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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft and secret deals? No!

In your article "Becta throws shroud over Microsoft deal" about the installation of Vista in schools I got to thinking that kids will probably be thrilled to get Vista on their machines so they’ll be getting a lot of time off. If Vista from what I hear is being tripped into its "Secure" mode by casual operations by users what does he think is going to happen when you let loose a bunch of kids on an OS that will relish in finding ways to trip the buggy security in Vista so they won't be able to use their computer until someone comes from IT and resets the machine. I'll bet that they keep secret as much as they can about any problems they have in the pilot program.

Onward thru the fog, Unc Al


...and there I was thinking that, as a tax-payer, I would be fully entitled to know just how much of my taxes are being spent on Microsoft's software for use within schools. How naïve of me.

Becta should, instead, be demanding that such a secrecy clause not be included in their deal, and threaten to ditch the incumbent should this not be agreed-upon.

I'm sure the millions of pounds currently being thrown in Microsoft's direction could be used to teach end users how to sign-in to a Linux desktop and how to launch Open Office. This itself would have the added benefit of being a one-off charge, as opposed to the yearly deal that is currently in-place with Microsoft.


Is this legal? As a taxpayer, I have to pay for the software, so why can't I see how much it is costing?

A bomb making suspect pleads for his privacy when his smut surfing habits were unveiled during the investigation. That's unfair, you exclaim! Now, why would that be...

Mind you, since he's in for bomb making and not for illegal porn, the investigation in to his PC is OTT. Did AFT hope to find more evidence of bomb making on his PC or were they just fishing.

OK, it's a stupid lawsuit, but if MS can be hit by it, they'll have a word with Shrub and he'll have a word with the head of the DoJ who'll stop this sort of thing coming to light in future. Not as good as stopping over-reaching snooping but better.


Vulgar jokes and the old military chant about "this is my rifle and this is my gun..." aside, anything about this guy's sex life (or anything else not related to the firearms charges) found on his hard drive have no bearing on the case and the government has no business revealing it, so while he may not have a valid complaint against Microsoft, he certainly does have one against the blabbermouths in the government.

regards, unitron


He'll never win it. Even if he does get the court to decide that Microsoft, Compaq et al cause him embarrassment by selling him software that didn't do what it claimed to, there's still the software packages' EULAs to contend with, which of course always disclaim absolutely any possible liability whatsoever. The only way he could possibly get a decision in his favour would be for one of the higher courts to rule that the standard customer-has-neither-rights-nor-expectations EULA clauses are illegal. Which would probably be a nice thing to see, considerin' how frankly embarrassing those clauses are to the whole software profession.

Your personalised comments near the end of this article are without credibility.

1. You ignore the ridiculous charges levied against the man. A silencer for an air rifle? That's fucking absurd.

2. What bomb-making materials?

3. So goddamned what if he makes videos of himself and his girlfriend!

4. So goddamned what if he surfs porn sites!

5. So goddamned what if he is attempting to sue MS!

What is, likely, a legitimate complaint about the purported secure system software is ignored by you. What is, likely, an insane prosecutorial act by an out of control government is also ignored by you.

Your article is ridiculous.


Speaking of ridiculous, have you heard about that Vista keygen hoax? Pah. There's much better ways to get round Vista:

Hi John,

All this talk about cracking Vista activation is bollocks. All you need to is find someone who works at a University (like me) where they get Windows and other MS products through the Select programme and all you need is the product activation key that is either printed on the jewel case or on the CD. Through a quirk in the licensing, staff can loan the install disks for software they use at work (other than Visio, for some reason) to install at home. God knows how many copies of these are bootlegged. When Microsoft ship their products that need no more to activate them than the license key on the CD case there just isn't any need to break the activation.

Kev.


"That still leaves the possibility of copying codes from stickers on PCs with Vista preloaded, however".

If Vista follows any of the XP norms, this will only work if you own a specific makes of PC.

Gateway, HP, Dell et all have their own keys - so putting a Gateway key into XP on a Dell PC will not work. I know, I've tried (we have Dell and Gateway PCs at work). Obviously this also means this would never work with a PC you built yourself.

However what will still work are the Enterprise keys that Microsoft said would not.

The plan to implement local activation servers has not been carried through. Therefore instead of activating your key every ninety days within your local area network, you still dial Microsoft.

The difference (and the reason Microsoft don't care - in fact may actually like) is that they will now have the ability to count the number of workstations activated by your Enterprise key.

Therefore if you allow your Enterprise key out into the wild, and 50,000,000 computers get activated by it, Microsoft will be sending you a bill for the additional 49,999,800 licenses your business has yet to purchase - which works out pretty good for them, and gives them no incentive to implement their original plan.

Naturally they say they are still working on the original plan, but they seem to be pretty fuzzy as to when it will be ready. My guess is not until the next version of Windows.

Finally one method of getting a free key is simply to call them and say yours doesn't work. I've done this twice because it was too much bother to find my XP Pro key - and they were always happy to help.

Andy


Hi John,

Great article on the Vista keygen. You might be interested to know that there is another rumoured crack for Vista which allows 180 days usage before it requires activation. This was also published on Keznews and involves replacing an operating system file.

I've not tried as I've no need to but I thought you might be interested in it.

-- Gary.

Go on then...you know you want to. First to report back gets a legendary Reg goody bag.


And it wouldn't be Friday without a man making love to a car.

Didn't risk visiting the site at work - does he offer a Car-ma Sutra?

I'll get my coat

And while you're at it, pack up your desk.


On that note, we're off to the pub. Have a good weekend, and don't forget to set some time aside for polishing your car. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

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