Skip to main content
Spin it to Me Steve

When I read the news, I had a dizzy spell and had to sit down!

This was of course that Microsoft plans to create a "Secure" PC environment
with a technology called "Palladium", that you can read more about on CW360.

Now, the idea of Microsoft building a secure PC is, well, like the idea of
hospitals without waiting lists, because for all the platitudes about
'Trusted Computing', I have yet to find anyone who really believes that the
company can pull it off and that Trusted Computing is anything more than the
company 'Spinning' what it should have done to its lamentably insecure
products ten years ago.

In reality though, Microsoft has very little choice to do anything else but
strengthen its software. Quite frankly, computer crime of one kind or
another is costing business billions and Governments are starting to become
quite twitchy about the grip the company has on the public sector. Microsoft
either starts making really secure software or the market will steadily and
incrementally, move away from Microsoft.

I, for one, believe that Microsoft has seen the light and really wishes to
demonstrate the reformed nature of its character. The problem is, that
reform will take time, quite probably years, before developments at the
leading edge of the company's technology, filter down to the level of the
desktop, where people are still using Windows 95 or Windows NT.

And that's the problem. Microsoft's incredible growth, the size of its
monopoly and the legacy software it carries with it, a record of success
which was largely responsible for all the problems that still plague us.

Before Windows XP remember, the Operating System really represented the
software equivalent of a Dutch doll. Inside every new operating system were
the remains of earlier DLLs, one built upon the other, all the way back to
DOS.

But unless we suddenly move to a Network Computing model, the
vulnerabilities that still remain in hundred of thousands of systems will
the Microsoft-centric world vulnerable. It means years to come of buying
anti-virus software licenses, of hacks and cracks and worms and Trojans and
more.

Microsoft, having unwittingly opened Pandora's Box, are now trying to close
it again with clever, innovative technology and a reassuring new "Trust me,
I'm from Redmond
" smile. I am however prepared to bet, that if I bookmark my
calendar for a date twelve months from now, I'll be able to look back on a
catalogue of compromise and disaster, which is little better than the last
twelve months.

Steve Ballmer, you have my full support. Put 'Security First' and really
mean it. Imitate Russell Crowe, rally the troops, brandish your corporate
sword and shout, "What we do in life, echoes in eternity". But also consider
that while strengthening future products shows determination, it's the
immediacy and severity of today's problem that needs to be addressed by
rather more than rudimentary security features in Windows XP.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…