Feeds

Microsoft denies breaking prof's software

Changes in Web site were totally unrelated to failure, and it was broken all the time anyway...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft has hotly denied suggestions that it deliberately sabotaged the IE uninstall program produced by DoJ expert Edward Felten. No such accusation has actually been formally made, but if it was a coincidence, it was a bizarre one. Felten produced an uninstall program to demonstrate that it was feasible for Microsoft to ship Windows 98 without IE 4.0 functionality. He had been using a version of 98 with IE uninstalled and Netscape Navigator substituted without problems, he says, until minor changes were made on the Microsoft Windows 98 Update site on 4th December. The Windows Update feature gives users automatic access to fixes and patches from Microsoft, and it was important to Felten to show that this feature could also be accessed from Navigator. Under cross-examination Felten described the mysterious breakage, stressing that he'd been able to access Update prior to the 4th December changes, describing what the changes consisted of, and explaining how the breakage could be fixed. (Transcript) Microsoft's statement, filed with the court with the permission of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, said that the modifications to the site had been made by a single developer, working under the supervision of a second developer, and that neither had been involved in the testing of Felten's program. " The December 4 change had nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. Felten or his program. Microsoft knows of no reason why that change should have affected Dr. Felten's program and believes it had no such effect." Microsoft continues to insist that use of Felten's program disables access to the Update feature. Effectively, the company is therefore arguing that the program demonstrates that IE and 98 are integrated - if taking out IE means you lose features, then that must be the case, check? But the claim: "Microsoft knows of no reason why that change should have affected Dr. Felten's program and believes it had no such effect" is rather strange, as it suggests that the authors of the statement didn't read the section of trial transcript where the matter came up. Felten explains precisely how the changes broke the program. First, the software attempts to download a file into the IE directory. As IE has been removed, that directory doesn't exist. But there's quite clearly not reason why it should insist on using such a directory. Second, a bug introduced in the Microsoft code caused a further breakage. As Felten says: "We have verified that Microsoft could easily fix both of those changes, and we verified that by making modifications to the software so that it works again. but it's true that as Microsoft -- if you look at the software that Microsoft is offering today, it doesn't work because of these incompatibilities that Microsoft introduced." ® Complete Register trial coverage

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.