#30813166)

    PCWorld seems to be taking the opposite stance arguing that blaming IE for attacks is a dangerous approach that could cause a false sense of security.

    Well, of course they'd say that - they are running a PC/Windows/Microsoft magazine, after all.

    AppleWorld, on the other hand, has been blaming hacker attacks on Microsoft Windows for many years now - and the general population seems to agree with them, even though it does lead to a false sense of security in OSX.

    • It helps to force web developers to design their sites based on standards, not for the browser with the largest market share. I have many friends with Apple computers that use exclusively Firefox even when Safari on OS X is a very good browser. This helps a little to keep the overall security of the plataform up, since you can't be sure that all users of OS X also are users of Safari.

  • Not because Microsoft sucks per say but because computer security is becoming a classic monoculture problem.
    IE is such a valuable target because of the number of users.
    The greater the variation in software the less valuable each exploit becomes.
    Let's face it most people will not change so saying that everybody should change will probably get you 30%
    A very real problem is there is only three browser engines at this time Geko, Webkit, and IE.

    • by janek78 (861508)

      Minor correction: it is spelled "per se" (by itself).

    • by sznupi (719324) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:24PM (#30813512) Homepage

      ...you know, the place that already doesn't have browser monoculture. Therefore, your premise doesn't hold true - they don't want to shatter IE monoculture, create variation in the market. They just don't want people to use IE.

      And especially in Europe, that's very much four engines, not three, with one or two places having Opera as number one browser, few other as number one alternative browser, and in many it has quite respectable usage share.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      The two faces to this argument are that IE on windows gets hacked left right and centre because it's popular, and that (picking a browser at random) KHTML is ONLY secure because it's very obscure.

      OpenSSH has a massive user base, and is practically a monoculture in remote access on the *nix platform. An exploit would be extremely valuable ... Oh right, it turns out security is a physical property of a system, and not just some statistic.
      Bottom line is that IE really has sucked all its life; and not just stat

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rattaroaz (1491445)

        Bottom line is that IE really has sucked all its life; and not just statistically.

        Remember back in the days competing with Netscape, IE was actually good for the time. It wasn't until Microsoft held the browser monopoly that it remained stagnant, while the rest of the browsers moved ahead.

  • Don't switch? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mounthood (993037) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:02PM (#30813242)

    "You may also have web-based applications that don't work well, or even at all, unless they are accessed with Internet Explorer. That's not going to be good for productivity. And finally, what if your replacement browser itself turns out to contain a vulnerability? Are you going to switch again?"

    That's the sort of shallow, thoughtless attitude that got you stuck with IE6 in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

      I guess having more than one browser installed is apparently something that would cause the universe collapse. It's not something that really takes much work either, if there's a known bug, use something else until it's fixed.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      It sounds a little like this site I ran across that at first appeared to be a very extreme "right-wing conservative" website, but the more I read, the more I thought that it must be a very [b|s]ad sarcastic humor site or a poor attempt at astro-turf from the "other side." They go as far to say that anyone using Firefox or any open source software is a communist and/or a fascist and "God" hates them for it. Microsoft is the only appropriate software distributor, unless you want "God" to hate you too. They

    • by kent_eh (543303)

      "You may also have web-based applications that don't work well, or even at all, unless they are accessed with Internet Explorer.

      And I ask yet again, why does business use any mission-critical web-apps that can only deal with a specific browser (or worse, a specific version)

      *sigh*
      My employer's payroll department still won't answer this question. Idiots

      • by nschubach (922175)

        It's cheaper to develop for only one and it should be the one with the most share. (Just my observation of the mentality.)

  • Calling for the abandonment of IE isn't the whole answer. But it will help make more people aware that it's not the only browser out there, and that it is possible for the average user to make the change to another browser easily.

    On the other hand, if they only suggest one alternative, then that only creates another monoculture.

    Ultimately I'd like to so no one browser with more than 25% market share. Make the scum work harder for their exploits.
  • by Qubit (100461) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:06PM (#30813280) Homepage Journal

    France and Germany agree on something?

