Happy New Year and Thanks
I want to start off the year with a personal note. As you may or may not know,
I don’t have to write this newsletter. Nobody is holding a gun to my head
or waving a pink slip. I volunteered for this duty. And I’m glad I did.
This newsletter drives almost everything we do at Redmond magazine. That’s
because faithful Redmond Report readers write every day and tell me exactly
what they think. I read, save and savor each and every message, and most of
them get posted in the newsletter itself. I’m sure a lot (maybe even most)
of you prefer to read these letters to reading whatever nonsense I’m spewing.
So please, keep writing! And I’ll keep reading!
This Zero Day Exploit Is No Picnic
F-Secure last week announced
the discovery of a flaw that allows all Windows revs, even fully patched
XP SP2 systems, to be taken over by hackers. The problem, which is now being
sensationalized by the entire news media (including us) centers around the Windows
graphic handler, and may be patched in little more than a week. In the meantime,
some security experts suggest avoiding IE -- something Redmond magazine has
been preaching for a long time.
Here’s the Microsoft
Bulletin on it.
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Microsoft on Security: We Done Good, Real Good
In an end-of-the-year press
release, Microsoft patted itself and its partners on the back for all the
great things they’ve done to make our computers more secure. Examples
include XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1 (if you have security problems, just
throw a service pack at ‘em), and Windows AntiSpyware (the release authors
forgot has already been renamed Defender. I guess even Microsoft can’t
keep up with all its name changes!).
As much as Microsoft should be faulted for building software with such huge
surface areas for attack in the first place, I guess we should also praise them
for their efforts to make software safer. It’s a rather massive undertaking.
The real challenge is Vista -- will the largest client OS Microsoft has ever
built be more secure than XP? Tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.