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Wednesday, 13 June 2018 12:13

Microsoft PR machine in bid to make Windows appear safe

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For some reason that is difficult to fathom, Microsoft has suddenly wheeled out its PR spinners to try and paint Windows — yes, the bug-ridden operating system that earned the company the epithet Typhoid Mary of the Internet — as something that top-notch experts are securing against attack.

The publication to run this fiction was Wired, long one of those august organisations that feeds the schlock machine. When I saw the headline — The elite Microsoft hacker team that keeps Windows PCs safe — I almost choked on my morning coffee.

The spiel that is being spouted is that Microsoft has got ace hackers probing Windows to find vulnerabilities so that you, gentle reader, can rest easy and not worry.

Take it from one who has been following this company for at least the last 25 years: even if every security expert on the planet was probing Windows for defects 24 hours a day for years on end, they would not be able to fix its issues. It is something like Swiss cheese – can anyone plug all the holes?

The facts mitigate against the kind of spin that Wired has swallowed. On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft issues security bulletins about the various defects in its products. It has become such a predictable confession list that very few people bother to report it anymore.

Microsoft has made the list of vulnerabilities that much more difficult to read, but it needn't have bothered. Much in the same way that one would not report that the sun rose in the East this morning, one does not bother with the Microsoft vulnerabilities anymore. They are there, in big numbers, and if you continue to use Windows, then you are playing with fire.

Windows has design defects in it too, that make the operating system ridiculously easy to exploit and the company isn't interested in fixing those issues.

Given these facts, if any journalist is going to write about how Microsoft looks after Windows security, then please write a novel. A work of fiction. Else, you end up looking like a stenographer.

Here's something which I wrote 13 years ago. The tone of the article which I criticised was similar to the one in Wired, a clueless exercise in spin by someone who clearly has swallowed the Kool Aid from Redmond.

Windows and security do not fit in the same sentence and not even in the same book. The sooner people learn that, the better for all concerned.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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