    The IE threat must be greater than previously imagined. Or...something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mewsenews (251487)

      France and Germany agree on something?

      France and Germany were both bitterly opposed to the invasion of Iraq and said so numerous times as members of the UN. Rumsfeld dismissed them [bbc.co.uk] as "old Europe".

      While China seems to be the boogeyman du jour for America, people should keep in mind that the Euro is competing very successfully [yahoo.com] against the greenback.

      • While China seems to be the boogeyman du jour for America, people should keep in mind that the Euro is competing very successfully [yahoo.com] against the greenback.

        Don't be too sure about the Euro [theglobeandmail.com]

        Another link with the famous Milton Friedman comment [nationalpost.com] about the Euro and a currency crisis.

        It will be interesting to see what happens to Greece [eubusiness.com]

    • Nah, it goes like this:

      France: Germany! Do as I say!
      Germany: Yes, yes, dear god yes, just please don’t call us Nazis!
      Same thing with the USA, UK and doubly so with Israel.

      And then some German comes, and calls the government Nazi anyway! ;)

      It drove them so far off the left that we can basically say that with the recent totalitarian tendencies, it “wrapped around”. ^^
      (Talking about the p.c. media and politics reality here. Not about what the man on the street thinks. We’re pretty norma

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      nah, that's not that far fetched. Now if *England* and France agreed on something... Well, thats one of the signs of the apocalypse

  • Really, it's both: IE should be avoided until there's a patch and yes, blaming one software package does give people who dont know any better or dont think about it a false sense of security when they switch. They're not mutually exclusive positions...
  • by FF8Jake (929704)
    France, Germany, Russia, and the fucking Queen of England recommend not to use Blender due to it's overly complex interface. Thank you government, for stepping in.
  • Instead of doing all your web browsing on a computer that's connected to a network -- which is inherently insecure -- consider only using the internet on systems which are isolated from the network with an "air-wall."

    This security solution is effective at preventing viruses, trojans, worms, clickjacking, DNS spoofing, and most other malware as well.

    Next up: avoid cancer by not breathing.

  • by brxndxn (461473) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:23PM (#30813498)

    I remember Steve Ballmer screaming 'Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!' and that has been the IE 'menality' ever since. The mentality is "Give the developers (especially big huge companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Google) complete control over the users' computers just by clicking 'ok' in Internet Explorer one time." That has got to be seen as a security hole. Every goddamn piece of software now wants to run as a service, check for updates, annoy the user, and prioritize itself. For example, once you install Adobe Flash, it is there.. on every web page.. despite whether the user might want to choose not to load the annoying flash for that particular web page. I am not complaining just about flash - just about the lack of options to make installed software optional. Why can't I have an option to 'right click, show flash' on all my flash animations? and for that matter.. all other software that wants to open by default without giving me an option to save?

    Here's how I would make IE more secure in a general sense:

    1. Program the 'stop' button as the highest priority. IE is useless if it decides it has to load an entire complicated web page (or malware site) before I can click 'stop' and cancel all of it.

    2. Put options in IE to disallow resizing of IE windows by script, removing of toolbar buttons, preventing the user from resizing windows, and using 100% of system resources to process a web page.

    3. Remove the ability for a 'Windows popup button' to prevent the user from stopping a script. How asinine is it that a web page can merely repeatedly pop up system messages forcing the user to click ok before allowing the user to click stop? IE screws this up royally with Java helping.

    4. Put a 'cookie tracker' right inside Internet Explorer.. Allow the user to control whether a site can modify a cookie. Notify the user (at the bottom status bar - not in his fucking face) that 'a cookie was created or modified' when visiting a web page. User might get suspicious when his favorite porn site tries to modify the 'gmail' cookie.

    5. Never allow web pages to stop me from right-clicking. Fuck you. It's my computer.

    I'm sure there's a whole lot of other things I could say that Microsoft will continue to ignore..

