BugTraq
Re: [Full-Disclosure] Microsoft prepares security assault on Linux Nov 12 2003 08:08PM
Jason Coombs (jasonc science org)
I wrote an information security book last year under contract with
Microsoft Press. The book was never published -- among other things it
explains truthfully the poor security condition of Windows and offers
detailed instructions and advice for defending against Microsoft's bad
business practices and incorrect security decisions. URLs for the free
electronic book are:

(PDF)
http://www.forensics.org/IIS_Security_and_Programming_Countermeasures.pd
f

(Raw Text/PNG Graphics --> safer!)
http://www.forensics.org/jasonc/iisforensics.zip

The security awareness for Windows communicated by my book would have
enabled people to avoid intrusions, infections, damage, and down time
from MS Blaster, SQL Slammer/Sapphire, and many of this year's other
threats. It would also have helped to educate developers of Web
applications so that fewer new vulnerabilities would have been created.

A few of the specific warnings provided by my book include:

* FrontPage Server Extensions are badly flawed from a security
perspective and should never be used.

* Ports open by default (RPC/DCOM/SMB/Messenger/Workstation Service/etc)
will be found to expose remote exploitable buffer overflow
vulnerabilities and therefore must be protected and closed at all costs.

* Don't use/rely on Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer because it
intentionally ignores known vulnerabilities in order to more often
report a happy "you're all patched" message to the admin.

* Internet Information Services cannot be trusted out of the box but
instead must be carefully security hardened beyond anything that
Microsoft normally recommends, and many IIS features must be disabled in
order to achieve a trustworthy subset of Microsoft software.

* ... more ...

If Microsoft intends to launch a PR/advertising campaign against Linux,
perhaps it would take a moment out of its busy schedule to explain why
it won't publish a book that tells the truth and provides warnings in
advance that the only way to safely operate a Windows computer is to
subscribe to infosec mailing lists such as bugtraq and full-disclosure
in order to remain constantly aware of the real-world condition and
capabilities of attackers?

Microsoft suppresses awareness of vulnerabilities in order to profit.

The only way to achieve security in computing is through awareness.

Therefore, Microsoft's profits cause additional insecurity. Go figure.

Sincerely,

Jason Coombs
jasonc (at) science (dot) org [email concealed]

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