OT: Windows Vista security 'rendered useless' by researchers

Richmond Mathewson geradamas at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 14 05:22:02 EDT 2008

Bob S wrote:

"The real bear here that I can see is the possibility of going to a  
perfectly valid web site to do my banking let's say, and then having  
content injected into my web browser unbeknownst to me that could  
compromise my credentials. THAT would be pretty bad. If that is what  
we are talking about, then this is far more profound than just another  
newly discovered vulnerability."

This is inevitable with the rise of the person who does his/her programming and/or work "on the hoof", the Digital Nomad:


and relies on some sort of thin-client laptop and a clutch of web-based apps. Even using ROM-based apps is not secure, as to work the app has to be copied across into RAM where it is vulnerable (at least for the length of its use: enough time for someone or something to gets its paws on your password, credit card number, et al.). 

What frightens me is not what happens inside my "hardened" computer, but what happens with signals sent between my browser and, say, the server of my bank. As my bank is in another country (rather than down the road) I do not have a dedicated cable/telephone link (and, come to think of it, were my bank just down the road I could just walk there) but have to send signals via the internet through a variety of servers; all or one of which could suborn my details. Then, of course, I suffer from an incurable tendency to order books through Amazon, and so on . . .

Frankly, while I don't like what I have seen of 'Vista' (a bad View, to coin an even worse pun), I don't think the problem lies there - it lies "out there", and, while it fashionable to bash Microsoft, the current situation seems like bashing an ethnic group because there are sexually communicable diseases, because that group is perceived to have a higher rate of infection than other ethnic/racial groups; it is really not relevant; what is relevant is what "anti-virus software" the individual members of the human race (regardless of ethnicity) use when they jump into bed with other members. And, like most people, my PC is extremely promiscuous . . . one can extend the simile until the point is hammered home and lots of people are extremely offended. But most of us can "do the Maths" without that.

Nearer to home, we should all reflect on the fact that in the past HyperCard stacks were used as virus and worm carriers. I wonder how long it will be before we have "diseased" Revolution stacks?

sincerely, Richmond Mathewson.

A Thorn in the flesh is better than a failed Systems Development Life Cycle.

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