    • by pyrbrand (939860) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:27PM (#30814692)
      Actually, any add on can be enabled for only a specific set of pages. For instance, to restrict the use of Flash in IE8, to go Tools->Manage Add-Ons then under the Adobe published by section, double click the "Shockwave Flash Object" (I don't know why Adobe can't just call it Flash), then under the text field titled "You have approved this add-on to run on the following websites:", click the button "Remove all sites". Now you'll get a gold bar on every site that uses flash in which you can allow the site to run flash or not. Not quite as nice as Flashblock, but still pretty good.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:26PM (#30813536) Journal

    When I said this was all an elaborate ruse to Market Chrome.

    Clearly I'm the only one here parano^H^H^H^H^H^HSensible enough to see whats plainly in front of us.

    Take Microsoft vs Google. Google's brand name is made up of 50% vowels, 50% consonants, whereas Microsoft is 33-67. This is a clever method designed to make you think that Google is fairer and wishes to have an equal representation of all letters. However, this is just plain deceiptful, because "Chrome" is only 33% vowels wheras "IE" (we'll abbreviate it) is 100% vowels, thus making up for the lack of vowels in "Microsoft". There are also even spreads across such MS products as "Office" and "Live". Apple has felt the need to keep up with the proper representation of vowels by throwing in a single lowercase i in front of every one of their new products. Good on them.

    So I know what you're thinking: What do vowels and consonants have to do with ACTA and Net Neutrality? Absolutely nothing! But they DO have a lot to do with the recent attacks made against Google. As you can recall, its been recently discovered that the attacks originated in China. Surprising to some people, English has not been fully adopted yet, and many Chinese citizens still speak Mandarin and that other language no one can remember. All traditional chinese languages use characters, not letters. (To those who program or are DBA's, a letter is what normal people call a char). Now, what is Mandarin missing that English has? You guessed it; VOWELS. It's clear and obvious that Google is behind all of it. What the end goal is, I'm not entirely sure, I'm still trying to connect the dots.

    What's important about this article is that its happening in FRANCE. This is a bit of a PR stunt for France. You see, everyone hates Microsoft, and everyone hates France. This hurts the French industries of exporting Cheese, Wine, and arrogant behavior. So France is hoping that by declaring they hate Microsoft as well, everyone will look on them in a better light. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS. If people start liking the French more, Baguettes will be everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Breakfast lunch and dinner. Baguettes at home, baguettes at work, baguette soup, baguette sandwhiches. Don't get me wrong I like a baguette every now and then but if we let them get a single foothold on the breadmarket they will take it over completely. There is nothing stronger then the relentless pursuits of a French Bunmaster.

    So please, everyone, I beg of you. Keep using IE8, if you already do. Not because its secure, because it isn't. Not because of Google, no matter how evil they secretly are...

    But because the standard loaf shape of bread is under attack, and if we don't come to defend it, no one will.

  • Mixed Message (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:40PM (#30813716) Homepage

    Don't Kill the Messenger: Blaming IE for Attacks is Dangerous

    Don't obfuscate the message. Blaming IE for being susceptible to attacks is entirely valid.

    So is blaming Mozilla, Chrome, Opera, Konquerer, and Safari when they are vulnerable.

    It's all nice and tidy to say "The attackers are to blame." But we don't have control over them. We do have control over which software we use. And if we continually abandon less secure software for more secure alternatives, we will have a continually improving software ecosystem. That will not always mean abandoning IE (well, it may not always mean abandoning IE -- seriously, someday IE might be the most secure option -- stop laughing, it could happen, hypothetically), but it does mean always abandoning whoever fucked up most egregiously most recently. Feedback works.

  • ... blaming IE for attacks is a dangerous approach that could cause a false sense of security.

    Because a false sense of security is better than no sense of security at all.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:49PM (#30813800)

    the toys we know have been painted with paint with high amounts of lead in it.

    After all, if I took those away from them I'd just be giving myself a false sense of security since it's likely there are some other toys with lead in them that I don't know about.

    Same reason I smoke, sure I know smoking causes cancer but not doing it would just give me a false sense of security given there are numerous other things that also cause cancer.

