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The End of the Word as We Know It
It's the end of the word as we know it.
- M Stipe
One thing never to be taken away from El Channel Reg: their sense of humour.
In an article entitled Unpatched Word flaw menaces civilisation Reg correspondent John Leyden goes on about YET ANOTHER MICROSOFT BUG and paints doom on the showroom walls of Dixons. The doom bug's being exploited by those shadowy characters known as 'hackers' and Microsoft have as yet no clue how it's being done.
One thing that's often lost in these alarmist reports about vulnerability attacks is that the attacks have to exploit PROGRAMMING ERRORS: even if you're not being attacked by MALICIOUS NEFARIOUS EVIL HACKER CODE you still have an error in a product you paid good money for.
What do Microsoft themselves recommend?
'Do not open or save Word files that you receive from untrusted or that are received unexpected from trusted sources. This vulnerability could be exploited when a user opens a file.'
[You perchance perceive an error in the above sentence? Sorry - that's the way the morons wrote it.]
Note they don't want you to even SAVE files these days. Especially those coming from untrusted or unexpected sources. And this can get confusing, for if you save a file, aren't you the source?
This of course is not enough. It's tantamount to what they recommended when the ILOVEYOU worm swept the planet and caused $5.5 billion in damages. 'Don't open attachments', said Microsoft then. Much like Apple today tell people to not run programs they don't trust. End of mail and the software industry as we know it.
And the media are going nuts around the planet with big headlines like the one below from the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.
What you SHOULD do instead is the following. Write this down with pen and paper as your computer might fail you at any moment.
- Do not open Word documents from trusted but unknown sources.
- Do not open Word documents from known but untrusted sources.
- Do not open Word documents from unknown and untrusted sources.
- Do not open Word documents from known and trusted sources.
- Do not open Word documents you have not previously created yourself.
- Do not open Word documents even if you have previously created them yourself.
- Do not open Word documents.
Instead do the following.
- Unplug your computer if it's a desktop model.
- Detach the keyboard. Smash it into the monitor.
- Rip the mouse out and flush it down the nearest head.
- Throw the rest of the computer out the window.
If your computer's a laptop, skip the first three steps above and just throw it right out the window. Walk up to high street, go into Dixons, get a new box but WITHOUT Windows on it, and get one of those fancy Linux distros. Either that or go to the nearest Apple store and get one of their hot boxes. Which today are hot in more ways than one. Hehe.
Seriously seriously seriously: EVERYBODY is saying 'watch it' with this latest bug. It's a ZERO DAY BUG: nobody knows where it comes from or how to fix it. NOBODY.
Yet good old F-Secure are not singing along on this one, strangely enough.
Nope - they WANT you to open your Word documents! In an interview with IDG, undistinguished security researcher Johan Jarl told readers 'OF COURSE you can continue to open your Word documents as always!'
Kamil and Jarl and the rest of the crack team at Fucking Insecure are namely saving up for their MPBs - if they can't keep you on Windows they can't sell their products!
They - as The Technological - are relying on you to be stupid.