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Get Rid of Windows

Yes seriously get rid of it, says Steven Vaughan-Nichols.

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'I thought the massive DDoS attacks that knocked Twitter and other social networks out were because of Iran's government trying to shut down its protesters', wrote Steven Vaughan-Nichols on his blog on 7 August. 'I was wrong. Hundreds of millions of Internet users were annoyed because of a Windows botnet-based DDoS aimed at one (1) person.'

'Let me spell this out for you. Some people out there used no fewer than six Windows botnets to go after this one guy. And in the process knocked out for hours at a time most of the major social networks.'

'How did this happen? It happened because Windows is an insecure piece of junk.'

Not Exactly News

'Anyone who knows anything about security knows that this kind of disaster was only a matter of time', continues Nichols. 'Windows botnets are responsible for DDoS attacks and most spam.'

Here comes the cruncher, remotely reminiscent of something heard elsewhere in this vicinity for the past ten years or so.

'You cannot secure Windows. Microsoft keep saying they will and they always fail. Period. Windows has been insecure since Day One and it's still going to be insecure when Windows Se7en shows up.'

No argument there from any honest security researcher anywhere. So what does Nichols suggest? Start blocking Windows.

'Perhaps it's time to start blocking Windows PCs from the Internet. Sound crazy? Yes I agree. But I'll tell you something else that's crazy. It's crazy that whole sections of the Internet can be shut down by a few people controlling huge Windows botnets for petty personal reasons.'

'We have the technology to start locking Windows out of the Internet. You can tell when it's trying to connect to a website.'

So far so good.

'OK so we can't block them all but perhaps we can start checking Windows PCs for up to date patches and minimum security settings before allowing them Internet access.'

This could be a realistic compromise and a step in the right direction. Surely idiots behind the wheels of motor vehicles can be taken 'offroad' and unsafe vehicles can be dissed from entering terrestrial highways - why shouldn't the same apply here? Or is a stolen identity less of a crisis than a buckled bumper?

'Some web designers are already presenting IE6 users with a notice encouraging them to dump their out of date browser. We can use the same approach to encourage people to switch from Windows to Linux or Mac OS X. Or perhaps more to the point: shove Windows security uploads down their throats or refuse to let them connect.'

Admittedly the rhetoric is appealing. It's also long overdue in a world smashed into ludicrousness by bribes and threats - by the absolute power of money and corruption.

'We depend on the Internet', states Nichols. 'We play on it, we work on it, we live on it.'

Yes we do. And like it or not we communicate with it and share knowledge and culture through it.

'If attacks like this become commonplace - and after this foul-up I don't see any reason why they won't - we'll need to proactively protect it from Windows' botnets.'

To be sure. But the easiest most straightforward way to protect oneself from Windows' botnets is to protect oneself from Windows. Free clue. To add: it's good to see someone courageous enough to use the words 'Windows' and 'botnet' in such a fashion as to make it obvious they're functionally interchangeable.

'And if that means blocking out out of date Windows PCs with inadequate security settings before they can be used in an attack then so be it.'

So be it.

See Also
Computerworld: It's time to get rid of Windows

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