  • "PCWorld seems to be taking the opposite stance arguing that blaming IE for attacks is a dangerous approach that could cause a false sense of security."

    Yeah, of course they would argue this. They get major advertising dollars from someone affected by such recommendations.

  • Are the internals of Windows 2000 and Windows XP so different that Microsoft can't put IE8 on Win2k?

    I mean, it seems like that's the obvious solution, and Win2k's on extended support still, so... and XP only identifies itself as NT 5.1 (Win2k is NT 5.0).

    Always amuses me to see "You should upgrade to IE8!" then click the "Upgrade" button and say "Just click Download to get IE8!", scroll down, and then it says "IE8 is not available for your operating system". You'd think Microsoft's update site could've done

  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:09PM (#30814014) Homepage Journal

    But, although IE6 has been the source of the attacks until now, Microsoft's advisory admits that both IE7 and IE8 are vulnerable to the same flaw, even on Windows 7.

    Someone needs to do a lot better research when writing these articles or posting them to Slashdot or both.

    THIS is blatantly wrong:

    Microsoft still insists IE8 is the 'most secure browser on the market' and that they believe IE6 is the only browser susceptible to the flaw. However, security researchers warned that could soon change, and recommended considering alternative browsers as well."

    Heck, simply reading Slashdot would have turned up this:
    Slashdot Article on this [slashdot.org]

    Or this from Microsoft themselves which states even Microsoft believe no such thing.
    Microsoft Admits IE7 and IE8 are vulnerable to this too [microsoft.com]

    Our investigation so far has shown that Internet Explorer 5.01 Service Pack 4 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 is not affected, and that Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, and Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 on supported editions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 are vulnerable.

    I posted something similar about this days ago on yet another similar topic, but was laughed at by the MS/IE zealots who claim Microsoft said only IE6 is vulnerable... so, since they cant read obviously, there it is again... with the relevant section BOLDED this time.

    C'mon folks, these RCEs are not new stuff, and seem to exist in EVERY version of IE since the beginning of time till now with "patches" that never fully address the issue (hence, as MICROSOFT themselves noted, this issue is... well... still an issue... even for IE7 and IE8).

    Their lame (see story link above) answer that people should upgrade to IE8 as if that was the solution to this problem is idiotic. Yeah, people should upgrade to IE8 (if their machines can actually run it - some of my clients have older, slower machines and no budget to replace them)... but Microsoft should also be working on actually fixing all the RCE exploits and buffer issues in the IE line.

    Regardless, my point is, with so much coverage over this (on Slashdot alone), you'd think the "Story Approvers" or author would have gotten that glaringly misleading (and incorrect) point correct. Oh well.

  • by zullnero (833754) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:29PM (#30814230) Homepage
    For any software, if you're running stuff that is basically 12 years out of date, you should expect your setup to be exploitable. You don't see a lot of people running MacOS 8, early revisions of Slackware, or Netscape 5.5 anymore, right? Neglecting to update IE is about the stupidest thing anyone with some regard for their personal security could put off. It's easily the most exploited piece of software in the history of...software. That's what having a near 100% dominance in the very sketchy playing field of the late 90's/early 00's Internet does for you. I'm no Microsoft fan, but anyone who thinks that code that was written 12 years ago is perfectly fine to use nowadays...switching to another browser isn't going to fix their problem. Medication and a good shrink will fix their problem. And maybe a Computer Science course or two. If you never updated the virus defs in your virus scanner...and you got a virus...switching virus scanners isn't going to fix the fact that you're too undisciplined to wait a few seconds and let your virus defs download no matter what setup you use. If people won't update from IE6, you can bet they won't update any other browser they install, either.

    Sorry, but if you get exploited running IE6, I have absolutely NO pity for you. You're just plain stupid, and your stupidity most likely has caused you to infect other systems probably more than once. You're like a driver who plows down a couple margaritas before you go out driving on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Locks and burglars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Exitar (809068) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:14PM (#30814580)

    Of course if a burglar breaks in my apartment thank to a defect of my lock and steal my fornitures I blame the burglar for the theft.
    But I change my lock afterward.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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